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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 29) -- Mavs end, May "sweeps" begin

The Dallas Mavericks' season-ending playoff loss to San Antonio won Thursday's prime-time ratings war but perhaps resulted in a few TV sets being damaged by flying objects.

TXA21 and TNT carried the game, which began with one of the ugliest first quarters in Mavs history and pretty much sealed their fate.

Beginning at 7:06 p.m. and ending at 9:39, Mavs-Spurs drew 217,162 D-FW viewers on TXA21 and 237,521 on TNT. The total of 454,683 viewers was the second highest of the six-game series, beaten only by Game 1 in Dallas.

The national cablecasts had more viewers than TXA21's homegrown coverage in all five games where the locals competed with either TNT or ESPN. Game 5, which drew the series' smallest crowd, was carried exclusively in D-FW by TXA21, with the NBA Network's simulcast blacked out in these parts.

Thursday also marked the start of the May "sweeps" ratings period. That means you'll see the last batch of new episodes of prime-time network series while local newscasts pump more do-or-die urgency into their presentations.

The big news on opening day was CBS11's twin wins at 6 p.m., where WFAA8 had dominated for decades until November's fall into a pair of first-place ties.

WFAA8 ran a relatively distant third Thursday in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. NBC5 took the silver in total viewers and Fox4 was a close runnerup among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 respectively ran third and fourth in those measurements last November. The February sweeps were largely discounted due to NBC's dominant Winter Olympics telecasts.

At 10 p.m., WFAA8 overcame a skimpy lead-in from ABC's faltering Private Practice to edge CBS11 in the total viewer Nielsens. NBC5 got a nice opening day boost with a win in the 25-to-54 demographic, with CBS11 second and WFAA8 falling to third.

The 6 a.m. competitions again were controlled by the Peacock, a virtually sure bet to prevail against what seems to be its only serious competition -- Fox4. WFAA8 drooped to fourth place in total viewers but edged CBS11 for third place among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 had a comfy win at 5 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 narrowly took the 25-to-54 gold.