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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 11-13) -- Cowboys look like a million in season opener on Fox

The Dallas Cowboys and Fox4 kicked off the new season with a mega-audience that surpassed last year's crazy opener against Philadelphia.

Dallas' 34-21 win at Tampa Bay averaged a gargantuan 1,042,951 D-FW viewers, outscoring the Cowboys' insanely entertaining 41-37 victory over the Eagles in last September's curtain-raiser at the old Texas Stadium. That game, showcased on Monday Night Football, drew a combined 930,399 viewers locally on ESPN and TXA21, which had the area non-cable rights.

Cowboys-Bucs, which ended at 3:14 p.m. Sunday, peaked at 1,335,243 viewers in the game's closing minutes. The followup Giants-Redskins game, also on Fox4, then averaged a hefty 690,872 D-FW viewers in also squashing all competing programming.

Then came the mighty Packers last-minute win over the hated Bears on NBC's Sunday Night Football. Ending at 10:45 p.m. with a 21-15 Green Bay win, the game averaged 438,438 viewers while also wiping out the first 15 minutes of Cowboys-heavy, 10:30 p.m. local sports specials on WFAA8 (285,649 viewers) and CBS11 (106,288 viewers). Fox4's earlier starting 10 p.m. Sunday sports special managed 86,359 viewers.

The playoff-contending Texas Rangers' rain-delayed doubleheader against Seattle, which began around 5 p.m. and stretched to 10:32 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest, peaked with 119,574 viewers between 8:30 and 8:45 p.m.

Sunday's big loser in the pro football Nielsens, the Jets-Texans game opposite Cowboys-Bucs, drew just 33,215 viewers on CBS11.

In the college football carousel, Saturday's big prime-time matchup between Southern Cal and Ohio State led the way with an average of 279,006 viewers on ESPN. An afternoon matchup between Texas and Wyoming managed 73,073 viewers on Versus while the University of North Texas' overtime loss to visiting Ohio drew 33,215 viewers in prime-time on TXA21.

In Friday's local news derby results, NBC5 nipped WFAA8 at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. In each case the margins were less than one-tenth of a rating point, so essentially they tied.

Fox4 edged NBC5 in both measurements at 6 a.m. and also ran the table at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 had the total viewer wins at both early evening newscast hours.