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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri., July 9-11) -- World Cup finale gives ABC big net gain

Spain's "extra time" 1-0 win over The Netherlands in Sunday afternoon's World Cup finale made soccer the No. 1 weekend attraction in D-FW homes.

The matchup averaged 373,247 viewers on ABC, easily outdrawing Sunday afternoon's dismal end to the Texas Rangers-Baltimore Orioles series on Fox Sports Southwest (115,367 viewers).

The first-place Rangers were swept in a four game home series against the team with the worst record in the American League -- and in all of baseball for that matter. Disgraceful, although the second-place Angels also are playing poorly of late, leaving Texas with a still decent-sized 4-and-a-half game lead at the All-Star break.

Saturday night's disappointing debut by newly acquired pitcher Cliff Lee paced the Rangers' weekend ratings with an average of 203,589 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. Friday's contest, delayed until 9:30 p.m. by rain, gave TXA21 a second straight deep-into-the night conclusion for its weekly Rangers game. Still, a total of 101,795 viewers were still on board between 1:15 to 1:30 p.m., when the game ended with a 9-8 loss to the Orioles after Texas blew a four-run ninth inning lead.

In other weekend developments, ABC's new Sunday night vampire series, The Gates, seems to be sharpening its ratings teeth in these parts. It nearly doubled the lead-in audience from ABC's struggling Scoundrels to tie for first at 9 p.m. in total viewers (142,512) with CBS' (Cold Case
repeat. But The Gates won handily with advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds.

On Saturday, the two-hour debut of CBS' latest police drama, The Bridge, had ratings in the vicinity of nowhere. Just 40,718 total viewers tuned in. That's fewer viewers than cable's Syfy channel had for the 9 p.m. Friday premiere of Haven (47,504 viewers). Didja ever think a day would come when something on Syfy would outdraw a series launch on CBS?

Friday's prime-time ratings otherwise were paced by a new episode of NBC's made-in-Austin Friday Night Lights (156,085 viewers), which tied the Peacock's Dateline as the night's most-watched show. Lights also tied for first place among 18-to-49-year-olds, this time with ABC's Prime Time: What Would You Do?

As previously posted, FNL also received its first-ever acting nominations -- for leads Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler -- in Emmy nominations announced Thursday. But the series, currently in Season 4, is still scheduled to leave DirecTV/NBC after ongoing filming of Season 5 is completed. Britton, in a statement released by NBC on Emmy announcement day, said, "We're about to wrap the show after 5 seasons, so this is especially wonderful and so unexpected."

FNL is filming at the Cotton Bowl this weekend, July 16-17. The deadline for applying as an extra supposedly was last Friday, but I'll bet you can still make that happen if you want. Go here for more information.

Meanwhile, in Friday's local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations.

The Peacock also had the 6 a.m. gold in total viewers, but shared the top spot with Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 swept the 6 p.m. Nielsens and tied for first at 5 p.m. in total viewers with NBC5. CBS11 finished first at 5 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds.