‘Heaven’ ascends for ABC

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

ABC rested “Desperate Housewives” on Sunday but still emerged the night’s winner thanks to a nice showing by original telepic “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

“The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” based on the book by Mitch Albom, averaged a hefty 6.5 rating/15 share in adults 18-49 and 19.3 million viewers overall to dominate its 8-11 p.m. time period and rate as the most-watched single-part movie this season. It led its time period in most categories, including teens and adults 50-plus.

NBC effectively counter-programmed with a repeat of Nicolas Cage theatrical “The Family Man” (4.0/9 in adults 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall), which became the top-rated theatrical of the season. CBS, on the other hand, struck out with its original telefilm “A Very Married Christmas” (2.2/5 in adults 18-49, 9.1 million viewers overall).

Fox ran second on the night in key demos thanks to an NFL overrun and an original “The Simpsons” at 8 (4.9/12 in adults 18-49, 10.3 million viewers overall). “Arrested Development” (3.4/8 in adults 18-49, 6.8 million viewers overall) held up OK at 8:30 but the return of “My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss” (1.9/4 in adults 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) bombed at 9.

Prelim 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.7/14; Fox, 4.6/11; NBC, 3.3/8; CBS, 2.9/7; WB, 1.0/2.

In total viewers: ABC, 17.0 million; CBS, 12.0 million; Fox, 10.3 million; NBC, 8.3 million; WB, 2.3 million.

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