'Housewives' a ratings winner

ABC won the first Sunday of the May primetime sweeps in adults 18-49, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, with “Desperate Housewives” the clear standout performer. Struggles for new Fox animated entry “Sit Down, Shut Up” increased in its second airing, but Fox nonetheless nursed a virtual tie for second place with CBS — which was tops for the night in overall viewers.

“Sit Down,” airing at 8:30 p.m. in between “The Simpsons” (2.9 rating/9 share in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (3.4/9, 6.8 million), settled for a 1.9 rating and 5 share with 4.2 million watching, down from 2.3/6 and 5.2 million when it premiered a week earlier. “Sit Down” also lost its week-old advantage in the 18-34 category, though it did win its timeslot among men of that narrower demo.

“Housewives” (4.7/12, 13.5 million) left Wisteria Lane outsiders wistful at 9 p.m., with “Family Guy” its closest competitor. “Brothers and Sisters” (3.1/8, 9.4 million) then followed “Housewives” by leading from 10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., before being leapfrogged by the final 30 minutes of NBC’s two-hour “Celebrity Apprentice” (3.0/8, 8.1 million). “Apprentice” ended up winning the 10 p.m. hour in 18-49 while finishing third in overall viewers.

ABC got off to a solid start with venerable “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.2/8, 7.5 million) winning at 7 p.m. CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” (1.6/6, 10.3 million) echoed its network’s night by coming in second in the 18-49 demo at 7 p.m. but with the most total viewers.

“The Amazing Race” (3.1/9, 10.3 million) then gave CBS a clear victory at 8 p.m., outperforming ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.8/8, 8.7 million). Rounding out the night for CBS were “Cold Case” (2.2/5, 10.5 million) and “The Unit” (2.0/5, 8.9 million).

Fox began its evening with low-rated airings of a repeat “American Dad” (0.9/3, 2.1 million) and a virgin “King of the Hill” (1.3/5, 2.9 million), then finished at 9:30 p.m. with a firstrun “American Dad” (2.5/6, 5.1 million).

NBC kicked things off with two hours of “Dateline” (1.1/3, 5.1 million). As for the CW, it followed its repurposed “Jericho” (0.2/1, 0.6 million) with the film “Four Weddings and a Funeral” (0.3/1, 1.2 million).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC 3.2/9, CBS 2.2/6, Fox 2.2/6, NBC 2.0/6, Univision 1.1/3, CW 0.3/1.

In total viewers: CBS 10.0 million, ABC 9.8 million, NBC 6.7 million, Fox 4.5 million, Univision 1.4 million, CW 1.0 million.

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