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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Feb. 14) -- Big Bang goes pow while Zero Hour thuds

CBS' The Big Bang Theory scored its biggest D-FW audience of the season on Valentine's night before Fox's American Idol regrouped to knock off Two and a Half Men.

Big Bang neared the 600,000 mark with 592,041 viewers while also ranking as the night's runaway No. 1 draw among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds with 287,046. CBS' Two and a Half Men then fell sharply to 351,094 total viewers and 149,902 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

That allowed the second half of Fox's American Idol to take the 7:30 to 8 p.m. slot in both ratings measurements. The onetime juggernaut has been a potent mere mortal so far this season, although things could pick up with a healthy share of Texans among the show's 40 finalists. There are five all told, including Cortez Shaw of Dallas.

CBS also topped Thursday's total viewer ratings from 8 to 10 p.m. with Person of Interest and Elementary. But the 18-to-49 crowns went to ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

The 7 p.m. premiere of ABC's Zero Hour, starring ER alum Anthony Edwards, ran third in total viewers with a halfway decent sum of 185,873. But it was a mega-bomb in the key 18-to-49 demographic, drawing just 28,705 viewers in that age range to run a distant fifth in the 7 p.m. hour. The first half of CW's The Vampire Diaries took third ahead of NBC's Community before tying the Peacock's Parks & Recreation for the bronze from 7:30 to 8 p.m.

In the cable news network universe, CNN's all-day/all-night, oft-breathless coverage of the "CRUISE SHIP FROM HELL" for the most part capsized opposite its rivals' far more balanced menu. Fox News Channel outdrew CNN in every hour from 3 to 9 p.m. And MSNBC was the No. 2 cable news network from 5 to 9 p.m.

CNN beat both of its two cable news rivals in total viewers only from 1 to 2 p.m. and from 10 to 11 p.m. And in early- to mid-mornlng hours, CNN trailed both Fox News Channel and MSNBC by wide margins.

In Thursday's local news derby numbers, only two stations played winning hands. WFAA8 swept the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Nielsens in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. And Fox4 remained unbeaten at 6 a.m. in 2013 with another pair of twin wins.