”You’re fired.” That’s what Donald Trump would probably like to say to the NBC programming execs who briefly moved ”The Apprentice” to Wednesday, where it got clobbered by the third of three opening episodes of ”American Idol.” Wednesday’s ”Idol” was the most-watched show of the week (29.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen), followed by Monday’s and Tuesday’s episodes. The hat trick also boosted Monday’s debut of ”My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé” (the No. 8 show, with 19.6 million viewers) and helped Fox win the week with an average of 12.8 million viewers.
Still, NBC was close behind with 12.7 million, thanks largely to the hardy hobbits who drove viewers to the Golden Globes in record numbers. Some 26.8 million tuned in to watch ”The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” win top prizes at the movie awards show, the week’s fourth most-watched program. NBC also drew big audiences for two Thursday episodes of ”Friends” (Nos. 5 and 7). The remaining top ten slots belonged to third-place finisher CBS (11.2 million), with ”CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” at No. 6, ”CSI: Miami” at No. 9, and ”60 Minutes” at No. 10. ABC came in a distant fourth (7.5 million), followed by the WB and UPN.