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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Jan. 4-6)

Is the ongoing writers' strike the best thing that could have happened to NBC? Qualitatively, no. But the network's bottom line is humming right along on the strength of cheaper, unscripted programming.

Sunday night's two-hour premiere of the Peacock's remodeled American Gladiators did almost astoundingly well in D-FW. Its first hour (8 to 9 p.m.) tied a competing first-run episode of ABC's Desperate Housewives as prime-time's most-watched attraction among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds.

Then the second hour of AG decimated everything in its path, including the launch of ABC's new Cashmere Mafia series. Gladiators amassed 223,891 viewers in the 18-to-49 demo, compared to runnerup Cashmere Mafia's 122,983.

Gladiators also did well in total households. It ran second to Desperate Housewives from 8 to 9 p.m. and then finished a closer No. 2 behind CBS' football runover mix of firstrun episodes of Cold Case and Shark.

Playoff football ruled Sunday's pre-prime time hours, with the Giants-Bucs game drawing 423,794 total homes on Fox before the Titans-Chargers matchup averaged 414,052 homes on CBS.

The Mavericks' mid-afternoon trouncing of Minnesota went largely unwatched, with just 29,227 D-FW homes tuned to Fox Sports Southwest.

On Saturday, NBC ruled with a doubleheader of Redskins-Seahawks (336,113 homes) and Jaguars-Steelers (389,696 homes). The latter game peaked at 528,525 homes between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m.

ABC punted Saturday night with four hours of Republican and Democratic debates from New Hampshire. The GOP candidates averaged 102,295 homes before the Democrats moved up to 138,829 homes. Actually that's not a bad overall showing -- or at least good enough for the debates to finish a very distant second behind football.

NBC's return of the game show 1 vs. 100 had Friday's biggest prime-time audience in both total homes (182,670) and among 18-to-49-year-olds (116,676 of 'em).

In that day's local news derby, Belo8 won at 10 p.m. in total homes, but ran second to NBC5 with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser audience for news programming.

Belo8 ran the table at 5 and 6 p.m. in both ratings measurements while Fox4 again did likewise at 6 a.m. The 7 to 9 a.m. portion of Fox4's Good Day also beat the competing network morning shows in both measurements to stretch its latest winning streak to two days.