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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 26-28) -- Cowboys crush Saints, blast past 1.5 million viewer mark

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Playing and dominating on the NFL’s main stage, the Dallas Cowboys easily drew their largest TV audience of the season Sunday night despite new and lower Nielsen population estimates for the D-FW viewing area.

The Cowboys’ 38-17 demolition of the New Orleans Saints averaged 1,583,093 viewers on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. A total of 756,912 of those viewers were within the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 age range. It was Game 4 of the regular season, with Dallas improving to a 3-1 record.

Nielsen’s new figures for the D-FW viewing area, which took effect over the weekend, reduce the number of total viewers from 71,013 to 69,70 per rating point. And the 18-to-49 population drops from 32,567 to the new 31,538 viewers. Last year at this time both of those estimates went up. So it can be a bit of a roller coaster ride from year-to-year.

Fox’s San Francisco 49ers-Philadelphia Eagles game drew Sunday’s second biggest NFL crowd with an average of 711,348 total viewers. The network’s preceding game -- Green Bay Packers versus Chicago Bears -- had 397,518 viewers. CBS managed 244,090 viewers for the Houston Texans-Buffalo Bills matchup.

CBS had a bigger crowd for its 7 p.m. episode of the new , which drew 271,986 viewers while airing only partially against the Cowboys game, which fired up at 7:31 p.m. Younger viewers mostly spurned Madam Secretary, though, with just 34,692 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. ABC’s Once Upon a Time easily had the most 18-to-49-year-olds -- 122,998 -- among Sunday night’s non-Cowboys attractions.

Saturday’s college football parade was led by Texas A&M’s big comeback win over Arkansas at Jerry’s Palace. The CBS telecast, which stretched to 6:23 p.m. before A&M won in overtime, averaged 285,934 total viewers. In contrast, NBC’s Ryder Cup coverage drew just 20,922 viewers while airing partially opposite A&M-Arkansas.

NBC’s season premiere of Saturday Night Live pulled in 202,246 viewers to dominate late night programming. Even better for the Peacock, more than half of those viewers -- 107,229 -- were of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

On Friday night, CBS’ 9 p.m. season premiere of Blue Bloods was the biggest overall draw with 230,142 viewers. But ABC’s two-hour new season launch of Shark Tank topped the 18-to-49-year-old Nielsens with 66,230.

Here are Friday’s local news derby numbers.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Gannett8 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and CBS11 did likewise at 5 p.m.

NBC5 drew the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and shared the lead with Gannett8 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

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