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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Sept. 28) -- two-pronged Cowboys attack sticks fork in competition

The Cowboys' Monday Night Football win over Carolina of course routed everything in its wake, even the big ticket stuff.

What might surprise you, though, is that more D-FW viewers saw the game on cable than on free broadcast TV. It was close, though.

ESPN's presentation averaged 617,799 viewers for a game that began at 7:41 p.m. and stretched to 10:34 p.m. TXA21's simulcast of ESPN's coverage had 597,870 viewers for a super-sized grand total of 1,215,669.

That fell well short of the Cowboys-Giants home season opener, which amassed 1,700,608 viewers on NBC's Sunday Night Football. But it exceeded Game 1 of the regular season at Tampa Bay, which had 1,042,951 viewers on Fox.

ABC's two-hour Dancing with the Stars and CBS' CSI: Miami made the best showings against Cowboys-Panthers.

Dancing, featuring Michael Irvin and Tom ("We're gonna dance 'til it breaks") DeLay grimacing in pain on a bad foot, drew 272,363 viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. CSI: Miami then had 298,935 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour.

But Fox's House outdrew the first hour of Dancing among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds while CBS' Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory bested Dancing in the 8 to 9 p.m. slot.

NBC's premiere of the action-medical drama Trauma ran fourth at 8 p.m. with 119,574 total viewers. It held the same spot with 18-to-49-year-olds, in each case outdrawing the season premiere of Fox's Lie to Me.

The Jay Leno Show had NBC's smallest audience of the night, with just 79,716 total viewers.

Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers officially bowed out of the American League West race with a late night 11-0 drubbing at the hands of the Angels, who clinched first place in the division. Ending at 11:45 p.m., the game averaged 19,929 exceptionally diehard baseball fans, who dwindled to 4,650 in the final inning.

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

All four stations had notably diminished audiences, though, opposite the closing stages of the Cowboys' game. CBS11's total viewer count of 172,718 was a sharp drop from 279,006 on the previous Monday, when it also won the 10 p.m. competition.

NBC5 had twin wins at 6 a.m. before Fox4 cleaned house at both 5 and 6 p.m. with first place finishes all around.

That left WFAA8 out of the winners' circle entirely, which is still unusual but no longer an extreme rarity.