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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 22-24) -- Cowboys lose again but blast past Game 3 of 2013 preseason (updated with MTV Video Music Awards numbers)

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The Dallas Cowboys logged another loss Saturday night but rolled up their biggest preseason ratings of the summer.

Running from 6:08 to 9:21 p.m. on CBS11, the 25-20 defeat in Miami averaged 603,611 D-FW viewers compared to last year’s comparatively puny 347,653 viewers for a Game 3 Saturday afternoon loss in Arizona.

Cowboys-Dolphins, a “dress rehearsal” game in which many of the starters played the full first half, also moved to the top of 2014’s preseason charts ahead of Game 2 vs. the Baltimore Ravens (536,858 viewers).

Not so hot is the Cowboys’ continued sluggish performance among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. The loss at Miami averaged 218,199 viewers in this key demographic. That’s far less than half of the 603,611 total. But it was a Saturday night, so many of the viewers in this age range may have been otherwise occupied.

If this percentage persists in the regular season, there’ll be trouble in Jerry’s paradise. Ideally, you’d like to have at least half the viewing audience made up of viewers that most advertisers are willing to pay a premium to reach. The CBS network’s Big Brother is a heavyweight in that respect, with last week’s Wednesday and Thursday editions both drawing well in excess of 50 percent of their audience from the 18-to-49 motherlode.

CBS11’s homegrown presentation of Saturday night’s Cowboys game shifted the CBS network’s Saints-Colts game to sister station TXA21 for a 7 p.m. start. The battle of marquee quarterbacks -- Drew Brees vs. Andrew Luck -- drew scant interest with just 42,608 total viewers.

In Sunday’s prime-time Nielsens, CBS’ 7 p.m. episode of Big Brother outdrew the first hour of NBC’s Sunday Night Football (Bengals vs. Cardinals) by a score of 198,836 to 170,431 total viewers. The 18-to-49 victory margin was better for BB, which beat SNF 97,701 viewers to 55,364.

Sunday night’s bump ’n’ grind flesh-fest -- MTV’s annual Music Video Awards -- averaged 165,460 total viewers, with 85,651 in the 18-to-49 demographic for the initial live showing.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results.

A run over of CBS’ Packers-Raiders game, which swept prime-time from start to finish, made it a three-way competition at 10 p.m. NBC5 had the most total viewers and also ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m. while NBC5 did likewise at 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

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