Our hour by hour coverage of the fall schedule is almost complete. On to Thursday nights at 10pm where there are no new shows this hour. But, it will still be new to have NBC's The Apprentice in the 10pm hour joining The Mentalist and Private Practice, which were both in this time period last season.
Thursday Nights 10pm-11pm:
After launching last fall with unscripted programming every night between Monday-Friday (you might remember The Jay Leno Show) this fall, NBC has unscripted at 10pm only on Thursday nights (though many are predicting a hasty demise for Outlaw only to be replaced by a second hour of Dateline on Friday nights).
Who'll Win? The Apprentice (original flavor, not the celebrity version) could surprise me, but my bet is things will work out a lot like they did late last season and that The Mentalist will typically win with adults 18-49 (and there's no doubt it will win the imaginary war for total viewers) followed by Private Practice.
Last year NBC ran The Marriage Ref in the spring on Thursdays at 10pm, and it started out OK but by the end it was down in the low 2.x range with adults 18-49, with one episode dipping in the 1.x range. I'd guess The Apprentice will provide more stable and predictable ratings week-to-week, but still finish last with adults 18-49.
One More Thing...
While I've taken a "who'll win?" approach with these postings, that's been for sport, and to foster discussion. By itself, who wins doesn't matter much, and there is a hair-splitting discussion to be had about whether it matters at all. But whether winning matters a little or not at all also isn't very important.
What really matters is whether the ratings are any good, regardless of who is winning. If there is an hour where CBS wins with a 5.0 adults 18-49 rating and NBC loses with a 4.0 all the major broadcast networks will be happy. Conversely, if CBS wins with a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, there will be frowns all around, even at CBS (unless it's Friday where they'll happily take a 2.0 rating at this point).
You can find all the previous hour-by-hour coverage here.