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.