Sunday night's episode of Desperate Housewives scores a record 22.3 million viewers

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated November 02, 2004 07:00 AM

Desperate Housewives is anything but, with the new ABC series attracting its biggest crowd yet last Sunday night: 22.3 million viewers, topping even the show’s premiere audience of 21.6 million, according to Nielsen numbers.

Sunday’s figure takes into account the fact that Housewives didn’t even run in Chicago on Sunday night, given that a Bears-49ers football game had usurped its timeslot.

Housewives, tracking the trials and tribulations of a group of married and unmarried women on the well-to-do Wisteria Lane, has so far proved to be troubled ABC’s highest-rated drama series since NYPD Blue, which premiered in 1993.

The Housewives audience is composed of both men and women, according to the ratings, and the show is seen as breaking HBO’s monopoly on Sunday night TV watching and Monday morning water-cooler discussions.

The series stars Teri Hatcher, Nicollette Sheridan, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria and Marcia Cross.

Sunday’s episode kicked off with a break-in – but no theft – at one of the houses in the neighborhood. The perpetrator turned out to be Mike Delfino (James Denton), who has been lusted after by Susan and Edie ever since he moved into the neighborhood.