On last night’s 60 Minutes, the promise of a shirtless Anderson Cooper racing against Olympic stud Michael Phelps was enough to pull in a solid 15.6 million viewers — over a million more than the show’s last new airing — helping CBS win Sunday in total viewership. (Some credit also goes to NFL spillover in the 7 p.m.-8 p.m. hour.) The network’s other amazing race, namely The Amazing Race, attracted 11.6 million viewers, a 15 percent gain over last week’s episode.
Thus, The Amazing Race held its own against NBC’s Sunday Night Football (which averaged 13.6 million viewers) and ABC’s 9 p.m.-10 p.m. winner, Desperate Housewives (15.6 million). And ABC’s Brothers & Sisters (10.2 million viewers) triumphed opposite CBS’ underperforming Cold Case (10.7 million), which normally brings in over 12 million viewers. Over at Fox, all three new half-hour cartoons (The Simpsons, King of the Hill, American Dad!) suffered dips in viewership, while a rerun of Family Guy managed to pull in 80 percent of the audience from its last new airing.
Thanksgiving weekend programming featured a lot of family-friendly movies with commercials, but practically nothing new. On Friday, new episodes of The CW’s Everybody Hates Chris (2.1 million viewers) and The Game (2 million) handily outperformed their last new episodes, while ABC’s only fresh offering, 20/20, reached a smaller-than-usual audience of 7.1 million. On Saturday, ABC easily won the night with its Saturday Night Football coverage of Oklahoma at Oklahoma State. A two-hour block of 48 Hours Mystery on CBS spooked out an average of 6.5 million viewers, giving the Eye the edge over NBC’s repeat of Law & Order: SVU and the only other new show of the night, America’s Most Wanted on Fox (5.4 million)