Measurably more women watch Sunday Night Football when the Dallas Cowboys play.
Desperate Housewives ratings have been hurt by sports in recent weeks. But having the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football hurts a bit more. I had to go back a ways to do any reasonable comparisons, to Sunday October 18. Because on October 25, in addition to the Sunday Night Football game (NY Giants vs. Arizona Cardinals) Desperate Housewives also had to contend with playoff baseball (Yankees-Angels).
On October 18, the 9pm-10pm schedule was fairly close to last night (American Dad aired at 9:30 on 10/18, instead of The Cleveland Show which aired at 9:30 last night). CBS had huge NFL overrun that night (much more than last night's ~20 minutes), but I don't think CBS' Sunday night schedule has been a particular threat to the women of Wisteria Lane.
|ABC 10/18 Desperate Housewives||5.7||6.4|
|NBC 10/18 Bears - Falcons||3.7||3.9|
|FOX 10/18 Family Guy/American Dad||3.6||3.0|
|CBS 10/18 60 Minutes/Amazing Race||2.0||3.6|
|ABC 11/8 Desperate Housewives||5.1||5.7|
|NBC 11/8 Cowboys - Eagles||4.5||5.1|
|FOX 11/8 Family Guy/Cleveland Show||3.0||2.7|
|CBS 11/8 Amazing Race/3 Rivers||1.7||2.9|
These numbers are all based on Nielsen preliminary data for both dates, and given the differences of CBS overrun and the preliminary numbers it's hard to make perfect comparisons, but you can see that the Cowboys-Eagles game last night outperformed the Bears-Falcons game by more than a full ratings point with women 18-49, and quite a bit with women 18-34.
By the way, other than 9p-10p when Desperate Housewives was on, last night's game won all the other hours with women 18-34. On 10/18 Brothers & Sisters at 10pm had more women 18-49 than the football game (4.6 vs. 4.0), last night the game won 10pm with women 18-49 (4.9 for NBC vs. 4.2 for ABC).
P.S. It's not just the women, when it comes to TV ratings, the Dallas Cowboys really are America's team.