04/23/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Desperate For Ratings: "Desperate Housewives" Has Record Low Audience

ABC's "Desperate Housewives" fell to a record low rating for an original episode as the suburban soap returned to the air on Sunday after being sidelined for more than three months by the writers strike.

The show drew 16 million viewers, down about 15 percent from its season average of 18.9 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was still enough to win the 9 p.m. hour by a wide margin, and give ABC the nightly honors with 10.5 million viewers.

"Housewives" was hurt by the absence of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" as a lead-in. Instead, ABC moved the fast-fading "Oprah's Big Give" to the 8 p.m. slot (8.9 million viewers vs. a season average of 11.5 million).

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