ABC won the key 18-49 demo Sunday night in the Nielsen Media Research prime-time ratings with repeats of a two-hour Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Desperate Housewives.
ABC benefitted from the "payoff" effect common to a number of reality shows. Ratings tend to build steadily toward the end, with many viewers switching or tuning in in the last half-hour to see who gets the redone house, the new face, or "the boot," depending on which reality show it is. In its four half-hours, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, built from a 3.3/9, to a 3.9/11, to a 5.0/13, to a 5.9/15.
At a 4.3 rating/12 share average, ABC was more than a rating point ahead of CBS (3.4/9), which aired 60 Minutes, a repeat of Cold Case, and theatrical Ocean's 11.
Fox took third place in the demo ( with a big assist from a football run-over at 7-7:30 (5.2/16), plus solid performances from repeats of King of the Hill and The Simpsons.
NBC had the most original regular programming on the night with two hours worth of Dateline, followed by repeats of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Crossing Jordan. NBC was either third or fourth in every time period, however, averaging a 2.1/6 for fourth place.
The WB was in fifth with a .8/2 for repeats of Steve Harvey, Charmed and The Mountain (.5/1), which dragged down the average.