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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Wed., May 9-10) -- CBS11 making some late night news noise

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CBS11 has been wandering in the ratings desert for several ratings “sweeps” periods, with a nary a glimmer of hope anywhere.

There now appears to be a glimmer. The station has won or tied for the 10 p.m. top spot in total viewers for three straight weeknights. And at the midpoint of May’s warfare, CBS11 has five wins in 10 tries, with 10 more weeknights remaining.

Without question, the station has benefited from generally strong CBS network “lead-ins” at 9 p.m. But all four combatants usually excel when given such boosts. The bottom could still fall out for CBS11, which otherwise has no chance at all to win at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming). But for now, the station is very much in the total viewers game, with a win still somewhat unlikely but certainly possible.

We’ll get to the full local news derby results in just a bit. But first, a brief look at prime-time. Fox’s Empire isn’t nearly the juggernaut it was during its first two seasons. But a new 8 p.m. episode still had enough juice to rank as Wednesday’s No. 1 attraction in both total viewers (225,404) and advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds (96,213).

Tuesday’s prime-time pacesetter in total viewers again was CBS’ NCIS with 334,471. NBC’s competing The Voice led all prime-time programming in the 18-to-49-year-old realm with 70,556 viewers.

Here are the Tuesday-Wednesday local news derby results for the ninth and 10th weekdays of the May “sweeps.”

Tuesday -- CBS11 cashed in on a bounteous lead-in from NCIS: New Orleans to win by a significant margin at 10 p.m. in total viewers. TEGNA8 edged Fox4 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 continued to cruise at 6 a.m. with two more wins. The spoils were split at 5 and 6 p.m., with NBC5 winning at both hours in total viewers while Fox4 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Wednesday -- TEGNA8 and CBS11 shared first place at 10 p.m. in total viewers. But here’s where there could be additional hope for CBS11. The station grabbed a share of first place despite getting the worst lead-in among the four stations from CBS’ 9 p.m. episode of Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. Fox4 won solidly at 10 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 also cashed in two more 6 a.m. wins and ran first at both 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 drew the most total viewers at 5 p.m. and TEGNA8 took the 6 p.m. gold in that measurement.

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