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First look at how NBC5's new home is supposed to look


An artist's rendering of NBC5's new CentrePort home. KDC photo

The earth didn't shake, but ground was broken Friday on NBC5's future home at the CentrePort Business Park in Fort Worth.

An above artist's rendering, included with a publicity release, shows how it's all supposed to look upon completion in late 2013.

"It is great to finally turn dirt and get this exciting project started," KDC senior vice president Bill Guthrey said in a publicity release.

KDC, with main headquarters in Dallas, is the commercial real estate and investment company behind construction of the 8.1 acre, 75,000 square-foot "broadcasting and multimedia news facility." Corgan Associates, Inc. is the lead architectural firm.

Besides NBC5, the complex aIso will house Telemundo affiliate KXTX-TV and several other "smaller businesses associated with NBC Universal," which owns both NBC5 and the Telemundo network.

"Consolidating our operations in CentrePort (where American Airlines and AT&T also are located) provides the opportunity for us to serve viewers better from one strategically-situated location near the center of the North Texas region," NBC5 president and general manager Tom Ehlmann said in the release.

As previously reported, NBC5 is leaving the only home it's ever known since signing on as WBAP-TV on Sept. 27, 1948. The station, which became KXAS-TV and now is marketed as NBC5, has operated out of a building at 3900 Barnett St. in east Fort Worth since the day it was born.

The new CentrePort address will be 4805 Amon Carter Blvd.

TNT's Dallas will catch a second wind, as will on-location shooting in Dallas


TNT has both re-upped Dallas and upped the ante.

The network announced Friday that its mix of old and new Ewings will get a second season of 15 episodes, a 50 percent increase over the 10 made for the ongoing Season 1.

Dallas currently has six more episodes left in its freshman year, with the Fourth of July hour following on the heels of a 4 to 8 p.m. (central) marathon of the first four. Season 2 of Dallas is due sometime in 2013. And as with Season 1, it will be filmed entirely on location in Dallas, TNT spokeswoman Karen Cassell confirmed Friday to unclebarky.com.

TNT president Michael Wright said in a publicity release that Dallas "has been a success for us on every level: pitch-perfect writing, smart directing and buzz-worthy performances by a new generation of stars and their iconic counterparts. With Dallas' top-flight ratings, robust growth through time-shifted viewing and the extensive online buzz, it's clear the Ewings of Southfork have once again captured the imagination of viewers."

National Nielsen ratings have dropped off for the first four episodes of this season. But Dallas still ranks as basic cable's No.1-rated new series, TNT said.

Dallas re-premiered on June 13th with back-to-back episodes that averaged 7.8 million viewers nationally in Nielsen's Live+3 ratings. Those numbers include DVR viewing during the first three days after a show's premiere.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., June 27-28) -- very good numbers for bad boy Sheen's return

Charlie Sheen is back, and D-FW viewers still have an appetite for him.

The two-episode premiere of his Anger Management series enabled FX to outdraw all prime-time programming Thursday in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

And the second half-hour had more viewers than the first, which will make his new network even happier.

Episode 1 at 8 p.m. drew 89,664 viewers in the advertiser-craved 18-to-49 range, with Episode 2 improving to 92,867. Thursday's next-closest attraction, the 8 to 9 p.m. portion of Fox Sports Southwest's Texas Rangers game, had 80,058 viewers during that hour. The marathon game's numbers improved from 9 to 11 p.m., with Texas finally prevailing 7-6 over Oakland. Its overall prime-time average, after a slower start from 7 to 8 p.m., was 86,462 viewers in the 18-to-49 demographic.

FX's following comedies down-trended from 9 to 10:30 p.m. Wilfred had 73,653 viewers in the 18-to-49 age range, followed by Louie (44,832) and Brand X with Russell Brand (16,012). Overall they marked the launch of the network's new Thursday "comedy block."

In the total viewer Nielsens, Anger Management had nice-sized totals of 142,256 and 155,804. The Rangers soundly beat Sheen from 8 to 9 p.m. with 223,545 total viewers while CBS' competing rerun of Person of Interest had 155,804 viewers for its full hour.

But Anger Management's very strong performance with 18-to-49-year-olds is the only result that really matters to FX. And in that measurement, Sheen likely exceeded initial expectations.

In Wednesday's ratings, the fourth episode of TNT's Dallas had 149,030 total viewers, with 51,237 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. Those are the lowest totals to date for the re-do, which was beaten in total viewers from 8 to 9 p.m. by both the Rangers-Tigers game and NBC's America's Got Talent.

But the Ewings are still running strong enough nationally to merit a likely second season. Dallas ranked second overall among original cable series Wednesday, with 4.079 million viewers to Royal Pains' 4.177 million on USA. And Dallas tied Pains in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Here are the local news derby results:

Wednesday -- CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. competition in total viewers, but Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 scored a doubleheader win at 6 a.m. while the 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The Peacock and WFAA8 tied for first at 5 p.m. in total viewers, with WFAA8 alone atop the 25-to-54 demographic.

Thursday -- CBS11 repeated as the 10 p.m. winner in total viewers, but again fell to a distant fourth with 25-to-54-year-olds. This time NBC5 took that prize.

WFAA8 continued to roll at 6 a.m. with another sweep while CBS11 rolled out of bed and was hit by a semi-truck in the 25-to-54 demographic. The station was soundly beaten by CW33's Eye Opener from 5 to 7 a.m., with "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) for CBS11 from 5:30 to 7 a.m.

