You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

ABC’s ‘Desperate’ surge nearly wins

Eye holds off ABC 'Desperate' ratings bid

Record ratings by “Desperate Housewives” nearly helped ABC steal last week’s primetime ratings race, but CBS emerged with another victory in key demographics.

Getting a nice assist from an NFL overrun that spilled into the first half-hour of Sunday primetime, CBS edged a charging ABC for the week’s adults 18-49 crown (4.2/11 vs. 4.1/11) while also prevailing by more comfortable margins in adults 25-54 (5.1/12) and total viewers (13.91 million), according to Nielsen Media Research.

CBS has now captured six of the first 10 weeks this season in 18-49 — more victories than in it had the two previous seasons combined.

The Eye was up 11% vs. the same week a year ago in 18-49, while ABC was up an even more impressive 28% thanks to the scorching-hot “Desperate Housewives,” whose 12.5 rating/26 share in adults 18-49 and 27.24 million viewers overall made it easily the week’s No. 1 program.

In fact, no telecast since the night of the “Friends” finale on NBC seven months ago has garnered a larger 18-49 aud than Sunday’s seg of the smash dramedy. And episodes of “Desperate” rank as the season’s three highest-rated programs in adults 18-34.

Also for ABC, which won the week in adults 18-34 (3.4/10), dramas “Boston Legal” and “NYPD Blue” hit season highs, as did rookie comedy “Rodney” (3.9/9 in 18-49, 10.48m).

Net also ruled Saturday with college football’s matchup between No. 1-rated USC and Notre Dame (3.4/10 in 18-49, 10.09m).

On the down side, once-hot reality franchise “The Bachelor” ended its current edition with easily its lowest finale scores to date (3.8/11 in 18-49, 10.02m), although it still led its two-hour Wednesday slot in most demos.

At CBS, Thanksgiving festivities muted the ratings for Thursday heavyweights “CSI” and “Survivor: Vanuatu,” but both shows still easily led their timeslots as the net made a clean sweep of November Thursdays in adults 18-49 and other categories.

Monday’s “Two and a Half Men” (6.8/15 in 18-49, 18.94m) and Saturday’s “48 Hours” (2.6/7 in 18-49, 9.26m) hit season highs, and “The Amazing Race” set the pace in its Tuesday hour (4.7/12, 11.46m).

Peacock wings clipped

Third-place NBC was unspectacular, landing only one show in the top 10 among adults 18-49, Tuesday’s “Law & Order: SVU” (6.0/16, 15.20m). Providing a boost were the second-best scores of fall for “Fear Factor” (5.0/12 in 18-49, 12.13m) and Wednesday’s Tim McGraw concert spec (3.7/11 in 18-49, 10.61m).

A clear disappointment was Sunday’s premiere of musical “A Christmas Carol” (2.7/6 in 18-49, 8.88m), which was trounced by ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and came in behind CBS’ competing holiday telepic “When Angels Come to Town” (3.2/8 in 18-49, 13.70m).

Fox got a boost from such theatrical premieres as “Spider-Man” on Thursday (3.6/10 in 18-49, 10.37m) and “Men in Black 2” on Saturday (3.2/9, 8.12m) but remained well behind in fourth for the week.

UPN and the WB tied for fifth for the week in adults 18-34 (1.4/4), with both down a tick vs. the same frame a year ago.

UPN’s “Veronica Mars” (1.2/3 in 18-49, 2.76m) matched or set some demo highs, and the net’s “America’s Next Top Model” (2.1/6 in 18-49, 4.54m) led its Wednesday hour in women 18-34 (3.7/11).

The WB grabbed a sizable aud for its first original movie, “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” (Daily Variety, Nov. 29), and ninth-year family drama “7th Heaven” (2.7/7 in 18-49, 7.52m) ranked fifth among all primetime shows for the week in femmes 12-34 (5.5/16) with its best ratings in more than a year.

More TV

  • Paula Kaplan

    Viacom Digital Studios' Paula Kaplan Expands Role to Oversee Talent for Nickelodeon

    Paula Kaplan, the executive vice president of talent and development at Viacom Digital Studios, is expanding her role to new include overseeing talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan’s new title will be executive vice president of talent and development for Viacom Digital Studios and EVP of talent for Nickelodeon. Kaplan will report to both Brian Robbins, president [...]

  • THE MAGICIANS -- Pictured: (l-r) Trevo

    'The Magicians' Renewed for Season 5 at Syfy, Adds New Co-Showrunner

    Syfy has renewed “The Magicians” for a fifth season just ahead of the fourth season premiere. The show has also promoted Henry Alonso Myers to co-showrunner for the fifth season. “‘The Magicians’ raised the bar at Syfy and has gained momentum season after season, attracting a new audience to the channel. We are proud of [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Kaye Ballard, Star of 'The Mothers-in-Law,' Dies at 93

    Singer-comedienne Kaye Ballard, who starred alongside Eve Arden in the 1960s sitcom “The Mothers-in-Law” and was among the stars of the 1976 feature based on Terrence McNally’s farce “The Ritz,” died Monday in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 93. She had recently attended a screening of a documentary about her life, “Kaye Ballard: The Show [...]

  • Animated cast of OUR CARTOON PRESIDENT.

    'Our Cartoon President' Renewed for Season 2 at Showtime (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showtime has renewed the animated comedy “Our Cartoon President” for a second season, Variety has learned exclusively. The 10-episode second season is slated to debut later this year. Stephen Colbert executive produces along with Chris Licht and showrunner R.J. Fried. Tim Luecke serves as lead animator and co-executive producer. Matt Lappin serves as consulting producer. The [...]

  • Michael Strahan

    Michael Strahan, Endemol Shine North America to Develop U.S. Version of 'Money Drop'

    Endemol Shine North America is teaming up with Michael Strahan’s SMAC Entertainment to develop a U.S. version of the game show “The Money Drop.” Originally launched in 2010 as “The Million Pound Drop Live” by Endemol UK’s Remarkable Television for Channel 4, the format has now been produced locally by Endemol Shine Group in 54 [...]

  • BBC Buys Australian Psychological Thriller Series

    BBC Buys Australian Psychological Thriller Series ‘Safe Harbour'

    The BBC has bolstered its international drama lineup, acquiring Australian limited series “Safe Harbour” and inking deals for new seasons of shows from Canada, France and Iceland. The shows will all run on the U.K. pubcaster’s BBC Four channel. “Safe Harbour” is a psychological thriller that played on pubcaster SBS in Australia. It follows a [...]

  • It's Time For Another 'Punisher' Video

    It's Time For Another 'Punisher' Video Game

    Last year saw the release of the most recent iteration of a Spidey game, “Marvel’s Spider-Man,” developed by Insomniac Games. “Marvel’s Spider-Man” smashed all kinds of records. It dethroned “God of War” as the fastest-selling Sony-exclusive of all time and it achieved launch month sales 37% higher than the launch month sales of every previous [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content