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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 28) -- feeling a draft on the first day of the May "sweeps"


CBS11 drafted Troy Dungan to close its 10 p.m. news weather segment on the first night of the May “sweeps.” Photo: Ed Bark

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The NFL’s annual beef-on-the-hoof selection show, also known as The Draft, made another big ratings impact Thursday night on ESPN and the NFL network.

Running from 7 to 10:45 p.m., the 31-team first round (New England had its pick taken away by “deflate gate”) averaged 240,802 viewers on ESPN while NFL Net tacked on an additional 99,154.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, the numbers added up to 152,434 viewers for ESPN and 47,636 for NFL Net.

The Dallas Cowboys selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott with the No. 4 pick at 7:38 p.m. From 7:30 to 7:45 p.m. (Nielsen measures in 15-minute increments), ESPN’s audience inflated to 318,708 total viewers and NFL Net’s to 134,566. In the 18-to-49 age range, ESPN had 171,488 viewers from 7:30 to 7:45 p.m., with the NFL Net clocking in at 73,041.

Let’s break this down a little further under the assumption that a lot more men watch the draft than women. And that assumption would be correct. We’ll use just the ESPN numbers and measure for each gender in the key 18-to-34, 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 age ranges.

18-to-34-year-olds -- 54,608
18-to-49-year-olds -- 103,686
25-to-54-year-olds -- 109,823

18-to-34-year-olds -- 18,231
18-to-49-year-olds -- 48,141
25-to-54-year-olds -- 43,848

Thursday’s top two non-draft draws in total viewers were CBS’ 7 p.m. episode of The Big Bang Theory with 347,038 and Fox4’s local 9 p.m. newscast (262,049). In the 18-to-49 demographic, Big Bang likewise led with 130,204 viewers while the runner-up Fox4 newscast had 88,920.

In both cases, Fox4’s news impressively trampolined off a meager lead-in from Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of American Grit, which had 56,659 total viewers and 22,230 within the 18-to-49-year-old motherlode.

Thursday also opened the four-week May “sweeps” ratings period, with CBS11’s 10 p.m. newscast striving to suction in viewers with the twin punch of former TEGNA8 chief forecaster Troy Dungan in front of a TV weather map for the first time since July 18, 2007 and Ginger Allen’s investigation of “Exploding Toilets.” Dungan also was in studio to plug his new Bible teachings book Jesus Makes Salsa by the Seashore, which unclebarky.com detailed last month.

None of this quite panned out for CBS11. The station ran behind TEGNA8, Fox4 and NBC5 (in that order) among total viewers and also placed last with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Fox4 was No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds while NBC5 and TEGNA8 tied for second.

Here are Thursday’s other local news derby results in the major four-way competitions.

Fox4 notched twin wins at 6 a.m. and NBC5 swept both the 5 and 6 p.m. competitions.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Good Morning Texas getting another makeover

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Incoming Alanna Sarabia and outgoing Mike Castellucci.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The latest shakeups at TEGNA8’s long-running. locally produced Good Morning Texas will send current co-host Mike Castellucci back to the news room full-time while importing Alanna Sarabia from San Antonio to join incumbent co-host Jane McGarry.

As previously posted, GMT personality Carrie McClure is leaving the show after four years. Her last day is Friday, April 29th.

Sarabia’s hiring, first reported by San Antonio Express-News TV critic Jeanne Jakle, will end her five-year stay with the city’s similarly formatted morning show, WOAI-TV’s San Antonio Living. The former Miss San Antonio 2009 and San Antonio Spurs Silver Dancer is scheduled to join GMT on May 23rd. Sarabia was born in Dallas, raised in Grand Prairie and is a graduate of Texas State University.

Sources at TEGNA8 tell unclebarky.com that Castellucci will be vacating his co-host spot and rejoining the station’s news team. The former early morning “Why Guy” left TEGNA8 for a five-year tour with San Diego’s KUSI-TV before returning to Dallas in the summer of 2013 to host GMT with McClure and Amy Vanderoef, who left in March of last year.

McGarry, the former longtime NBC5 news anchor, became a full-time GMT co-host in March 2015 after earlier contributing a series of “Texas Legends” reports.

