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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Jan. 22-24) -- AFC/NFC championship games both blast past 1 million viewers mark

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The NFL’s AFC and NFC championship games, one a down-to-the-wire thriller and the other a rout, drew Dallas Cowboys-sized regular season numbers Sunday.

The Denver Broncos’ 20-18 win over the New England Patriots, which ran from 2:06 to 5:34 p.m. on CBS, averaged 1,232,338 D-FW viewers. Fox then presented the Carolina Panthers’ 49-15 demolition of the Arizona Cardinals ( 5:46 to 8:58 p.m.), which drew 1,140,266 viewers.

Both games pulled in bigger crowds than the Cowboys’ last three regular season games. But by that time Dallas was 4-9 en route to a 4-12 season.

Fox then waited a curiously long time before airing its Sunday night return of The X-Files for a six-episode “event series.” The network’s padded post-game show ran all the way to 9:24 p.m., with viewers trickling away. Since Nielsen Media Research measures in 15-minute increments, it’s hard to precisely measure the audience for X-Files. But the bulk of the return ran between 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. And in that hour, X-Files pulled in 446,191 viewers, with the audience declining in each 15-minute segment.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, X-Files had 196,893 viewers. Both numbers easily were enough to win the 9:30 to10:30 p.m. slot, although Fox could have done better with an earlier start. It also didn’t help that the blowout NFC championship game was losing rather than gaining viewers down the stretch. The opposite was true of CBS’ AFC thriller.

NBC’s prime-time attraction, the feature film Bridesmaids, averaged just 63,742 total viewers and 34,933 in the 18-to-49 age range during the 7 to 10 p.m. slot. But it was a behemoth compared to ABC’s 8 to 10 p.m. rerun of Marvel’s Agent Carter, which had respective totals of 28,330 and 6,351 viewers.

On Saturday night, ABC’s prime-time telecast of the Cleveland Cavaliers-Chicago Bulls game averaged 99,154 total viewers to beat figure skating on NBC and boxing on Fox (63,742 viewers apiece).

CBS’ Blue Bloods again led all Friday night TV attractions in total viewers with 276,214. But Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen had prime-time’s biggest haul of 18-to-49-year-olds (60,338).

Here are Friday’s local news derby results.

CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m., but TEGNA8 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 6 p.m. The Peacock also led in total viewers at 5 p.m. while sharing the 25-to-54 lead with Fox4.

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