CBS looked good early but struggled late with telepic

On a night when CBS looked good early but struggled late with its “Hallmark Hall of Fame” movie, ABC, NBC and Fox were neck and neck for Sunday’s demo lead. ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” was narrowly the evening’s top program but in line with its series low of the previous week.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC — which edged past NBC and Fox for the night’s advantage among adults 18-49 — was paced as usual by “Desperate Housewives” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 11.1 million viewers overall), which won its hour and was on par with the previous week when it faced tougher competition from the Academy of Country Music Awards telecast on CBS. Also for the Alphabet, “America’s Funniest Home Videos” narrowly led in 18-49 at 7 o’clock (1.7/6 in 18-49, 7.4 million viewers overall), a repeat of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” ran fourth at 8 o’clock (1.7/5 in 18-49, 6.9 million viewers overall), and an original episode of “Brothers & Sisters” placed second at 10 (2.4/6 in 18-49, 8.4 million viewers overall).

NBC picked up steam with each hour on Sunday, starting sluggishly with “Dateline” (1.1/4 in 18-49, 4.1 million viewers overall) and then faring more competitively at 8 with gameshow “Minute to Win It” (1.8/5 in 18-49, 5.6 million viewers overall). And then, the two-hour “Celebrity Apprentice” hit a six-week high (3.0/8 in 18-49, 7.9 million viewers overall), dominating its second hour in key demo categories.

Fox burned off its last episode of “Til Death” (0.8/3 in 18-49, 2.2 million viewers overall), which was followed by a repeat of “The Simpsons” (1.2/4 in 18-49, 2.7 million viewers overall) and an original seg of the animated series in its regular 8 p.m. slot (2.8/8 in 18-49, 5.9 million viewers overall). It was followed by repeats of “The Cleveland Show” (2.4/7 in 18-49, 5.1 million viewers overall) and “Family Guy” (3.2/8 in 18-49, 6.4 million viewers overall) and a firstrun “American Dad” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall). Despite being a repeat, “Family Guy” nearly caught “Desperate Housewives” for the 18-49 lead at 9 o’clock, and easily stood as the evening’s top draw in adults 18-34 (3.8/11).

At CBS, “60 Minutes” (1.6/5 in 18-49, 11.2 million viewers overall) opened as the night’s most-watched program overall, and “Amazing Race” built nicely off it in demos (3.1/9 in 18-49, 10.6 million viewers overall) to win in adults 18-49 and other categories. The net’s “Hallmark Hall of Fame” movie “When Love Is Not Enough” was a tough sell, though, settling for a 1.2/3 in 18-49 and 7.1 million viewers overall — well behind its broadcast competition in both hours.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 2.3/6; NBC, 2.2/6; Fox, 2.2/6; CBS, 1.8/5; Univision, 0.9/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 9.0 million; ABC, 8.5 million; NBC, 6.3 million; Fox, 4.6 million; Univision, 2.4 million.

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