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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Aug. 6)

For a while it worked. Then viewers obviously got sick of it.

Fox4's live, task force coverage of Monday's American Idol auditions at Texas Stadium clearly helped the station to dominate the 6 a.m. ratings, where it crunched rival morning shows in both total homes and among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

But Fox4's usually formidable 9 p.m. local newscast clearly paid a price by continuing to worship Idol. Auditions were prominently featured in the first half-hour before the entire second half-hour originated from the station's specially decorated "Idol Central." Ratings slid in both audience measurements, knocking Fox4 to an unaccustomed distant fourth place with just 78,540 homes and 60,270 viewers in the 25-to-54 demo.

A repeat of CBS' CSI: Miami led at 9 p.m. in total homes (183,260) while Dateline NBC drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds (129,150).

An 8 p.m. battle of first-run reality competitions went to Fox's penultimate episode of Hell's Kitchen with 138,040 homes. ABC's premiere of Fat March managed 116,620 homes while the finale of NBC's Age of Love limped in with 104,720 homes. The overall time slot winner, however, was CBS' rerun combo of Two and a Half Men (178,500 homes) and Rules of Engagement (140,420 homes).

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, Hell's Kitchen nipped the CBS sitcoms to place an overall first from 8 to 9 p.m.

In the other main local news faceoffs, NBC5 won at 10 p.m. in both total homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds. Belo8 did likewise at 6 p.m.

The 5 p.m. spoils were divided between Belo8 (first in total homes) and Fox4 (tops with 25-to-54-year-olds).