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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 1) -- Cowboys mauled by Bears while viewers turn away

Thrashed by the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys logged their smallest regular season audience to date on an ESPN/TXA21 combo.

ESPN's presentation averaged 557,620 viewers while the TXA21 simulcast pulled in 461,241. That's a grand total of 1,018,862 viewers for a game that ran from 7:40 to 10:39 p.m. The previous lows were 1,110,952 viewers apiece for both the Game 2 loss at Seattle and the Game 3 home win vs. Tampa Bay. The Cowboys' opening night road win against the New York Giants remains comfortably on top with 1,348,046 viewers for NBC's Wednesday night telecast to kick off the NFL season.

For the final full 15-minute segments of Monday's game, ESPN had 454,357 viewers and TXA21, 371,747. The total of 826,104 viewers is well below the magic one million mark. And audiences continued to fall off for the closing 9 minutes of the game. Nielsen Media Research measures in 15-minute increments.

The Texas Rangers' late-starting loss at Oakland, which ran until 12:12 a.m., averaged 240,947 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

The Big Four broadcast networks weighed in with some of their heaviest hitters opposite the Cowboys. In that arena, NBC's The Voice edged ABC's Dancing with the Stars from 7 to 9 p.m. by a score of 268,484 viewers to 240,947. But ABC's Castle narrowly beat NBC's new Revolution in the 9 p.m. hour --- by 240,947 viewers to 220,294.

NBC swept ABC among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though. CBS' 7:30 p.m. episode of its new Partners sitcom was Monday's lowest prime-time scorer in both measurements among Big Four broadcast network attractions. But Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast had the fewest viewers across the board.

Over on KTXD-TV (Ch. 52), the first 8 a.m. edition of The Texas Daily (with Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan as inaugural guest commentators) had "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in the total viewer Nielsens. Worse yet, it also had a 0.0 rating among viewers 50 years and older, who constitute the one-hour program's target baby-boomer audience.

In contrast, KTXD's noon episode of Gunsmoke drew 25,724 viewers in the 50+ age group to rank as the station's most-watched program of the day in that demographic. But contrast that with the 195,901 50-plussers who tuned in CBS11's 6:30 p.m. episode of the syndicated Wheel of Fortune. The total audience for Wheel was 247,831 viewers. So 50+ viewers constitute a huge percentage of the haul.

In Monday's local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Audiences for the four newscasts at that hour were depressed by the depressing Cowboys game.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. for its only wins of the day. WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 and NBC5 shared the 25-to-54 gold. At 5 p.m., CBS11 was tops in total viewers and WFAA8 led in the 25-to-54 demographic.