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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 8-10)

Could the Dallas Cowboys' first, largely meaningless pre-season game on CBS11 actually beat the mighty Olympics on NBC?

Yes, at least for the first 45 minutes of Saturday night's game. The Summer Games then fought back after QB Tony Romo and the regulars hit the sidelines while teammates bungled their way toward a two-touchdown loss to the San Diego Chargers.

Here are the eye-opening Nielsen stats from 9 to 9:45 p.m.

Cowboys-Chargers -- 367,776
Olympics -- 338,548

Cowboys-Chargers -- 341,562
Olympics -- 312,117

Cowboys-Chargers -- 309,033
Olympics -- 252,272

Overall Saturday night, the Olympics averaged 343,420 homes and the Cowboys, 311,757.

Otherwise nothing could touch the games from Beijing, spurred by swimmer Michael Phelps' live quests for a record eight gold medals.

Sunday's pulsating late night U.S. swim team win over France, with Phelps swimming the opening leg, amassed 521,218 total homes between 10:15 and 10:45 p.m. Overall, NBC's nighttime coverage averaged a robust 474,942 homes. And Sunday morning's U.S. basketball team win over the host country's Yao Ming-led quintet drew 194,848 homes.

Friday night's wow-inducing opening ceremonies from Beijing's "Bird's Nest" averaged 443,279 D-FW homes while also setting a national ratings record for a non-domestic curtain-raiser. The most-watched competing prime-time program, Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast, barely made a peep with 65,761 homes.

In the local news derby, NBC's Olympics spillover into 10 p.m. newscasts reduced viewership to dink-a-doo levels among the three combatants. Fox4 ran first in total homes with 77,939 while WFAA8 had a slight edge among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 won in both ratings measurements at 6 a.m., as did WFAA8 in the 5 p.m. hour. Spoils were split at 6 .m., with NBC5 taking the total homes competition and WFAA8 prevailing in the 25-to-54 demo.