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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 17-19) -- Cowboys power up, in ratings at least

Saturday night's second Dallas Cowboys pre-season game, a 28-20 loss at San Diego, primed the weekend ratings pump with 541,928 D-FW viewers on CBS11.

That's a drop from the 629,992 for Game 1, which was shown on both CBS11 and ESPN. But the Cowboys-Chargers game stretched deeper into the night, ending at 11:12 p.m.

Friday night's Texas Rangers-Toronto game on TXA21 averaged 243,868 viewers to tie Sunday night's Colts-Steelers game on NBC as the weekend's second most-watched prime-time attraction. Afternoon Rangers games on both Saturday and Sunday respectively drew 94,837 and 169,353 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

The Friday night ratings were paced by Fox's pre-season NFL game between the Lions and Ravens. It averaged 135,482 viewers while also again pushing Fox4's 10 p.m. newscast much deeper into the night.

The 10:40 and 10:41 p.m. start times on Friday and Saturday gave rival stations a leg up in coverage of both planned aerial West Nile virus sprayings. Heavy duty area storms also were a factor in Saturday's 10 p.m. equation, with NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 of course milking this situation with top-of-the-newscast weather summations while the Lions and Ravens played on.

In each case, rival stations built on the 9:45 to 10 p.m. network lead-ins during the first 15 minutes of their newscasts. Fox's NFL exhibition lost viewers from 10 to 10:15 p.m. for the second straight night opposite the local news.

Friday's three-way 10 p.m. competition ended in a total viewers tie for first place between NBC5 and WFAA8, with CBS11 ranking third ahead of Fox's football. Among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming, NBC5 nipped WFAA8 for the top spot while football ran third ahead of CBS11.

The Peacock also added twin wins Friday at 6 a.m., where it remains strong in the post-Olympic Nielsens.

Anchor Gloria Campos' last day as a regular 6 p.m. anchor brought WFAA8 a total viewers win at that hour. But Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds while sweeping both legs of the 5 p.m. competition.

CBS11 deployed its A-team weekday anchors for Saturday's late night newscast in hopes of capitalizing on the Cowboys' lead-in. The station drew roughly 196,449 total viewers for its delayed edition, up from Friday's regularly scheduled 10 p.m. crowd of 135,482.