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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Nov. 6-8) -- Cowboys run up ratings score, falling short only of home opener

NBC's second Sunday Night Football game with the Cowboys nearly measured up to the first.

Dallas' 20-16 win over Philadelphia kept the Nielsen fires roaring with an average of 1,614,249 D-FW viewers in a game that ran from 7:30 to 10:50 p.m. That's easily the second biggest turnout for the eight regular season games to date. Only the home opener in Jerry's Palace drew a bigger crowd, with 1,700,608 watching the Giants edge the Cowboys.

Cowboys-Eagles also amassed 797,335 viewers in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 demographic. Pocket calculator technology says that edged the previous 2009 season record of 787,612 for the Sept. 20th Cowboys-Giants game.

Earlier Sunday, the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway averaged 146,146 total viewers on ABC, falling well short of competing NFL games on CBS and Fox. San Diego's last-second win over the Giants drew the biggest crowd, averaging 524,797 viewers on CBS.

Sunday's late night local sports specials were overwhelmed opposite the Cowboys, with Dale Hansen's league leader on WFAA8 drawing 1/20th the audience tuned to the closing stages of the game. What're ya gonna do? Perhaps he should have diversified and gone with a badminton special.

On Saturday, the debut of Fox's The Wanda Sykes Show lured 79,716 viewers to finish an overall third in the 10 p.m. hour. A new episode of NBC's Saturday Night Live easily topped the late night field with 212,576 viewers.

In prime-time on TXA21 Saturday, the Dallas Mavericks' rout of Toronto had 112,931 viewers while the competing Dallas Stars-Minnesota Wild game drew just 26,572 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

Friday's biggest prime-time draw, an edition of ABC's 20/20 featuring Diane Sawyer's interview with Rihanna, had 192,647 viewers to give WFAA8's 10 p.m. newscast a bigger than usual lead-in boost. The station then won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. CBS11 finished second in total viewers and NBC5 was the runner-up with 25-to-54-year-olds.

In other local news derby results, NBC5 swept the 6 a.m. competitions for the second straight weekday after losing three straight to Fox4 in their pitched battle for the top spot.

WFAA8 had nice returns in the early evening, running the table at 5 p.m. and also notching a win at 6 p.m. in total viewers. Fox4 broke through for its only win of the day with a first place finish at 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.