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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., March 16-18) -- iffy numbers for Idol

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Considering the prices ABC is paying, American Idol is far more a placeholder than a pacesetter.

Sunday’s two-hour edition averaged a hardly imposing 142,442 D-FW viewers in the 7 to 9 p.m. slot, barely better than the 128,198 viewers for ABC’s preceding America’s Funniest Videos.

Idol’s first hour was beaten by NBC’s Little Big Shots (149,564 viewers) and CBS’ mashup of 60 Minutes and Instinct (235,029 viewers). 60 Minutes didn’t start until 6:37 p.m. due to the run over of the Texas A&M-North Carolina NCAA basketball tournament game. It was followed at 7:37 p.m. by the premiere of Instinct.

Idol then was beaten from 8 to 9 p.m. by CBS’ combo of Instinct and NCIS: Los Angeles.

In the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 age range, the first hour of Idol got whipped by Little Big Shots and Fox’s The Simpsons/Brooklyn Nine-Nine. From 8 to 9 p.m., Idol narrowly prevailed with 40,568 viewers opposite 37,447 for the launch of NBC’s Genius Junior.

Sunday’s real big shot was A&M’s trouncing of North Carolina to reach the tournament’s Sweet 16 along with Texas Tech. The game averaged 213,663 total viewers and 74,894 in the 18-to-49 realm to rank as Sunday’s top scorer in both measurements.

Saturday night’s Tech-Florida State game from Dallas on TNT averaged 149,564 total viewers. CBS’ afternoon Kentucky-Buffalo did better with 170,930 viewers.

On Friday night, Syracuse’s win over TCU on CBS drew 135,320 total viewers to beat all competing programming except Fox4’s local 9 p.m. newscast (170,930 viewers).

Here are Friday’s four-way local news derby results. (CBS11’s 6 and 10 p.m. editions again were knocked out of the mix by CBS’ basketball coverage.)

Fox4 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). The station also as usual swept the 6 a.m. competitions by wide margins.

NBC5 in turn ran the table at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to TEGNA8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 age range.

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