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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., May 17) -- Idol on top before Touch bottoms out

This season's penultimate performance edition of Fox's American Idol set Thursday's prime-time pace before a new episode of the network's Touch offered a case study in Death Valley syndrome.

Idol, with finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez emerging for next Tuesday's sing-off, drew 447,091 D-FW viewers to easily win the 7 to 8 p.m. slot while also topping all of the night's prime-time attractions.

But Touch, which moves to Fridays next fall, then super-dipped to 128,708 viewers while losing audience in each quarter hour. CBS' Season 1 Person of Interest finale won the hour with 311,609 viewers before the network's season-ending episode of The Mentalist rolled at 9 p.m. with 291,286 viewers.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Idol held serve in its time slot, as did The Mentalist. But ABC's season finale of Grey's Anatomy ruled at 8 p.m. by a wide margin over NBC's runner-up double dip of Community.

In local news derby results, CBS11 lengthened its lead over WFAA8 in total viewers with another 10 p.m. win while holding on this time with a No. 1 finish among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

With four weeknights to go, CBS11 looks as though it will have just enough juice to prevail at 10 p.m. in the May "sweeps" total viewers race. But its network won't be of much help with 9 p.m. lead-ins next week, offering crime drama repeats on Tuesday and Wednesday while WFAA8's late night newscasts inherit lead-ins from the Dancing with the Stars season finale and the Season 1 ender of Revenge. Could you fry eggs on the steaming heads of local CBS station managers around the country? Quite possibly. But they can't say anything publicly in D-FW, because CBS11 is owned-and-operated by the network.

In the still air tight 6 a.m. derby, NBC5 logged a win in total viewers while Fox4 took the 25-to-54 gold. Those stations and WFAA8 again were closely bunched together in both competitions. Any one of the three could still be winners after the sweeps end Wednesday.

Fox4 ran first at 5 and 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds. The total viewer wins went to NBC5 at 5 p.m. and WFAA8 at 6 p.m.