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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., March 2) -- Leno wins again while CBS11/WFAA8 split late night election returns

Sarah Palin's visitation to Jay Leno's Tonight Show spurred him to a second lopsided win over David Letterman Tuesday.

Palin, who also contributed a hit 'n' miss comedy monologue, was not asked about her previous run-in with Letterman over a sexual joke he made about her daughter. In other words, it was a typically inconsequential Leno interview, but good enough to make the sale ratings-wise.

Tonight drew 162,871 D-FW viewers while Letterman had 67,863. For Monday's return to Tonight, Leno won by a score of 217,162 to 74,649 viewers.

Tuesday's Tonight also logged an easy win among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, with Leno luring 55,442 to Letterman's 16,308. On Monday night the margin was 75,017 to 13,046.

Tuesday's 10 p.m. local newscasts were driven by state and local election returns, with CBS11 nipping WFAA8 in total viewers by a Nielsen vote of 223,948 to 217,162. NBC5 (169,658) and Fox4 (156,085) trailed on a night when Gov. Rick Perry closed the deal early and made his victory speech from Driftwood at the start of the late night editions.

WFAA8's coverage had the largest audience among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It drew 95,139 viewers in this age range, with NBC5 and CBS11 tying for second (82,863 viewers) and Fox4 running fourth (55,242).

In prime-time returns, the 9 p.m. premiere of NBC's Parenthood ran fourth in total viewers, drawing 203,589 opposite CBS' front-running The Good Wife (359,674 viewers). But Parenthood vaulted to first place among 18-to-49-year-olds, the target demographic for entertainment programming. So NBC will be giddy if those numbers hold up nationally.

Fox's American Idol again called the tune from 7 to 9 p.m., rolling up 495,400 total viewers and also winning among 18-to-49-year-olds. CBS' combo of NCIS/NCIS: Los Angeles ran a close second in total viewers but sagged among 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC's 8 p.m. new episode of Lost had the silver in that key demographic.

In other local news derby results, NBC5 again swept the 6 a.m. proceedings, with Fox4 close behind.

The 5 and 6 p.m. news numbers were mostly controlled by Fox4, which won at 5 p.m. in total viewers and ran the table at those hours among 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8 notched a 6 p.m. win in total viewers.