'Housewives' surges to top in two demos

The ladies of Wisteria Lane have still got it.

Two years removed from monster ratings and appearances on the covers of seemingly every magazine, the Sunday sudser has reasserted itself this season amid what many critics are hailing as a stronger season creatively.

The Nielsens are down from the first two seasons, but “Housewives” was the top program on television last week in both adults 18-49 (9.1 rating/20 share) and total viewers (22.27 million). It helps from a rankings standpoint, of course, that two of TV’s other top dramas — “Grey’s Anatomy” and “CSI” — are cutting into each other’s ratings on Thursday.

“Housewives” was up a tick week-to-week to its best averages since its season premiere — an encouraging sign since the previous week’s episode featured a highly promotable supermarket-shooting storyline.

Excluding season finales or preems, Sunday’s result repped the show’s best demo score since February.

“Desperate Housewives” last week teamed with “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Dancing With the Stars,” “Lost” and the “CMA Awards” to power ABC to its seventh victory among adults 18-49 in eight weeks this season, according to in-home viewing estimates by Nielsen.

The Alphabet’s 4.2 rating/11 share in the key demo easily topped NBC (3.8/10) and CBS (3.7/10), with Fox a distant fourth (2.9/8), followed by CW (1.5/4) and Univision (1.4/4).

ABC also won in adults 25-54, edging out CBS (5.0/12 to 4.8/12) to end the Eye’s seven-week winning streak, and remained on top in viewers 12-34 (3.0/10).

CBS was again the most-watched network overall (12.73 million), holding off ABC’s 12.44 million, extending the Eye’s season-opening winning streak to eight weeks.

In addition to “Desperate Housewives,” ABC was also the top non-sports choice in demos with both “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (5.4/13 in 18-49, 15.10m) and “Brothers & Sisters” (5.1/13, 15.22m).

On Tuesday, the penultimate performance edition of “Dancing With the Stars” was a winner (5.9/14 in 18-49, 21.98m), as was Wednesday’s results show edition (5.2/14, 20.69m). “Grey’s Anatomy” (8.6/21, 20.65m) led its Thursday hour in demos, and “Lost” did the same with its fall finale (7.0/17, 17.15m).

Inaugural ABC telecast of the “Country Music Assn. Awards” (5.4/13 in 18-49, 15.96m) won Monday, matching its year-ago demo delivery on CBS.

For NBC last week, “Sunday Night Football” (7.5/18 in 18-49, 19.39m) and hot rookie “Heroes” (6.7/15, 14.47m) led the way. Latter drama was the No. 1 new series of the week in all key categories, and among all programs for the season, it stands No. 6 in 18-49.

Steady CBS was paced as usual by “CSI” (6.9/17, 20.83m), with the vet crime drama closing the demo gap with “Grey’s Anatomy” and pulling ahead of the ABC medical skein in total viewers for the second time.

Wednesday drama “Criminal Minds” (5.2/12, 17.57m) hit more regular-slot highs, leading into another winning perf from “CSI: NY” (5.4/15, 16.77m). And fourth-year Tuesday drama “NCIS” hit a season high on election night (4.2/11, 15.43m).

Fox was quiet through most of the week, but “House” remained potent on Tuesday (6.8/16 in 18-49, 16.11m), as did Sunday comedies “The Simpsons” (5.2/13, 11.43m) and “Family Guy” (4.3/9, 9.04m).

Net’s weak performers included first-year dramas “Justice” on Monday (1.8/4, 5.85m) and “Vanished” on Friday (0.9/3, 2.87m).

Fox pulled this week’s “Vanished” in favor of a two-hour edition of “Trading Spouses,” and it will be bumped as planned on Nov. 24 for the broadcast preem of “Bruce Almighty.” Net said “Vanished” will return Dec. 1.

The CW was up week-to-week, highlighted by Wednesday’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 5.37m). Combo of “Model” and “One Tree Hill” improved by 29% in 18-34 over the result on the same night a year ago for “Model” and “Veronica Mars” (2.7/7 to 2.1/5).

ESPN again ruled the week among cable nets overall thanks to “Monday Night Football” (3.7/10, 9.94m for Seahawks-Raiders).

A standout series performer was FX’s “Nip/Tuck” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 3.91m), which shot up opposite election coverage on the major nets.

Also of note was the 7.31 million that Nickelodeon attracted Friday for the network premiere of “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.”

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