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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 31) -- rocky start for Rock Center

NBC's laudably serious-minded Rock Center with Brian Williams turned into a pumpkin with its Halloween night premiere.

The Peacock's effort to emulate 60 Minutes with a far pithier approach than Dateline drew just 88,063 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour opposite ABC's league-leading Castle (359,027 viewers), CBS' Hawaii Five-0 (216,771) and Fox4's local newscast (121,934).

Rock Center, anchored by Williams with a correspondent crew that includes Ted Koppel, Harry Smith and Meredith Vieira, also was whipped by the 9 to 10 p.m. portion of ESPN's Monday Night Football. It drew 230,319 viewers for that portion of its Kansas City Chiefs-San Diego Chargers game.

(The national ratings weren't much better, with Castle drawing slightly more than three times as many viewers as Rock Center. In D-FW, the margin was four-to-one.)

Rock Center was helped by the usual measly lead-in from NBC's latest two-hour edition of The Sing-Off, which also averaged 88,063 viewers. Monday night's most-watched program, CBS new 8 p.m. episode of Two and a Half Men, had 365,801 viewers while also leading the parade among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. Rock Center slid a bit ahead of Fox4's local news in that key demographic.

In local news derby results, WFAA8 feasted on ABC's bounteous Castle lead-in to edge CBS11 in total viewers and win by a wider margin among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 in turn ran the table at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. while nipping NBC5 for first place at 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. But the Nielsen Media Research report says the station took a Halloween holiday exemption for both of its early evening editions. That would make CBS11 the overall 6 p.m. winner, with WFAA8's Monday numbers discounted in the final November "sweeps" results.