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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., April 5-7) -- good sports

The Texas Rangers’ first home games of the season and the NCAA’s Final Four men’s hoops face-offs made it a big sports weekend in D-FW land.

Mega-booing of Josh Hamilton added to the fun at Rangers Ballpark, with three different stations in the mix.

Friday’s early afternoon home opener against the Angels on Fox Sports Southwest had the smallest crowd, with 172,105 D-FW viewers. Daytime work week games are hard-pressed to draw big TV audiences, although many more viewers likely were watching in bars or other out-of-home venues that Nielsen is still challenged to measure.

Saturday’s mid-afternoon game on Fox moved up to 227,179 viewers. Sunday night’s Rangers-Angels finale on ESPN2 then blew up to 323,557 viewers. Yu Darvish on the mound is still an audience magnet, even more so after his near-perfect game on FSS last Tuesday.

In contrast Sunday night, mothership ESPN’s competing women’s Final Four basketball games were both air balls. Louisville-Cal averaged 41,305 viewers and UConn-Notre Dame, 27,537.

Saturday’s men’s Final Four on CBS fared far better with 192,758 viewers for Louisville-Wichita State and 289,136 for Michigan-Syracuse. (Numbers may be adjusted slightly up or down based on final measurements of official running times. But you get the picture.)

There were some showy non-sports attractions, too, led by CBS’ three-hour Academy of Country Music awards show Sunday night. It outdrew the Rangers-Angels game with 337,326 viewers. But baseball had more advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, beating the twangers by a score of 121,197 to 111,629.

On AMC, the two-hour Season 6 premiere of Mad Men had 75,726 total viewers from 8 to 10 p.m., with 44,652 in the 18-to-49 age range. HBO’s second Game of Thrones episode of the series’ third season drew 48,189 total viewers for its initial 8 p.m. showing. As with Mad Men, more than half of them -- 28,705 -- were in the 18-to-49 age range.

The Friday night debut of CBS’ Vegas may have helped its chances for a second season. Airing at 8 p.m., Vegas won its time slot with 234,063 total viewers. ABC’s competing Shark Tank easily had the most 18-to-49-year-olds in that slot, though; Vegas tied NBC’s Grimm for second place while drawing more viewers in this key demographic than CBS’ following Blue Bloods.

The Friday night losers, with renewals for next season very unlikely, were NBC’s Fashion Star and Fox’s Touch. Respectively airing at 7 and 8 p.m., both series ran fourth in both ratings measurements.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results:

CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m. while WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 again swept the 6 a.m. competitions. WFAA8 notched twin wins at 5 p.m. while also topping the 6 p.m. Nielsens among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.


Alexis Smith, WFAA8’s Saturday morning Daybreak traffic reporter, is taking a new job as the full-time early morning traffic stopper at Seattle’s KIRO-TV. She’s scheduled to start in May.

Danielle Vollmar, who vacated CW33’s Nightcap news in mid-January for a weathercaster spot at WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, has already landed a new forecasting job at Boston’s WCVB-TV. She’ll be the meteorologist for that station’s weekend editions of the early morning Eye Opener.

Vollmar had been a co-host of CW33’s weekday Eye Opener before moving to the like-minded, comedy-laced 9 p.m. Nightcap .

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