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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Feb. 11)

Prison Break's latest escape may be too late for the third-year Fox series to get a reprieve for next fall. But Monday night's penultimate episode for this season finally managed to man-up a bit in the D-FW Nielsens.

Filmed primarily in North Texas, PB drew 126,651 total homes from 7 to 8 p.m., running a close third to a How I Met Your Mother repeat on CBS (138,829 homes) and the first hour of ABC's Dance War (138,220 homes). It outdrew both NBC's American Gladiators and the new CBS comedy Welcome to the Captain.

More importantly to Fox, PB improved to second among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, behind Gladiators. That doesn't sound like much. But PB regularly had been running fourth in both measurements, despite being filmed here.

Next Monday's episode is the season finale, and quite possibly the finale, period. But prospects for the show might be looking slightly better in the face of a steady downturn in ratings for its Monday night running mate, the new Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The complex spinoff from the movie franchise beat only ABC's Notes From the Underbelly in total homes and among 18-to-49-year-olds.

A 90-minute edition of NBC's Deal or No Deal topped both ratings measurements from 8:30 to 10 p.m.

In the local news derby, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total homes despite the night's measliest lead-in from ABC's October Road. Its newscast tripled the 9:45 to 10 p.m. audience for that series. Runner-up NBC5 and third-place CBS11 held onto their considerably fatter lead-ins from Deal and a CSI: Miami repeat. But that still wasn't enough to outpoint WFAA8.

NBC5 rebounded, however, to edge WFAA8 at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The 6 a.m. golds again went to WFAA8 in both ratings measurements, with Fox4 in second place.

At 5 and 6 p.m., though, the bottoms fell out of what has been a WFAA8 stronghold. NBC5 instead ran the table at both hours, with WFAA8 falling as low as fourth in the 5 p.m. total homes ratings.

In the basketball universe, the slumping Dallas Mavericks' road loss to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers drew just 36,545 homes on Fox Sports Southwest. Texas' big win over Kansas did better, with 48,712 homes for the ESPN telecast.

Both hoopsters were titans compared to the Dallas Stars. The hockey team's plucky win against Phoenix drew 4,871 homes on the Versus cable network.