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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Aug. 22) -- Fox4 remains at head of class on Back to School Day (plus a new start in TV news for former TEGNA8 anchor/reporter Shon Gables

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Consider it Super Bowl Monday for the early morning newscasts. Most kids went back to school yesterday, which generally means extra eyeballs as more moms and dads check on weather, traffic and whatever else might affect their star pupils’ paths to further education.

Fox4’s Good Day again passed with flying colors, winning by wide margins over its nearest competitor in both total D-FW viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming). The station also came within a hair of achieving an exceedingly rare double grand slam in the four major local newscast face-offs.

At the principal early morning waking hour of 6 to 7 a.m. Monday, here’s how it looked:

Total Viewers
Fox4 -- 141,648
NBC5 -- 63,742
TEGNA8 -- 56,659
CBS11 -- 49,577

25-to-54-Year-Olds
Fox4 -- 86,313
NBC5 -- 50,597
TEGNA8 -- 20,834
CBS11 -- 14,882

Fox4 also swept the 5 and 6 p.m. local newscast competitions and had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 10 p.m. But NBC5 slipped into first place in total viewers at 10 p.m., besting Fox4 by just one-tenth of a rating point.

In prime-time, NBC’s American Ninja Warrior won from 7 to 9 p.m. in both total viewers and with 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming). Fox4’s local news was tops at 9 p.m. in total viewers and shared the 18-to-49 lead with NBC’s Running with Bear Grylls.

LOCAL NEWS NOTE: More than two years after being dropped by Dallas-based TEGNA8, Shon Gables has landed an anchor/reporter position at KTBS-TV, the ABC affiliate station in Shreveport, LA.

“Got those nervous jitters out!” she tweeted Monday from Shreveport.

Gables’ previous legal problems have been extensively detailed in these spaces. And KTBS no doubt is well aware of them. But she deserves another chance, and it’s hoped that this time things go well for her.

Gables left TEGNA8 as the station’s weekend morning anchor in June 2014. She had remained in Dallas until recently after first joining TEGNA8 in January 2010. Post-TEGNA8, she regularly tweeted about her physical fitness regimen and diet.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 19-21) -- Cowboys tie Olympics for Friday night top spot

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Torch’s last gasp at 2016 Rio Olympics. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Friday’s Night 15 of the Rio Olympics and the Dallas Cowboys-Miami Dolphins pre-season game were the weekend’s top ratings draws in D-FW.

An abbreviated night of the Summer Games ran from 7 to 9:30 p.m. on NBC and averaged 488,686 viewers. The Cowboys’ rout of Miami started at the same hour on CBS11, but stretched to 10:12 p.m. It ended up averaging an identical 488,686 viewers.

Even though the Olympics went against the Cowboys, they still drew more viewers than the equivalent Night 15 of London’s Olympics, which had 440,317.

On Saturday night, the Olympics from Rio sank to their lowest total of 403,697 viewers in a 7 to 11 p.m. slot that included an extended package of closing credits and highlights. Still, that was barely good enough to nip Night 16 from London (399,672 viewers).

Then came Sunday night’s Closing Ceremonies, with Rio again taking a severe beating. An average of 446,191 viewers tuned in compared to 806,118 for the final show from London. Rio’s Opening Ceremonies also came up way short of London’s. An absence of familiar stars clearly hurt in both cases, with London’s opener crushing Rio’s by a score of 894,181 viewers to 531,180.

On the 15 competition nights, though, Rio held its own by outdrawing London on 7 of the 15 nights. Tuesday, Aug. 9th, during which Michael Phelps won his 20th and 21st gold medals in live coverage, easily ranked as Rio’s top draw with 970,289 viewers. That night also had taped coverage of the U.S. women’s gymnastics team’s gold medal performance.

NBC’s Sunday night cognac, a 9:30 p.m. half-hour “preview” episode of The Voice with new judges Miley Cyrus and Alicia Keys, had a nice-sized 318,708 viewers to easily win its time slot.

On Friday, the Peacock’s 9:30 p.m. new episode of Superstore ran second to the Cowboys game with 290,378 viewers.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results.

NBC5 ran first at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). This double grand slam comes with an asterisk, though. CBS11’s 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts were either rubbed out or delayed by Cowboys specials or the game itself. And the closing portion of the pre-season game, plus some post-game coverage, dominated the 10 to 10:30 p.m. slot.

NBC5 newscasts are likely to enjoy a nice afterglow from NBC’s Olympics run, though. We’ll see how that pans out.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Strangis in a strange land as the principal star of Hospitality Suite

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Age-old sports voices: Norm Hitzges, Ralph Strangis. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Get set for a torrent of dialogue, the bulk of it from Ralph Strangis, if you’re among those in the audience for Hospitality Suite.

