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NBC5, Belo8 and Fox4 with an asterisk take top news ratings prizes

(copyright unclebarky.com)

NBC5 extended its 10 p.m. "sweeps" winning streak, but not without a strong challenge from Belo8 in the just-concluded November ratings game.

The Peacock took the total homes battle by just two-tenths of a rating point (4,760 homes), averaging an 8.7 rating to Belo8's 8.5. The ABC station won Wednesday's climactic 10 p.m. "Arctic Blast" showdown by a solid two ratings points over NBC5. Had the cold weather frenzy kicked in a few nights earlier, Belo8 might well have caught the reigning champ, which hasn't lost at 10 p.m. since the November 20001 "sweeps." Counting the February and May competitions, that's 15 consecutive sweeps wins stretching over five years.

NBC5 won by a comparatively comfortable margin at 10 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds, which all four major local news stations say is the prime target audience for news programming. The Peacock also took the 6 a.m. ratings crowns in both audience measurements, defeating archrival Fox4.

Belo8 had an easy time winning the 5 p.m. news competition in total homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds. At 6 p.m., it turned back a strong challenge from CBS11 in total homes but ran second to Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4's 6 p.m. ratings in the latter measurement are inflated, though, by a huge lead-in audience from the Thanksgiving Day Dallas Cowboys-Tampa Bay Bucs game. That day's delayed 6 p.m. newscast had a gargantuan 13.2 rating in the 25-54 demo (373,164 persons). For the entire 20-day "sweeps" period, Fox4 averaged a 2.8 rating (79,156 persons) among 25-to-54-year-olds. Belo8 had been in a close three-way battle with Fox4 and NBC5 before the Cowboys boost kicked in.

In other D-FW sweeps results:

***Fox4's extended 7 to 9 a.m. portion of Good Day beat the three high-priced network morning shows among 25-to-54-year-olds. ABC's Good Morning America edged Good Day in total homes, though, with NBC's Today lagging in third and the CBS Early Show a very distant fourth.

***The syndicated Regis & Kelly on Fox4 narrowly outpointed a tough field at 9 a.m. in both homes and 18-to-49-year-olds, the target advertiser audience for non-news programming. Belo8's homegrown Good Morning Texas finished second in a grouping that also included Rachael Ray on CBS11, the last hour of NBC's Today and Jerry Springer (Ch. 33).

***Wheel of Fortune on CBS11 handily won in total homes at 6:30 p.m., but was nipped in the 18-to-49-year-old demo by Entertainment Tonight on Belo8.

***The Oprah Winfrey Show on Belo8 continued its reign at 4 p.m., easily beating runnerup Judge Judy on Fox4

***In her first sweeps test, Katie Couric's CBS Evening News ran third at 5:30 p.m in total homes, but was just six-tenths of a rating point (14,280 homes) behind Brian Williams' runnerup NBC Nightly News. ABC's World News, anchored by Charles Gibson won comfortably in homes, but was edged by both the NBC Nightly News and Fox4's local newscast among 25-to-54-year-olds. The CBS Evening News slipped to fourth place in that demographic.

Here are the complete results in the four major local newscast competitions:

10 p.m.
NBC5 -- 207,060
Belo8 -- 202,300
CBS11 -- 149,940
Fox4 -- 97,580
NBC5 -- 166,793
Belo8 -- 132,869
CBS11 -- 81,983
Fox4 -- 65,021

6 a.m.
NBC5 -- 114,240
Fox4 -- 102,340
Belo8 -- 83,300
CBS11 -- 42,840
NBC5 -- 67,848
Fox4 -- 62,194
Belo8 -- 50,886
CBS11 -- 25,443

5 p.m.
Belo8 -- 147,560
NBC5 -- 111,860
Fox4 -- 95,200
CBS11 -- 76,160
Belo8 -- 67,848
NBC5 -- 56,540
Fox4 -- 48,059
CBS11 -- 26,180

6 p.m.
Belo8 -- 147,560
CBS11 -- 138,040
NBC5 -- 114,240
Fox4 -- 107,100
Fox4 -- 79,156
Belo8 -- 65,021
NBC5 -- 59,367
CBS11 -- 50,886