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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., May 2-4)

Bleary-eyed but still basking in the afterglow, your friendly content provider stayed up all the way to the bewitching hour for Sunday/Monday's marathon Dallas Stars-San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup playoff match.

So, too, did many of you, with hockey dominating D-FW's very late night landscape in ways it seldom has. Pocket calculator technology and a Nielsen ratings printout say that the Stars' quadruple overtime win, finally accomplished at 1:24 a.m. Monday, averaged 104,731 homes for its entire running time on Fox Sports Southwest.

Overall household ratings fell off a bit as the game kept going and going and going. But the share of television sets in use kept increasing as viewing options downshifted to an otherwise vast wasteland of mostly informercials, lousy movies and moth-eaten series repeats.

From 1:15 to 1:30 a.m. -- Nielsen measures audiences in 15-minute increments -- Stars-Sharks still had 90,227 homes in tow. But the audience share was 18 percent, the game's highest of the night. It had started with a 5 percent share at 8 p.m.

More impressively, the joyous 1:15 to 1:30 a.m. climax, which found the Stars advancing to play the dreaded Detroit Red Wings, had a 23 percent share of advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds. To repeat, audience share is the measurement of television sets actually in use. So this means that nearly a quarter of D-FW's TV-watching 18-to-49-year-olds were seeing Stars.

Advertisers got a big bonus, too, because their commercials kept repeating. Younger viewers could either laugh at the barrage of Cialis ads or go with the flow of those constant Bud Natural Light comedy spots. Is that a rocket in your pocket or a nice head on your beer? Sorry.

Here's another comparison. ABC's Desperate Housewives was Sunday's most-watched program with far more D-FW total homes (250,867) than the Stars. But DH averaged a lower audience share -- 17 percent -- than the Stars' late night haul because there were many more enticing viewing alternatives from 8 to 9 p.m. than from 1:15 to 1:30 a.m.

Even so, this is a major ratings victory for the Stars, whose Nielsens barely registered for much of the regular season.

On to Friday's local news derby, where overall kingpin WFAA8 had an unusually tough time.

At 10 p.m. the ABC station ran second to CBS11 in total homes and well behind NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The 6 a.m. race, still red hot, saw Fox4 edge WFAA8 in total homes, with the Peacock right behind. But in the 25-to-54 demo, it was NBC5 solidly on top ahead of WFAA8 and a lagging Fox4.

WFAA ran first in total homes at 5 and 6 p.m. while clipping runnerup NBC5 by just one-tenth of a rating point (2,436 viewers) in the 6 p.m. competition for 25-to-54-year-olds. The Peacock won comfortably in that key demographic at 5 p.m.