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Olympics-skewed Feb. sweeps yield asterisk-emblazoned golds for WFAA8, NBC5, Fox4

WFAA8 won the biggest local newscast prizes of the February "sweeps" with closely contested first place finishes at 10 p.m. in the two major audience categories.

But advertisers and stations, including WFAA8, generally are disregarding those results because of Olympics overruns that affected 11 of the 20 weeknight newscasts. On those nights, the Winter Games drew the lion's share of viewers while Fox4, WFAA8 and CBS11 fought a down-sized three-way battle.

It should be noted that on most Olympics nights, NBC5's late-starting late nighter generally had more viewers than the most-watched, regularly scheduled 10 p.m. newscast. But on the nine nights when all four major TV news providers went head-to-head, NBC5 could only claim the bronze.

The 6 a.m. newscast competitions, which were the least-affected by the Olympics, ended with narrow wins by NBC5 in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Three of the four early evening news matchups resulted in first-place ties, with NBC5 benefiting somewhat from being sandwiched between afternoon and prime-time Olympics coverage.

Here are the results, without year-to-year comparisons because they don't carry that much weight this time out. The true test for all four stations will be the unfettered May "sweeps."

10 P.M.

Total viewers
WFAA8 -- 217,162
CBS11 -- 203,589
Fox4 -- 122,153

WFAA8 -- 101,277
CBS11 -- 85,932
Fox4 -- 58,311

6 A.M.

Total viewers
NBC5 -- 142,512
Fox4 -- 122,153
WFAA8 -- 101,795
CBS11 -- 67,863

NBC5 -- 79,794
Fox4 -- 70,587
WFAA8 -- 58,311
CBS11 -- 42,966

5 P.M.

Total viewers
NBC5/WFAA8 -- 128,940 apiece
Fox4 -- 115,367
CBS11 -- 88,222

WFAA8 -- 52,173
Fox4 -- 49,104
NBC5 -- 46,035
CBS11 -- 30,690

6 P.M.

Total viewers
NBC5/WFAA8 - 162,871 apiece
CBS11 -- 142,512
Fox4 -- 115,367

Fox4/NBC5/WFAA8 -- 58,311 apiece
CBS11 -- 49,104