Other than WFAA8's Daybreak, the comedy-laced Eye Opener currently has the most early morning momentum among 25-to-54-year-olds. Produced entirely out of CW33's Dallas studios, the program also is beamed to four other Tribune-owned stations.

WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds. At 5 p.m., Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the top spot in total viewers, but the Peacock had the gold to itself in the 25-to-54 demo.


Daybreak co-anchor Cynthia Izaguirre is scheduled to return to the WFAA8 program on Monday, July 3rd after a three-month maternity leave. Traffic reporter Alexa Conomos, who's been filling in for Izaguirre, will then start her maternity leave.

Izaguirre birthed twins in the spring. "You should see my son!" she recently tweeted. "Much bigger than his sis and much stinkier too! :)"

Her latest tweet as of this writing: "These 3 months went fast! Will be nice to get back with my Ch 8 peeps. :)"

***CW33's Eye Opener has added D-FW radio vet Mark "Hawkeye" Louis as a travel correspondent. His segments will air on Thursdays, the station says. Louis currently has a weekend travel show, Travel with Hawkeye, on WBAP radio (820 AM).

Dombeck makes it official: she's leaving NBC5 (updated)


Veteran NBC5 early morning traffic reporter Tammy Dombeck has confirmed an earlier unclebarky.com report that she'll be leaving the station.

"I just wanted to update you," she said in a Facebook message Wednesday morning. "It's official. Couldn't agree to a contract. My last day will be July 27th."

However, Dombeck has been in contact with another D-FW television station, most likely CBS11, which has declined to comment.

Dombeck joined NBC5 in January 2000 and is best known for her "Gridlock Buster" traffic reports throughout the station's dawn-breaking news programs. A standard non-compete clause will keep her off the air for six months after she leaves NBC5, Dombeck later confirmed.

"I'm hoping to be back on the air for February sweeps 2013," she said. "Crazy time."

Sources say that NBC5 management may have already decided on Dombeck's replacement at a time when the station recently added anchor Mark Hayes to its early morning team and is still looking for a permanent replacement for meteorologist Jennifer Lopez, who was let go in March of this year. Samantha Davies has been doing the weather segments since that time, and reportedly remains a candidate for the permanent spot.

NBC5 officially announced Dombeck's departure to staffers on Wednesday morning. In the May "sweeps," the Fort Worth-based station rebounded to win the 6 to 7 a.m. hour in total viewers, with defending champ Fox4 a very close second.

In the key 25-to-54-year-old news demographic, NBC5 tied WFAA8 for second place behind Fox4, with both stations in striking distance of first place.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., June 26) -- Yu hoo

The Texas Rangers returned to the top of the prime-time scorecard Tuesday. A Yu Darvish win will do that for ya.

Rangers-Tigers averaged 257,416 D-FW viewers on Fox Sports Southwest, with 92,867 of them in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 demographic. That out-distanced NBC's runner-up America's Got Talent, which had respective totals of 230,319 and 80,058 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour.

The Peacock's 9 p.m. edition of Love In the Wild then dropped off a cliff, pulling in just 67,741 total viewers, with 28,821 in the 18-to-49 age range. That's a classic case of squandering a lead-in. But CW33's 9 p.m. local newscast made LITW look like a ratings Colossus. It had a sub-puny 4,742 total viewers and "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in the 18-to-49 demographic.

In local news derby results, the second edition of CBS11's early morning news thudded back to earth after a bit of a Monday bump-up for the debut of new anchors Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert.

It had just 16,935 total viewers in the most-watched 6 a.m. hour, with no measurable audience in the key news demo of 25-to-54-year-olds. In comparison, the competing 6 a.m. hour of CW33's Eye Opener had 10,232 viewers in the 25-to-54 age range. Both ratings measurements were topped by Fox4, which drew 100,934 total viewers and a nice-sized percentage of 58,079 in the 25-to-54 group.

At 10 p.m., CBS11 won in total viewers but skidded to fourth place with 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 and NBC5 tied for first in that measurement.

WFAA8 won in total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. Among 25-to-54-year-olds, NBC5 and WFAA8 shared the 5 p.m. gold but the Peacock had the 6 p.m. top spot to itself.

El Paso's Jennifer Myers is new Fox4 weekend meteorologist


Jennifer Myers of ABC affiliate KVIA-TV in El Paso will be Fox4's new weekend morning meteorologist, the Dallas-based station announced Tuesday.

Myers, a University of Oklahoma graduate, has been with KVIA since 2010 as a weathercaster, reporter and fill-in anchor. Her first scheduled day at Fox4 is on July 24th.

"Severe weather has always been my passion, so being in a place where I can do what I love is really something I'm looking forward to," Myers says in a publicity release.

Fox4 also has three other meteorologists -- Dan Henry, Evan Andrews and Ron Jackson. Fiona Gorostiza, who joined the station in December 2008 as both a weathercaster and reporter, is now listed on Fox4's website as a full-time feature reporter who mainly works for the early morning Good Day program.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., June 25) -- bit of a budge for CBS11 waker-upper

The Monday morning dawning of CBS11's new anchor team gave the station a bit of a ratings bump in its latest effort to blast out of last place someday.

Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert drew 39,967 D-FW viewers in the most-watched 6 a.m. hour, up from 30,483 on the previous Monday. That was good enough for a rare third-place tie with Fox4 during a summer season when all of the early morning ratings are deflated due to school being out and vacations being taken.