It’s something of a latter-day meld of Death of A Salesman and Glengarry Glen Ross, with the former longtime voice of the Dallas Stars hockey team loudly emoting like crazy as industrial lubricant salesman Larry Mann.

A Thursday night preview performance of the male-centric play by Roger Rueff drew a sizable contingent of sports radio personalities, including Norm Hitzges (pictured with Strangis above), Brad Sham, Chuck Cooperstein, Bob Sturm, Tim Cowlishaw, Jeff “Skin” Wade and Corby Davidson. An open bar and free post-play food didn’t hurt a bit.

Originating from the 26th floor hospitality suite of a Wichita, Kansas hotel, the play focuses almost exclusively on three salesmen played by Strangis, Gary Walters (as Phil Bustamonte) and Brent Crable (as Bob Walker). Khalid Beard also is seen briefly but memorably as drunken hanger-on Keith Brewster.

Strangis’ Larry is the center ring antagonist, whether sparring with his beaten-down sales partner Phil or hectoring the pious young Bob about both his religious beliefs and his shortcomings as a deal-closer. He somehow manages to memorize enough lines to fill a full season of hockey games. For the most part it’s an effective, full-barreled performance, although a little modulation in spots might help to richen the texture.

“I wanted to be in this show and play this part, so I bought the rights and cast myself in the damned thing,” Strangis says in the Hospitality Suite play booklet. “I didn’t have all that much else going on so what the hell.”

Strangis voluntarily left the Stars in April of 2015 after a quarter-century of ice and puck. He’s since been roaming the world on his own terms while also writing occasional columns for The Dallas Morning News and lately completing an undergraduate degree at the University of North Texas.

Hospitality Suite also was adapted into a 1999 feature film, The Big Kahuna, starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli. The new Dallas stage version continues on Aug. 19, 20, 25, 26 and 27 in the South Side Music Hall at Gilley’s Dallas, 1135 St. Lamar St.

For more details and ticket information, go here.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Aug. 18) -- Olympics get a Bolt bump

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC’s Summer Olympics from Rio reversed their steady decline Thursday, with Usain Bolt’s record-setting third straight 200 meters gold medal helping to push the D-FW ratings past 2012’s equivalent night from London.

Night 14 of the Games averaged 602,004 viewers, up from the 555,476 who watched the London Olympics four years ago. That reversed a six-night losing streak for Rio. But the London Games still lead Rio 9-5 in night-by-night comparisons. Just three nights remain, with the Olympics torch being snuffed out this Sunday. And Friday’s Olympics telecast will be pitted against the Dallas Cowboys-Miami Dolphins pre-season game on CBS11. That should be a close battle.

Thursday’s most-watched TV attraction opposite the Olympics, a 7 p.m. repeat of CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, drew 191,225 viewers.

Here are Thursday’s local news derby results, with NBC5’s 10 p.m. edition again counted out due to the Olympics’ over-run.

TEGNA8 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m. but was nipped by Fox4 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m. The Peacock also drew the most total viewers at 6 p.m. But for first time during NBC’s Olympics run, NBC5 had to share first place with a rival station (Fox4) in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Aug. 17) -- Olympics fading badly

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC’s Summer Games from Rio are hitting a big ratings rut down the stretch, with Wednesday night’s coverage sinking below even the Opening Ceremonies.

Night 13 of the Olympics averaged 502,850 D-FW viewers compared to 670,636 for the equivalent night from London in 2012. That dropped it below the 531,180 viewers for Rio’s Opening Ceremonies, which had been the least-watched of the Peacock’s 2016 presentations. Night 5 of the Rio Olympics, with Michael Phelps winning two gold medals, hit a ratings high of 970,289 viewers that clearly won’t be matched during the closing nights.

For the final 15-minute segment Wednesday (10:45 to 11 p.m.), the Olympics audience dipped all the way down to 361,202 viewers. A first-run episode of CBS’ NCIS generally does better than that. The London Games now have beaten the Rio Olympics on nine of the 13 nights, including the last six in a row.

On Fox Sports Southwest Wednesday night, the first-place Texas Rangers’ sweep of the visiting Oakland A’s averaged 169,978 viewers to finish second among all TV attractions.

Here are Wednesday’s local news derby results, with NBC5’s 10 p.m. edition again out of the mix due to NBC’s extended Olympics coverage.

TEGNA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 joined a three-way first-place tie among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at both 5 and 6 p.m., where it remains unbeaten in both ratings measurements throughout NBC’s Olympics run.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net