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Updating former KDFW-TV sports anchor Ted Dawson (who's still in there pitching)


Hundreds of D-FW news, sports and weather anchors have come and gone during your friendly content provider’s way-too-long tenure as a TV critic.

So let’s play catchup once in a while.

Back in September, 1987, a sonic boom of a sports anchor, Ted Dawson, became the featured scorekeeper at KDFW-TV (now known as Fox4). He was the only guy capable of sometimes making Gannett8’s Dale Hansen seem like a drizzle to his thunderclap.

“I tell ya what, I love the Dallas-Fort Worth area! I tell ya what!” he exclaimed on his opening sportscast while seated next to news anchors Steve Bosh and Clarice Tinsley. Dawson then gave the anchor desk a couple of fist raps for emphasis.

After surviving for 10 years at KABC-TV in Los Angeles, Dawson arrived in these parts as a veritable Godzilla stomping through Manhattan. His first two sportscasts for KDFW were a TV critic’s dream.

Dawson on Texas Rangers catcher Geno Petralli inadvertently beaning the Oakland A’s’ base-stealing Carney Lansford: “Here’s the throw from Petralli. Bang! Right in the head! That’s why ya always wear a helmet.”

Dawson touting a Rangers home run: “Storm Davis makes a mistake. Ka-boom!!! Bob Brower takes him for a ride to right field. Get outta here! That ball is a memory, folks.”

Excitable Ted also made a sure-fire Monday Night Football prediction during his first “Ted’s Tout” segment. The New York Giants were favored by only a single point over the Chicago Bears. But Dawson picked the New Yorkers to win “by at least 10” over a team that was “a mere shadow of the one that beat New England in Super Bowl XX.”

“Ya gotta love it!” he added, referring to the teensy one-point spread. “Ya can bet the family farm on this one! This is a dead solid lock!”

Except that The Bears won by 15 points.

Yes, Dawson was the gift that kept on giving during his tenure at KDFW, which ended in 1993. He’s dropped a few market sizes since then after being the TV voice for the Boise State Broncos for Boise’s KCBI-TV. Since January 2011, Dawson, 70, has been sports director/sports anchor for KBZK-TV in Bozeman, Montana and KXLF-TV in Butte, Montana.

In that capacity, he took the “Go Figure Slim Down” challenge with KBZK/KXLF sales and business development manager Greg Metzger. Below is video of Ted touting his weight loss with the same enthusiasm he once brought to KDFW. Guess you gotta love it.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Oct. 15-16) -- a close Thursday Night Football game again does the prime-time trick

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CBS’ Thursday Night Football as usual ruled prime-time while ABC’s three-pronged Shonda Rhimes night again ran a solid second.

Gifted with a second close game after four consecutive blowouts, the Patriots’ 27-25 win over the Jets (7:25 to 10:29 p.m.) averaged 355,674 D-FW viewers while the NFL Network’s simulcast tacked on another 76,714.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, CBS had 154,536 viewers and the NFL Network, 53,615.

ABC’s prime-time lineup was led by an 8 p.m. episode of Scandal, which drew 251,064 total viewers and 126,152 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

NBC’s two freshman sitcoms, Bad Judge and A to Z, respectively finished third and fourth in total viewers from 8 to 9 p.m. The second half of Fox’s Gracepoint managed to beat A to Z but lost decisively among 18-to-49-year-olds to both Peacock comedies.

In Wednesday’s prime-time competition, CBS’ Survivor won at 7 p.m. in total viewers before ABC’s Modern Family beat the first half of CBS’ Criminal Minds in that measurement. Minds then ran first from 8:30 to 9 p.m., as did CBS’ Stalker in the 9 p.m. hour.

Wednesday’s 18-to-49 winners were Survivor, Modern Family, the second half of Criminal Minds and Fox4’s resilient 9 p.m. local newscast, which doubled the audience for Fox’s preceding Red Band Society.

Here are the Wednesday and Thursday local news derby results.

Wednesday -- CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and CBS11 had the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. The 5 and 6 p.m. wins among 25-to-54-year-olds respectively went to Gannett8 and Fox4.

Thursday -- Gannett8 comfortably won a downsized three-way competition at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 and Gannett8 tied for the most total viewers at 6 a.m., with Fox4 alone atop the 25-to-54 heap.

NBC5 swept the 5 p.m. competitions and also won at 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

CBS11 tabs Gilma Avalos as weekend morning news anchor

Gilma Avalos
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D-FW’s CBS11 has hired Gilma Avalos to anchor its fledgling weekend morning newscasts.

She’ll join the station on Oct. 27th, teaming with recently hired meteorologist Lisa Villegas, CBS11 announced Thursday.

Avalos, a Columbia University graduate, arrives from Miami’s NBC station, WTVJ-TV, where she spent three years. As a 12-year-old, she broke into the TV biz as the host of Paleokids, a Discovery Channel Latin America children’s show.

