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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Dec. 17) -- CBS thrives against rivals' repeats

CBS kept its prime-time ratings on a seasonal high Thursday with a menu of first-run episodes.

New hours of Survivor: Samoa, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and The Mentalist all won their time slots in total D-FW viewers. Mentalist had the biggest haul. Its 346,101 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour easily surpassed the combined audience for Fox4's local newscast (108,581), NBC's The Jay Leno Show (101,795) and ABC's repeat of Private Practice (67,863).

NBC's two-hour Saturday Night Live Christmas reprise ran second from 7 to 9 p.m. with 149,299 viewers. But it beat Survivor: Samoa among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, making the only dent in CBS' armor.

Over on cable, the unbeaten Colts' narrow win at Jacksonville averaged 203,589 total viewers on the NFL Network. Its HD delivery was screwed up all night -- at least on Verizon Fios systems -- which is an all too common occurrence. The NHL, NBA and Major League baseball cable networks had crystal clear high-def pictures while the runaway most popular pro sport in the land still is often a fuzzy mess on its longer-established channel. Somebody had better repair the NFL Network's tin can HD delivery system.

In Thursday's local news derby results, WFAA8 made a near-miraculous recovery at 10 p.m. on the last night of its Santa's Helpers toy drive.

Saddled with a 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in of just 74,649 viewers from the Private Practice repeat, WFAA8's late night news spring-boarded to 210,375 viewers. That still fell a bit short of first-place CBS11's 223,948 viewers. But its 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in from Mentalist was a whopping 373,247 viewers. It's a wonder that WFAA8 was even in the picture.

CBS11 also narrowly won at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main target audience for news programming. NBC5 ran last in both measurements.

The Peacock perked up at 6 a.m., though, edging arch rival Fox4 in both ratings competitions. WFAA8 drooped to fourth place among 25-to-54-year-olds for the second straight weekday.

WFAA8 won at 5 and 6 p.m. in total viewers but again fell short with 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 ran first at 5 p.m. in that measurement while CBS11 recorded a rare 6 p.m. win.