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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., May 1) --NCIS takes command, Rangers still a force

A new May "sweeps" episode of NCIS ranked as Tuesday's biggest gun while the Texas Rangers' rare meltdown in Toronto still had enough juice to beat three network big guns in the 8 p.m. hour.

NCIS led off with 426,768 D-FW viewers, with nothing else really close from 7 to 8 p.m. The Rangers, who squandered a 5-0 lead in eventually losing 7-6 to the Blue Jays, then drew 325,157 viewers for the 8 to 9 p.m. portion of a game that ended at 9:04 p.m. with a walk-off home run.

Even against a non-marquee opponent, those numbers were strong enough to beat formidable competition in that time slot from CBS' NCIS: Los Angeles and ABC's Dancing with the Stars results show (304,835 viewers apiece) and NBC's The Voice vote-off (257,416 viewers).

CBS' The Unforgettable then won at 9 p.m. with 270,964 viewers. For the full game, Rangers-Blue Jays averaged 250,642 viewers, giving Fox Sports Southwest another bounteous night, even in defeat.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, the Rangers game also was Tuesday's top draw in the 8 p.m. hour, even edging Fox's potent New Girl in the first half-hour. That's remarkable.

There's this, too. With NCIS experiencing its usual big drop-off among 18-to-49-year-olds, the 7 to 8 p.m. portion of Rangers-Blue Jays had just enough juice to beat Fox's Glee for the top spot. Doubly remarkable.

In local news derby results, the fourth weekday of the 20-day May "sweeps" yielded at least one win for all four major combatants.

WFAA8 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m., but was nipped by NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The Peacock continued its strong push at 6 a.m. with wins in both ratings measurements. The other contenders in this air tight race, Fox4 and WFAA8, shared the silver in total viewers while Fox4 had second place to itself in the 25-to-54 demographic.

In another blow to downtrodden CBS11's early morning fortunes, CW33's comedy-laced Eye Opener took the No. 4 spot from 5 to 6 a.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds and was close behind CBS11 in the 6 a.m. hour. And among 18-to-49-year-olds, Eye Opener bested CBS11 at 5 a.m. and tied the station for fourth place at 6 a.m.

(Confession: As a screw-around, stand-on-your-head alternative in the early mornings, Eye Opener can have a certain appeal. Not that it matters, but your out-of-the-demo, friendly content provider finds it amusing at times. And it is a homegrown product, produced entirely out of CW33's Dallas studios for syndication to several other Tribune-owned stations.)

The early evening local news firsts were split four ways.

CBS11 won in total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 and WFAA8 tying for first among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 topped the 5 p.m. field in total viewers while Fox4 added another 25-to-54 gold.