Baseball Gives Fox Sunday, But NFL Gives NBC A Strong Second

There's nothing like "America's Team" to give a broadcast TV network a shot in the arm.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" shot up to a preliminary 5.8 Nielsen Media Research 18-49 rating, with the Dallas Cowboys' victory over the Carolina Panthers. That was almost two rating points better than the previous "SNF" game featuring the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders two weeks before, which earned a 3.8. Sunday's rating lifted NBC to a 5.2/13, a strong second place for the night.

With a short World Series on Fox that only lasted five games--ending on Saturday night--ABC reclaimed its No. 1 spot on Sunday night with a 5.6 rating among 18-49 viewers. ABC counted on its leading "Desperate Housewives," which perked up 4% versus the week before to an 8.3 rating.

"Housewives," sandwiched between "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" at 8 p.m. and "Brothers & Sisters" at 10 p.m., also came in with steady performances. "Makeover" did a 5.4 number, and "Brothers" earned a 5.0 number--both in line with its numbers of the prior week.



CBS got a boost earlier in the evening at 7 p.m. from an overrun of its late-afternoon NFL football coverage. Coupled with the first half-hour of "60 Minutes," it gave CBS a 5.4 for the 7 p.m. hour. Averaging about a mid-3.0 rating for the rest of the evening--with "Amazing Race," "Cold Case" and "Without A Trace"--CBS averaged a 4.2/10 for the night.

Without a sixth game of the World Series, Fox went to its backup plan--a Sunday night full of comedy re-runs, which offered up a slim 2.0/5, landing it in fourth place.

Fox witnessed more low results from the World Series, down 16% in overnight household rating and share to an 11.0/18 from a year ago. Final numbers aren't in yet. But in total viewers, this year's series is expected to come in short of 16 million--down from 17.2 million for 2005, the lowest ever for the World Series.

Similar to Fox on Sunday, the CW, also in rerun mode with "7th Heaven," "America's Next Top Model" and "Supernatural," pulled up the rear among six broadcast networks with a 0.8/2. Univision did just a bit better, reaching a 0.9/2 for the night.

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