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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 26) -- NFL draft heats up, with Fox4 scoring biggest

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The first round of the NFL draft, originating for the first time from Jerry’s Palace, got a big hometown boost Thursday night and soared past the total audience ratings for the previous two beef-on-the-hoof selection shows.

Fox4, also televising the draft for the first time, led the three major providers with its simulcast of the NFL Network’s coverage.

Running from 7 to 10:42 p.m., the draft averaged 256,396 D-FW viewers on Fox4, 142,442 on ESPN and 56,977 on the NFL Net itself. Hand calculator technology says that’s a grand total of 455,815 viewers, almost doubling last year’s combined total of 232,675 viewers on ESPN and the NFL Net. The 2016 NFL draft also fell well short of this year’s crowd, with 339,956 viewers.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox4 again led with 99,859 viewers, with ESPN adding 71,774 and NFL Net chipping in with 21,844. The total of 193,477 viewers in this key demographic again easily exceeds last year’s crowd of 105,835 viewers, but is a bit shy of the 200,070 viewers for the 2016 draft.

Fox4 and TEGNA8 also aired locally produced 6:30 p.m. live draft specials. The Fox4 show did a little better, drawing 99,709 total viewers to TEGNA8’s 92,587. But both specials ran well behind CBS11’s competing Wheel of Fortune (220,785 viewers). Fox4 won among 18-to-49-year-olds, though, pulling in 46,809 to Wheel’s 31,206 while the TEGNA8 special played nearly dead with just 12,482 viewers in the 18-to-49 realm.

CBS had the leading overall attraction opposite the draft, with the network’s 7 p.m. episode of The Big Bang Theory drawing 299,128 total viewers. ABC’s 8 p.m. hour of Grey’s Anatomy was tops with 18-to-49-year-olds (74,894).

One last thing on the draft. The Dallas Cowboys made their pick at 9:13 p.m. And Fox4’s draft numbers hit their peak between 9 and 9:15 p.m., with 391,716 total viewers and 156,030 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Thursday also marked the first day of the four-week May ratings “sweeps” period. And here’s how the four major local TV news providers fared:

TEGNA8 won a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Fox4’s late nighter was pushed past 10:30 p.m. by the draft coverage.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. firsts went to TEGNA8 in total viewers and NBC5 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

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