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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Nov. 2-4) -- Cowboys raise ratings while sinking lower

The increasingly woeful Dallas Cowboys again lost a game they easily could have won, this time on the NFL's biggest stage.

Their eighth consecutive defeat on the actual Sunday night edition of NBC's Sunday Night Football averaged 1,280,461 D-FW viewers, up from the 1,218,503 who endured last Sunday's last-second home loss to the Giants.

This time the unbeaten Atlanta Falcons whipped Dallas 19-13 in the Cowboys' second of three scheduled prime-time appearances on NBC. The season-launching Wednesday night "kickoff special," in which Dallas upset the Giants, remains the biggest draw this season with 1,348,046 viewers for NBC's Sept. 5th telecast.

The Cowboys as always eclipsed everything in their path Sunday night. The next most-watched competing attraction, CBS' The Good Wife, had 185,873 viewers.

Earlier Sunday, CBS' Pittsburgh Steelers-New York Giants matchup averaged a very nice-sized 598,925 viewers. In the battle of the noon-starting early games, Fox's Panthers-Redskins game (357,978 viewers) outdrew CBS' Texans-Bills faceoff (247,831 viewers).

ESPN's afternoon coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway attracted comparatively scant interest with an average of 68,842 viewers.

Saturday's college football parade was led by two matchups. CBS' prime-time game between Alabama and LSU and ABC's afternoon matchup between Texas and Texas Tech each averaged roughly 261,600 viewers. But Bama's last-minute comeback win over LSU by far had the biggest peak audience, with 440,589 viewers between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m.

ABC's prime-time Kansas State-Oklahoma State game had 117,031 viewers, taking the silver ahead of Fox's Oregon-USC matchup (89,495 viewers).

Over on Fox Sports Southwest Saturday night, the Dallas Mavericks' victorious home opener win against the Bobcats trailed all three prime-time college football attractions with 75,762 viewers.

In the Friday night Nielsens, CBS' season premiere of Undercover Boss had 227,179 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour to run first against ABC's second season launch of Tim Allen's Last Man Standing (151,452 viewers) and the debut of Reba McEntire's Malibu Country (206,526 viewers).

CBS' Blue Bloods as usual drew the night's biggest overall crowd, with 282,252 viewers from 9 to 10 p.m.

Malibu Country had Friday's biggest haul of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though. So that's a very good sign for this throwback sitcom, which was critically panned but may well have the last laugh.

NBC's very nicely done one-hour Hurricane Sandy telethon ran third from 7 to 8 p.m. in total viewers (110,147) but fell to fourth in the 18-to-49 demographic.

CW33's second edition of its comedy local newscast, Nightcap, had just 13,768 total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour after inheriting 55,074 from the closing 15-minute segment of The CW's Nikita.

The falloff was significantly sharper percentage-wise among 18-to-34-year-olds, principal target audience for both the CW network and Nightcap. Nikita furnished 28,489 viewers in this age range before Nightcap fell to 5,027.

In Friday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 had a solid first-place finish at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 won by an equally comfy margin among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 swept the 6 a.m. competitions while NBC5 notched 5 and 6 p.m. wins in total viewers. Fox4 took the two early evening races in the 25-to-54 demographic.