GMT, which is produced independently of TEGNA8’s news department, has been on the air since September, 1994. Although its conventional daily ratings continue to be decidedly unexceptional in the 9 a.m. hour, the program cleans up revenue-wise by offering several paid five-minute segments per show. Sources say GMT clears a net profit of between $2 million and $3 million annually from these ”pay for play” mini-infomercials, in which guests tout their products and services to the co-hosts. GMT otherwise is usually beaten soundly in the daily Nielsen ratings by Fox4’s syndicated Live with Kelly & Michael and NBC’s third hour of Today. The locally produced program is more competitive with CBS’ competing double dose of Let’s Make A Deal, which it sometimes outdraws.

TEGNA8’s only reliably solid non-network ratings performer on weekday mornings and afternoons is the noon Midday local newscast, which usually win its time slot in total viewers in a hard-fought battle with CBS’ competing soap operas. But the station otherwise is in daytime ratings free fall, particularly with its syndicated 2 to 4 p.m. bloc of Fab Life (which is being canceled), The Insider and Inside Edition. All are being badly beaten by competing programming on Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11. TEGNA8’s 4 p.m. local newscast suffers as a result opposite homegrown news hours on NBC5 and CBS11.

There could be more intrigue coming on the mid-morning scene. The ABC network reportedly is strongly considering canceling The View and adding a third hour of Good Morning America after recently naming Michael Strahan as a full-time co-anchor of the program. That would push programs such as GMT and Live with Kelly (and Whoever) back to 10 a.m.

Live airs on ABC stations in a majority of TV markets and on all of the network’s owned-and-operated stations. But in Dallas, the show has long been the syndicated property of Fox4, which successfully airs it at 9 a.m. If GMA is expanded to run from 9 to 10 a.m., Kelly Ripa eventually would find herself competing for viewers opposite her old co-host, Strahan

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Wed., April 26-27) -- Fox4/NBC5 flex their severe weather muscles

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Nothing pumps up local newscast ratings more than bad weather or the threat of same. And few things bring bigger curled smiles to management than when their station blows away the competition.

That brings us to Tuesday’s D-FW Nielsens first. That’s when the early evening and after-dark news editions were fueled by predictions of heavy rain, hail and winds throughout the viewing area.

NBC5 struck first, winning at 5 and 6 p.m. in both total viewers and among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The Peacock pulled in 226,637 total viewers at 5 p.m. and upped that number to 276,214 for the 6 p.m. newscast. Fox4 ran a solid second and onetime kingpin TEGNA8 placed fourth at 5 p.m. (behind CBS11) and third at 6 p.m. (ahead of CBS11).

Among 25-to-54-year-olds, NBC5 dominated the four-way field with 104,171 viewers at 5 p.m. and 119,052 at 6 p.m. Fox4 ran a distant second and TEGNA8 was deep in third ahead of last-place CBS11, which lost veteran chief meteorologist Larry Mowry last month to Chicago’s WLS-TV. Scott Padgett, who’d been part of the early morning team, is filling in while the station searches for Mowry’s replacement.

Fox4 then took over big-time, particularly at 9 p.m., when its local newscast blew away rival stations’ mixes of network entertainment programming and weather updates. Fox4 drew 467,438 total viewers and 217,270 in the 25-to-54 demographic. The station also won at 10 p.m. in both ratings measurements, with NBC5, TEGNA8 and CBS11 lagging in that order.

Wednesday’s prime-time Nielsens were paced as usual by Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of Empire, which had 368,285 total viewers and 200,079 in the 18-to-49 age range (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming).

CBS’ Survivor stayed strong with comfy twin wins at 7 p.m. and Fox4’s 9 p.m. news again won by wide margins on both counts.

Here are the local news derby results.

In Tuesday’s other four-way local news competitions, Fox4 won a calm-weather 6 a.m. face-off in both ratings measurements.

On Wednesday, TEGNA8 nipped CBS11 for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 won easily with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 likewise swept the 6 a.m. competitions before NBC5 flexed by running the table at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Dungan does another one-night stand on CBS11 while the station also probes "Exploding Toilets" on first day of May "sweeps."

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CBS11’s loading up for opening night of May “sweeps.” Photos: Ed Bark

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
A second coming of evergreen weatherman Troy Dungan and an investigative probe of “Exploding Toilets” will lead CBS11 into battle on opening night (Thursday, April 28) of the May “sweeps” ratings period.

