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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 17)

D-FW is said to be a football-crazed market, but most viewers are taking a pass on NBC's excellent, Austin-made Friday Night Lights.

Its Tuesday night ratings were punier than a Pee Wee League game, so don't be surprised if Lights' lights are turned out before the November "sweeps." The third episode was seen in just 73,700 homes locally, down from an already lowly 119,000 the previous week. In contrast, ABC's Emmitt Smith-infused Dancing with the Stars topped the 7 to 8 p.m. charts with 307,020 homes, with CBS' NCIS second (176,120) and CW's Gilmore Girls taking third (85,680). The fictional West Texas Dillon High Panthers did manage to nip the first hour of Fox's slumping Cardinals-Mets playoff game, but it was nearly close enough to call for a measurement.

Friday Night Lights also came up way short among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, the only audience demo NBC cares about for entertainment programming. Rubbing it in, Channel 33's 6:30 p.m. repeat of The Simpsons attracted more 18-to-49-year-olds than Lights. And the cartoon classic was D-FW's top draw at 6:30 p.m. with 18-to-34-year-olds, outdrawing the well-financed humans on Wheel of Fortune, Extra, Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight.

In another sports arena, the Mavericks-Rockets preseason game on Channel 21 averaged a 2.8 rating in homes (66,640). That's roughly double the crowd being drawn by the station's fledgling 7 to 9 p.m. local newscast, which the Mavs supplanted Tuesday night.

The market's four major local news battlegrounds had something for everyone, except CBS11.

NBC5 continued to muscle up for the November sweeps, where it hasn't lost at 10 p.m. since November 2001's tri-annual news fistfight. The station had lopsided latenight wins in both total homes and among 25-to-54-year-olds, the principal advertiser target for news programming. Fox4 was first at 6 a.m. in both audience measurements, and its Good Day show also continued its mastery over the 7 to 9 a.m. network morning shows.

Belo8 won across the board at 5 p.m., and also took the 6 p.m. face-off in total homes. NBC5 had the 6 p.m. edge with 25-to-54-year-olds.