First Lady Laura Bush joked at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last weekend that she’s a Desperate Housewife. Her husband gave the ABC hit a boost as well, albeit unintentionally. His press conference Thursday shook up the schedule, forcing usual top show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation out of its usual timeslot. (According to Nielsen, the show still drew 23.7 million viewers, enough to finish in fourth place for the week.) That cleared the way for a win by the Wisteria Lane wives, as Sunday’s episode finished in the top slot with 25.7 million viewers.
CBS still won the week overall, thanks in part to CSI, the similarly shuffled Survivor: Palau (No. 5, 21.2 million), Rosie O’Donnell’s Forrest Gump-ish turn in the TV movie Riding the Bus with My Sister (No. 12, 15 million), and even the series finale of the usually underwhelming JAG (No. 17, 14 million). In all, CBS averaged 13 million viewers for the week. Fox came in second with 10.1 million viewers. As usual, its top shows were the two American Idol episodes (coming in at No. 2 and No. 3, with an average of about 25 million viewers watching Constantine’s shocking ouster), House (which managed to land at No. 7 and draw 16.5 million viewers with a rerun), and the triumphant return of Family Guy (11.9 million).
ABC finished third with 9.3 million, despite the numbers for Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (No. 8, 16.4 million), and a Cliff’s Notes episode of Lost (No. 18, 13.7 million). NBC finished close behind with 9.1 million, thanks in part to the Bush press conference which forced a confrontation for the first time between Survivor and The Apprentice. In the Mark Burnett-vs.-Mark Burnett showdown, the reality guru’s NBC show lost, drawing just 12.4 million and finishing outside the top 20. Among the netlets, the WB averaged 3.7 million, compared to 3.4 million for UPN.