ABC wins Sunday with 'Housewives,' 'Sisters'


NEW YORK -- ABC won Sunday night in both key measures, with "Desperate Housewives" leading the pack and "Brothers & Sisters" settling in as one of the season's new hit shows.

"Desperate Housewives" averaged 20.7 million viewers and an 8.5 rating/19 share in the adults 18-49 demographic, according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. Final data won't be in until Tuesday. That was down slightly from last week's 21.4 million and 8.6/20 in the demo but still well ahead of anything else in either measure for the night.

"Brothers & Sisters" (13.1 million, 5.3/13) remained strong at 10 p.m., beating "Without a Trace" (15 million, 4.4/11) in the demo but being beaten in viewership. Last week's "Without a Trace" -- and the rest of the CBS schedule -- was about a half hour off due to a late-running football game but that wasn't the case this week.

"Cold Case" (13.7 million, 3.8/9) dropped about 700,000 viewers from last week's episode but remained within one-tenth of a rating point against "Desperate Housewives." ABC remained in control of 8 p.m. as well with "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.9 million, 5.3/14), which won its time period in both measures against "Amazing Race" (10.2 million, 3.4/9). Although renewed for its next run, "Race" is down from the 11.7 million and 4.0/9 it did last Sunday.
"60 Minutes" (10.2 million, 2.0./6) was also down from last week's 15.1 million and 3.7/10 when football overrun and a high-profile interview with author/journalist Bob Woodward gave it higher-than-recent-average ratings. But it was enough at 7 p.m. to beat ABC's "America's Funniest Home Videos" (8.2 million, 2.5/7) and NBC's "Sunday Night Football in America" (5.8 million, 2.2/6). But Fox's Football overrun and post-game show was the hands-down winner, with 18.9 million viewers and a 7.5/22 in the demo for the hour with a high of 21.2 million viewers between 7 and 7:30 p.m.

But Fox couldn't convince most of those viewers to stick around for the fourth and deciding game of the St. Louis Cardinals-San Diego Padres divisional series. Live ratings for that, and Sunday night's Pittsburgh Steelers-San Diego Chargers "Sunday Night Football," aren't reliable.

Nightly averages: ABC (14.2 million, 5.4/14); CBS (12.3 million, 3.4/9); NBC (11.4 million, 4.8/12); Fox (9.6 million, 3.5/9); and The CW (2.6 million, 1.1/3).