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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Feb. 25) -- Republican debate/cage match outshouts the competition

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
TV’s hottest “reality” series, the Donald Trump-spiked Republican presidential candidate debates, scored another resounding win Thursday night by dominating from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on CNN.

Marked by repeated verbal slugfests among Trump and his two principal foes, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, the final square-off before the March 1st “Super Tuesday” primaries averaged 368,285 D-FW viewers with a peak crowd of 446,191 between 9 and 9:15 p.m.

That handily beat all competing programming, including the 7:30 to 9 p.m. portion of Fox’s American Idol, which averaged 276,214 viewers for its full two hours. Out of harm’s way from 7 to 7:30 p.m., CBS’ The Big Bang Theory racked up prime-time’s biggest overall number with 410,779 viewers.

The debate slumped among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, averaging 95,271 viewers in this age range. Big Bang (127,028), CBS’ following Life In Pieces (104,798) and Idol (also 104,798) all bettered that mark. But the debate easily beat the likes of NBC’s Blacklist and the ABC duo of Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder.

Telemundo’s simulcast of the debate drew comparatively scant interest, with just 21,247 total viewers and 6,351 in the 18-to-49 demographic. It was soundly beaten in both measurements by Univision’s competing telenovelas.

NBC had Thursday night’s loss leader among the Big Four broadcast networks. Its 7 p.m. episode of You, Me and the Apocalypse drew 49,577 total viewers and 15,879 in the key 18-to-49 demographic. Nothing else came close to sinking that low. Fox4’s local newscast easily beat everything except the GOP debate in the 9 p.m. hour, drawing 219,554 total viewers and 85,744 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Here are Thursday’s four-way local news derby results, with just four weekdays now remaining in the February “sweeps” ratings period.

Fox4 won at both 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. in total viewers and among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

NBC5 was tops in total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m. The 25-to-54-year-old golds went to Fox4 at 5 p.m. and TEGNA8 at 6 p.m.

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