ABC's Anatomy Still Growing

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ABC's decision to keep Grey's Anatomy in the Sunday 10 p.m. Desperate Housewives lead-out slot continued to pay increasingly larger dividends.

ABC initially planned a limited run for the drama in Boston Legal's slot before returning that David Kelly drama to 10 p.m. for the May sweeps. Instead, it decided to put Boston Legal on the shelf until fall and Keep Grey's in the lineup. The result has been impressive ratings gains in the key 18-49 demo.

The medical drama scored an 8.1 rating/21 share Sunday night (up from a 7.7/19 the week before) for its best showing yet despite a smaller lead-in audience than the week before. It was the night's second-highest-rated show after Housewives, which averaged a 10.5/25, which was down from its 10.9/25 on April 10.

Still the Mouse was winner by a nose and a couple of ears, with a 6.4/18 average of the night in the 18-49 demo in Nielsen overnight ratings.

Fox was a distant second with a 2.6/18, but up from fourth place the previous Sunday It's top-rated show by a wide margin was a new Simpsons at 8 (4.1/12), which won its half-hour against all comers with a look at the future--"eight years from Tuesday"--of the Springfield clan. Among the changes: McDonald's owns Yale, Gulf War Five--operation "Search for our President's head"--is in progress, and there is a new Mideast country, Saudi Israelia.

NBC was third with a 2.4/6. It's top show was Law & Order: CI at 9-10, with a 3.0/7. Its Extreme Makeover-like special, Home Intervention registered hardly a blip at 7, with a netlet-like 1.4/5.

ABC's Extreme Makeover, by contrast, drew a 5.0/14 to win its 8-9 time period, though it lost the first half-hour to The Simpsons before bouncing back with a 5.7/15 in its second half-hour. Reality shows tend to trend up in the last half-hour as the reveal is reveal or the loser voted off.

CBS was fourth with a 2.3/6. Its top show was Cold Case, with a 2.7/8.

The WB was fifth with a 1.1/3 for Charmed and Steve Harvey's Big Time.

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