NBC has announced that Thursday's two-hour finale of The Apprentice was seen by more than 40 million viewers who watched all or some of the reality hit's conclusion.

The April 15 9-11PM Apprentice telecast drew an average of over 28.0 million overall viewers and a 13.6 rating, 34 share in the Adults 18-49 demographic.

The performance marked NBC's highest Adults 18-49 rating on any night or in any time period since October 3, 2002, and equaled the network's best 18-49 rating in the Thursday 9-11PM time period since Nov. 16, 2000, excluding Olympic telecasts. Additionally the 28.0 million viewer average represented NBC's highest total viewer average for any program during the 2003-04 season (although it's worth noting that both CBS' CSI and FOX's American Idol have drawn larger viewer averages several times this season.)

The Apprentice finale more than doubled its closest competition in Adults 18-49 (with a 13.6 rating vs. a 6.5 for CBS' CSI/Without a Trace combination) and dominated its two-hour time period in every key ratings category. From 9-10PM ET, Apprentice beat an original CSI in head-to-head competition in all key categories, with a 61 percent margin of victory in 18-49 (12.7 vs. 7.9 for the hour).

Apprentice's Adults 18-49 finale numbers rank as the third largest entertainment telecast of the 2003-04 season, behind only the Academy Awards and the post-Super Bowl episode of Survivor: All-Stars. Excluding Survivor's initial post-Super Bowl episode, last night's Apprentice's finale is the #1 series program of the 2003-04 season to date in 18-49.