In the key 25-to-54 news demographic, CBS11 made a slighter improvement, inching up to 13,770 viewers from 11,208 a week ago. But front-running WFAA8 more than quadrupled that number with 56,040 viewers in the 25-to-54 age range. WFAA8 also won at 6 a.m. in total viewers, with 67,741.

Monday's prime-time attractions were paced by NBC's America's Got Talent, which had 216,771 total viewers from 8 to 9 p.m. ABC's The Bachelorette was the top draw among 18-to-49-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming.

Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers were kayoed early in their eventual 8-2 home loss to Detroit. The ratings responded accordingly, flattening out to an average of 162,578 total viewers. But Yu Darvish takes the mound on Tuesday night, meaning those numbers might double if he pitches well.

In Monday's other four-way local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while NBC5 topped the 25-to-54 numbers.

WFAA8 otherwise ran the table, with sweeps of the 5 and 6 p.m. competitions.

Veteran traffic reporter Tammy Dombeck in likely waning days at NBC5


More intrigue is brewing on D-FW's early morning news front, with veteran NBC5 traffic reporter Tammy Dombeck preparing to exit the station.

Several sources close to the situation confirm that Dombeck could be leaving as early as this week after more than 12 years as the Fort Worth-based station's featured "Gridlock Buster." She joined NBC5 in January 2000.

But wait, there's more. The University of North Texas grad is in talks with a rival D-FW station, with the most likely candidate appearing to be ratings-impaired CBS11. Asked about the Dombeck situation Monday, CBS11 communications director Lori Conrad said, "Thanks for checking. I decline to comment."

CBS11 debuted its new wake-up anchor team, of Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert, on Monday, June 25th. The station yearns to escape from an early morning ratings chasm in which millions of dollars in potential revenues have been left on the table while Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 continue to fight a tight ratings battle for the No. 1 spots in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the key demographic for news programming. Teresa Frosini is CBS11's current traffic reporter.

Higgins also used to work at NBC5, where he co-anchored weekday early morning newscasts for six years before leaving in January 2010 over a contract disagreement.

Dombeck's immediate availability would be in question, due to standard "non-compete" contracts at most stations. When longtime meteorologist Rebecca Miller was dropped by NBC5 in March of 2008, she spent an enforced six months off the air before being allowed to join rival CW33. Initially hired part-time, she has been the Tribune-owned station's chief 9 p.m. weekday weathercaster since January of 2009.

WFAA8 traffic reporter Alexa Conomos, currently co-anchoring the early morning news while Cynthia Izaguirre is on maternity leave, will herself go on maternity leave next month. Sources at the station say the plan is to continue with Colleen Coyle as a substitute traffic reporter, pending Conomos' anticipated return sometime in the early fall. If Conomos decided not to return, there perhaps could be an opening for Dombeck at WFAA8. But that seems like a longer shot, and sources at WFAA8 say she definitely intends to rejoin Daybreak. WFAA8's vice president/ of product development, Dave Muscari, said Monday that he has "no comment" on any of these developments.

Most signs currently point to CBS11 as Dombeck's possible future home. The station already has a track record of picking up anchors and reporters who first made their names at competing D-FW stations. We'll see what unfolds.


As previously reported, veteran WFAA8 anchor Gloria Campos will be leaving 6 p.m. newscasts in September while continuing to co-anchor the station's 10 p.m. weekday editions with John McCaa. She'll be taking a significant pay cut in the process, as did sports anchor Dale Hansen when he signed a new deal in January of this year.

Now her replacement is official. And to no one's surprise, it's Shelly Slater. News director Carolyn Mungo made the announcement to her staff earlier this month, sources confirm. Slater also will continue to co-anchor WFAA8's 5 p.m. newscasts.

Mungo has not returned an email asking for comment or confirmation. Her boss, WFAA8 president and general manager Mike Devlin, still has a standing "no comment" in response to all inquiries from unclebarky.com.

Campos, who joined WFAA8 in 1984, currently is the longest standing woman co-anchor of 6 p.m. newscasts in D-FW.

Higgins & Bankert debut in hopes of someday waking up CBS11's snoring early morning ratings


Hey, look 'em over. CBS11's Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert in the first minute of their early morning debut Monday. They hope to jump-start the station's basement-dwelling ratings. Photos: Ed Bark

CBS11's latest restart of its early morning news dawned brightly Monday with the first pairing of Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert in place of previous anchors Lisa Pineiro and Keith Garvin.

Their most significant, scene-setting exchange came in the opening minute of a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call.

"We want to thank you for joining the new CBS news(?)" Bankert said in the form of a question.

"As we begin a news revolution here at CBS11," Higgins rejoined to a few off-camera chortles.

"I like that," said Bankert. "Are you going to get a bumper sticker?"

"An avalance o' news. That's what we're gonna do here," Higgins promised.

"The one-liners will keep coming with Brendan Higgins," Bankert assured.

"That's right," her new on-air mate agreed. "Actually, yeah, we just want you to hang out with us and chill a little bit in the morning. And we are happy to be here with you."

Then it was on to the news, with neither anchor ever elaborating on just where they came from.

Higgins, his hair still gamely blonde, remains a known quantity to many D-FW viewers as the former co-anchor of NBC5's early morning show. He worked that shift for six years before leaving in January 2010 over a contract disagreement.

Bankert, who immediately demonstrated an ability to go with Higgins' flow, is already something of a revelation. Smooth, well-spoken and undeniably very nice to look at, Bankert arrived from NBC affiliate KCRA-TV in Sacramento, where she had worked dawn patrol hours for the past eight years.

