Brian Hiatt
October 05, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

There must be a lot of unhappy suburbanites out there. ABC’s Desperate Housewives, which presents a dark view of the ‘burbs, was a huge hit in its series debut Sunday night, nabbing 21.3 million viewers, according to wire service reports. The show, which kicked off with a housewife’s apparent suicide, was ABC’s most-watched series premiere since Spin City in 1996. It’s also the highest-rated series debut on any network this fall, beating even CSI: NY and Joey, according to Reuters.

ABC, which had slipped to fourth place among the networks, has had other good news this season. The new desert-island drama Lost has scored solid ratings, and Boston Legal, a spinoff of The Practice that airs directly after Housewives, won its timeslot. However, the network’s Apprentice-like The Benefactor, with billionaire Mark Cuban playing a philanthropic version of Donald Trump, has failed to connect with viewers.

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