Sweeps season is in full swing this month, and TV shows are vying for as many viewers as possible. Lengthy finales full of shocking revelations and cliffhangers are sure to bring back fans this fall. Marketing Evaluations, a research company that specializes in measuring celebrity awareness, has provided a list of prime-time TV actresses (out of 166 in its database) who are most recognized and liked by a group of 1,800 consumers from its winter 2005 study. Using a formula derived from poll results, each celebrity is assigned a Q rating (Q stands for quotient, as in IQ). Representatives from the highest-rated programs all can be found here — including all four Desperate Housewives. “This was the first time they were even in our study,” noted Marketing Evaluations president Steve Levitt.

1. MARISKA HARGITAY
Q Score: 42
Known to fans as Detective Olivia Benson, Hargitay stars in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” Hargitay wore an asymmetric, pink satin gown by Vera Wang to the Golden Globes in January and took home a statue that evening.

2. MARG HELGENBERGER
Q Score: 35
She plays a stripper-turned-forensics expert on the most popular show on television, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” which ranked number one in prime-time television for the week ended May 8. Helgenberger’s acting career kicked off in 1982 with a role on the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope.”

3. DORIS ROBERTS
Q Score: 32
As Raymond’s lovable though meddlesome mother, Marie Barone, on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” Roberts garnered three Emmys. Monday’s series finale was watched by 32.9 million fans.

4. MAURA TIERNEY
Q Score: 32
Fans of “ER” will be pleased to see Dr. Abby Lockhart’s name on the list. Tierney portrays a doctor with a complex background, but the character’s complexity ironically makes her one of the most likeable cast members on the show.

5. TERI HATCHER
Q Score: 31
She’d been away from the small screen for six years, but Hatcher is back with ABC’s hit series, “Desperate Housewives.” Hatcher turned heads with her sexy slate gray Donna Karan number at the Golden Globes this year.

This story first appeared in the May 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

6. PATRICIA HEATON
Q Score: 29
Heaton has created some splashes on the red carpet — one of the standouts was a purple Thierry Mugler gown with an especially plunging neckline at the 2002 Emmy Awards. She picked up back-to-back Emmys in 2000 and 2001.

7. JENNIFER GARNER
Q Score: 29
The latest on Garner is speculation she’s pregnant with actor Ben Affleck’s child. Garner rarely makes a fashion blunder on the red carpet, with such memorable fashion hits as her peach vintage Valentino gown at the Oscars in 2004.

8. POPPY MONTGOMERY
Q Score: 29
This blonde bombshell hails from Australia and portrayed Marilyn Monroe in the 2001 CBS miniseries, “Blonde.” She currently stars as FBI agent Samantha Spade on “Without a Trace,” one of America’s most-watched television shows.

9. EVA LONGORIA
Q Score: 28
Longoria has become one of the most recognizable Latin women on television today. Favorite designers include Oscar de la Renta and Halston — and she just wowed them at the Cannes Film Festival in Michael Kors.

10. FELICITY HUFFMAN
Q Score: 28
Her character Lynette may wear baggy, plain clothes on ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” but Huffman showed up at the 2005 Golden Globes in a stunning champagne Richard Tyler Couture gown.

11. REBA MCENTIRE
Q Score: 28
Congratulations to McEntire’s show, “Reba,” as the series has been picked up for a fifth season. McEntire’s latest career move is into the world of fashion. Her Reba women’s sportswear, knitwear and career clothing line was introduced earlier this year at 147 Dillard’s stores.

12. MEGAN MULLALLY
Q Score: 27
She has picked up an Emmy and three Screen Actors Guild awards for her role as the rich, self-centered and boozy Karen Walker on NBC’s situation comedy, “Will & Grace.” Mullally also sings lead vocals for Supreme Music Program, a cover band that has released two CDs.

13. JILL HENNESSY
Q Score: 27
She portrays medical examiner Jordan Cavanaugh on NBC’s “Crossing Jordan,” but her acting career stemmed originally from film. The Canadian-born actress got her start by studying improvisational comedy and appeared in the feature film “Dead Ringers.”

14. EMILY PROCTER
Q Score: 27
Though she portrays Detective Calleigh Duquesne on “CSI: Miami,” this southern belle attracted fans as an attorney on “The West Wing” for two seasons. Procter opens her home often to the press, revealing a passion for decorating.

15. MARCIA CROSS
Q Score: 26
Cross’ character on “Desperate Housewives” is arguably one of the most fascinating and complex females on television. She plays Bree Van De Kamp, an uptight and anal-retentive housewife who continually goes to great lengths to preserve her family’s name.

16. DEBRA MESSING
Q Score: 26
Messing is best-known for her role as quirky Grace Adler on “Will and Grace.” The show is wrapping up its seventh season tonight. Messing scored the Emmy and a fashion nod at the 2003 Emmy Awards — she chose an Elie Saab gown.

17. CATHERINE BELL
Q Score: 26
This London-born beauty moved to California with her Iranian mother at age 2. Her long-running show, “JAG,” aired its series finale in April, but Bell will now have plenty of time for sports: She is a master at kickboxing, skiing and snowboarding.

18. JORJA FOX
Q Score: 25
She plays forensic scientist Sara Sidle on the show “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation,” but her first job earns her even bigger kudos: When she was just 16, Fox worked at a kennel in New York City feeding and walking dogs.

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