'Housewives' helps ABC win Sun. but hits low

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NEW YORK -- ABC won Sunday night's primetime with new episodes of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "Desperate Housewives," though "Housewives" reached an all-time low in viewership and the adults 18-49 demographic.

Meanwhile, the "Apprentice" live finale won the time period in adults 18-49.

"Housewives" (15.6 million, 6.0 rating/14 share in adults 18-49) was the night's top show, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. But amid lower-than-normal viewership Sunday on broadcast TV, "Housewives" hit record lows in viewership, adults 18-49 and other demos.

It was even lower than the previous record set Easter Sunday on April 8, though only by one-tenth of a rating point in adults 18-49 and a few hundred thousand in viewership. The show's performance may go up slightly when final ratings are released Tuesday.

Even with all that, "Housewives" was well ahead of second place "Deal or No Deal" (9 million, 2.6/6), the first hour of the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Crossroads" and repeats of "Family Guy" (6.5 million, 3.2/8 for a full hour).

"The Apprentice" (7.9 million, 3.2/8) won 10 p.m. in the demo, though it couldn't compete in viewership with "Crossroads" (10.6 million, 2.3/6 between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.). ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" (7 million, 2.6/7) was a repeat.

"Extreme Makeover" (11.4 million, 3.9/11) carried the 8 p.m. hour for ABC in both measures. It came out ahead of a new episode of "The Simpsons" (6.4 million, 3.0/9), which rated slightly lower than a 8:30 p.m. repeat of "The Simpsons" (6.5 million, 3.1/8). "The Amazing Race" (8.7 million, 2.7/8) wasn't far behind, while "Dateline: NBC" (6.7 million, 1.7/5) and "7th Heaven" (2.7 million, 0.9/3) were further behind in both measures.

ABC and CBS split the 7 p.m. hour with "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8.3 million, 2.5/9) winning in the demo and "60 Minutes" (9.6 million, 1.8/6) victorious in viewership. "Dateline NBC" (4.3 million, 1.1/4) rated lower in the demo than Fox's "The War at Home" (2.8 million, 1.2/5) and "King of the Hill" (3.3 million, 1.5/5).

Nightly averages: ABC (10.6 million, 3.8/10); CBS (9.9 million, 2.3/6); NBC (7 million, 2.2/6); Fox (5.3 million, 2.5/7); and the CW (1.9 million, 0.7/2).
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