First impressions can be misleading. But Bankert already looks as though she'll be better at parrying Higgins' playful thrusts than Fox4's Lauren Przybyl is or ever has been opposite Tim Ryan, the oft-snarky dean of D-FW morning TV.

Higgins' best quip came just before the 5 a.m. segment of the show. Sports anchor Bill Jones wrapped up his pre-recorded digest by grandly welcoming the two newcomers on behalf of "the entire CBS11 sports crew."

"Oh, it's so nice of him," Bankert said. Higgins then added, "It even seemed warm on tape."

"Will you stop!?" Bankert retorted agreeably.

Meanwhile, Higgins' eyebrows were a movable feast of string puppet-ish ups and downs while Bankert's stayed firmly in place. Although she looks appreciably younger than him, Bankert may well emerge as the steadying hand of this broadcast.

Still, she wants his quips to keep on coming, as does station management. Comedy has become a very important early morning ingredient in recent months. So Bankert told Higgins in the 6 a.m. hour that she couldn't wait for "more incredible one-liners" from him. "You're amazing."

Higgins & Bankert hope to balance each other out in early morns.

The actual news content still needs ample work. CBS11 had only reporter Susy Solis in the field Monday morning for repeated re-tellings of the missing 47-year-old Plano woman who eventually turned up dehydrated and incoherent in a D-FW Airport rest room. Otherwise the only live segment was a 6:15 a.m. phone interview with ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy, who talked about power demands brought on by the first wave of 100-degree temperatures this summer.

CBS11 also showed news director Adrienne Roark's blurry long-distance video from a weekend Coldplay concert in Dallas. Higgins said he likewise attended but Bankert opted out in order to keep her early-to-bed sleeping schedule in play. What's sorely needed, though, is more reporters in the field for a greater sense of the here and now. In comparison, NBC5 has a battalion of eager young troops out and about in search of something to show and tell.

Down the homestretch of Monday's two-and-a-half-hour opener, Higgins had some suitably sarcastic fun with a new Facebook app called "Find Friends Nearby." Well, someone had to say it sounds ridiculous. And Higgins did so with numerous snide repetitions of the generic title while Bankert ably joined in.

Higgins does have a Facebook page, but is still a Twitter tenderfoot, he admitted. His last words before signing off: "I'm gonna learn the tweet thing."

For the record, Higgins still doesn't have a Twitter account. Bankert does, but as of this writing has a smallish crowd of 466 followers.

"Yo! Welcome to the morning news...where headlines and some hilarity ensue...mostly from #BrendanCBS11 :)," she tweeted during a commercial break Monday.

Well, it's a start. CBS11 still has miles and miles to go before it can see its shadow in the early mornings. But Higgins and Bankert look as though they'll give it a game go. For starters, they played pretty well together.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., June 22-24) -- Rangers roll again as top weekend attraction

Injury-riddled but still finding ways to win, the first-place Texas Rangers keep packing 'em in, both at the stadium and on D-FW's Nielsen scorecard.

Friday night's home win against Colorado emerged as the weekend's most-watched TV attraction with 284,512 viewers on TXA21. A decent-sized chunk of that audience -- 96,069 viewers -- was in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 age range. No other weekend program came close to matching that number either.

Sunday's Rangers game, an early evening start on Fox Sports Southwest, ranked No. 2 for the weekend with an average of 264,190 total viewers. Saturday afternoon's game on FSS, the only one Texas lost, managed 169,353 viewers. That's the one where the Rangers fell behind 11-1 before rallying to make it 11-7 in the end.

On Sunday night, the premiere of TNT's first "reality" series, The Great Escape, had 54,193 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, falling off from 108,386 for the preceding new episode of the network's Falling Skies.

Over on HBO, the 9 p.m. premiere of Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom drew 47,419 viewers, up a bit from the preceding True Blood's 40,645 viewers.

In Friday's local news derby results, WFAA8 came close to achieving a very rare grand slam of the four major competitions. The ABC affiliate won at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 also ran first at 6 a.m. in the key 25-to-54 demographic, but Fox4 topped the Nielsens at that hour in total viewers ahead of runner-up NBC5 and third-place WFAA8.

Ratings were more dismal than usual for the last edition of CBS11's early morning news before the Monday debut of new anchors Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert.

CBS11 ran behind CW33's comedy-laced Eye Opener in total viewers at both the 5 and 6 a.m. hours. And the two stations tied for fourth place in the 25-to-54 measurement.

Second bench warrant for arrest of WFAA8's Shon Gables issued by second judge


The legal difficulties keep mounting for WFAA8 anchor-reporter Shon Gables, who now has a second bench warrant issued for her arrest, this time by a different Michigan judge.

Gables, who lives in Frisco, has long been at odds with her second ex-husband, Peter Klamka, whose attorney brother, Richard Klamka, has won a series of judgments against her. As previously reported, Gables was first cited for contempt of court on March 4, 2011 by Michigan district judge Jeanne Stempien.

The first bench warrant for her arrest was for twice failing to appear in court as ordered in connection with a successful $35,000 slander judgment against her rendered on April 7, 2010. The bond on that arrest warrant was increased from $2,000 to $25,000 in June of 2011 after Gables and her attorney unsuccessfully filed three motions for her to testify from afar in order to avoid returning to Detroit.

On Wednesday, June 20th of this week, a second bench warrant for Gables' arrest was issued by Michigan district judge Martha D. Anderson. She again was cited for contempt of court for failing to appear as ordered on that date. Bond was set at $30,000 this time.

