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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Feb. 21) -- CBS crime pays, but only in older circles

CBS' three hours of prime-time crime again led the Tuesday parades in total viewers before failing to apprehend advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds.

NCIS remained the night's overall top draw, with 426,768 D-FW viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. NCIS: Los Angeles (359,027) and Unforgettable (223,545) then took over, but both with diminished returns.

Fox's winter cliffhanger episode of Glee (new episodes aren't scheduled until mid-April) edged NCIS with 18-to-49-year-olds, though. And Fox's comedy combo of New Girl and Raising Hope comfortably won from 8 to 9 p.m. in this key demographic. New Girl again was Tuesday's top achiever among 18-to-49-year-olds.

ABC's Body of Proof broke up Fox's party with a 9 p.m. win in the 18-to-49 demographic, with Fox4's 9 p.m. local news a solid second and Unforgettable sliding to a distant fourth.

The third episode of ABC's The River again ran dry at 8 p.m. with fourth place finishes in both ratings measurements. Its meager audiences were up slightly from last week's, but The River was still the least-watched attraction among the Big Four broadcast networks.

In Tuesday's local news derby results, CBS11 notched another 10 p.m. win in total viewers en route to a now certain February "sweeps" win in that measurement. But WFAA8 stayed in the 25-to-54 hunt with a first place finish among this key advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and also collected a 6 p.m. gold with 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers. At 5 p.m., NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first place in both barometers.

Once the runaway dominant station at 6 p.m., WFAA8's current woes in the 25-to-54 demographic are illustrated in Tuesday's tales of the tape from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

5 P.M. (25-to-54-yr. olds)
Fox4's local news -- 27,084
WFAA8's local news -- 36,112

5:30 P.M.
Fox4's local news -- 39,121
ABC's World News -- 42,130

6 P.M.
Fox4's local news -- 45,140
WFAA8's local news -- 27,084

In other words, WFAA8 lost a significant percentage of the viewers it inherited from ABC while Fox4 kept building on the audiences for its three local newscasts. It doesn't happen quite this dramatically on all weeknights. But it happens enough to assure Fox4 of winning the 6 February sweeps crown in this coveted news demographic.