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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Dec. 23-Sun., Dec. 26) -- Christmas night Cowboys still worth a million-plus

The Dallas Cowboys' coal-in-the-stocking Christmas night loss to pitiful Arizona still lit up the D-FW ratings on two channels of choice.

CW33's simulcast of the NFL Network's coverage averaged 803,381 viewers while the cable arm added 325,508. Hand calculator technology says that's a grand total of 1,128,889 viewers. The only Cowboys game to fall short of the one million mark this season was the dismal Halloween afternoon home loss to Jacksonville, which had 907,276 viewers as a warmup for that night's Game 4 of the World Series between the Rangers and Giants.

CW33's 5 to 6 p.m. Cowboys Christmas special featured a back-and-forth holiday quiz between injured Cowboys QB Tony Romo and his new fiancee, CW33 sports reporter Candice Crawford. The show won its time slot with 96,960 viewers.

ABC's marquee Christmas Day matchup between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers drew a nice-sized 235,474 viewers. Still, that barely exceeded the crowd for the preceding Celtics-Magic game (228,548 viewers).

Sunday's post-Christmas NFL action was topped by Fox's telecast of the Packers win over the Giants, which had 623,313 viewers. The preceding Jets-Bears matchup on CBS drew 436,319 viewers. NBC's snowed-out Sunday Night Football game between the Eagles and Vikings gave way to prime-time reruns that averaged just 96,960 viewers. Football generally draws more than four times that audience, unless it's the Cowboys. Then it draws more than 10 times as many viewers. NBC will get the game on Tuesday night instead.

NBC did far better with its traditional Christmas Eve reprise of It's A Wonderful Life, which had 166,217 viewers to lead all prime-time programming.

Thursday's top prime-time performer, CBS' repeat of The Mentalist, had 228,548 viewers. ABC's rerun of the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas pulled in second overall with 200,845 viewers.

In Thursday's local news derby results, Fox4 won all four major time periods (6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m.) among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations. The station also topped the total viewer Nielsens at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

CBS11 had Thursday's other two golds, winning in total viewers at 6 and 10 p.m.

All four major competitors took holiday knees on Christmas Eve, which means the newscast ratings don't officially count. But just in case ya care, NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first at 10 p.m., with the Peacock alone atop the 25-to-54 ratings.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. firsts were split between CBS11 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.