Football menaces 'Housewives'

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The "Sunday Night Football" matchup between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts could give NBC a win in Sunday's primetime, even with ABC's boost from a stronger "Desperate Housewives."

"Housewives" was the night's top show in viewers and the adults 18-49 demographic, but it was challenged by football on both ends: a half-hour overrun of football on CBS in the early evening and a supersize Patriots-Colts game that Indianapolis won 27-20. NBC said ratings adjusted for time zones showed that the game averaged 22 million viewers, which beat "Housewives" and everything else in the metered markets.

According to the fast-national ratings, "Housewives" averaged 22.5 million viewers and a 9.0 rating/20 share in the adults 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen Media Research. That compared with last week's 21.2 million viewers and an 8.3/19 in the demo.

But coming on strong was "Sunday Night Football," which averaged 20 million viewers and a 7.8/18 in the adults 18-49 (without the time-zone adjustments). Those numbers are likely to be revised with today's release of final ratings data, but it seemed to be enough to push NBC to a win for the night with 17.8 million viewers and a 6.9/17 in the demo (compared with ABC's 15.6 million viewers and a 5.7/14 in the demo).

CBS got the night started with 20 million viewers for the last part of a football game, which helped boost "60 Minutes" (15.7 million, 4.1/10), even though it was a half-hour later than scheduled. "The Amazing Race" (12 million, 3.7/9) was slightly below last week in the demo, and "Cold Case" (13.6 million, 3.7/9) ended at 10:30 p.m. "Without a Trace" averaged 12.3 million viewers and a 3.7/10 in adults 18-49 for the hour ending at 11:30 p.m. EST.

After an hour of "The Simpsons" repeats at 7 p.m., Fox returned to its Sunday night comedy schedule with the "Simpsons" Halloween special (10.4 million, 4.9/12), "American Dad" (7.8 million, 3.7/8), "Family Guy" (8.4 million, 4.0/9) and "The War at Home" (6.2 million, 3.0/7).

Beyond "Housewives," ABC captured 10.7 million viewers and a 2.9/8 for "America's Funniest Home Videos" plus 15.3 million viewers and a 5.3/13 for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" (13.7 million, 5.5/14) was up compared with last week's 12.5 million and 4.9/13.

Nightly averages: ABC, 15.6 million, 5.7/14; CBS, 14.4 million, 4.1/10; NBC, 17.8 million, 6.9/17; Fox, 7.5 million, 3.5/9; and the CW, 2.3 million, 0.9/2.
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