ABC's 'Housewives' limps to its finale

Held down opposite ”American Idol” on Wednesday this spring, CBS reality vet shot up nicely in its season finale on Sunday, a night that saw soft finale scores for ABC’s ”Desperate Housewives.”

CBS led the night in all key categories, according to Nielsen, with ABC running second. TNT figures to be competitive when cable nationals are released Tuesday with its Game 1 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals between the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat.

Looking at Sunday’s action, following ”60 Minutes” on CBS (1.7/5 in 18-49, 12.0 million viewers overall), ”Survivor: Redemption Island” wrapped its season with a preliminary 4.0/10 in 18-49 and 13.1 million viewers overall. The reality show beat its broadcast competition with each half-hour from 8 to 10 p.m., jumping about 30% above its demo delivery with its final regular-slot Wednesday outing last week (3.1/9). And following the ”Survivor” finale, a reunion show averaged a winning 3.5/8 in 18-49 and 11.3 million viewers overall.

At ABC, the two-hour finale of ”Desperate Housewives” (3.0/7 in 18-49, 10.0 million viewers overall) was up only slightly week to week and delivered the show’s weakest scores to date for a season-ender. Earlier in the evening, the season finale of ”America’s Funniest Home Videos” led the 7 o’clock hour in 18-49 (1.8/6, 7.2 million viewers overall), followed by the season finale of ”Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 8.5 million viewers overall).

Fox opened with an encore ”The Simpsons” (1.3/4 in 18-49, 3.2 million viewers overall), followed by original episodes of ”American Dad” (1.7/5 in 18-49, 3.9 million viewers overall), ”The Simpsons” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 6.0 million viewers overall), ”Bob’s Burgers” (2.2/6 in 18-49, 4.7 million viewers overall), ”Family Guy” (3.3/8 in 18-49, 6.5 million viewers overall) and ”The Cleveland Show” (2.3/5 in 18-49, 4.9 million viewers overall). ”Family Guy” was Sunday’s No. 1 scripted program in 18-49 and younger demos.

NBC opened with ”Dateline” (1.1/3 in 18-49, 5.2 million viewers overall), followed by a weak time-period debut for ”Minute to Win It” (0.9/2 in 18-49, 5.3 million viewers overall) and a below-average two-hour installment of ”Celebrity Apprentice” (2.4/6 in 18-49, 6.6 million viewers overall), which was clearly impacted by the special competition from ”Survivor.”

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: CBS, 3.3/9; ABC, 2.5/6; Fox, 2.2/6; NBC, 1.7/4; Univision, 1.2/3.

In total viewers: CBS, 12.4 million; ABC, 8.9 million; NBC, 5.5 million; Fox, 4.9 million; Univision, 3.0 million.

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