April 15, 2008 / 6:32 AM / in 10 years

"Desperate Housewives" takes ratings hit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” fell to a record low rating for an original episode as the suburban soap returned to the air on Sunday after being sidelined for more than three months by the writers strike.

<p>Stars of the ABC show "Desperate Housewives" (L-R) Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross arrive to attend the ABC Network upfronts in New York May 15, 2007. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>

The show drew 16 million viewers, down about 15 percent from its season average of 18.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was still enough to win the 9 p.m. hour by a wide margin, and give ABC the nightly honors with 10.5 million viewers.

“Housewives” was hurt by the absence of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as a lead-in. Instead, ABC moved the fast-fading “Oprah’s Big Give” to the 8 p.m. slot (8.9 million viewers vs. a season average of 11.5 million).

At 10 p.m., ABC tried out Thursday regular “Eli Stone,” which benefited from the strong lead-in (9.2 million vs a season average of 8.2 million).

CBS was second for the night (10.4 million) with “60 Minutes” (14.1 million), “Big Brother” (10.7 million), “Cold Case” (8.8 million) and “Dexter” (8.2 million).

NBC (5.3 million) was dragged down by recycled episodes of USA Network’s “Monk” (5.2 million) and “Psych” (4.2 million). Fox averaged 5.1 million viewers overall.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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