ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” won the head-to-head matchup but CBS thrived, too, on Sunday with the finale of the ninth edition of “Survivor.”
According to Nielsen prelim nationals, the Eye eked out a demo victory on the night over the Alphabet (6.1/14 to 5.9/14 in adults 18-49) thanks to the two-hour conclusion to “Survivor: Vanuatu” and the one-hour reunion party that followed.
ABC’s seven-week Sunday winning streak in adults 18-49 came to end, but the net did extend its 18-34 run on the night to seven weeks — its best such run since at least 1991.
It was led as usual by “Desperate Housewives” (prelim 9.3 rating/20 share in adults 18-49, 22.2 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (prelim 5.9/14 in 18-49, 15.2 million), although both were on the low end of their ratings range opposite tougher than usual competish from “Survivor.”
Similarly, the hearty ABC competish contributed to the lowest “Survivor” finale scores to date (prelim 7.4/17 in 18-49, 19.6 million). “Survivor” won its 8-10 p.m. slot in total viewers and was second in key demos.
Unlike the early editions of the reality adventure skein, the Nielsens for its recent finales have been in line with its series averages — suggesting a strong core audience but fewer casual viewers interested in witnessing the final tribal councils and crowning of the $1 million winner. Indeed, Sunday’s turnout for “Survivor” was strikingly close to its season averages Thursday (7.4/20 in 18-49, 19.7 million).
NBC did solid business with its 11th airing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (prelim 3.2/7 in 18-49, 8.8 million), while Fox had little to boast about aside from a decent perf at 8 for “The Simpsons” (prelim 4.8/11 in 18-49, 10.3 million).
At 10, the “Survivor” reunion show (prelim 6.8/16 in 18-49, 16.2m) easily beat a firstrun seg of ABC’s “Boston Legal” (prelim 5.0/12, 13.4m).