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Fox’s ’24’ kicked off its fourth season in style with a special two-hour premiere Sunday but it was ABC’s powerhouse combo of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “Desperate Housewives” that were the big ratings winners on the night, according to preliminary nationals from Nielsen.

The Alphabet’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” achieved series highs at 8 o’clock (8.6 rating/19 share in adults 18-49, 20 million viewers overall) despite tough competish from the first hour of Fox’s “24” (6.3/14 in adults 18-49, 15.4 million viewers overall) and a solid showing for CBS drama “Cold Case” (3.8/9 in adults 18-49, 15.6 million viewers overall).

And at 9, the first episode of the new year for “Desperate Housewives” (11.2/23 in adults 18-49, 25.2 million viewers overall) overwhelmed its timeslot rivals, including competing dramas “24” (5.9/12 in adults 18-49, 14.3 million viewers overall) and NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (4.0/8 in adults 18-49, 13.3 million viewers overall).

Overall, the two-hour preem of “24” averaged a potent 6.1/13 in adults 18-49 and about 14.9 million viewers overall. Series airs another two-hour seg tonight before settling into its regular Monday-at-9 slot next week.

At 10, ABC’s “Boston Legal” (5.6/13 in adults 18-49, 14.7 million viewers overall) retained just half of its “Desperate Housewives” lead-in but beat out in demos NBC’s tough “Crossing Jordan” (5.0/12 in adults 18-49, 15.3 million viewers overall). “Jordan” led the hour in total viewers.

Opposite tougher than usual competish, “The People’s Choice Awards” on CBS hit ratings lows from 9 to 11 (3.3/7 in adults 18-49, 9.9 million viewers overall).

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: Fox, 7.4/17; ABC, 7.2/17; CBS, 3.3/8; NBC, 3.3/8; WB, 1.2/3.

In total viewers: Fox, 18.1 million; ABC, 17.5 million; CBS, 11.9 million; NBC, 10.9 million; WB, 2.7 million.