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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., March 11) -- suddenly tough Mavs win second big one on road, but ratings love still on hold

The Dallas Mavericks are playing great of late, edging potent Portland on their home floor late Wednesday in what play-by-play dude Mark Folowill rightly called "one helluva basketball game."

Fans remain skeptical, though. The Mavs' win, on the second end of a back-to-back backbreaker, averaged just 93,002 D-FW viewers on TXA21, peaking at 126,217 from 11:15 to 11:30 p.m.

In days of old -- a couple of seasons ago -- the Mavs routinely would have beaten one or more of the 10 p.m. local newscasts in games scheduled against them. Not so on Wednesday, when each of the four late-nighters easily outpointed Dallas-Portland. Playoff collapses obviously take their toll.

Elsewhere in prime-time, Fox ran the table from 7 to 9 p.m. with Lie to Me (285,649 viewers) and American Idol (538,083). Idol also crunched all comers in the advertiser-craved 18-to-49 demographic, but Lie to Me was nipped in its first half-hour by CBS' New Adventures of Old Christine.

The 7 p.m. premiere of NBC's The Chopping Block ran third with 93,002 total viewers, beating only ABC's pair of Scrubs repeats. ABC also ran a distant fourth for the rest of the night with a give-up lineup of a Lost rerun and a lame duck new episode of the canceled Life on Mars.

At 9 p.m., Fox4's local newscast capitalized on the Idol lead-in by winning in total viewers (411,866) for the second straight night. Fox4 also ran first with 18-to-49-year-olds.

In the four-way local news competitions, CBS11 took charge of the 10 p.m. ratings with wins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 ran the table at 6 a.m., with WFAA8 falling to fourth in total viewers and tying CBS11 for third among 25-to-54-year-olds. That's been happening regularly of late, with CBS11 seemingly in serious competition for the early morning bronze after years and years of last place numbers.

WFAA8 maintained its leadership at 6 p.m. with wins in both ratings measurements. Fox4 had the golds at 5 p.m.