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Doctors deliver ratings

'Anatomy' of hit on its own

“Desperate Housewives” helped make “Grey’s Anatomy” one of television’s most popular programs, but the latter ABC drama proved Sunday that it’s a hit in its own right.

Despite airing behind a repeat of “Housewives,” the second-year medical drama cleaned up in the ratings and came within 7% of its strong season average. ABC made it six straight Sunday victories to start the season, with “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” shining as well.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Grey’s Anatomy” averaged a 7.6 rating/20 share in adults 18-49 and 17.1 million viewers overall. It defeated its CBS-NBC competish by 31% in 18-49 (7.6 to 5.8) and by 72% in 18-34 (7.4 to 4.3).

“Grey’s,” which had been retaining a very good 71% of its large firstrun “Housewives” lead-in this season (8.2 vs. 11.6), on Sunday built by 33% on the 18-49 rating for a repeat of the megahit (5.7).

The ratings success of “Grey’s” and the buzz surrounding it may embolden ABC to eventually shift the show to another night, allowing the net to give a new show some exposure behind “Housewives.”

Also clicking for ABC on Sunday was “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (prelim 6.8/16 in 18-49, 16.8 million viewers), which will come in with its second-best scores of fall.

CBS didn’t have much ratings bite with its original movie “Vampire Bats” (projected 2.3/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million) but NBC’s “Law & Order: CI” took advantage of the “Housewives” repeat at 9, hitting its best regular-slot score in seven months (prelim 4.3/10 in 18-49, 13.8 million), with a repeat seg.

Fox’s repeat comedy lineup was paced by “The Simpsons” (prelim 4.6/11 in 18-49, 9.2 million).

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