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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Feb. 3) -- Fox and CBS split spoils

Season 8 of American Idol went Hollywood for the first time Tuesday, giving Fox its usual jump start before Fringe again tailed off.

Idol drew 458,367 D-FW viewers in the 7 p.m. hour while CBS' ever-resilient NCIS ran a solid second with 332,150 viewers. But Idol more than doubled NCIS' haul of advertiser-favored 18-to-49-year-olds.

Fringe drooped to 239,148 total viewers at 8 p.m. to take the runnerup spot opposite the season's biggest freshman hit, CBS' The Mentalist (372,008 viewers). The second hour of NBC's The Biggest Loser took the cake with 18-to-49-year-olds, with Mentalist sliding to third behind Fringe.

CBS had the same ratings experience at 9 p.m., winning in total viewers with Without A Trace, which fell to third in the 18-to-49 demographic behind Fox4's local newscast and NBC's Law & Order: SVU.

At 10 p.m., WFAA8's newscast popped to the top, edging CBS11 in total viewers while winning comfortably over Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

In other local news derby results, Fox4 took the 6 a.m. gold in total viewers, but was beaten by NBC5 in the 25-to-54 age range.

NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m., where the November "sweeps" winner, WFAA8, hasn't finished first in either measurement since Tuesday, Jan. 27th. But WFAA8 swept the 6 p.m. newscast competitions.

Of note: WFAA8's 5 p.m. newscasts often don't have enough pulling power to overcome increasingly skimpy 4 p.m. lead-ins from the once dominant Oprah Winfrey Show, which had just 46,501 viewers Tuesday. But at 10 p.m., WFAA8 regularly overcomes lousy lead-ins from ABC entertainment programming.

Meanwhile, NBC5 usually is more than a match for Oprah with its First at Four newscast, for which the Peacock collects all of the advertising revenue.

Just a year or so ago, Oprah usually beat and often trounced all competing programming. But on the last five weekdays, the show has run no better than third behind both NBC's one-hour newscast and the syndicated Judge Judy on Fox4.