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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Sept. 7-8) -- NFL takes flight and again soars

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NBC kicked off the NFL season with sky high ratings Thursday night for a Super Bowl 50 rematch between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers.

Denver again won, this time 21-20, in a game that bled through NBC5’s 10 p.m. newscast and averaged 637,416 D-FW viewers. Just over half of them -- 320,746 viewers -- were within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old age range.

The next closest attraction airing directly opposite football, CBS’ 8 p.m. hour of Big Brother, had 148,730 total viewers and 69,865 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

NBC also led Wednesday’s prime-time parade with a polar opposite attraction -- the one-hour Commander in Chief Forum featuring back-to-back appearances by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump before an audience of veterans. Matt Lauer quizzed each of them for just a half-hour from 7 to 8 p.m., with a handful of vets also getting to ask questions.

Clinton, who went first, drew 212,472 total viewers and added 22,664 for the MSNBC simulcast. Trump then pulled in 226,637 viewers on NBC and 21,955 on MSNBC.

The percentage of 18-to-49-year-old viewers wasn’t exactly huge. Clinton’s half-hour drew 38,108 and Trump had 53,987. Each candidate tacked on an additional 2,858 viewers for MSNBC’s simulcast.

The candidates’ 18-to-49-year-old haul fell short of Fox’s competing 7 p.m. episode of Masterchef, which averaged 66,690 viewers for the full hour in this key demographic.

NBC then won from 8 to 10 p.m. in total viewers with America’s Got Talent (233,719) and Running Wild with Bear Grylls (141,648). Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox’s Masterchef and Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast were the top performers (by narrow margins) from 8 to 10 p.m.

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday local news derby results.

Wednesday -- CBS11 continued its sudden 10 p.m. surge under interim news director Laurie Passman, who late last month replaced the fired Mike Garber. The station won in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 6 p.m. Fox4 and the Peacock tied for the most total viewers at 5 p.m., but NBC5 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11’s bullish numbers at 10 p.m. were tempered by “hashmarks” (no measurable audience) at 5 p.m. in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic. It’s always something.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for first in total viewers at 10 p.m. in a downsized three-way race opposite the closing half-hour of the Broncos-Panthers game. TEGNA8 had the top spot to itself among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 again logged twin wins at 6 a.m. while NBC5 ran the table at both 5 and 6 p.m.

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