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'CSI' Holds Off 'Desperate Housewives' -- For Now

By Christian
September 29, 2005 - 11:18 AM

During the first week of the new television season, the original CSI: Crime Scene Investigation still managed to attract more viewers than Desperate Housewives -- but if the specific demographic numbers are anything to go by, Gil Grissom and his team may face a difficult fight over ratings dominance this year.

According to figures released by Media Life Magazine, last week's CSI season premiere was watched by just over 29 million people, which compared favorably to the 28.4 million that tuned in for the second-season debut of ABC's Desperate Housewives. The shows were evenly matched in terms of households, as both were watched by 17.3% of all households in the US that own television sets.

However, in the advertiser-friendly category of adults aged between 18 and 49, Desperate Housewives was the clear winner with a 12.3 rating / 26 share. This number indicates that 12.3% of all Americans in that age group were watching the show, and 26% of all those in that group who actually had their TV on at that time. By contrast, CSI managed only a 10.2/25 in this category -- the same number scored by ABC's Lost on Wednesday. As viewership for CSI was slightly down from last year, while Desperate Housewives scored a big increase, there is a possibility that CSI will lose the ratings crown later on this season.

Taken on its own account, though, CBS had nothing to complain about last Thursday night. CSI managed to attract more viewers than NBC, ABC and Fox combined, and thus provided a great lead-in for Criminal Minds, which with 19.5 million people actually was the fourth most popular show of the week. The show will undoubtedly lose some of those viewers in its regular pre-CSI: New York timeslot on Wednesdays, but this still probably was the best launching pad the Criminal Minds producers could have wished for.

Besides "Bodies in Motion," CBS aired two more CSI episodes last week. On Monday came "From The Grave," the CSI: Miami season premiere, which was watched by 19.2 million people. Although this was down from last year's 22 million viewers, it still was more than enough to help CBS win the night, and to land in fifth place on the overall weekly ratings chart. Not appearing in this top-25 was the special Wednesday repeat of "Grave Danger," which performed better than new Jerry Bruckheimer show E-Ring on NBC, but didn't really stand a chance opposite the Lost season premiere.

In other ratings news for last week, CBS managed to do surprisingly well with its new fantasy show Ghost Whisperer, starring Aisha Tyler (Mia Dickerson). The show was watched by 11.4 million people, helping CBS win the overall night, and attracting a million people more than last year. Also on Friday, the new Fox show Killer Instinct drew 5.2 million viewers, which meant the show from CSI producer Josh Berman was at least able to build on lead-in The Bernie Mac Show.

For more information on the ratings from last week, head over to Media Life Magazine.

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