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'Housewives' gives ABC a boost

NEW YORK -- Back in April, saying ABC would have three of the six most popular TV programs in early November was like predicting the Boston Red Sox would win the World Series.

Hey, miracles happen!

''Desperate Housewives" continues as one of the most talked-about new serials in years. The 24.6 million viewers who watched Sunday set another series record and made the drama the week's second-most popular show, behind ''CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." The timing couldn't be better for ABC, starting the new season's first ratings ''sweeps" month.

ABC's other hit drama, ''Lost," drew 18.7 million. But the real surprise was ''Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," which hit an eye-popping 20.2 million.

ABC still has enough holes in its schedule that it finished third behind CBS and NBC for the week, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday.

But among the 18-to-49-year-old demographic that advertisers love, ABC scored a razor-thin victory over those two rivals.

The ''Desperate Housewives" phenomenon helped derail CBS's ''Dallas" reunion, drawing a disappointing 12.7 million viewers.

Fox finally rolled out more new series, to mixed results. Its executives were pleased with how ''Nanny 911" put misbehaving children in line (8.6 million viewers) and that ''The O.C." managed to survive (also 8.6 million) in a suicidal Thursday time slot.

But ''My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss" was a big fat dud: ''The Apprentice" knockoff was ranked No. 90 for the week, with 4.4 million viewers.

It was a big week for NBC News, which by a decisive margin was the network of choice for Election Night returns. The soon-to-step-down Tom Brokaw led NBC's ''Nightly News" to an 11.4 million average, ABC's ''World News Tonight" had 9.6 million, and the ''CBS Evening News" had 7.7 million.

CBS sidelines 'Clubhouse'

If CBS's move of ''Clubhouse" from Tuesday to Saturday night was like sending the show to the minors, then the network's latest action is tantamount to giving the baseball-themed series an outright release.

''Clubhouse" is gone from the schedule for at least the rest of November after whiffing in its first Saturday airing Nov. 6. That's all CBS is saying about the show for now, but its prospects for returning are probably shaky at best.

Saturday's episode drew only 4.2 million viewers.

The move to Saturdays came because the show was creating a hole in CBS's Tuesday night. ''Clubhouse" drew an average of 8.6 million viewers in three Tuesday airings, losing nearly 40 percent of the audience from its lead-in, ''NCIS." The show that followed it, ''Judging Amy," brings in about 10.5 million people per week.

Repeats will fill the 8 p.m. Saturday spot on CBS for the rest of November.

ZAP2IT.COM

Music awards to air Beatles clip

A televised performance by the Beatles that hasn't been seen in four decades will be resurrected at the American Music Awards on Sunday.

The 2-minute clip of the band performing ''She Loves You" and ''I Want to Hold Your Hand" will air during ABC's broadcast of the awards show.

''We've got a wonderful old . . . tape that's been lost for 40 years that nobody's seen since it first aired," American Music Awards producer Dick Clark told the BBC.

ZAP2IT.COM

Globe on NECN

Here's what's happening on ''Around the Globe" today on NECN:

9:30 a.m.: ''Talk of New England"

12:30 p.m.: ''Globe at Home" -- The Boston Globe Magazine's ''Miss Conduct," Millie Downing, discusses Thanksgiving dilemmas.

4 p.m.: ''Around the Globe"

6:30 p.m.: ''New England Business Day" 8 p.m.: ''NewsNight"

Schedule is subject to change.

Talk of the dial

6 a.m. WBIX-AM (1060) -- ''Early Exchange." Guest: Chuck Scharnagle, searching for a job in the IT field.

7 p.m. WBZ-AM (1030) -- ''David Brudnoy Show." Host: Tom Finneran, former house speaker; Nathaniel Philbrick, author of ''Sea Of Glory"; John Keller, political commentator.

Other radio highlights

8 a.m. WGBH-FM (89.7) -- ''Classics in the Morning." Copland's Old American Songs.

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