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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Aug. 31-Sept. 1) -- boring pre-season finale reflected in lackluster Cowboys ratings

The Dallas Cowboys' climactic 17-3 pre-season loss at Miami, a snoozer from start to finish, averaged just 484,799 D-FW viewers Thursday night on CBS11.

That may seem like a lot, and it was still easily enough to outdraw the competing Texas Rangers' win on Fox Sports Southwest. But Dallas-Dolphins, which ran from 6:30 to 9:15 p.m., easily had the fewest viewers of the four that don't count. The runner-up, last week's pre-season win against Minnesota, had 664,867 viewers for the CBS11 presentation.

The first-place Rangers, playing a home game that actually mattered, beat Tampa Bay 7-2 while 159,291 viewers tuned in. Overall that was good enough to finish second in the prime-time Nielsens.

On Wednesday night, the Rangers' loss to Tampa Bay, also on FSS, tied Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast and CBS' Big Brother 13 for the most viewers in prime-time. Each attraction had 193,920.

But the day's most-watched program was CBS11's prime-time appetizer, Wheel of Fortune. Now in its 10,000th year, Wheel continued to roll at 6:30 p.m. with 221,622 viewers. That was well more than double the crowd for any of the competing entertainment rag mags on Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and at 5 and 6 p.m., winning in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations. The golds were split at 10 p.m. between CBS11 in total viewers and NBC5 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

On Thursday, WFAA8 won the 10 p.m. competitions in both ratings measurements and added a 6 p.m. first in total viewers. Otherwise it was all Fox4, which swept the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. face-offs while also winning at 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds.