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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 14)

Led by NCIS -- the longrunning drama has more ratings legs than an octopus -- CBS led Tuesday's prime-time Nielsens from start to finish in the overall numbers games.

NCIS led off at 7 p.m. by drawing more D-FW homes (272,787) than anything else all night. CBS' new The Mentalist then tapered off a bit, with its 238,689 total homes tying ABC's competing Dancing with the Stars results show for the top spot at 8 p.m.

CBS' Without A Trace then mopped up at 9 p.m. Its 187,541 homes edged ABC's Eli Stone (172,928).

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox's House edged past NCIS to take first place at 7 p.m. Dancing dominated at 8 p.m., with Mentalist slipping to third behind Fox's Fringe. At 9 p.m., Eli Stone took the gold, with NBC's Law & Order: SVU in second and Trace tying Fox4's local newscast for third.

In the four-way local news battles, WFAA8 again flexed at 10 p.m., with its 250,867 homes routing runnerup NBC5 (148,572). WFAA8 also romped among 25-to-54-year-olds -- the main advertiser target audience for news programming -- and likewise ran the table at 6 p.m.

Fox4 made another strong showing at 6 a.m., drawing 114,473 homes to roll over the second place Peacock (70,632). Fox4 also won comfortably with 25-to-54-year-olds, with NBC5 and WFAA8 tying for second.

NBC5 crowed at 5 p.m. with twin wins.

With the November "sweeps" just 15 days away (Oct. 30 to Nov. 26), WFAA8 has a hammerlock on the 6 and 10 p.m. contests. But the 6 a.m. battle is wide open, with Fox4 and NBC5 currently in the pole positions. At 5 p.m., the Peacock has a solid chance to end WFAA8's long reign, with Fox4 also in striking distance.

CBS11 won't be finishing first in any of these four battlegrounds. In the May sweeps, though, the station showed year-to-year ratings upticks across the board. That's best it can hope for in November, too.