The official "Order For Bench Warrant" document signed by Judge Anderson also notes that "on June 2, 2010, this Court entered a $747,500.00 judgment against the Defendant Shon Morton, more commonly known as 'Shon Gables,' for torts including invasion of privacy and defamation."

Gables had been ordered to appear "to testify about her assets and bring financial records for inspection" by attorney Richard Klamka. The latest court document in the case says that Gables received the order from a process server on May 29, 2012.

In January of this year, Judge Stempien authorized the seizure and selling of any personal property remaining in the Southfield, Michigan condo where Gables once resided. That was in connection with the $35,000 slander judgment. But it did not allow the confiscation of any property at Gables' current Frisco residence.

WFAA8 management has said previously that Gables is keeping the station "up to date" on these situations. The station has declined to comment further.

Gables joined Dallas-based WFAA8 in January 2010. Her duties include anchoring the station's early morning weekend news program and reporting on three weekdays. In August of 2010, Gables had her third child by her third husband, Anthony Robinson.

Ironically, one of Gables' earlier stories for WFAA8 was headlined "Warrant roundup underway in Dallas County." It ran in the summer of 2010, and as of this writing it remains on the wfaa.com website.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., June 21) -- big bang for final act of NBA Finals

The Miami Heat's trophy-clinching rout of OKC, turning them into Okies for much of the night, gave ABC what probably will be its last ratings treasure trove of the summer.

Thursday's Game 5, which ended at 10:47 p.m., averaged 460,639 D-FW viewers despite its one-sided tilt. That exceeded Game 4's numbers (392,898) while falling a bit short of Game 3's (480,961).

ABC also cashed in with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, drawing 220,959 of them. That again outdrew Game 4 (201,745) but came up shy of Game 3 (246,577).

CBS' 7 p.m. rerun of The Big Bang Theory finished a distant runner-up in both ratings measurements Thursday night, with 223,545 total viewers and 76,855 in the 18-to-49 age range.

Here are Thursday's local news derby results: CBS11 ran first in total viewers in a downsized three-way competition while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and WFAA8 had all happy returns at 5 and 6 p.m. with doubleheader sweeps at both hours.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., June 20) -- Dallas does halfway decently but is no match for Texas Rangers (updated)

Episode 3 of TNT's Dallas ran head on into the closing half-hour of the Texas Rangers' win over San Diego Wednesday night.

The Ewings couldn't take that kind of heat. From 8 to 8:30 p.m., Dallas had 162,578 D-FW viewers while the Rangers pulled in 284,512 on Fox Sports Southwest. It was also lopsided among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with Dallas drawing 73,653 to the Rangers' 121,687.

It was the first place Rangers' sixth straight win, with top draw Yu Darvish on the mound Wednesday night.

Dallas perked up a bit after the Rangers game ended. Overall, Episode 3 averaged 182,901 viewers, with 80,058 in the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Last week's double premiere of Dallas had 331,931 viewers for the first episode and 338,705 for the second. Among 18-to-49-year-olds, the draws were 153,710 and 144,104.

Despite the substantial dropoff, Wednesday's third episode of Dallas was the No.1 entertainment program in its 8 to 9 p.m. slot, beating Fox's runner-up second hour of So You Think You Can Dance (142,256 total viewers). But the two shows tied for second in the 18-to-49 demographic.

(The national Nielsens say that Episode 3 of Dallas drew 4.755 million viewers, sharply down from the 6.9 million who watched the opening hours last week. But Dallas still ranked No. 1 for the night among all cable attractions. USA network's Royal Pains placed second with 3.874 million viewers.)

In local news derby results, CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. field in total viewers but WFAA8 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added 5 and 6 p.m. wins in the 25-to-54 demographic. WFAA8 and NBC5 respectively ran first in total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., June 19) -- Game 4 numbers fall along with OKC

ABC is still racking up big ratings with the NBA Finals. But Tuesday night's Game 4 took a pretty big dip from Sunday's Game 3, both of which OKC lost in crumble-at-crunch time fashion.

Game 4, which stretched to 10:40 p.m., averaged 392,898 D-FW viewers, peaking at 569,024 in the closing minutes. That easily commanded the night, but Game 3 made a substantially better ratings showing with 480,961 viewers and a high of 684,184.

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, Game 4 averaged 201,745 viewers while topping out at 294,612. Game 3's respective Nielsen numbers were 246,577 and 387,478 in this key demographic. Both games drew better than half their audiences from the 18-to-49 pool. And that's a great business plan for any network.

The Texas Rangers' 5th consecutive win, another late-starter in San Diego, finished second Tuesday in total viewers with an average of 223,545. Those are still impressive numbers for a game that stretched to the midnight hour -- and against an opponent with scant marquee value.

In local news derby results, CBS11 won a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 added a pair of 6 a.m. wins on a morning when CW33's 5 to 7 a.m. hours of Eye Opener outdrew CBS11 in the 25-to-54 demographic while also beating the first hour of the CBS network morning show from 7 to 8 a.m. CBS11's latest new waker upper team of Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert makes its debut on Monday. Boy, do they have work to do.

The 5 and 6 p.m. spoils were split between WFAA8, which ran first in total viewers, and Fox4 (winner at both hours with 25-to-54-year-olds).

WFAA8 reporter Craig Civale leaving for Baylor corporate (updated)


WFAA8 reporter Craig Civale, who joined the Dallas-based station in January 2007, is leaving to take a position in "the corporate world," his colleague, Jonathan Betz, tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

"Congrats to him -- a great reporter," said Betz, although he's "bummed" to see Civale go.

