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ABC Wins Without Housewives

Sunday night's biggest Nielsen Media Research rating in the 18-49 demo actually went to the end of a football game on Fox (a 7.5 rating/21 share from 7 p.m.-7:30 p.m.), but ABC still captured the night as usual in the demo, although not with its usual power hitters, Desperate Housewives and The Practice.

Recognizing the roll it is on, ABC's hype of its broadcast of the American Music Awards Sunday included the assurance that it would provide a sneak peak at next week's episode of Desperate housewives, but apparently there were plenty of music fans as well.

The three-hour show averaged a 6 rating/14 share, although it was beaten from 9 to 11 by CBS's disaster movie, Category 6, which averaged a 6.4/15 from 9 to 11 compared to a 6/14 for ABC at 9-11.

The difference was ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition victory over 60 Minutes (3.4/9 to a 3.2/9, and the first hour of the music awards' convincing defeat of Cold Case (5.9/14 to 4.6/11.

For the night, ABC averaged a 5.4/13 in the 18-49 demo. CBS was not far behind with a 5.1/12 for 60 Minutes, Cold Case and its movie about a killer storm.

Fox was fourth with a 4.5/11 for its football finale, Malcolm in the Middle, Simpsons, Arrested Development and My Big, Fat Obnoxious Boss.

Arrested Development fans could be buoyed somewhat by that show's 3.6/8 at 8:30-9, which took third place ahead of the second half-hour of NBC's American Dreams.

Fox's reality offering on the night did not fare well, coming in a distant fourth at 9-10 with a 2.3/5.

NBC was fourth for the night in the demo with a 3.7/9 for Dateline, American Dreams, Law & Order: CI and Crossing Jordan.

The WB finished fifth with a 1.1/3 for Steve Harvey's Big Time, Charmed and The Mountain, which looked more like a mole hill at a .8/2.