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WFAA8, Fox4 pace February newscast "sweeps"

D-FW's February "sweeps" are in the books, and we've got all the details, plus commentary, on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page. Some races again were air-tight, requiring three decimal point breakdowns to determine the winners.
Ed Bark

Red Widow: another string-along from addicted ABC

ABC's most popular scripted series is Castle, a close-ended "procedural" crime drama that's not dependent on weekly viewing. But the network remains enamored of string-along serial dramas, and Red Widow (premiering Sunday, March 3rd) is the latest . Our review is here.

Also, Tuesday's local Nielsen ratings "snapshot" charts the performances of two newcomers -- Golden Boy and Celebrity Wife Swap.
Ed Bark

Up your Oscars: ratings rise nationally

Final Nielsen numbers show that Sunday night's Oscar ceremony drew more viewers nationally than last year's. And it also upped its percentage of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, which is exactly what the Academy and ABC had in mind by hiring Seth MacFarlane as host. Get the breakdown on our TV Bulletin Board page. (As previously posted, the Oscar ratings in both measurements were down in D-FW.)

Monday's D-FW Nielsen highlights also are posted.
Ed Bark

HBO's Parade's End takes marching orders from Downton Abbey

HBO's five-part Parade's End, premiering on Tuesday, Feb. 26th, is also available instantly in one big gulp on HBO GO. Its setting, time period and storyline otherwise smacks of Downton Abbey. But can it measure up? Our review is here.
Ed Bark

MacFarlane as Oscar host -- first time, last time?

Sunday night's Oscar ceremony went even longer than usual, thanks to host Seth MacFarlane's seemingly endless opening shtick. We assess his abilities while also looking at other moments to remember or forget. It's all on the Network News & Reviews page.

Also, see how the Oscars did in D-FW in our latest Nielsen ratings "snapshot."
Ed Bark

CBS adds more crime time with promising Golden Boy

Crime scenes are CBS' specialty, and the network strikes again next week with Golden Boy. Our review is here.

Also, Thursday's D-FW Nielsen ratings have prizes for CBS, Fox and ABC while NBC again comes up empty. Plus, see the new promo for action anchor Doug Dunbar of CBS11.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Feb. 20th's late night D-FW newscasts

Jim Caviezel & Michael Emerson star in Person of Interest. CBS photo

Premiering: Thursday, Sept. 22nd at 8 p.m. (central) on CBS
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Michael Emerson, Taraji P. Henson, Kevin Chapman
Produced by: J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jonathan Nolan, David Semel, Greg Plageman

Men o' action used to be plentiful in prime-time. Handy with their fists and at ease with weaponry, they'd slug and shoot their way through whatever crooks were available.

Now they're a dying breed. Women call the shots in most of this fall's new dramas, with just one of them dependent on a hard-charging leading man. Old school CBS is the carrier and Person of Interest is the show. Buckle up.

Jim Cavaziel, beaten to death in The Passion of the Christ, gets a chance to mete out punishment as a presumed dead former government operative who feels betrayed and looks like hell until Michael Emerson from Lost finds him.

The Lost link extends to co-executive producer J.J. Abrams, who initially masterminded that series before pretty much leaving it to others. He's now behind Person of Interest, a vigilante-style numbers game in which Emerson's "Mr. Finch" has an incredible array of data but otherwise needs some muscle to keep bad things from happening. That's where Cavaziel's Reese comes in, with neither principal character getting a full name so far.

In what amounts to the obligatory flashback scene, Reese is first seen in the sack with the love of his life, Jessica. The date turns out to be Sept. 11, 2001. And from that day on, Reese apparently had some very bad things happen to him, including Jessica's demise. It's led him to the point of being a very disheveled looking suicidal drunk who's slouched in a Manhattan subway car when accosted by a group of young punks.

They shouldn't have done that. Because Reese easily bloodies, bruises and subdues all four of them before being taken to the cop shop for questioning. His interrogator, a homicide detective named Carter (series regular Taraji P. Henson), tries to feel his inner pain. But her mystery man is soon bailed out and taken off to meet Mr. Finch. "You need a purpose," Reese is told. "More specifically, you need a job."

So Finch riddles him this. He has a post 9/11 wealth of social security numbers at his disposal, and a woman prosecutor currently is at the top of his list. This means that in the very near future, she's either in jeopardy or plans to jeopardize others. Reese's mission, should he accept it, is to avert whatever's about to happen. He's at first reluctant, of course, but gets quickly into the swing of things.

