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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., April 22) -- tight fight in the early mornings on eve of May "sweeps"

The 6 a.m. local news ratings race is close to being an unprecedented four-way affair as stations try to gather momentum for Thursday's start of the month-long May "sweeps."

Let's spotlight Wednesday's results in both total D-FW viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It's close enough in some cases to be measured all the way down to hundredths rather than tenths of rating points.


Fox4 -- 96,324
WFAA8 -- 94,995
NBC5 -- 90,345
CBS11 -- 79,716


NBC5 -- 63,741
Fox4 -- 58,278
WFAA8 -- 56,760
CBS11 -- 49,779

It should be noted that CBS11 isn't likely to win either of these races. That would be a gargantuan upset. But the perennial early morning doormat has never been this consistently close -- and not just on Wednesday -- to its three rivals. It's not a force to be reckoned with just yet, but at least CBS11 has become a player in a time period where it's been way out of the money for years.

In other local news derby results, CBS11 took the 10 p.m. gold in total viewers while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 6 p.m. spoils also were split, with the Peacock on top in total viewers and WFAA8 running first in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 again ran the table at 5 p.m., where it's returned to the top of late after incorporating live interview segments into the newscast.

The prime-time ratings again were dominated by Fox's American Idol, with 445,081 D-FW viewers watching the double eviction of Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai. Idol also easily won the 8 p.m. hour among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, the favored target audience for entertainment programming.

Fox's Lie to Me scored twin wins at 7 p.m., as did a new episode of CBS' Criminal Minds at 9 p.m. But CM had almost twice as many total viewers (358,722) as Lie to Me (186,004).