- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

MediaWeek.com’s Marc Berman has a breathless rundown today, claiming that ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” crushed - “whacked,” in mob-speak - the long-awaited season debut of HBO’s “The Sopranos.”

Says Berman:

Nationally, “The Sopranos” on Sunday kicked-off with a disappointing 5.3/ 8 in households, 9.46 million viewers and a 4.5 rating/10 share among adults 18-49 at 9 p.m. - the mob drama’s weakest season-premiere since year two in 2000. ABC’s competing “Desperate Housewives,” in contrast, stood firm at a 13.6/20 in households, 22.2 million viewers and an 8.8/19 among adults 18-49. While no one expected ‘The Sopranos’ to beat “Desperate Housewives,” the gap between the two is, no doubt, much wider than estimated.

This is a virtually meaningless comparison. To start with the obvious, ABC is free; HBO isn’t. More important, however, is the TiVo angle: HBO will rerun the “Sopranos” opener several times this week and offer it on demand to most of its subscribers. “Housewives,” on the other hand, is shown only twice - meaning that Sunday night’s viewing was a much more urgent deal for fans of the show.

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