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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., March 16) -- more feathers for Fox/Fox4

Throw another two hours of Fox's American Idol on the grill and watch the competition fizzle.

Live performances by the show's final 12 lured an average of 581,759 D-FW viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, with CBS' competing first-run pair of Survivor: Redemption Island and Criminal Minds taking the distant runner-up spots with 214,697 and 277,028 viewers respectively.

A new hour of CBS' Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior then won the 9 p.m. hour with 242,400 viewers while Idol and Fox4's local newscast swept the prime-time hours among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds.

After registering "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in this demographic on Tuesday night, CW33's 9 p.m. local news perked up a bit and managed to draw 9,872 viewers in the 18-to-49 age range. But Fox4's competing newscast had 85,556 of 'em.

The Dallas Mavericks' gutty comeback road win at Golden State aired in late night hours on both Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN. Mavs owner Mark Cuban's decision to "freshen" the team's telecasts by dumping longtime analyst Bob Ortegel several weeks ago does not seem to be working any magic so far. ESPN's presentation nearly doubled the crowd of FSS's, by a score of 103,886 total viewers to 55,406. Play-by-play dude Mark Followill now is accompanied by Brad Davis on the road and Derek Harper for home games.

During Wednesday's game, the always frisky Followill tried to get a rise out of Davis by telling him how much he was going to enjoy his free halftime repast of green-curried chicken, courtesy of the Warriors' Bollywood Night. Davis said absolutely nothing. Ortegel at least would have chided his younger partner while talking up the attributes of a Polish sausage sandwich. Or somethin' like that. It was stupid to sack the old guy. Bring him back.

Wednesday's least-watched attraction on the Big Four broadcast networks, ABC's new 8:30 p.m. episode of Mr. Sunshine, drew a paltry 55,406 viewers while likewise cratering with 18-to-49-year-olds. Over on TXA21, a prime-time Texas Rangers pre-season game got to first base with 41,554 viewers.

In local news derby results, CBS11 swept the 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for most news programming.

NBC5 did likewise at 6 a.m. while WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. firsts went to WFAA8 in total viewers, with the ABC station tying for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds with Fox4.