ABC, NBC top Sunday

Morning Ratings Flash - Rick Kissell

ABC, powered by “Desperate Housewives” and “Brothers & Sisters,” performed well on the third Sunday of the season, with the Alphabet and football-fueled NBC expected to finish neck and neck for the nightly demo lead.

According to preliminary nationals from Nielsen, “Desperate Housewives” (8.5 rating/19 share in adults 18-49, 20.8 million viewers overall) was easily the night’s top program, and first-year family drama “Brothers & Sisters” (5.3/13 in 18-49, 13.1 million viewers overall) again retained more than 60% of the “Housewives” aud. Both “Housewives” and “Brothers” were on par with the prior week’s numbers.

ABC was also the top non-sports demo choice from 7 to 9 with “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (2.5/7 in 18-49, 8.2 million viewers overall) and “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” (5.3/14 in 18-49, 14.9 million viewers overall).

Numbers are murky for both NBC, with “Sunday Night Football,” and Fox, with a football overrun and baseball playoff game. Peacock’s coverage of the San Diego Chargers-Pittsburgh Steelers football matchup should come in with about a 6.8 rating in adults 18-49 and 17 million viewers overall, while the St. Louis Cardinals-San Diego Padres baseball game will score roughly a 2.3 rating in the demo and 7 million viewers overall. In the opening 40 minutes of primetime, Fox was expected to generate a 10 or 11 rating among adults 18-49 with the conclusion of the down-to-the-wire Philadelphia Eagles-Dallas Cowboys football game.

Viewers were clearly torn in the San Diego market from 5 to 8 p.m. local time, with the football game on NBC averaging a 27.4 household rating/42 share and the baseball contest on Fox delivering a 16.8/26.

CBS ran third in demos with its lineup of “Amazing Race” (3.4/9 in 18-49, 10.2 million viewers overall) and “Cold Case” (3.8/9 in 18-49, 13.7 million viewers overall) and “Without a Trace” (4.4/11 in 18-49, 15.0 million viewers overall).

It was another weak showing for CW’s comedy block, including leadoff hitter “Everybody Hates Chris” (1.0/3 in 18-49, 2.4 million viewers overall) and 9 o’clock entry “Girlfriends” (1.3/3 in 18-49, 2.9 million viewers overall). Net is shifting all four of its comedies to Monday effective this week.

Preliminary 18-49 averages for the night: ABC, 5.4/14; NBC, 5.2/14; Fox, 3.5/9; CBS, 3.4/9; CW, 1.1/3.

In total viewers: ABC, 14.2 million; CBS, 12.3 million; NBC, 12.3 million; Fox, 9.6 million; CW, 2.6 million.

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