'Housewives' lead Sun. charge for ABC win


NEW YORK -- ABC delivered anything but leftovers in primetime Sunday, with "Desperate Housewives" & Co. winning the night for the network in viewership and the adults 18-49 demographic by a wide margin.

ABC averaged 15.2 million viewers in primetime (ahead of second-place CBS with 12.3 million), according to preliminary estimates released Monday by Nielsen Media Research. And in the advertiser-friendly adults 18-49 demo, ABC was again king with a 5.4 rating/13 share to football-fueled Fox's 4.9/12.

Leading the charge was "Desperate Housewives" (21.4 million, 8.5/19), which was the night's top show in both viewership and the adults 18-49 demo. But also strong for ABC was "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" (14.7 million, 5.1/12) before it and "Boston Legal" (13.8 million, 4.6/12) behind it. "Extreme Makeover" won the 8 p.m time period in both key measures while "Boston Legal" won 10 p.m. in viewership and was off only slightly in the demo to NBC's "Sunday Night Football" matchup.

NBC's Philadelphia Eagles-Indianapolis Colts game gave the network an estimated 11.4 million viewers and a 4.4/11 in the demo for the night.

Football boosted the early numbers for Fox, with an overrun for the New England Patriots' defeat of the Chicago Bears. The last half hour of the game averaged 21.1 million viewers before falling off to 10.8 million at 7:30 p.m. for "The OT" and then 10.9 million viewers and a 5.0/12 for "The Simpsons." Fox dropped slightly at 8:30 p.m. for "American Dad" (8.8 milion, 4.1/9), rose for "Family Guy" (9.5 million, 4.8/11) then fell again for "The War at Home" (6.9 million, 3.4/8).

After several weeks of higher ratings after football overrun and the Ed Bradley tribute, "60 Minutes" (13 million, 2.4/6) returned to a more normal viewership at 7 p.m. before a three-hour movie "Candles on Bay Street" (12 million, 3.0/7). ABC averaged 11.1 million viewers and a 3.2/8 in the demo for "America's Funniest Home Videos."

The CW averaged 3.9 million viewers and a 1.4/4 for a new episode of "Reba" at 7:30 p.m., followed by 8 p.m.'s "7th Heaven" (4.2 million, 1.6/4).

Nightly averages: ABC (15.2 million, 5.4/13); CBS (12.3 million, 2.8/7); NBC (11.4 million, 4.4/11); Fox (11.3 million, 4.9/12); and The CW (3.3 million, 1.3/3).