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Halloween ‘Simpsons’ helps Fox top sweeps Sunday

But 'Arrested' loses some of 'Malcolm' lead-in

There’s no slowing down Fox’s “The Simpsons,” which kicked off its 15th season with winning numbers Sunday. Net didn’t do as well, though, with its new laffer “Arrested Development.”

Also, CBS drew its largest Sunday audience of the season behind a good turnout for its three-hour 75th anniversary spec.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, Fox led the opening Sunday of the November sweep in key demos behind the annual Halloween episode of “The Simpsons” (roughly 7.2/17 in adults 18-49, 15.7 million viewers overall), which aired from 8:15 to 8:45 in most of the country due to an NFL overrun.

“King of the Hill” (7:45-8:15) took advantage of the big football spillover to deliver its best 18-49 score since last December (roughly 5.6/14), easily leading in timeslot in all under-55 categories.

‘Malcolm’ dips

At 9:15, “Malcolm in the Middle” (roughly 4.2/10 in adults 18-49, 9.7 million) was down about 20% vs. its preem of last year, and “Arrested Development” (roughly 3.3/8 in adults 18-49, 7.7 million) retained a modest 79% of that lead-in, and figures to come in fourth for its time period.

“Arrested,” which received the best reviews for any new comedy this season, lost even more of its “Malcolm” lead-in among the 12-34 crowd that typically power’s Fox’s Sunday.

Net’s lineup as a whole was down from last year, likely in part to an attractive NFL game on ESPN (Packers-Vikings).

CBS birthday a hit

At CBS, the net’s star-studded live “CBS at 75” (prelim 3.9/12 in 18-49) averaged a slot-leading 18.5 million viewers from 8 to 11 and a 5.4/12 in adults 25-54. The Eye led the night in total viewers and was up vs. a year ago in key demos.

NBC will finish second on the night in 18-49, led by “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 9 (slot-leading 4.9/11, 13.5 million viewers overall) and a special repeat of the crime drama at 10. Net’s “Dateline” also looked strong, placing second to Fox at 7:30 in 18-49 and 25-54.

ABC was paced by “Alias” (projected 4.1/9 in adults 18-49, 9.7 million viewers overall).

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