Reese's specialty in Thursday night's opener is shooting adversaries in their thighs. This serves to disable them without deep-sixing them. "I don't particularly like killing people," he says. "But I'm very good at it."

Reese also is well-practiced in the arts of breaking and entering, and cell phone tapping. It greatly aids him in keeping tabs on the mark of the week. Meanwhile, Finch limps along at his side -- literally -- while otherwise exhorting him from afar to act quickly or all is lost. It's somewhat akin to The Equalizer, the 1980s CBS action series in which a disillusioned former government secret agent came to the aid of innocents while also occasionally consulting with his former Agency boss.

Person of Interest cuts deeper than that, with viewers also getting a little treatise on why Finch is so good with numbers. Ya see, the federal government built this incredible array of all-seeing devices and machines after 9/11. And Finch designed and built the principal hardware before becoming haunted by the idea that only major life-and-death situations were of interest to the feds. Garden variety murders, at the rate of one every 18 hours in Manhattan -- were not on the government's radar for some reason. Finch felt bad about that, even though he expects to be murdered himself some day for his rogue efforts.

Emerson is well-suited to this stuff after six years as the manipulative Benjamin Linus on Lost. Cavaziel plays his role straight up and a little creepily at times. His sense of humor occasionally kicks in. But even Chuck Norris on Walker, Texas Ranger had an overall more jovial temperament.

Person of Interest, which has a dank but filmic look to it, will also be unraveling layers of both men's traumatic back stories. Because that's the way Abrams rolls. Pretty much everything is a conspiracy.

"Let's just say you're not the only one that's lost something," Emerson's Finch tells Reese later in the premiere episode, emphasizing the word "lost" in case you somehow couldn't place him.

Together they'll be the brains and brawn of this operation in times when the broadcast networks aren't particularly interested in take-charge men with acquired tastes for pounding the hell out of bad guys -- or shooting them in their thighs. Thanks. We maybe needed that.


Up-close and objective: Feb. 19th's late night D-FW newscasts

Redoubtable NBC5 Night Ranger Scott Gordon is the focus of our latest compendium. In a tale of two stories --- about the same 911-calling, cigarette-demanding Hood County grandma -- he showed a side of her that was entirely missing from Fox4's account. And it might have made quite a difference in how you perceived Linda White, who undeniably did something dumb but probably doesn't deserve to be pilloried for it.

Also, Tuesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are posted.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Feb. 18th's late night D-FW newscasts

Our look at the Monday, Feb. 18th late nighters focuses on WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen's latest "Unplugged" commentary, this one delivered right in the middle of the newscast. We have the back story on his fleeting mention of how he used to joke about domestic violence. It took some digging, which in part is why we're so late with today's compendium.

Also, the Feb. 15-18th D-FW Nielsen ratings have some interesting ups and downs for both national and local programming.
Ed Bark

The CW's Cult: in part incomprehensible but still making its own impression

The drama series Cult, premiering Tuesday, Feb. 19th on The CW, appears to be making a case that TV shows in fact do influence behavior. Including violent behavior. Even though programming executives and producers keep saying otherwise. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

KTXD's D: The Broadcast giggle-gaggles into view

Viewers primed for their daily 9 a.m. Perry Mason dose on D-FW's KTXD-TV instead got a polar opposite Monday in D: The Broadcast. It was saved, but only in part, by the lone female gabber old enough to remember when PM was a staple of CBS' prime-time lineup. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Feb. 15th's late night D-FW newscasts

Here's the latest compendium of activities on Friday's showcase D-FW newscasts.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: Feb. 14th's late night D-FW newscasts

The February "sweeps" are just past their midpoint. So let's dive in with new editions of the above feature for as long as my brain pan stays in place. We start with Valentine's night, in which three main stories dominated while a pair of holiday oddities also kicked in.

Plus, Thursday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are posted. And they weren't plusses for either ABC's new Zero Hour or CNN's out-of-control Carnival cruise coverage.
Ed Bark

National Geo Channel's Killing Lincoln kind of deadens O'Reilly's book

Although Killing Lincoln is still on bestseller lists, the timing is pretty bad for a TV adaptation. That's because Lincoln the movie towers over it, as does Daniel Day Lewis over Billy Campbell. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

New deal -- between Mark Cuban and the Let's Make A Deal network

Mark Cuban's AXS TV (formerly HDNet) and CBS struck a programming partnership on Valentine's Day. Read all about their sweetheart deal -- and catch up on other new tidbits -- on our TV Bulletin Board page.

