'Housewives' strikes back

Week's top show lifts ABC in demo

"Desperate Housewives" fended off a challenge from NBC's "Sunday Night Football" and its ABC sibling "Grey's Anatomy" to take the honors as the week's top show in viewership and the key adults 18-49 demographic.

"Housewives" and "Grey's" boosted ABC to a weekly win in the demo, while CBS won in viewership for an eighth consecutive week, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

"Housewives" averaged 22.2 million viewers and a 9.1 rating/20 share in adults 18-49. That was just ahead of "Grey's" (20.6 million, 8.6/21), "Sunday Night Football" (19.3 million, 7.5/18), "Lost" (17.1 million, 7.0/17) and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (20.8 million, 6.9/17).

Fox's only entry into the top 10 was "House," which was in fifth place for the week in the demo with 16.1 million viewers and a 6.8/16. Rounding out the top 10 were "Heroes" (14.4 million, 6.7/15), "Dancing With the Stars" (22 million, 5.9/14), "ER" (14.5 million, 5.8/16) and "CSI: Miami" (16.8 million, 5.7/15).

"Dancing" was the week's second-most-watched show, with its results show the fourth-most-watched with 20.7 million viewers and a 5.2/14 in adults 18-49.

The Election Night coverage title went to ABC, whose 90-minute primetime telecast followed "Dancing" and provided an edge that neither CBS nor NBC could catch up to. ABC's coverage averaged 8.5 million viewers for the 90 minutes, while NBC's averaged 6.2 million — from only 7.4 million that watched "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" — and CBS' 5.9 million.

But NBC had its own victory regarding the elections, with a first-place showing among the evening newscasts both on Election Day and last week.

"NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams" averaged 9.8 million viewers for the week, compared with ABC's "World News With Charles Gibson's" 8.8 million and the 7.7 million who tuned in to "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric." NBC won in the adults 25-54 demo as well, with a 2.5 rating compared with ABC's 2.3 and CBS' 2.0.

For the first time it since Couric became anchor in early September, her newscast was down compared with the same week last year, dropping 4% versus the Bob Schieffer-anchored telecast.

Weekly averages: ABC (12.4 million, 4.2/11), CBS (12.7 million, 3.7/10), Fox (7.2 million, 2.9/8), NBC (10.3 million, 3.8/10) and the CW (3.5 million, 1.5/4).
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