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NBC5, Fox4 make big breakthroughs while CBS11 draws closer at 10 p.m. in May sweeps D-FW newscast ratings

Dynamic duo: NBC5 early risers Deborah Ferguson, Brendan Higgins

NBC5 had its early morning competitors for breakfast and also won the 5 p.m. newscast competition by a paper-thin margin among 25-to-54-year-olds in the just-concluded May "sweeps" ratings period.

Fox4 also could celebrate its first-ever ratings win at 6 p.m., where it prevailed with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 held serve at 10 p.m., edging CBS11 in a close fight among total viewers while winning by a more comfortable margin in the 25-to-54 demographic. But WFAA8 also was the only station to lose audience from year-to-year in all four competitions.

The Peacock's rise at 6 a.m. easily was the most dramatic. Coasting to substantial wins in both ratings measurements, it increased its total viewers by 53 percent and jumped 43 percent among 25-to-54-year-olds in the May-to-May Nielsen averages.

CBS11 also recorded substantial audience gains in the early morning, but had little to start with last year at this time. The station remains fourth, but is significantly closer to the now third-place WFAA8, which won in May 2008 in the 25-to-54 demo and tied for first with Fox4 in total viewers.

Fox4 won at 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds by upping its audience by 24 percent year-to-year while the May 2008 winner, WFAA8, lost 30 percent of its audience in that demographic.

At 10 p.m., WFAA8 again was the only station to increase its total viewer numbers from its network's 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in. But the ABC station's year-to-year audience hauls still fell by 20 percent in both ratings measurements.

Although drawing considerably closer at 10 p.m., CBS11 again failed to fully capitalize on the comparatively robust lead-ins from its network's entertainment programming. NBC5 continued to lag in third place at that hour after being put on a virtual starvation diet by NBC's low-rated prime-time programming.

Here are the final May sweeps newscast ratings, with year-to-year increases or decreases in parentheses:

10 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 259,077 (minus 20 percent)
CBS11 -- 239,148 (minus 5 percent)
NBC5 -- 179,361 (minus 18 percent)
Fox4 -- 139,503 (plus 5 percent)

WFAA8 -- 121,412 (minus 20 percent)
CBS11 -- 97,130 (minus 3 percent)
NBC5 -- 88,024 (minus 19 percent)
Fox4 -- 81,953 (plus 13 percent)

6 A.M

NBC5 -- 152,789 (plus 53 percent)
Fox4 -- 112,931 (even)
WFAA8 -- 93,002 (minus 18 percent)
CBS11 -- 59,787 (plus 29 percent)

NBC5 -- 100,165 (plus 43 percent)
Fox4 -- 75,883 (plus 9 percent)
WFAA8 -- 57,671 (minus 27 percent)
CBS11 -- 39,459 (plus 63 percent)

6 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 159,432 (minus 20 percent)
NBC5 -- 132,860 (plus 5 percent)
Fox4 -- 112,931 (plus 6 percent)
CBS11 -- 106,288 (minus 16 percent)

Fox4 -- 63,741 (plus 24 percent)
NBC5/WFAA8 -- 57,671 apiece (respectively plus 6 percent, minus 30 percent)
CBS11 -- 30,353 (even)

5 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 126,217 (minus 17 percent)
NBC5 -- 119,574 (minus 5 percent)
Fox4 -- 99,645 (minus 6 percent)
CBS11 -- 66,430 (minus 29 percent)

NBC5 -- 57,671 (plus 27 percent)
Fox4/WFAA8 -- 54,635 apiece (respectively plus 29 percent, minus 18 percent)
CBS11 -- 21,247 (minus 30 percent)

In other sweeps ratings results:

*** At 9 p.m., Fox4's one-hour newscast averaged 179,361 total viewers, down 16 percent from a year ago. Also at 9 p.m. "The 33's" news drew an average of 33,215 viewers, down 29 percent.

It was basically the same story at 9 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 had 97,130 viewers in that age range (minus 11 percent) while The 33 drew 15,177 (minus 29 percent)

***The Oprah Winfrey Show on WFAA8 won at 4 p.m. in total viewers, with Fox4's Judge Judy a close second and NBC5's First At Four local newscast placing third.

***Fox4's syndicated Live with Regis & Kelly took the 9 a.m. crown in total viewers. The third hour of NBC's Today show ran second.