"Desperate Housewives" (search) is the most talked-about new show of the season, but can it overtake "CSI" (search) as TV's highest-rated show?

The answer: Not this season.

While ABC's Sunday night sex-and-the-suburbs series grabs all the headlines and magazine covers, the granddaddy of TV forensics dramas is firmly entrenched at the top of the Nielsen rankings.

And there's no scientific evidence that "CSI" is going anywhere any time soon.

"At this stage of the game, no matter the ongoing success of 'Desperate Housewives,' it's unlikely that, given the dynamic of the competition on Sunday night and Thursday night, and the positioning of 'CSI,' that that situation is going to change," says programming analyst Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming for Katz Television Group.

"Desperate Housewives" - starring Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman and Nicolette Sheridan as neighbors in a fictional suburb - has done phenomenally well so far in its first season, averaging 21.8 million viewers per week Sundays at 9 p.m. through its first six episodes.

It's ranked second out of all prime-time shows, but No. 1 "CSI" is still far ahead, averaging 29.1 million viewers per week Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBS through seven episodes. In addition, "CSI," now in its fifth season, is outpacing its performance last season, when it averaged 25.6 million viewers per week.

"Desperate Housewives" was ranked No. 1 the week it premiered Oct. 3, but that was the one week the series did not have to contend with "CSI," which had been pre-empted for a presidential debate.

Every other week this season, "CSI" has been the top-rated entertainment show on network TV (it was beaten only once, by Game 7 of the American League Championship Series the week of 10/18-10/24).

With "CSI" leading by a wide margin, "Desperate Housewives" is actually duelling more ferociously week by week with two other CBS crime dramas - "Without a Trace" and "CSI: Miami," both in their third seasons and averaging 20.75 million and 20.16 million viewers, respectively, this season.

"Given where we are right now, at the end of the season, 'Desperate Housewives' is likely to end up in the top five shows, but is unlikely to end up as the No. 1 show," Carroll says.

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