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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Feb. 17) -- the Olympics strike back

Beaten by Fox's American Idol in their first of five faceoffs Tuesday night, NBC's Olympics coverage responded with an audience avalanche Wednesday.

The 8 to 9 p.m. portion of the Winter Games, on a night fueled with gold medal performances by skier Lindsey Vonn and snowboarder Shaun White, amassed 644,699 D-FW viewers against Idol's final selection of its Top 24 semi-finalists (407,178 viewers).

The Olympics also crunched Idol among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds while both ABC and CBS surrendered with nights full of repeats.

Overall, the 7 to 10:30 p.m. Winter Games presentation averaged 665,057 total viewers. Thursday night promises to be even better, with live coverage of the too-close-to-call men's figure skating final.

Over on TXA21, the newly remodeled Dallas Mavericks finally showed some fourth quarter life in beating the Phoenix Suns at home. But the game drew just 67,863 viewers. It can be tough sledding against both the Olympics and fan skepticism.

On the local news derby scoreboard, CBS11 won the downsized 10 p.m. competition in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the principal advertiser target audience for news programming.

But NBC5's late nighter, delayed until just past 10:30 p.m. this time, had a lion-sized 386,819 total viewers, nearly equalling the total 10 p.m. haul for CBS11, WFAA8 and Fox4 (400,392 viewers).

NBC5 rolled even bigger with 25-to-54-year-olds, drawing 248,589 viewers in this age range compared to CBS11's top-of-the-heap 67,518 at 10 p.m.

Fox4 had a big day in the morning competitions, sweeping the 6 a.m. Nielsens and also beating the three network morning shows among 25-to-54-year-olds with the 7 to 9 a.m. portion of its Good Day. NBC's Olympics-themed Today won in total viewers, though.

The 5 and 6 p.m. golds were shared by NBC5, which won in total viewers, and WFAA8, No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds.