- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Housewives’ on top

Sunday’s demise of creepy pharmacist George lifted ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” to the top of the weekly Nielsen Media Research rankings, Associated Press reports.

Yet CBS continued its overall dominance during Thanksgiving week, winning in the ratings as it has every week since the season started.

However, the network’s “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” was knocked from its usual perch atop the ratings — perhaps because it was telecast on Thanksgiving and some of its regular viewers couldn’t stomach a forensics tale after a full meal.

An estimated 25.9 million viewers watched “Desperate Housewives,” in which George (actor Roger Bart) continued trying to manipulate Bree (Marcia Cross) to the very end. Surging “Grey’s Anatomy,” also on ABC, was the week’s third most popular show.

Overall, CBS averaged 14.3 million viewers for the week. ABC had 11.4 million but won among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic watched closely by advertisers. NBC had 9.2 million viewers, Fox had 9 million, UPN had 3.3 million, the WB averaged 3.3 million and Pax TV had 610,000.

For the week of Nov. 21 through 27, the top five shows, their networks and viewerships were: “Desperate Housewives,” ABC, 25.9 million; “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” CBS, 25.7 million; “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC, 19.6 million; “Survivor: Guatemala,” CBS, 19.5 million; and “Without a Trace,” CBS, 19.5 million.

New wedded bliss

Nick Lachey is moving on to a new marriage — but not in real life.

The star of MTV’s reality hit “Newlyweds,” who last week publicly announced his split from wife Jessica Simpson, will star in a new pilot about a young married couple, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Lachey will play a baseball star navigating a new marriage for the WB show, network spokesman Paul McGuire said Monday. Danny Jacobson, co-creator of “Mad About You,” has been tapped to write the show.

Shooting of the half-hour pilot will begin in April. The show will be considered for the network’s fall 2006 lineup, Mr. McGuire said.

Miss Simpson, 25, and Mr. Lachey, 32, are parting ways after three years of marriage. The couple had their own reality show, “Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica,” which debuted on MTV in 2003.

Simon stays

Have no fear. We’ll be hearing plenty more put-downs from Simon Cowell in the foreseeable future.

The famously acerbic “American Idol” judge will return to the show for at least five more seasons, according to Associated Press. His contract had been due to expire at the end of the new season that begins in January.

The announcement comes with the settlement of a lawsuit filed against Mr. Cowell by fellow British pop impresario Simon Fuller. Charging copyright infringement, Mr. Fuller claimed that Mr. Cowell had copied the format of “Pop Idol” — a British talent-search contest that predated the U.S. version of “American Idol” — for his new “X-Factor” reality show.

A spokeswoman for Fremantle Media, which distributes “Idol” and produces Mr. Cowell’s “X-Factor,” confirmed that the case had been settled out of court but refused to give details. She said both sides were happy with the outcome. The lawsuit reportedly was a stumbling block in Fox being able to reach a deal to keep Mr. Cowell on “Idol.”

In related “Idol” news, Fox yesterday would not comment on reports that it was considering moving one of the show’s two weekly editions, now seen on Tuesday and Wednesday, to Thursday night.

Compiled by Christian Toto and Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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