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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., April 6) -- hoops/hardball edition

Monday's sunny Texas Rangers home opener on Fox4 had the most viewers during daytime hours before CBS' NCAA basketball championship game finished reasonably strong despite North Carolina's lopsided dominance of Michigan State.

The Rangers' 9-1 win over Cleveland, the only time they're scheduled this season on Fox4, averaged 93,002 D-FW viewers in outscoring a competing mix of soap operas, game shows and talkers. ABC's General Hospital came closest to the home team, drawing 79,716 viewers between 2 and 3 p.m. The Rangers also prevailed among advertiser-favored 18-to-49-year-olds.

North Carolina-Michigan State averaged 305,578 total viewers for a game that didn't start until 8:24 p.m. before stretching to 10:46 p.m. A peak audience of 405,223 watched the closing minutes.

Basketball outdrew all competing attractions except ABC's Castle and the premiere of the network's Surviving Suburbia sitcom.

In the 9 to 10 p.m. hour, Castle had 305,578 viewers to edge the NCAA's 292,292 viewers. Part of the audience fall-off was due to halftime. From 8:30 to 9 p.m., Surviving Suburbia fed off its Dancing with the Stars lead-in to draw 345,436 viewers opposite 305,578 viewers for the opening stages of hoops. Basketball beat everything in its path, however, in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Dancing with the Stars topped the 7 to 8:30 p.m. time slot with Monday's largest audience, 431,795 viewers. Fox's House ran second with 239,148 viewers. The episode included the suicide death of Dr. Lawrence Kutner, a regular cast character played by actor Kal Penn. In a rather bizarre touch, Fox has set up a Web site memorial for the character, who was 33 years old and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Moving on to the local news derby, where WFAA8 swept the downsized three-way 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers (358,722) and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 did likewise at 6 a.m., where it's been trading first place finishes with NBC5.

The 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

It also was a split decision at 5 p.m., where the Peacock again had the most total viewers but WFAA8 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.