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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., May 12) -- NBC5 cements hold on early morning ratings race

It's become a blowout in the key 6 a.m. ratings race, with NBC5 building what looks to be an insurmountable lead as the May "sweeps" wind down.

The Peacock again ran the table Tuesday in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It was the ninth consecutive weekday sweep for NBC5, which had tied Fox4 for first in total viewers during the March sweeps while narrowly winning among 25-to-54-year-olds.

This time NBC5 is dominating. On Tuesday, its 6 a.m. newscast had 179,361 viewers, with Fox4 again a distant second (99,645 viewers). The Peacock also ran up the score among 25-to-54-year-olds, drawing 112,306 viewers in this age range while runnerup Fox4 lagged with 72,847.

Also, NBC5's 6 a.m. viewership in both ratings measurements was larger than that for either its 5, 6 or 10 p.m. newscasts.

Fox4 continues to rotate in-house replacements at 6 a.m., with incumbent Tim Ryan joined by either Natalie Solis, Dan Godwin or Krystle Gutierrez since Megan Henderson left the station for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles at the end of the February sweeps.

Several potential replacements have auditioned at Fox4. But so far it's still a race to see which will happen first -- a newcomer sitting beside Ryan or KTLA's Web site posting Henderson's picture on its "On-Air Talent" page. That hasn't happened yet either, even though she's been anchoring early mornings at KTLA since March 17th.

In other local news derby results, CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers but fell to fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds behind (in order) WFAA8, NBC5 and Fox4.

WFAA8 won at 5 and 6 p.m. in total viewers. Fox4 had the golds at those hours, though, among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The prime-time numbers as usual were driven by Fox's American Idol. Its penultimate performance show for this season had more total viewers (405,223) than any other Tuesday program while also dominating among 18-to-49-year-olds, the favored target audience for entertainment programming.

ABC's Dancing with the Stars results show and CBS' The Mentalist tied for the top spot in total viewers at 8 p.m. But Fox's season finale of Fringe (already renewed for a second season) had a slim edge at that hour in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

CBS' Without A Trace mopped up at 9 p.m. with a win in total viewers; the concluding hour of NBC's all night edition of The Biggest Loser had the most 18-to-49-year-olds.