Ratings: Bin Laden Coverage Skews Figures; Desperate Housewives Tops Viewership
Osama bin Laden
After taking a shellacking at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Donald Trump and Celebrity Apprentice was short-circuited by President Barack Obama's announcement that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
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Broadcast networks broke into regularly scheduled programming across the nation Sunday night by 10:45 EDT, skewing the accuracy of overnight ratings, according to Nielsen. The president began speaking at 11:35 p.m. Eastern, meaning that he also cut into the 8 o'clock hour on the West Coast. ABC was the only network that did not return to its scheduled lineup, continuing its news coverage.
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Still, preliminary figures showed Trump's NBC show averaged 9.1 million viewers over its two hours (starting at 9/8c) while drawing a 3.2 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds — the night's high. The night's biggest viewership, however, went to ABC's Desperate Housewives — 10.12 million (and 3.0 rating in the advertiser-coveted demo). Also at 9/8c, CBS' Undercover Boss pulled in nearly 8.8 million (2.2 rating).
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At 8/7c, CBS' The Amazing Race took the hour with 9.72 million viewers, while ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (9.48 million) was a close runner-up. The finale of NBC's America's Next Great Restaurant, which crowned Jamawn J. Woods' Soul Daddy the winner, piqued the interest of 6.04 million — a jump from last week's 3.59 million, which was a series low.
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In prime time's final hour, Celebrity Apprentice — NBC's top-rated show (albeit at 24tth in total viewership) in the latest weekly ratings — beat new episodes of CSI: Miami (9 million) and Brothers & Sisters (7.36 million).
Fox pulls planned Family Guy-American Dad-Cleveland Show crossover
Even before the stunning development of bin Laden's death, the news had impinged on Sunday's prime time. Fox scuttled hurricane-themed crossover episodes of The Cleveland Show, Family Guy and American Dad! in deference to the devastation in the South — where storms and twisters resulted in some 350 deaths last week. So all were reruns. The only first-run series installment on Fox was The Simpsons, which garnered 6.1 million viewers at 8/7c.