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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 25-27) -- Football boots returning series premieres on rival networks

NBC's Sunday Night Football high-kicked in the Nielsen ratings, outdrawing scads of competing series on rival networks.

The Indianapolis Colts' rout of the Arizona Cardinals averaged 445,081 D-FW viewers, with ABC's season premiere of Desperate Housewives providing the most resistance with 259,077 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour.

Other than football, though, Fox's returning Family Guy racked up Sunday's biggest score with 18-to-49-year-olds, drawing 145,854 viewers in this age range compared to 256,055 for Colts-Cardinals.

Fox's premiere of its Family Guy spinoff, The Cleveland Show, was its second biggest cartoon draw, with 172,718 total viewers and 110,201 of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

CBS' two-hour relaunch of The Amazing Race averaged 166,075 total viewers, with the following season debut of Cold Case improving a bit to 186,004 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour. But ABC's return of Brothers & Sisters ran second in total viewers at 9 p.m. with 225,862. ABC's trio of Extreme Makeover, DH and B&S also beat CBS in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Earlier Sunday, the Bengals' last-second win over the Steelers led the way with 391,937 total viewers on CBS.

Also Sunday, the first two hours of filmmaker Ken Burns' National Parks opus ran four times locally on Ch. 13 from 1 to 9 p.m. The peak audience was 86,359 viewers between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m.

Saturday's prime-time festivities were paced by ABC's Iowa-Penn State game, which drew 159,432 viewers.

CBS led Friday night's total viewer Nielsens from 7 to 9 p.m. with its returning duo of Ghost Whisperer and Medium. ABC's 20/20 then took the 9 p.m. hour over CBS' Numb3rs, with NBC's The Jay Leno Show running third.

Fox's 7 to 8 p.m. double dip of its new Brothers sitcom and the return of Dollhouse were all but missing in action, finishing fourth overall Friday among the Big 4 broadcast networks.

In that night's 18-to-49-year-old results, a repeat of ABC's FlashForward took the 7 p.m. hour. Medium then won at 8 p.m. before 20/20 scored at 9 p.m. while Numb3rs slid to an out-the-money fourth.

In Friday's local news derby results, WFAA8 took the 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the principal advertiser target audience for news programming.

The 6 a.m. golds were split, with Fox4 winning in total viewers and NBC5 taking first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The Peacock also won in total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m. Fox4 countered with twin wins in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Among the prime-time newscasts, Fox4's 9 p.m. edition outdrew The 33's competing news hour in both ratings measurements. But The 33 in turn had a larger audience than either the 7 or 8 p.m. hours of TXA21's struggling First In Prime newscasts.

Also of note: The Texas Rangers ended their home season dismally Sunday afternoon by blowing a three-run ninth inning lead to Tampa Bay. The game managed 53,144 total viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

The Rangers technically are still alive for a post-season berth as they begin a four-game road series against the first-place Angels. But just one Angels win against Texas will officially end those hopes.

With home games now in the rear view mirror, we can officially report that our "Take Dale Out to the Ballgame" fundraiser on behalf of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation raised a grand total of $50.

WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen, who resolutely stayed away this season, said the money already has been sent to the foundation. So thanks much to the hearty handful who contributed. The last I looked, $50 is better than nothing.