A WFAA8 spokesman had no immediate comment or confirmation and did not get back to unclebarky.com. But Civale said "You are correct, sir" in an email reply Tuesday.

Civale promised to provide more details later after meeting a deadline for a WFAA8 news story.

He later made good on his word, saying he had accepted a corporate position with the Baylor Health Care System in Dallas.

"I will be working with the team over there on their marketing strategies and continuing to build the brand," Civale said. "It's a hard decision. This is all I've ever done. But it was time to focus more on my family and this opportunity allows me to do just that."

Before becoming a general assignment reporter at WFAA8, Civale worked at WVEC-TV in Norfolk, VA, where he won two Associated Press awards for investigative reporting.

"I miss being on an Investigative Team but general assignment reporting allows you to tell really good people stories," he says in his wfaa.com bio.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., June 18) -- Glass House already breaking bad

CBS had gone to court in an effort to stop ABC from airing its transparent Big Brother imitator, Glass House.

But after Monday's opening night ratings, why bother?

The 9 p.m. launch ran fourth in its time slot among the Big 4 broadcast networks, drawing just 81,289 D-FW viewers. Fox4's local newscast won at that hour with 101,612 viewers while the second hour of NBC's American Ninja Warrior (which originated on tape from Fair Park in Dallas) placed third with 94,837 viewers.

Glass House moved up to second place with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. But it fell sharply from ABC's preceding The Bachelorette, which had 70,451 viewers in this key demographic compared to Glass House's 32,023.

Despite its late start, the Texas Rangers road win at San Diego was the night's heavy hitter with 230,319 total viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. In the eighth inning of the game, play-by-play man Dave Barnett briefly talked gibberish and later attributed it to a migraine headache. He will be evaluated and miss the closing two games in San Diego, the Rangers said.

In Monday's local news derby results, Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 finished in a rare three-way tie for first at 10 p.m. in total viewers. But WFAA8 had the gold to itself among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 notched a doubleheader win at 6 a.m. The 5 and 6 p.m. competitions were split two ways, with WFAA8 winning both of them in total viewers while Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Where the action is: early morns, not late nights


It's been seven years since your friendly content provider sequentially visited the early morning news programs on WFAA8, CBS11, Fox4 and NBC5.

And then wrote the following lead sentences: "Times like these make the body clock go cuckoo. The rising stars of local television news are seeing stars as they head to work in the taunting, pre-dawn darkness. They arrive no later than 4 a.m. to put on happy faces for shows that once were seen as dumping grounds -- or at best, proving grounds, for young TV talent yearning to move up.

"Changing lifestyles, earlier risers, longer commutes and unlimited audience growth potential have combined to change all that. Early morning newscasts, particularly the 6 to 7 a.m. segments, are now prime, revenue-rich battlegrounds bowing only to the still-reigning 10 p.m. king."

So what's changed in the seven years since? Not a lot, except the ever-changing personnel. But morning shifts at all four D-FW stations now begin a half-hour earlier, at 4:30 a.m. And the combatants are far more aggressive in promoting their waker-uppers in pursuit of:

1. Two-and-a-half-hours of ad revenues during the periods that Fox4,NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 go head-to-head
2. An audience with limited time but income-generating jobs. Otherwise why would they be getting up so early?
3. The opportunity to draw a far higher percentage of 25-to-54-year-old viewers, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Next week, beginning on Monday, June 25th, CBS11 again will begin anew in another attempt to pull its early morning ratings out of what sometimes must seem to be a bottomless toilet. Incoming Adrienne Bankert, from NBC affiliate KCRA-TV in Sacramento, will team for the first time with D-FW veteran Brendan Higgins, who worked the early morning shift at NBC5 seven springs ago. But he hasn't been on the air since leaving the Peacock in January 2010 over a contract disagreement.

No anchor duo has remained in place since the late spring of 2005.

***Deborah Ferguson is still at NBC5 after working early mornings with Scott Friedman, interim partner Omar Villafranca and now another D-FW newcomer, ebullient Mark Hayes from Atlanta.

***Fox4's Tim Ryan remains the dean of dawn patrol anchors, currently teaming with Lauren Przybyl after Megan Henderson left for Los Angeles a few years back.

***CBS11's Doug Dunbar has moved to nights while his former early morning partner, Shannon Hori, is at the CBS-owned station in Miami. Before announcing the Higgins-Bankert duo earlier this month, the station tried and failed with Scott Sams, Ginger Allen, Lisa Pineiro, Teresa Frosini (who remains as a traffic reporter) and Keith Garvin (recently reassigned as a reporter).

***WFAA8 by far has had the most tumult of all. Michael Rey and Debbie Denmon, the spring 2005 team, were supplanted by Justin Farmer and Jackie Hyland. Cynthia Izaguirre then replaced Hyland. But on her first day with Farmer, he informed management that he was heading back to Atlanta. Brad Hawkins and Jeff Brady (both no longer with WFAA8) were interim early morning anchors before the station settled on Chris Flanagan. When he didn't work out, WFAA8 turned to Ron Corning, backing him with an ongoing comedy promotional campaign that has helped to put the station back in the thick of the early morning ratings race after several years of distant third-place finishes.

Fox4 and WFAA8 have the same weathercasters in place -- respectively Evan Andrews and Greg Fields. And NBC5 and WFAA8 rely on the same traffic reporters -- Tammy Dombeck and Alexa Conomos (currently subbing for Izaguirre while she's on maternity leave).

