The Mentalist intercepts | None | Uncle Barky's Bytes

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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Aug. 20) -- pre-season football scores until The Mentalist intercepts

It's hard to go wrong with pro football in this market, although some curious viewers may have just been hoping for a Michael Vick sighting during Thursday's Eagles-Colts pre-season matchup. But he wasn't eligible to play yet, and didn't suit up or attend the game.

Fox's telecast, which bled into what would have been the first half of Fox4's 10 p.m. newscast, averaged 179,361 D-FW viewers overall in winning the 7 to 9 p.m. slot. But in the 9 p.m. hour, CBS' rerun of The Mentalist took the field and drew 219,219 viewers to outscore Eagles-Colts (192,647 viewers).

Football had its way with advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, though, beating all competing prime-time programming.

At 7 p.m., ABC's second-to-last 10th anniversary edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire managed 126,217 total viewers to finish second behind football in that hour. But Millionaire again was a no-show with 18-to-49-year-olds, finishing fourth.

On Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers' 11-1 thumping of the Twins averaged a respectable 126,217 total viewers, with a nice-sized 61,583 of them in the 18-to-49 age range. Who says baseball's only for codgers?

The local news derby had a split decision at 10 p.m., where CBS11 won a downsized three-way race with 205,933 total viewers while NBC5 took first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 had twin wins at 6 a.m., in each case nipping NBC5. That race will kick into a higher gear next week when schools reopen and parents start re-tuning in to see if little Joe Tex might be getting rained on, etc.

WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers but the Peacock crowed among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m. with wins in both ratings measurements.

WFAA8, which has been lightening the content of its 5 p.m. newscast while introducing anchor Shelly Slater to the mix, registered an unusually dismal showing with 25-to-54-year-olds. Nielsen says the ABC station managed just a fifth place tie at 5 p.m. with MY27's House of Payne sitcom. Both had 15,177 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic compared to NBC5's league-leading 66,777.

WFAA8's preceding Oprah Winfrey Show drew even fewer 25-to-54-year-olds. Its puny total of 9,106 fell short of even ESPN's competing Around the Horn (18,212) and Pardon the Interruption (21,247).