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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Mon., Sept. 2-5) -- out-of-staters in Jerry's Palace outpoint TCU-Baylor in surprise college football returns

ESPN's down-to-the-wire Baylor-TCU score-athon fell short of the LSU-Oregon matchup in Jerry's Palace. Consider that another holiday weekend upset.

Or to look at it another way, free over-the-air presentations still tend to have an advantage over pay cable.

ABC's Saturday night matchup of the country's No. 3- and No. 4-ranked teams, won handily by LSU, averaged 277,028 D-FW viewers to rank as the holiday weekend's most-watched program.

Underdog Baylor's wacky 50-48 win over TCU, shown Friday night on ESPN, averaged 235,474 viewers, with a peak audience of 353,211 between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m. LSU-Oregon topped out at a higher 387,839 viewers in the 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. segment.

On Sunday night, Fox Sports Southwest drew an average of 152,365 viewers for Texas A&M's rout of SMU. Ratings for the infant Longhorn Network's Saturday night Texas-Rice game, were unavailable. But LHN currently is available in North Texas only on Verizon Fios.

The first-place Texas Rangers held steady for most of the holiday weekend, but couldn't top the two most-watched college football games.

Friday night's win at Boston, on TXA21, had 173,143 viewers. Saturday afternoon's loss to the Red Sox, on Fox, won its time slot with 166,217 viewers. Sunday afternoon's Rangers win at Fenway had the weekend's biggest crowd -- 214,697 viewers on FSS. The Labor Day road loss to Tampa Bay, also on FSS, shrunk to 145,440 viewers.

Sunday night's six-hour Jerry Lewis-less MDA telethon, making its debut locally on TXA21, ended up being virtually invisible with an average of 5,541 viewers from 6 p.m. to midnight. More than half of the annual fundraiser -- 13 of the 24 quarter-hour segments measured by Nielsen -- registered "hashmarks" (no measurable audience).

The telethon, with local segments hosted by sister station CBS11 personalities, peaked at 23,547 D-FW viewers between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m. Its closing 15-minutes, formerly best known for Lewis' "You'll Never Walk Alone" wrapup, had 4,155 viewers after wall-to-wall hashmarks for the 9:45 to 11:45 p.m. segment.

In contrast, Sunday's most-watched attraction -- WFAA8's 10 p.m. newscast -- had 214,697 viewers.

All four of D-FW's major news providers took Labor Day knees, throwing out the ratings for their 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m. editions.

In Friday's four-way competitions, NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first at 10 p.m. in total viewers, with the Peacock winning outright with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 also notched a 6 a.m. win in total viewers, but fell to second behind Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 swept the 5 p.m. proceedings and won at 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 had the 6 p.m. gold in total viewers.