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Housewives Torches Survivor

In a show of strength the penultimate new episode of Desperate Housewives was strong enough to overcome the ultimate Survivor, with ABC holding on to the Nielsen overnight ratings crown in the 18-49 demo.

According to ABC, it was the first time a network other than CBS has won a Survivor finale night in both the 18-49 demo and households, though NBC has beaten it in 18-49's when the finale was on a Thursday and NBC was still dominating that night (ironically, a night now consistently won by CBS).ABC averaged a 7.2 rating/18 share for the night, thanks primarily to Housewives' 10.8/24 at 9-10 and Grey's Anatomy at 10 (8.2/19), though a two-hour Extreme Makeover: Home Edition gave an assist as well, building from a 3.2/11 in its first half-hour to a 6.9/17 in its last, winning the 8-9 time period.

CBS was second on the night with a 6.1/16, thanks to a three-hour Survivor extravaganza, with the two-hour finale averaging a 6.9/18 peaking at an 8.5/18 at 9:30-10 (a reunion show at 10 also averaged a 6.9 rating, with a 16 share).

Fox was third on the night, averaging a 3.4/9 for its animated lineup up of King of the Hill, Simpsons, Family Guy and American Dad, with an episode of Malcolm carrying the standard for live action.

The network's decision to revive Family Guy appears to be paying off, with that show recording the net's highest rating of the night with a 4.2/9 at 9 p.m.

NBC, fourth place for the season, was fourth place on the night in 18-49's, averaging a 2.5/6. Its top show was Crossing Jordan, with a 3.5/8 at 10 p.m., though for a distant last place behind Grey's Anatomy and Survivor Reunion.

The WB was fifth with a 1/3 for a repeat of Charmed, followed by an original Charmed and a new Steve Harvey's Big Time. Somewhat curiously, the network aired the repeat against the weakest competition at 8-9, then threw the Charmed original up against the first hour of Survivor.

UPN does not program Sunday nights.