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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Aug. 29) -- Cowboys, convention, Rangers

A lot of dust got kicked up Wednesday night in D-FW, with the Cowboys and waning minutes of the Rangers game squaring off at one point against Republican convention coverage on seven networks.

Our job here is to clear the ratings air, so here we go.

The Dallas Cowboys' last pre-season game, telecast on TXA21, easily had the smallest audience of the four. Grinding to an end at 10:37 p.m., Dallas' 30-13 win over the Dolphins averaged 338,705 viewers overall, with 352,253 during the 9 to 10 p.m. hour in which ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC all offered convention coverage.

The Cowboys' audience during that time easily was enough to beat any individual network's coverage. But in something of an upset, the combined seven-network viewership, again paced by FNC, was greater than the Cowboys' crowd.

Here's the 9 to 10 p.m. breakdown:

Cowboys-Dolphins -- 352,253 viewers
FNC -- 189,675 viewers
PBS -- 56,902 viewers
CBS -- 51,483 viewers
NBC and MSNBC -- 47,419 viewers each
ABC -- 40,645 viewers
CNN -- 33,871 viewers

The Rangers' 8-4 loss to Tampa Bay, with an early start of 6:05 p.m., crept a bit into the seven networks' convention coverage before ending at 9:10 p.m. Nielsen Media Research measures in 15-minute increments. So from 9 to 9:15 p.m., the Rangers game and a smidgen of the post-game show drew 169,353 viewers. That equaled the combined convention audience for ABC, CBS and NBC during those 15 minutes.

Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast also made its mark Wednesday night. It averaged 155,804 viewers for the full 9 to 10 p.m. hour to rank third in that time period behind the Cowboys and FNC's convention coverage.

From 7 to 9 p.m., CBS' Big Brother 14 ranked as the most-watched network entertainment program with 176,127 viewers.

Wednesday night's featured convention attraction was vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan's acceptance speech. It ran slightly long until 10:03 p.m., with ABC, CBS and NBC then all bailing within three minutes or less.

Not surprisingly, the convention is not doing well among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. In fact the ratings are abysmal. So much so that CW33's 9 p.m. local newscast Wednesday had more 18-to-49-year-old viewers than the convention hours on NBC and ABC while tying PBS.

NBC hit rock bottom in this respect. Of its 47,419 viewers, Nielsen says that a sub-scant 1,601 were of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

Had enough? Here's a brief look at Wednesday's local news derby numbers.

Fox4 ran first at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

At 6 a.m., Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the top spot in total viewers, but WFAA8 barely nipped both of them in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 also won at 6 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 ran the table at 5 p.m. and added a 6 p.m. win with 25-to-54-year-olds.