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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 1-3)

In case you didn't notice -- and WFAA8 certainly didn't call attention to it -- Friday ended up as Justin Farmer's last day on Daybreak.

A new day dawned Monday -- but again no on-air signal to viewers -- when WFAA8 veteran Brad Hawkins took the Daybreak reins with incumbent Cynthia Izaguirre.

As previously reported on unclebarky.com, the plan is to give Hawkins the rest of this year to win the job permanently. Meanwhile, Farmer is headed to WSB-TV in Atlanta after what must have been the longest lame duck tenure in the history of D-FW television.

He officially told station management of his decision on Jan. 4th, the same day that Izaguirre made her Daybreak debut. But the station held him to a contract that officially expires on Tuesday, Aug. 5th. As late as last Thursday, it remained unclear as to when Farmer actually would make his final Daybreak appearance. Management eventually decided to begin this week with Hawkins in the saddle and Farmer out of sight, out of mind.

The passing of the baton -- without actually acknowledging it on the air -- comes in less than bright times for Daybreak. Viewing levels are down in the summer, and viewing patterns are skewed by vacations and school closings. Still, Daybreak has been in a ratings snooze during recent weeks after a first-place finish at 6 a.m. in the May sweeps. This has happened despite a heavy billboard, bus and TV campaign for Izaguirre.

Friday's Nielsens had Fox4 on top in both total homes (87,682) and among 25-to-54-year-olds (73,613), the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 ran second in both measurements while WFAA8 managed only a third-place tie in total homes with the usually downtrodden CBS11 (58,454 apiece). WFAA8 also ran third in the 25-to-54 demo (53,001) with CBS11 well back with 26,501.

In the past two weeks, here's how the four stations have fared at 6 a.m. in total homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds:

NBC5 -- 67,710
Fox4 -- 64,543
WFAA8 -- 47,981
CBS11 -- 38,239

NBC5 -- 55,062
Fox4 -- 43,873
WFAA8 -- 37,984
CBS11 -- 20,023

Whatever the season, those numbers are a wakeup call, if not a rude awakening for WFAA8. As management keeps saying, the competition to be No. 1 is year-around. At last minus a lame duck anchor, we'll see if those numbers improve.

Also on Friday, WFAA8's 10 p.m. news won in total homes but ran third behind NBC5 and CBS11 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 ran the table at 5 p.m. and ran first in total homes at 6 p.m. NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for the 6 p.m. gold in the 25-to-54 demo.

In the battle of the local Sunday night sports specials, WFAA8's Dale Hansen won the three-way 10:30 p.m. battle in both ratings measurements, with CBS11's Babe Laufenberg second in total homes and NBC5's Newy Scruggs taking the runnerup spot among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4's Mike Doocy had his usual 10 p.m. running start. His sports special had the night's third largest audience in total homes (ahead of Scruggs) and was second-best in the 25-to-54 demo.

Doocy arguably faces stiffer competition in going against non-sports newscasts on rival stations. Then again, it'd be interesting to see how he'd fare in a head-to-head-to-head-to-head battle opposite his sports anchor peers