The guessing game is on.

Fans of ABC’s drama-comedy “Desperate Housewives” are burning up the Internet trying to figure out which – if any – of the five key women die on this Sunday’s episode.

Members of the cast, the show’s producers and the network’s promos have all said someone would die, but gave no details.

The clues left behind on Sunday’s episode suggest that Nicollette Sheridan’s sexpot Edie Britt could be the target.

But there were signs that another cast member could go, too.

For example, Mrs. Solis (Lupe Ontiveros), who caught her daughter-in-law Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) in bed with her boy toy, was run over by a car as Sunday’s episode ended.

And there’s Felicity Huffman’s pill-popping Lynette Scavo, who is trying to deal with her unruly kids and a distant husband.

“I just want to say that I’ll be furious if the show kills off Nicollette Sheridan’s character,” wrote a fan at ABC’s Web site. “She’s the main reason I’m watching the show, even though she’s had little air time.”

“I agree, the only one I would want gone is (Gabrielle),” wrote another fan at ABC. “I don’t think she adds a lot to the show, all she does is sleep around.”

As anyone who has watched a bit of television knows, producers and networks are fond of misdirecting viewers to make the surprise that much more fun.

“Lies are revealed,” the voiceover said on Sunday’s promo. “Secrets are exposed. And one desperate housewife will be gone … forever.”

No matter who gets sent away, the show continues to be a major draw and the hottest new show of the season.

Sunday’s episode was watched by 24.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research, the second most-watched episode of the program so far, second only to the Nov. 7 show, which averaged 24.9 million viewers.

Sunday’s telecast scored high ratings even without airing in Milwaukee and Houston, where “Housewives” was preempted by the Green Bay Packers-Houston Oilers football game.

While the “Desperate Housewives” numbers are very strong overall, it’s still not big enough to knock off CBS’ “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.”

Last Thursday’s episode of the forensic drama – the show’s 100th – was the most-watched ever, drawing 31.44 million viewers.

(c) 2004, New York Daily News.

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Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-11-23-04 1255EST

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