These two events otherwise are intended to be mutually exclusive. Dungan, who was WFAA-TV’s signature forecaster for 31 years until his retirement on July 18, 2007, will mainly be on hand to promote his new book, Jesus Makes Salsa by the Seashore, which was detailed in a March post on unclebarky.com. But Dungan said in a telephone interview Thursday that he’ll also slip in to do a “7-Day Forecast” at the end of meteorologist Scott Padgett’s segment before sitting down with co-anchor Doug Dunbar to chat about the book and the current state of TV weathercasting.

“I”m certainly not going to work for CBS11, but who can resist the chance to start up the rumor mill again?” Dungan said.

CBS11 currently is seeking a replacement for Dungan’s favorite D-FW weathercaster, Larry Mowry, who left the station in March after an eight-year run to join WLS-TV in Chicago.

“I told Larry when he left that he was the last calm, reassuring voice in weather in Dallas-Fort Worth,” Dungan said.

He’s appeared on CBS11 before, also during a ratings sweeps period. That was in February 2011, when both Dungan and his longtime friend and former WFAA colleague Tracy Rowlett were profiled in “Where Are They Now?” segments during 10 p.m. newscasts. Dungan rankled WFAA management at the time by lauding Mowry as his favorite forecaster rather than his successor at WFAA, Pete Delkus.

Dungan said CBS11 president and general manager Gary Schneider asked Dungan about a return visit during a conversation at the April 11th Press Club of Dallas salute to CBS newsman Bob Schieffer.

The station later followed up with an offer to send a car equipped with a nice bottle of wine, Dungan said. So he agreed.

“I’m not coming to work here. I’m just shamelessly promoting my book,” Dungan emphasized.

An on-air promo for Dungan’s appearance ran in tandem with the “Exploding Toilets” come-on during Thursday’s early morning newscast on CBS11.

“Find out if you’re sitting on a time bomb,” a pitchman said after insisting that this is “no laughing matter.”

Veteran investigator Ginger Allen will do the report while Dungan goes with the flow, so to speak.

“Tune in at 10 tonight,” he said by telephone. “And watch the old weather guy and the exploding toilets.”

In last year’s May “sweeps” competition among D-FW’s four major TV news providers, CBS11 ran second in total viewers (behind WFAA) and fourth with 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

CBS11 brings Jason Allen back to early mornings, this time behind a new "Breaking News Desk"

CBS11’s Jason Allen will be back in early morns.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Nearly a year after breaking up an early morning team with momentum, CBS11 is returning former interim anchor Jason Allen in a new role.

Sources tell unclebarky.com that Allen will rejoin the 4:30 to 7 a.m. shift as part of a new “Breaking News Desk” (which turned out to be named the “Live Eye” desk). He starts on Thursday, April 28th, which not coincidentally is the first day of the four-week May “sweeps” ratings period.

Last May, Allen was still co-anchoring with incumbent Karen Borta when CBS11 ran better than last in the 6 a.m. hour among 25-to-54-year-old viewers (main advertiser target audience for news programming) for the first time in station history. The station nipped TEGNA8 for the bronze in that month’s sweeps.

But news director Mike Garber already had announced that Allen’s nine-and-a-half-month tenure would come to an end on June 1st, when the newly hired Russ McCaskey would be stepping in and sending Allen back to the reporter pool.

CBS11 also decided to send interim traffic anchor Tammy Dombeck packing during that period, even though the station had been making steady gains with the team of Borta, Allen, Dombeck and meteorologist Scott Padgett. Chelsey Davis became the new early morning traffic anchor on June 8th. (As previously posted, Padgett lately is filling in for departed chief meteorologist Larry Mowry, with Lisa Villegas doing the early morning weather.)

By the time of the February 2016 “sweeps,” CBS11 had fallen back into a deep ratings rut at 6 a.m. in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic, with TEGNA8 reclaiming third place. The station has never finished better than fourth in total viewers during that hour.

The new arrangement with Allen, who joined CBS11 in spring 2011, seems similar to NBC5’s recent early morning experiment with a “three-headed” anchor team. But Eric King, who initially manned a secondary news desk, left the station in January after being reassigned to NBC5’s reporting pool last October.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net