A look at the rookie class of 2005

HOLLYWOOD — The departure of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” one year after “Friends,” means the No. 1 comedy in primetime has exited stage right for two consecutive years.

And the nets didn’t come up with much to take their place this season — unless you count the yuk-a-minute drama “Desperate Housewives.”

The WB’s “Living With Fran” and Fox’s “Stacked” are two midseason preems that still look solid, but otherwise it was a bleak season for comedies and a boffo one for dramas, which account for eight of the top 10 new shows. Here’s a look at the rookie class of 2005:

10) “Boston Legal” (ABC) – David E. Kelley’s sorta-spinoff of “The Practice” consistently won its Sunday hour (4.9 rating/12 share in adults 18-49) but falls a notch short of “hit” status because it regularly lost half of its “Desperate Housewives” lead-in.

9) “Trading Your Wife’s Nanny While Swapping Spouses 911″ (ABC/Fox) – OK, this entry isn’t a real show but instead an amalgamation of four unscripted skeins (two similar series apiece on Fox and ABC) that performed fairly well in tough timeslots.

It’s hard to single one out — each averaged a 9 or 10 share — but ABC’s “Wife Swap” and “Supernanny” as well as Fox’s “Trading Spouses” and “Nanny 911″ are all expected back in some form next season.

8) “CSI: NY” – After starting out very strong Wednesday at 10, the Gotham-set “CSI” spinoff slipped as the season progressed but still topped NBC’s “Law & Order” (projected 4.9/13 to 4.2/11) and gave CBS nice timeslot gains.

7) “Numbers” (CBS) –CBS has a solid entry Fridays at 10 with this unlikely crime drama pairing an FBI agent and his math-genius brother. Its perf (3.2/10 in 18-49) was all the more impressive since it had the smallish, incompatible lead-in of “JAG.”

6) “The Biggest Loser” (NBC) – This weight-loss skein, which averaged a solid 4.3/11 in one of the net’s weakest timeslots (Tuesday 8-9), will return this summer and remain on the sked into fall. In a generally weak year for new unscripted skeins, this one ranked No. 1.

5) “Medium” (NBC) – Best news for the Peacock in an otherwise forgettable season was this midseason psychic drama (5.4/13 in 18-49), which started out very hot before settling into a solid second-place finisher to “CSI: Miami” in its tough Monday hour.

4) “House” (Fox) – This medical mystery series opened modestly last fall but has come on like, well, a house on fire since inheriting “American Idol” as a lead-in; it’s projected to finish with a 5.2/13 in 18-49.

It’s also now holding onto more of its “Idol” lead-in than any show to date, hitting a series high (7.4/18) last week.

3) “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — Another medical hour, this ensemble about young interns at a Seattle hospital (8.0/20 in 18-49) is easily beating NBC and CBS combined in Sunday’s 10 o’clock hour and has emerged as the most popular midseason drama on any net in 13 years.

It has hit series highs with four of its last five episodes and is holding a strong 70% of its “Housewives” lead-in — giving ABC the strongest drama twosome on television.

2) “Lost” (ABC) – This cross between “Survivor” and “The Twilight Zone” became Wednesday’s No. 1 scripted show (projected 5.8/16 in 18-49), improving its slot for ABC by more than 60%. No 8 o’clock drama has rated higher since “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills, 90210″ in the early ’90s.

1) “Desperate Housewives” (ABC) – What’s left to be said about a show that will finish as the season’s No. 1 scripted program in not only 18-49 (projected 10.5/24) but also 25-54 and 18-34?

It’s the top-rated first-year drama since NBC’s “ER” 10 years ago, and it tripled ABC’s timeslot average Sundays at 9.

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