Plus, Wednesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings show a continuing slide by American Idol, but not enough to keep it from winning the night.
Ed Bark

Beyonce back again in self-directed/produced HBO doc

HBO increasingly is letting prominent figures tell their own stories. That's often not ideal, but access is king these days. Beyonce takes the throttle Saturday in Life Is But A Dream. Our review is here.

Also, Tuesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings show which networks had the most and fewest viewers for President Obama's State of the Union address and the Republican rebuttal by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
Ed Bark

ER alum Anthony Edwards returns in ABC's sickly, silly Zero Hour

Fair warning: ABC's new Thursday night lead-off hitter will be Zero Hour. It swings mightily -- and misses totally. Our review is here.

Plus, Monday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are on the page.
Ed Bark

Post office services decreasing, Uncle Barky's mailbag delivering

Presenting the first edition of "Uncle Barky's Mailbag," intended to be a forum for your emailed comments. It will appear periodically depending on the volume of readers' thoughts. Here's No. 1.

Also, Sunday's Grammy Awards dominated prime-time but not surprisingly fell sharply from last year's Whitney Houston-charged ceremony. See our weekend D-FW ratings "snapshot" for all the details.
Ed Bark

Telling a few tales about Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me!'s aria at Winspear Opera House

NPR's Wait Wait . . . Don't Tell Me! touched down in Dallas Thursday night for a two-hour show that will be pared to an hour by the time it airs Saturday. Our eyewitness account is on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, Thursday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are in the house.
Ed Bark

I'm Dickens . . . He's Fenster: yes, it actually existed and yes it's newly available

The title still kinda cracks me up, at least when I'm in Uncle Barky mode. And now -- drumroll -- 50 years after its one and only season, you can see I'm Dickens . . . He's Fenster via a boxed DVD set. Read and see all about it on the Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

More than a game: Super Bowl ratings can alter an entire season for a network

The national audience for Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII fell a bit from the previous two, but remained mammoth. And CBS isn't complaining in terms of what Supie did for its season-to-date prime-time ratings averages. We look closer on the Network News & Reviews page.

Also, Wednesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are newly posted.
Ed Bark

Strange doings during Tuesday's 9 and 10 p.m. newcasts on Fox4 and CBS11

Prior to resuming the up-close "sweeps" looks at D-FW's latenight newscasts next week, here's a sampler of two oddities from Tuesday night.
Ed Bark

Reviewing Netflix's House of Cards -- based on playing all 13 cards

Netflix's revolutionary Season 1 of House of Cards -- all 13 episodes are up at once -- was made available to subscribers on Friday, Feb. 1st. Wanted to watch 'em all before reviewing. Mission accomplished. And here's the review.

Also, Season 2 of NBC's Smash premiered Tuesday to disastrous ratings. We look at the D-FW results in the latest "snapshot."
Ed Bark

Waco's J Lo again sells sex -- and The Client List -- in new music video for Lifetime series

Jennifer Love Hewitt still prefers to be smokin' hot, and works at it anew in new music video tied to March's Season 2 premiere of Lifetime's The Client List. You can have a look on the Network News & Reviews page.

Also, Monday's D-FW Nielsens are in, with the latest ratings for TNT's Dallas and Fox's The Following among others.
Ed Bark

National Nielsens for Super Bowl XLVII make it III on all-time list; Elementary sags in late night

Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII on CBS ended an eight-year audience growth spurt for the game. But 108.4 million viewers is still an eye-opener. Details are on our Network News & Reviews page, along with some downcast numbers for the network's late-starting Elementary.
Ed Bark

Super Bowl XLVII a downer in D-FW ratings despite more than 2.2 mil. viewers

Sunday's Super Bowl XLVII turned out to be a high-scoring, down-to-the-wire thriller, power outage and all. Still, its D-FW ratings didn't measure up to recent Supies. A complete report is on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Ready. Set. February "sweeps"

Thursday marked Day 1 of the four-week February "sweeps" ratings period. Our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page has all the numbers for the opening match-ups of local newscasts on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11. Plus, the DOA ratings for NBC's new medical drama, Do No Harm.
Ed Bark