A night of survival

CBS finale slows Alphabet's Sunday train

ABC captured the third Sunday of the May sweep, but a strong finish by the latest “Survivor” on CBS kept the night from being an Alphabet runaway.

Night’s top shows, ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” were barely dented by the final hours of reality adventure skein “Survivor: Palau,” whose loyal audience followed it over from Thursday. Fox’s “Family Guy” also held up well.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, ABC won for an eighth straight Sunday in both adults 18-49 (7.2 rating/18 share) and total viewers (17.5 million), with CBS a solid second (6.1/16 in 18-49, 17.3 million). Although “Survivor” held up very well opposite the toughest competish it has faced, Sunday marked the first time CBS has failed to win the night of a “Survivor” finale.

“Survivor” (projected 7.8 rating/18 share in 18-49, 20.8 million viewers overall from 8 to 10:09 p.m.) won at 8 over ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (prelim 6.2/16 in 18-49, 16.1 million), handing the Alphabet skein a rare setback.

At 9, “Desperate Housewives” (10.8/24 in 18-49, 25 million) was down about 5% week-to-week opposite “Survivor,” but it won nearly across the board. Shows were virtually tied in men 25-54.

‘Grey’ matters

“Grey’s Anatomy” (prelim 8.2/19 in 18-49, 18.8 million) remained undefeated at 10 opposite the closing few minutes of “Survivor” and its 51-minute reunion post-show (roughly 6.5/16 in 18-49, 15.9 million from 10:09 to 11).

Fox was a distant third on the night, but again received a nice perf from 9 o’clock laffer “Family Guy” (prelim 4.2/9 in 18-49, 9.3m) against “Housewives” and “Survivor.” Also, an hour of firstrun “The Simpsons” settled for third place from 8 to 9 (prelim 4.0/10 in 18-49, 8.7m) and “American Dad” hung in there at 9:30 (prelim 3.6/8 in 18-49, 8.1m).

NBC settled for crumbs, with “The Contender” (2.3/6 in 18-49, 5.3 million) and “Law & Order: CI” (2.8/6 in 18-49, 10.1m) overwhelmed from 8 to 10. “Crossing Jordan” picked things up in the evening’s final hour (3.5/8 in 18-49, 12.4m), according to prelims.

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