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'Celebrity Apprentice' return is surprisingly popular

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Apprentice

Fans apparently really missed Celebrity Apprentice.

The NBC reality franchise returned surprisingly strong in the ratings after a nearly two-year hiatus. The last time NBC aired the campy C-lister-stuffed competition series, the show only opened to a 1.7 rating among adults 18-49 after years of generally declining numbers. On Sunday, Donald Trump returned to 6.8 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the demo, jumping 35 percent for this 14th edition, and easily beat rivals across its two-hour slot starting at 9 p.m. Excluding sports and the Golden Globes, this marks NBC’s best rating in this time period in two years. (Check out Dalton Ross’ recap.)

Also Sunday, ABC debuted its fairy tale musical mash-up Galavant at 8 p.m. to 7.8 million viewers and a 2.1 rating for its first 30-minute episode (the episodes are a half hour each, yet ABC aired two episodes in an hour-long block). The second episode declined to 6.8 million viewers and a 1.9 rating. This is a decent debut for the Once Upon a Time place-holder and marks the third-best rating for a new comedy premiere this season—though that says more about the lack of popularity of new comedies this season than it does about Galavant. But that second episode drop off isn’t a great sign. (See Hillary Busis’ take on the pilot.)

Fox had some great news: With early evening NFL coverage helping boost its comedy block, Brooklyn Nine-Nine jumped to its highest ratings ever for a regular episode—a 2.9 in the demo.

A few more Sunday demo numbers: ABC’s Resurrection (1.0), Revenge (0.9)—neither improving their odds in the Deathwatch rundown of survival chances. CBS’ Madam Secretary (1.4), The Good Wife (1.3), and CSI (1.2).