If viewers were truly offended by Nicollette Sheridan’s towel-clad promotional spot for Desperate Housewives that preceded last week’s Monday Night Football, they didn’t show it by punishing Housewives six nights later. The ABC hit, which erroneously promoted itself in another spot as TV’s No. 1 Show (actually, it’s the No. 1 new show), drew 24.2 million viewers, down just a hair from the 24.6 million (for the Nov. 7 episode) that comprised the show’s biggest audience so far. It was the second-most watched show of the week, behind TV’s real No. 1 show, CBS’ CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, which marked its 100th episode by drawing its biggest audience ever, 31.5 million viewers.
CBS, which landed CSI and its other two Thursday night shows in the top five, was the most-watched network, averaging 14.1 million and easily winning its third straight victory during the November 2004 sweeps period. Despite such top 10 hits as Housewives, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (No. 7, 17.9 million) and Lost (No. 9, 17.6 million), ABC’s average of 10.5 million was not enough to take second place, as NBC edged ahead with 10.8 million. Fox, which cracked the top 40 only once this week (with The Simpsons at No. 40), was a distant fourth at 6.8 million. UPN drew 5.2 million to its broadcast of the Vibe Awards, up 20 percent from last year, with viewers apparently watching in vain for signs of the melee and stabbing that were edited out of the broadcast. That helped UPN beat the WB, averaging 4.2 million to the WB’s 3.8 million.