LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- With "Desperate Housewives" as competitors, <A HREF="http://www.billboard.com/bb/biz/newsroom/music/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1000799525">last night's Grammy Awards <

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- With "Desperate Housewives" as competitors, last night's Grammy Awards drew their lowest total viewership in a decade and also fell sharply among the audience of 18- to 49-year-olds most coveted by advertisers, according to preliminary figures released today (Feb. 14).

Citing data from Nielsen Media Research, CBS said the telecast drew 18.83 million viewers. That was the lowest figure since March 1995 and the second-lowest in the history of Nielsen's Grammy viewership data.

Among the key 18- to 49-year-old age group, CBS said the show drew an 8.1 rating. In comparison, the rating for that audience in 2004 was near 12. Each ratings point represents 1% of homes with television sets.

Sunday's awards were marked by acclaim for the late Ray Charles, who won five posthumous awards, including album of the year and record of the year.

The awards won the 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. prime-time hours relatively easily among total viewers and in the 18-49 ratings. But at 9 p.m., the runaway ABC hit "Desperate Housewives" outdrew the Grammys by nearly 3 million viewers and almost 1.5 points in the 18-49 group.

CBS is a unit of Viacom Inc. and ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Co.