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ABC cleans up with its ‘Housewives’

ABC overpowered all rivals with its prime-time Sunday lineup last week. The soap “Desperate Housewives” was ranked No. 2 overall, with 24.6 million viewers, making it the network’s most-watched scripted program since Michael J. Fox left “Spin City” in May 2000. And “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” was the week’s No. 1 show among teens (and No. 5 among all viewers) despite the Thursday return of Fox’s youth hit “The O.C.”

Those performances helped ABC tie NBC in the crucial 18-to-49 demographic for the week ending Sunday, according to figures released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

NBC bested competitors with outgoing anchor Tom Brokaw’s coverage of the presidential election Tuesday (averaging 15 million viewers), and drew strength on Thursday -- the first night of the November “sweep,” the ratings period that helps local stations determine ad rates -- from “ER” and “Apprentice 2.” It also won Friday thanks to the teaming of dramas “Third Watch” and “Medical Investigation.”

Overall, CBS won the week in total viewers (averaging 12.9 million), followed by NBC (11.3 million), ABC (11 million) and Fox (6.3 million). CBS had half of the 10 most-watched shows, including Thursday’s No. 1 “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and No. 3 “Without a Trace.”

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The second-season premiere of “The O.C.,” which moved from last season’s Wednesday slot, gave Fox its most-watched Thursday program (8.6 million viewers) in nearly seven years. On Sunday, the Emmy-winning sitcom “Arrested Development” improved on last season’s average by 19% in viewers aged 18 to 49, but nevertheless retained a weak 57% of the young-adult audience from its lead-in, “The Simpsons.”

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Here are the rankings for national prime-time network television last week (Nov. 1-7) as compiled by Nielsen Media Research. They are based on the average number of people who watched a program from start to finish. Nielsen estimates there are 277.93 million potential viewers in the U.S. age 2 and older. Viewership is listed in millions.

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*--* 1 CSI CBS 30.58 2 Desperate Housewives ABC 24.60 3 Without a Trace CBS 21.77 4 Survivor: Vanuatu CBS 20.24 5 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Sun., 8 p.m.) ABC 20.17

6 Lost ABC 18.73 7 Cold Case CBS 17.66 8 60 Minutes CBS 17.59 9 ER NBC 17.01 10 Apprentice 2 NBC 16.05

11 “Decision ’04" NBC 15.05 12 Monday Night Football ABC 14.80 13 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 14.72 14 CSI: NY CBS 14.71 15 CSI: Miami CBS 14.53

16 Crossing Jordan NBC 14.38 17 The West Wing NBC 13.82 NFL Monday Showcase ABC 13.82 19 Two and a Half Men CBS 13.67 20 “SNL Presidential Bash ’04" NBC 13.01

21 “Dallas Reunion” CBS 12.73 22 Joey NBC 12.56 23 Las Vegas NBC 12.52 24 “Vote 2004" (8 p.m.) ABC 12.24 25 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Sun., 7 p.m.) ABC 12.03

26 Fear Factor NBC 11.89 27 Boston Legal ABC 11.88 28 Will & Grace NBC 11.87 29 Law & Order: Criminal Intent NBC 11.53 30 King of Queens CBS 11.52

31 The Simpsons FOX 11.29 32 “Vote 2004" (10:20 p.m.) ABC 10.90 33 Law & Order NBC 10.88 34 Wife Swap ABC 10.67 35 Third Watch NBC 10.38

36 JAG CBS 9.63 37 Dateline: NBC (Fri.) NBC 9.54 38 Center of the Universe CBS 9.53 39 Still Standing CBS 9.29 40 Medical Investigation NBC 9.13

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41 “Campaign 2004" (8:11 p.m.) CBS 9.11 42 The Bachelor ABC 9.00 43 “Campaign 2004" (8 p.m.) CBS 8.81 44 60 Minutes (Wed.) CBS 8.76 45 Nanny 911 FOX 8.64

46 O.C. FOX 8.56 47 Without a Trace (Fri.) CBS 8.52 48 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Mon., 8 p.m.) ABC 8.43 49 Listen Up CBS 8.30 50 20/20 (Fri.) ABC 8.27

51 LAX NBC 8.01 52 Law & Order: SVU (Sat.) NBC 8.00 53 Joan of Arcadia CBS 7.86 54 Trading Spouses FOX 7.77 55 America’s Most Wanted FOX 7.74

56 Dateline: NBC (Sun.) NBC 7.68 57 Hope & Faith ABC 7.58 58 Primetime Live ABC 7.49 American Dreams NBC 7.49 60 48 Hours Mystery CBS 7.34

61 Crimetime Saturday CBS 7.32 62 Malcolm in the Middle FOX 7.11 63 The Swan 2 FOX 7.05 64 Cops (8:30 p.m.) FOX 7.00 65 8 Simple Rules ABC 6.86

66 King of the Hill FOX 6.84 67 Complete Savages ABC 6.70 68 Arrested Development FOX 6.61 69 “Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 3" NBC 6.56 70 7th Heaven WB 6.51

71 Desperate Housewives (Sat.) ABC 6.45 Extreme Makeover ABC 6.45 73 Less Than Perfect ABC 6.34 74 That ‘70s Show FOX 6.25 75 Cops FOX 6.20

76 Gilmore Girls WB 5.80 77 America’s Next Top Model 3 UPN 5.67 78 Quintuplets FOX 5.59 79 Lost (Sat., 9 p.m.) ABC 5.49 80 “SNL Presidential Bash ’04" (Sat.) NBC 5.40

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81 Everwood WB 5.35 82 Lost (Sat., 8 p.m.) ABC 5.12 83 Smallville WB 5.02 84 North Shore FOX 4.98 85 WWE Smackdown! UPN 4.71

86 One Tree Hill WB 4.62 87 “Lord of the Rings,” Part 1 WB 4.60 88 World’s Craziest Videos FOX 4.57 89 Reba (9:30 p.m.) WB 4.41 90 Big Fat Obnoxious Boss FOX 4.39

91 Reba WB 4.31 92 Renovate My Family FOX 4.26 93 Clubhouse CBS 4.12 94 Totally Outrageous Behavior FOX 4.10 95 “You Decide 2004" FOX 4.09

96 Life as We Know It ABC 4.02 97 Kevin Hill (Wed.) UPN 3.53 98 Enterprise UPN 3.39 99 Blue Collar TV WB 3.38 100 Girlfriends UPN 3.25

101 Kevin Hill (Tue.) UPN 3.05 102 Steve Harvey’s Big Time WB 3.03 103 Half and Half UPN 2.94 One on One UPN 2.94 105 Veronica Mars UPN 2.86

106 Second Time Around UPN 2.79 107 Grounded for Life WB 2.58 108 Jack & Bobby WB 2.34 109 What I Like About You WB 2.30 110 Drew Carey’s Green Screen WB 2.13

111 America’s Next Top Model 3 (Fri.) UPN 1.79 112 Charmed WB 1.45

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Network averages

Here is the number of viewers (in millions) that each network averaged per hour of prime time, for last week and for the season.

*--* Network Last week Season to date CBS 12.93 12.98

NBC 11.29 10.08

ABC 10.97 10.07

FOX 6.31 10.55

WB 4.07 3.98

UPN 3.57 3.56

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Los Angeles Times


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