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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Dec. 21) -- piping hot Mavs get a little lovin'

The Dallas Mavericks took their winning road show to Orlando Tuesday night, beating the potent Magic in an early-starting game that had D-FW viewers paying at least a little attention.

The Mavs ran their record to an imposing 23-5 while Dirk Nowitzki passed legendary Larry Bird for 25th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. By the final 15 minute segment of the 105-91 win, 235,474 D-FW viewers were paying attention to the TXA21 telecast. That was good enough to outdraw everything except CBS' competing repeat of NCIS: Los Angeles. And among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, the Mavs beat both NCIS and its offspring during the prime-time portion of the game.

NCIS still had Tuesday's most total viewers, though, snaring 304,731 to the overall average of 117,737 for Dallas-Orlando. The Mavericks now will rest until a Dec. 27th road game against the Oklahoma Thunder.

NBC otherwise scored with a two-hour Saturday Night Live Christmas special that drew 166,217 viewers from 8 to 10 p.m. while winning those two hours among 18-to-49-year-olds. Fox's Million Dollar Money Drop also did all right with an identical 166,217 total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour.

The night's biggest loser, ABC's Skating with the Stars, had just 90,034 viewers while also tanking with 18-to-49-year-olds.

In local news derby results, NBC5 capitalized on its uncommonly nice-sized network lead-in to edge WFAA8 in total viewers and rout its rivals among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations.

The Peacock also took the 6 a.m. competition in total viewers but fell to second place behind Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 had a nice time of it at 5 and 6 p.m., running the table at both hours.