Meanwhile, Nielsen numbers for the four-week May "sweeps" further reinforce what veteran Fox4 producer Bruce Smith said back in May 2005: "People who are up watching at that hour, they've certainly got a purpose in life. They tend to be people who are going to jobs. They're in the prime of their lives, so certainly they're important to advertisers, too."

All four stations had more "desirable" viewers at 10 p.m. than at 6 a.m. in the May sweeps. But the percentages are striking. For the late night news, only Fox4 drew more than half of its total audience from the 25-to-54 motherlode. More typical was WFAA8. It led the way with 74,329 viewers in the 25-to-54 demographic, but its total audience was 186,152 viewers.

At 6 a.m., Fox4 ran first with 51,369 viewers of the 25-to-54 persuasion; the station's total audience was 93,076 viewers. WFAA8 also drew more than half of its total viewership from the 25-to-54 pool while NBC5 fell just slightly below 50 percent.

Even moribund CBS11 came very close to the 50 percent mark, with 30,551 total viewers and 14,956 of them in the 25-to-54 range.

Contrast those numbers with CBS11's 10 p.m. performance. It led in total viewers with 196,313, but fell to fourth with 25-to-54-year-olds (just 57,770 of them, less than 30 percent).

The 10 p.m. newscasts continue to draw the largest audiences in both ratings measurements. But all four stations suffered significant year-to-year-losses at an hour loaded with a wealth of more attractive choices for many younger viewers. In the early mornings, though, there's not much else going on, with viewers of all ages mostly wanting an early morning fix on weather and traffic.

CBS11, in part shackled by continued lousy "lead-out" ratings from its network's latest 7 to 9 a.m. incarnation, has watched millions of dollars in potential revenues go to its competitors.

WFAA8 lately is getting a larger piece of that pie with its aggressive, seemingly non-stop promotion of Corning and company. NBC5 also showed renewed momentum in May while Fox4 faltered but still won the big 25-to-54 prize.

"It truly is the last frontier," former CBS11 president and general manager Steve Mauldin said seven springs ago. He's still got that right in times when CBS11 is starting from scratch again, itching to make an impact.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs.-Sun., June 14-17) -- high-flying NBA Finals continue to juice ABC

ABC's high-flying, superstar-drenched NBA Finals continued to dominate prime-time, with Games 2 and 3 running up the score against all competing programming.

Sunday night's Miami Heat win over the Oklahoma City Thunder averaged 480,961 D-FW viewers, with a peak crowd of 684,184 between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, the game averaged 246,577 viewers with a high of 387,478. Those are very good percentages in this key demographic.

NBC's prime-time portion of the U.S. Open's final round got as high as 284,512 total viewers in the 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. segment. It also hit its 18-to-49 high point during those 15 minutes with 134,497 viewers. Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers' Sunday afternoon win over Houston averaged 176,127 total viewers. Live sports remain the optimum way to score big audiences locally and nationally.

Back to the NBA Finals, which on Thursday night averaged 426,768 viewers for Game 2, with 227,363 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. The respective peak audiences were 508,058 viewers and 285,005 viewers, both between 10:30 and 10:45 p.m.

On Friday night, Game 1 of Rangers-Astros went directly against ABC's live three-hour Megastunts special, in which Nik Wallenda successfully high-wired across Niagara Falls.

Nationally, ABC had its best Friday night Nielsens in five years. Locally, the Yu Darvish-fueled Rangers knocked Nik off his ratings perch. The game averaged 270,964 viewers on TXA21, with a high of 352,253 from 10 to 10:15 p.m.

The Wallenda pre-game hour had 52,837 viewers from 7 to 8 p.m. The two-hour main event, which was about two-thirds further buildup, drew 162,578 viewers with a peak audience of 284,512 between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.

Rangers-Astros also easily out-hit Wallenda among 18-to-49-year-olds. Only 48,035 viewers in that coveted age range watched the final two hours of ABC's made-for-TV pseudo thrill show. That's a mediocre percentage, particularly when compared to the NBA Finals.

Here are the results in the Thursday-Friday local news derbies.

Thursday -- CBS11 swept a downsized three-way 10 p.m. competition in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. But the combined audience for the news on CBS11, Fox4 and NBC5 fell short of that portion of ABC's NBA Finals.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and added 5 and 6 p.m. wins among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 ran first in total viewers at 5 p.m. and CBS11 took the 6 p.m. gold in that measurement.

Friday -- WFAA8 topped the 10 p.m. faceoff in total viewers but NBC5 countered with a win in the 25-to-54 demographic.

The Peacock also prevailed at 6 a.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds while tying Fox4 for first place in total viewers.

WFAA8 scored big in the early evening, running the table at both 5 and 6 p.m.

First promo for Katie, coming soon to WFAA8

One of TV's most fa-s-s-s-s-s-scinating open questions this fall is whether Katie Couric's new talk show, Katie, will bloom or bomb nationally and in D-FW.

WFAA8 will be the carrier when Katie premieres on Sept. 10th. The ABC affiliate has slotted the show at 4 p.m. weekdays, where Oprah Winfrey ruled for a quarter-century before Dr. Oz performed weakly this past season.

The official first promo for Katie came this way Friday. Her trademark wide grin is front and center, with Couric also happily mixing with regular folks in some sort of far-fetched fantasy world. The overall sing-along slogan is "Brighter Than the Sun."

