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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 21) -- numbers droop for late-starting Mavs loss

Clanking too many free throws and bedeviled by clown car officiating at times, the Dallas Mavericks' third playoff game at Portland netted them both a 97-92 loss and a diminished local audience Thursday.

Running from 9:46 p.m. to 12:18 a.m., the game drew 221,622 D-FW viewers for TNT's national telecast and added another 180,068 for TXA21's home-grown presentation. That adds up to 401,169 viewers, a significant dip from the 484,799 who watched Game 2 but up a bit from the opening night crowd of 394,765.

Viewers again chose TNT over their cheerleading local station, but the gap lessened considerably from Game 2, when TNT blew out TXA21 by a score of 346,285 to 138,514.

Elsewhere Thursday, Fox's American Idol as always led the parade, pulling in 519,428 viewers from 7 to 8 p.m. as the show said goodbye to Stefano Langone and reduced the field to six.

Fox's following new episode of Bones also won its time slot, with 290,879 viewers, before Fox4's 9 p.m local newscast took the gold at 9 p.m. with 277,028 viewers. It was the second straight prime-time sweep for Fox/Fox4, although CBS and ABC both cooperated by airing repeats of their potent drama series from 8 to 10 p.m.

Fox4 also prospered in the four-way local news derby competitions, and would have had a very rare double grand slam had it held serve as usual at 6 a.m.

But arch rival NBC5 lately has become a factor again in the early morns, with the start of the May ratings "sweeps" just a week away. (April 28-May 25). On Thursday, the Peacock won at 6 a.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-old, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations. NBC5 also ran the early morning table on Wednesday.

Fox4 otherwise controlled the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Nielsens, winning in both ratings measurements from early evening to late night.