The sophomore debuts of Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy posted eyepopping numbers on Sunday night, rocketing ABC past the other broadcast networks and their own slate of season premieres.
ABC averaged a massive — but not unexpected —7.8 rating/19 share in the lucrative 18-48 adult demo, according to Nielsen fast national data for Sept. 25. (Fast nationals are time-period estimates that are subject to change when final results are tallied.)
Desperate Housewives notched a 12.1/26 in its sophomore outing at 9-10 p.m. (The show’s rating was up 36% from last year's series premiere rating, 8.9). More than 28 million total viewers tuned in to see Housewives, up from 21.3 million during last year's heavily hyped premiere.
Bolstered by a strong lead in from Housewives, Grey's Anatomy averaged an impressive 8.6/21 from 10-11 p.m., though viewership declined by a full rating point in its second half hour. Still, Grey's sophomore outing was an improvement on its series premiere last year (7.2/18). The show drew 19.5 million total viewers last night, up from 16.2 million during last year’s premiere.
ABC also rolled out a two-part season premiere of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that posted a 5.2/14. That was down considerably from the show's 2004-05 premiere (6.9/12).
CBS was ABC's next closest competitor, far behind at an average 4.0/10 in prime. A football broadcast delayed the premiere of 60 Minutes and Cold Case by about half an hour.
60 Minutes did a 5.7/16 in the demo from 7:30-9:30 p.m., up from last year's debut (2.1/6) — though a bump from the football lead-out may be sanded down in final ratings. Cold Case posted a 3.3/7, down 12% from last year's debut rating.
CBS' Martha Stewart movie, Martha Behind Bars, was a nonfactor at 2.3/5.
In third place, Fox was nearly tied with CBS at 3.9/10. Its best performers were new episodes of The Simpsons (5.0/12) at 8 p.m. and Family Guy (4.6/10) at 9. New epsidoes of American Dad (4.0/8) at 9:30 and The War at Home (3.8/9) at 8:30. During the 7 o’clock hour, Fox aired a new King of the Hill (2.9) and an old Simpsons (3.3/10).
NBC was in a distant fourth place, averaging 2.6/6 on the night despite a full boat of season premieres. Dateline (1.4/4) aired at 8; The West Wing (2.4/6) aired at 8; and Law & Order: Criminal Intent aired at 9(3.0/7, down 31% from its 2004-05 premiere rating).
Crossing Jordan (3.7/9) at 10 did slightly better, through that rating was down a full point compared to last year's premiere.
Last-place The WB rolled out premieres of Reba: Beginnings (.8/2) at 7; Charmed (1.8/4) at 8; and Blue Collar TV (1.1/2)
UPN doesn't program Sunday night.