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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Feb. 17-18) -- ABC still slumping

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Little is going right for ABC these days. Even its Shonda Rimes-powered Thursday night lineup has hit a rut.

On the day that ABC fired entertainment president Paul Lee, the network’s once potent trio of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder continued to pay diminishing dividends after last week’s midseason return.

CBS’ 7 p.m. episode of The Big Bang Theory continued running strong with Thursday’s biggest haul of total D-FW viewers (410,779). Fox’s 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. portion of American Idol then beat CBS’ competing Life In Pieces and Mom by paper-thin margins before the final half-hour of Idol won more comfortably.

Fox4’s local newscast led the way at 9 p.m. with 184,142 total viewers.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, Big Bang won as usual before Idol cruised from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Likely helping Idol’s numbers is the presence of Sunnyvale singer Dalton Rapattoni, who’s now in the show’s final 14 while entrancing judge Jennifer Lopez with his pretty boy looks and song stylings. How to Get Away with Murder barely won the 9 p.m. hour in a close competition with both Fox4’s news and CBS’ Elementary.

The ABC trio otherwise fared poorly, with Scandal and HTGAWM both last in total viewers among the Big Four broadcast networks while Grey’s Anatomy ran third ahead of NBC’s You, Me and the Apocalypse. In the 18-to-49 demographic, Scandal ran fourth in the 8 p.m. hour and Grey’s again beat only Apocalypse.

Over on CNN, the network’s second prime-time helping of three-pronged Republican candidate “town hall” meetings was paced by Donald Trump’s climactic solo act. He drew 92,071 total viewers in running well ahead of earlier appearances by John Kasich and Jeb Bush.

On Wednesday, American Idol again had prime-time’s biggest haul of total viewers with 269,131. NBC’s Law & Order: SVU won the 8 p.m. hour with 198,307 viewers before Fox4’s news and CBS’ Code Black shared the 9 p.m. spoils with 169,978 viewers apiece.

Idol also led all programming among 18-to-49-year-olds, with 88,920 viewers.

CNN’s 7 to 10 p.m. “town hall” meeting trio of Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz averaged 56,659 total viewers for the entire three-hour segment.

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday local news derby results for the 10th and 11th weekdays of the February “sweeps” ratings period.

Wednesday -- TEGNA8 topped the field at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 as usual swept the 6 a.m. competitions while TEGNA8 won at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. The 5 p.m. golds in total viewers respectively went to Fox4 and NBC5.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but TEGNA8 was alone on top with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 again dominated at 6 a.m. and also swept the 5 p.m. races.

NBC5 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 6 p.m. Fox4 and TEGNA8 shared first place at 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 realm.

LOCAL TV NEWS NOTE -- NBC5 weekday morning co-anchor Deborah Ferguson marked her 25th anniversary at the station Thursday. She joined NBC5 in 1991 from WBAP-AM radio, where her husband, Steve Lamb, still works.

Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price declared Thursday, Feb. 18th Deborah Ferguson Day. According to NBC5, Ferguson has been with the morning news program for the last 18 years.

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