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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot -- World Series Game 1 edition (Wed., Oct. Oct. 22)

Uh-oh, this doesn't look good -- for Major League baseball or the network carrying its World Series.

Fox's telecast of Wednesday's Game 1 between the Philadelphia Phillies and virtually unknown Tampa Bay Rays whiffed in D-FW. And that's putting it very charitably.

No, this isn't a big-time baseball area. Seemingly endless years of Texas Rangers' futility have helped see to that. The Dallas Cowboys and just about any brand of televised football rule D-FW with an iron fist. Baseball can be counted on to outscore hockey in the Nielsen ratings. But that's about it.

National numbers for the World Series, coming later in the day, can't help but be stronger. But a virtual shutout in the nation's fifth-largest TV market (ironically, D-FW is right behind No. 4 Philadelphia) is hardly inconsequential. OK, enough pre-game "buildup." Here are the ratings for Wednesday's World Series opener, which started at 7:30 p.m. and ended at 11:01 p.m.

Subtracting the half-hour pre-game show, Game 1 (on Fox4 locally) averaged 119,344 D-FW homes in prime-time and perked up slightly -- to 133,958 homes -- for its closing 10 to 11 p.m. hour. FYI, the Phillies won 3-2 and all of America later can get a free taco, courtesy of a Rays' player. More on this later.

So what did the World Series beat in prime-time?

Well, in the 7 to 8 p.m. hour (which included the half-hour pre-game show), it almost knocked off ABC's still viewer-starved Pushing Daisies. And from 9 to 10 p.m., the Series outscored NBC's bombing Lipstick Jungle.

Here are the hour-by-hour D-FW box scores (but only this once, because life's too short):

7 to 8 P.M.
World Series -- 94,388 homes
Pushing Daisies (ABC) -- 99,860 homes
Knight Rider -- (NBC) -- 141,265 homes
The New Adventures of Old Christine and Gary Unmarrried (CBS) -- 153,443 homes and 175,363 homes

8 to 9 p.m.
World Series -- 119,344 homes
Deal or No Deal (NBC) -- 131,522 homes
Private Practice (ABC) -- 158,314 homes
Criminal Minds (CBS) -- 228,946 homes

9 to 10 p.m.
Lipstick Jungle (NBC) -- 82,810 homes
World Series -- 126,651 homes
Dirty Sexy Money (ABC) -- 136,394 homes
CSI: NY (CBS) -- 236,253 homes

It got slightly better for the World Series in the ratings for advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.

Baseball's equivalent of the Super Bowl ran fourth from 7 to 8 p.m. in this key demographic. It placed third -- ahead of Deal or No Deal -- in the 8 to 9 p.m. hour. And in the 9 to 10 p.m. numbers, the World Series finally finished on top, drawing 15,767 more 18-to-49-year-olds than runnerup Dirty Sexy Money. Trailing were CSI:NY and what should be a very red-faced Lipstick Jungle.

One more thing: In its climactic 10 to 11 p.m. hour, the World Series ran fourth in total homes during the first half-hour -- behind the three competing local newcasts -- and beat all comers from 10:30 to 11 p.m. (ABC's Nightline was a close second, with NBC's Tonight Show and CBS' Late Show lagging in that order.

Hey, my hand-held little calculator is crying out for mercy at this point. But oh yeah, the free taco.

Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett stole second base in the fifth inning (at 9:23 p.m.), requiring Taco Bell to keep its promise of giving everyone who wants one a free taco from 2 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 28th.

Taco Bell president Greg Creed, interviewed at field level 12 minutes later, seemed very happy about this. But he misstated the date, telling Fox's Chris Myers that everybody should be primed to eat a taco on -- his words -- "November 28th."

It was that kind of night.

Local News Derby Blip

WFAA8 again cruised to easy ratings wins at 10 p.m. in both total homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 and NBC tied for first at 6 a.m. in total homes, but the Peacock won decisively among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 swept the 6 p.m. Nielsens and also ran first at 5 p.m. in total homes. Fox4 took the 5 p.m. gold in the 25-to-54 demo.