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As seen on TV: election day

Both games were blacked out in roughly 400,000 D-FW homes with Time Warner cable.

But the Dallas Cowboys’ stunningly low turnout for Friday night’s second pre-season game may have had quite a bit to do with the red-hot, first-place Texas Rangers playing meaningful baseball on TXA21 against the in-state rival Houston Astros.

The Rangers’ win ran long, stretching all the way until 11:08 p.m. while the Cowboys’ loss to Oakland ended at 11:57 p.m. on CBS11. So there was a substantial overlap, even though the Rangers began two hours earlier.

In that context, Cowboys-Raiders averaged just 316,673 viewers with a peak audience of 419,936 between 10:15 and 10:30 p.m. and a low point of 199,642 viewers for the closing minutes of the game.

Last year’s second pre-season game, also on CBS11, saw the Cowboys draw 541,928 viewers versus San Diego. This month’s pre-season opener, on NBC5 against Miami, had 695,304 viewers. So yes, Friday night’s game drew well less than half that crowd, sending shock waves through owner Jerry Jones’ innards.

Still, the blackout may not have been the sole culprit. The Rangers’ ratings were pretty much up to par, with an average of 213,410 viewers for their entire game against the Astros on blackout-afflicted TXA21. The game’s peak audience came between 10 and 10:15 p.m., when Rangers-Astros had 282,252 viewers vs. 351,094 for that segment of the Cowboys game.

The stalemate between Time Warner and CBS continues, with CBS11 also set to televise the remaining three Cowboys pre-season games against Arizona, Cincinnati and Houston. It’s unknown how many Cowboys fans in Time Warner homes are migrating to sports bars or other venues to watch their team. But in the in-home Nielsens, the Cowboys recorded their lowest turnout in recent memory on Friday night. The Rangers were at least in part responsible. But if you’re the Jones family, you blame it entirely on the blackout. Because the alternative explanation isn’t very comforting.

CBS’ Saturday and Sunday coverage of the PGA championship also was blacked out in Time Warner homes. Sunday’s final round averaged 117,031 viewers with a high point of 192,758 between 5:45 and 6 p.m. Jason Dufner’s short putt to win pro golf’s last of four Majors came at 5:56 p.m.

Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the Rangers’ Sunday afternoon victory at Houston averaged 178,989 viewers. Saturday night’s game, also a Rangers win, drew 199,642 viewers on FSS.

The weekend’s other big ratings story: very impressive D-FW numbers for the return of AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Airing at 8 p.m., BB won its time slot against all competing programming with 185,875 viewers. And its haul of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds -- 130,765 -- was even more dominant. Seven more episodes remain before BB ends its five-season run.

AMC then faltered with its premiere of Low August Sun, which drew only 41,305 total viewers despite the network’s decision to let BB bleed over a bit into the 9 p.m. hour. AMC’s 10 p.m. premiere of Talking Bad Live had 34,421 viewers. The respective 18-to-49 totals for the two programs were 28,705 and 22,326.

Here are Friday’s local news derby numbers:

Opposite the Cowboys and Rangers games, WFAA8 won a downsized three-way 10 p.m. competition in total viewers while Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

NBC5 ran the table at 6 a.m. and WFAA8 did likewise at 6 p.m. The Peacock and Fox4 tied for the most viewers at 5 p.m., with Fox4 alone on top with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net