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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., March 18) -- "Madness" trumps soaps, also thrives in prime-time

A bevy of close games, including three overtimes on opening day, gave CBS a solid showing for the start of its "March Madness" NCAA basketball tournament coverage.

The daytime portions beat all competing soaps, talkers and game shows, with the early afternoon portion averaging 81,436 D-FW viewers before the mid-afternoon games kicked up to 115,367 viewers.

In prime-time, Fox's Bones narrowly beat basketball in the 7 p.m. hour in total viewers but ran second to hoops among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. The featured nighttime attraction in these parts -- Texas' overtime loss to Wake Forest -- averaged a decent-sized 183,230 viewers. That wasn't quite good enough to beat NBC's The Marriage Ref, which had 190,016 viewers from 9 to 10 p.m. Ref also blew the whistle with 18-to-49-year-olds, edging hoops in this demographic.

The two-hour return of ABC's FlashForward fared poorly with 108,581 total viewers. That put it in third place overall, with an uptick to second place from 7 to 8 p.m. among 18-to-49-year-olds.

In local news derby results, NBC5 won a downsized three-way competition at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The Peacock also again swept the 6 a.m. competitions, where it's remained strong despite changing male anchors from Brendan Higgins to Scott Friedman.

WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers, with the field again downsized to three in deference to CBS' basketball coverage. NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 5 p.m. golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and NBC5 in the 25-to-54 age range.

Also of note: CW33's 9 p.m. local newscast had one of its biggest hauls in recent memory, cracking a 1.0 rating that equals 67,863 total viewers. Fox4's competing 9 p.m. newscast still more than doubled that score with 149,299 viewers.