CBS11’s weekend morning newscasts run from 8 to 9 a.m. on Saturday and from 7 to 8 a.m. on Sunday.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Harry Shearer is the latest fitting choice for Dallas VideoFest's Kovacs Award


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Harry Shearer, recipient of the Dallas VideoFest’s 2014 Kovacs Award, hasn’t quite been around forever. You could make a case, though.

The comedian/impressionist/writer/actor is best known for voicing a multitude of characters on The Simpsons (including Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders) and as Spinal Tap bassist Derek Smalls. These alone are more than enough for pop culture enshrinement. But Shearer’s back story as a child actor is way cool, too, in a sunken treasure “Who knew?” kind of way.

Born on Dec. 23, 1943, Shearer’s first credit dates to the 1953 film Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, in which he’s uncredited as “Boy.” In that same year he briefly appeared in the big Biblical bash The Robe.

Shearer also played Jack Benny as a boy in two episodes of the late great comedian’s television program. And in 1957 he was the prototype for Eddie Haskell as mischievous Frankie Bennett in the pilot episode of Leave it to Beaver. Shearer’s parents, as the story goes, didn’t want him to compromise his “normal childhood” by taking a weekly role on a TV series. That opened the door for Ken Osmond as Haskell. Those are the breaks.

Through the many years since, Shearer has been an outspoken iconoclast who plays well with others as long as the others stimulate him creatively.

He first became best known a member of The Credibility Gap, a 1970s radio comedy troupe that took their act on the road when the show was canceled. This eventually led to a writer/performer slot on Saturday Night Live. But Shearer felt both under-used and ill-used, never really clicking with executive producer Lorne Michaels or his successor at the time, Dick Ebersol. So he asked to leave.

“I’m not the tantrum type, although I think I’m better at hiding my feelings than I am,” Shearer says in the superb 2002 book Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live. “I’m told that when I’m unhappy in a situation, people know it just by the cloud that gathers over me.”

Ebersol saw it a bit differently, saying in the same book of Shearer: “He’s a gifted performer but a pain in the butt, unfortunately. He’s just so demanding on the preciseness of things . . . He’s intolerant of other people’s issues. He’s just a nightmare-to-deal-with person.”

In other words, Shearer can be a lot like the mercurial, ultra-creative Kovacs, who fought the “suits” throughout his up-and-down career during the dawn of network television. He died at the age of 42 in a single-car crash.

Shearer, at age 70, is still in there punching, both as a charter voice-actor on The Simpsons and as host of public radio’s comedy/music program Le Show since 1983. He also directed the 2010 documentary The Big Uneasy, an up-close look at a post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, where Shearer now teaches at Loyola University.

His latest venture, Nixon’s the One, is a youtube series in which Shearer plays the title role while re-enacting various real-life speeches and excerpts from the Watergate tapes. No further embellishments are needed.

The Kovacs Award presentation, including an interview with Shearer, will be at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17th at Dallas’ Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane. Previous recipients include Paul Reubens, Martin Mull, Mike Judge, Joel Hodgson, Terry Gilliam, Robert Smigel and, last year, George Schlatter.

Harry Shearer fits very well within this group during a big year in which he also won his first Emmy Award for his voiceovers in the “Four Regrettings and a Funeral” episode of The Simpsons.

Check out his website for more, more, more.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 14) -- nice opening night for NBC's Marry Me

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NBC got what it wanted Tuesday night -- a big sampling for its new Marry Me in a cushy time slot following The Voice.

The 8 p.m. premiere of the generally favorably reviewed sitcom drew 265,012 D-FW viewers in running a solid second to the first half-hour of CBS’ competing NCIS: New Orleans (411,466 viewers). But of much more import to NBC, Marry Me comfortably won its time slot among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, drawing 122,998 to NCIS: NO’s 69,384.

The Peacock also won among 18-to-49-year-olds with The Voice and its 9 p.m. episode of Chicago Fire. NBC’s 8:30 p.m. season premiere of About a Boy ran second in both measurements to the second half of NCIS: NO. CBS also drew the most total viewers at both 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. with NCIS and Person of Interest.

Prime-time’s lowest achiever among the Big Four broadcast networks, ABC’s 7:30 p.m. episode of Manhattan Love Story, bottomed out with just 34,870 total viewers and 12,612 in the 18-to-49 demographic. It’s emerged as the favorite to be the first new fall series to be canceled. Manhattan Love Story and ABC’s preceding Selfie also were beaten from 7 to 8 p.m. in total viewers and 18-to-49-year-old by the second episode of CW’s competing The Flash.

Another new ABC series, Forever, likewise ran fourth at 9 p.m. in both ratings measurements. But its numbers were more than double those for Manhattan Love Story.

In Tuesday’s local news derby results, CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions, although NBC5 was just a hair behind in total viewers.

Fox4 likewise ran the table at 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. golds both went to CBS11.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net