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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., March 6)

Threatening weather invariably warms the hearts of TV news directors and station sales departments.

Add the prospect of North Texas snow and even their libidos bubble to a boil. Is that a double-digit Nielsen rating in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

WFAA8 benefited most from Thursday's veritable White Christmas. In the total homes Nielsens, it rose to 10 or better ratings for its 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Fox4 also ran much stronger than usual in the early evening and beat all competing network entertainment programming with its 9 p.m. newscast.

WFAA8 amassed 294,708 D-FW homes at 10 p.m. to shrug off runnerup CBS11 (170,492 homes). At 5 p.m., the ABC station had an uncommonly big haul of 243,560 homes, turning back a game Fox4 (207,026 homes). WFAA8 upped its total to 277,658 homes at 6 p.m., with Fox4 again taking the silver (197,284).

WFAA8 also took first place at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. But the margins over silver medalist Fox4 were only marginal at 5 and 6 p.m. Fox4 also took the runnerup spot at 10 p.m., although WFAA8 had ample breathing room at that hour.

At 6 a.m., with weather not a big factor yet, NBC5 edged WFAA8 in the total homes battle. The Peacock slipped to second, behind Fox4, in the 25-to-54 demo.

Rain, shine or snow, Fox's American Idol (433,537 homes) again squished all programs in its 7 p.m. path. The second episode of Fox's New Amsterdam held onto 180,234 homes in running a competitive second to ABC's Lost (216,768 homes). But Lost cleaned up among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds (the prime target audience for entertainment programming). New Amsterdam faded to third in that measurement, behind NBC's Celebrity Apprentice.

The Dallas Mavericks' stinko, Dirk-less effort against Houston drew 133,958 homes on TXA21 and added another 56,019 for TNT's less forgiving national telecast. That includes Mavs fans who shut their eyes while the Rockets blasted off in the second half and left the home team looking like the Flint Tropics.