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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Nov. 22-24) -- Cowboys and Kennedy (plus some D-FW TV news notes)

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A frigid day, a late-starting game and more down-to-the-wire 4th quarter drama from the Dallas Cowboys were perfect combinations for Fox Sunday.

The Cowboys’ 24-21 buzzer-beating win on the New York Giants’ home field averaged 1,448,665 D-FW viewers from 3:25 to 6:40 p.m. It marked the first of Fox’s seven telecasts this season to draw a bigger crowd than any of NBC’s three Sunday Night Football Cowboys games. This one surpassed the 1,327,943 viewers for the New Orleans Saints’ Nov. 10th 49-17 demolition of Dallas.

The audience dwindled to well below one million viewers by the time that one ended. But Cowboys-Giants drew its peak crowd -- 1,718,515 viewers -- for the final minutes of action. Remarkably, that’s more than twice the 809,548 viewers who hung in for the closing minutes of Cowboys-Saints.

Through 11 regular season games, the most-watched Cowboys matchup is still the Sept. 8th prime-time opener against the Giants, which averaged 1,542,061 viewers on NBC.

Sunday’s other marquee attraction, NBC’s overtime showdown between Tom Brady’s victorious New England Patriots and Peyton Manning’s lead-blowing Denver Broncos, stretched all the way to 11:22 p.m. A total of 660,421 viewers stuck around for the final minutes, with game averaging an identical 660,421 viewers overall.

That was easily enough to cream ABC’s competing American Music Awards, which averaged 319,559 viewers. The AMAs also were beaten from 8 to 9 p.m. by AMC’s The Walking Dead (347,964 viewers with an eye-popping 231,226 of them in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 age range).

CBS’ top prime-time attraction, a “Red John”-infused episode of The Mentalist, drew 305,356 viewers from 9 to 10 p.m.

Saturday’s college football parade had two big winners, even though Texas teams lost to out-of-staters in both of them.

CBS’ “Johnny Football”-spiked A&M game against dominant LSU averaged 404,774 viewers on CBS. Oklahoma State’s prime-time destruction of previously unbeaten Baylor (on ABC) then drew the same number of viewers. In each case, audiences tailed off as the games dragged on. Oklahoma State-Baylor peaked at 504,192 viewers from 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. LSU-A&M hit the same high from 5:45 to 6 p.m. (with the Nielsen numbers rounded off to the nearest one-tenth of a point in both cases).

Friday was marked by the city of Dallas’ noon commemoration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. It was carried live on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8, CBS11 and KTXD (Ch. 47). Here are the total viewer numbers from noon to 1 p.m.:

WFAA8 -- 120,722
NBC5/CBS11 -- 106,520 each
Fox4 -- 56,810
KTXD -- 7,101

WFAA8’s subsequent commercial-free special on its live coverage 50 years ago then averaged 142,026 viewers from 1 to 3 p.m. That easily more than doubled the station’s audience for Katie from 3 to 4 p.m. (56,810 viewers) and the 4 p.m. local newscast (49,709).

KTXD’s live commemoration ceremony coverage was part of a 12-hour JFK tribute, with former WFAA8/CBS11 anchor Tracy Rowlett serving as the principal anchor alongside Iola Johnson, Troy Dungan, John Sparks and others. The final hour, from 6 to 7 p.m. as part of the regularly scheduled Texas Daily program, drew 28,405 viewers to lead all KTXD programming Friday.

In prime-time, NBC’s two-hour network JFK special drew 170,431 viewers in the 8 to 10 p.m. slot. The first hour, which had a significantly larger audience, nipped ABC’s competing Shark Tank by a score of 198,836 viewers to 191,735. But CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 won from 8 to 9 p.m. with 220,140 viewers before the network’s Blue Bloods had the biggest audience in the 9 p.m. hour (also 220,140 viewers).

Shark Tank again had prime-time’s biggest audience in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Friday’s four-way local news derby results were paced by WFAA8. The station won at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Fox4 as usual swept the 6 a.m. competitions.


Armageddon failed to materialize Monday morning (Nov. 25th) after dire warnings all around.

“We do have some ice, some ice in Stephenville,” WFAA8’s chief weathercaster, Pete Delkus, said rather wistfully. He also talked up “rain with a few pallets of sleet” in the more immediate Dallas area.

Rival stations made do with their regular early morning forecasters rather than call in featured nighttime guys to, in a sense, “big-foot” the coverage. WFAA8 kept a.m. weather guy Greg Fields around to serve as Delkus’ wingman. He’s long been perfectly capable of carrying the ball on his own. But perception-wise, WFAA8 made it seem as though Fields wasn’t up to the task by bringing Delkus in -- in severe weather shirtsleeves, of course.


The University of North Texas Libraries in Denton will be housing three decades of vintage KXAS-TV news film after a donation from the station announced Monday.

Thousands of film reels from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s are included. KXAS originally signed on as WBAP-TV in 1948 and “soon after began broadcasting news by splicing together film shot daily by station photographers,” according to a publicity release.

“ ‘The Texas News’ was a pioneering newscast format developed by a few WBAP staffers in the 1940s and early ‘50s,” says NBC5 vice president of programming Brian Hocker. “The film in this collection was at the heart of the original television news programs of the day created specifically for North Texans.”

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