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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., May 16-18) -- Babs, Billboard, hoops spur ABC to big weekend

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ABC had its biggest weekend of the season, other than the Oscars, by mostly keeping its weekly series out of the picture.

The network averaged 269,849 D-FW viewers Sunday night for its three-hour Billboard Music Awards special. CBS’ 7 to 8 p.m. season finale of The Amazing Race outdrew the first hour of Billboard, which otherwise swept the entire night among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC’s America’s Funniest Home Videos also won from 6 to 7 p.m. in this key demographic.

Earlier Sunday, ABC’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat ruled the afternoon hours in both ratings measurements. Pacers-Heat averaged 177,533 total viewers in easily besting the final round of the Byron Nelson golf championship (71,013 viewers) and the Texas Rangers’ home win over the Toronto Blue Jays (78,114 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest).

On Friday night, ABC’s two-hour Barbara Walters farewell special cruised to an easy win from 8 to 10 p.m. with 234,343 total viewers opposite token resistance from a pair of Blue Bloods repeats on usually formidable CBS. Babs and ABC’s preceding Shark Tank also won among 18-to-49-year-olds while Blue Bloods shockingly had “hashmarks” (no measurable audience) for its 8 p.m. rerun and just 1,954 viewers in the 18-to-49 age range for the 9 p.m. do-over. Wow.

Saturday’s Nielsens were paced by NBC’s telecast of The Preakness, in which California Chrome won the second leg of the Triple Crown in a race that began at 5:21 p.m. and was over roughly two minutes later. For the 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. increment, the Preakness had 248,546 total viewers. Nothing else came close -- not even the season finale of NBC’s Saturday Night Live. It drew 149,127 viewers. SNL outran the Preakness among 18-to-49-year-olds, though.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results, with just three weekdays now remaining in the May “sweeps” ratings.

WFAA8 cashed in on the big Babs lead-in advantage by rolling to dominant wins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programs). In both instances, WFAA8 had more than twice as many viewers as its nearest rival. This could prove to be the difference maker for WFAA8 in tight 10 p.m. races in both ratings measurements.

Fox4 notched another doubleheader win at 6 a.m. and also swept the 5 p.m. competitions. At 6 p.m., Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the most total viewers while the Peacock prevailed with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 had a polar opposite ratings performance at 6 p.m. placing fourth in both measurements before rising to that 10 p.m. pinnacle. CBS11 ran fourth across the board at 5 p.m. and was the only station without any wins Friday.

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