Couric didn't translate as anchor of the CBS Evening News, which spent five years in third place under her reign. This new show intends to play up her Today show strengths, which which basically boil down to being bubbly, giggly and inquisitive.

Here's the inaugural promotional push:

First look: new CBS early morning anchor team of Brendan Higgins & Adrienne Bankert


They're all aglow for now.

Newly hired CBS11 early morning anchor Brendan Higgins just posted this Facebook picture with Adrienne Bankert, likewise a new acquisition.

As previously posted, they'll first team together on Monday, June 25th. Higgins is a familiar face to many D-FW viewers after six years on rival NBC5's yawn patrol. He left over a contract disagreement in January of 2010.

Bankert previously worked at NBC affiliate KCRA-TV in Sacramento, where she was part of the morning news team since 2004.

Together they'll face a steeper climb than Mount Everest. CBS11's early morning Nielsen ratings are all but buried in a fourth place Death Valley after a miserable May "sweeps" ratings book.

The station's average of 30,551 viewers in the 6 a.m. hour was less than one-third that of frontrunner NBC5's. And in the key news demographic of 25-to-54-year-olds, CBS11 had just 14,956 viewers compared to first place Fox4's 51,369. NBC5 and WFAA8, which tied for a close-behind second place in this measurement, likewise had more than three times as many viewers as CBS11.

But hope springs eternal, even if CBS11 may not climb out of fourth place until hell freezes over. The station will need an abundance of new energy and an eye-catching promotional campaign before it can even think of turning things around. But the ratings are so bad that Higgins-Bankert have virtually nowhere to go except up. And that's the upside.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., June 13) -- it's the Ewings' night (updated)


Tall in the saddle again: Larry Hagman as J.R. TNT photo

D-FW responded in a big way to TNT's double-barreled Dallas re-launch Wednesday night, putting both episodes atop the ratings heap in total viewers and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

The elongated premiere, from 8 to 10:15 p.m., out-drew the Texas Rangers-Arizona Diamondbacks game in total viewers and won in the 18-to-49 demographic against Fox's potent So You Think You Can Dance.

Of course, if Dallas can't make it here, it can't make it anywhere. Still, this bodes pretty well for the show's prospects on a national scale.

Here are the stats:

The first episode of Dallas averaged 331,931 total viewers from 8 to 9:15 p.m. while the second did even better with 338,705 viewers.

Prime-time's second most-watched program, the Rangers-Diamondbacks face-off, averaged 196,449 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Dallas had 153,710 viewers for the opening episode and 144,104 for the second. Those are decent but not spectacular percentages in this key demographic. And they probably pretty much matched TNT's expectations.

So You Think You Can Dance was the runner-up in the 18-to-49 demo derby with 86,462 viewers from 7 to 9 p.m.

Here's how Dallas fared in two other key age groups:

18-to-34-year-olds -- Episode 1 (72,550); Episode 2 (62,426)
25-to-54 year-olds -- Episode 1 (156,484); Episode 2 (165,512)

In other words, younger viewers were losing interest a bit as the night wore on while those old enough to vividly remember the original had even more interest.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, WFAA8 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 won with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The golds also were split at 6 a.m., with Fox4 winning among total viewers while WFAA8 had the edge among 25-to-54-year-olds.

There was no sharing at 5 and 6 p.m. WFAA8 swept both of those competitions.

WFAA8's Shelly Slater drops anchor to win latest celebrity charity competition

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Happy feet for WFAA8 anchors Shelly Slater & Ron Corning at the celebrity dance-off benefiting Paws In the City. Jeanne Prejean photos

Leggy showgirl, er, WFAA8 anchor Shelly Slater won the latest Top Hats and Tails celebrity dance competition over the weekend with perfect scores for her Argentine tango.

It all benefits the Paws in the City animal rescue mission, so Uncle Barky will resist being catty.

Slater and her pro dance partner prevailed over a field of eight entrants, including WFAA8 Daybreak anchor Ron Corning, Fox4 consumer reporter Steve Noviello and CBS11 reporter Melissa Newton. The polka/hip-hop stylings of your friendly content provider again failed to generate an invitation to compete.

Fox4 weathercaster/entertainment reporter Fiona Gorostiza won last year's competition. Former NBC5 sports anchor Scott Murray, seen on the fringes of the above pictures, again emceed.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon.-Tues., June 11-12) -- rolling Thunder

ABC's Game 1 of the NBA Finals proved to be a ratings rattler in D-FW, with big numbers for the Oklahoma City Thunder's second half dismantling of the melt-down Miami Heat.

Stretching to 10:40 p.m., the game averaged 359,027 viewers Tuesday night, with a peak crowd of 541,928 in the closing minutes. That wiped out everything in its path. Thunder-Heat also dominated among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, more than doubling the numbers for any competing attraction.

In the 7 p.m. pre-game hour, CBS' NCIS repeat topped the total viewer Nielsens with 230,319 while Fox's Hell's Kitchen comfortably won from 7 to 8 p.m. among 18-to-49-year-olds.

The Texas Rangers' 9-1 rout of Arizona on Fox Sports Southwest averaged 182,901 total viewers in finishing far behind the NBA Finals.

Monday night's deciding Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, won by the L.A. Kings in a 6-1 rout of the New Jersey Devils, mustered 67,741 viewers on NBC. Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast had prime-time's biggest audience, with 182,901 viewers.

Here are the four-way local news derby results:

Monday -- WFAA8 had a gainful day, sweeping the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. competitions in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Fox4 notched the other two wins with a 6 a.m. sweep.

Tuesday -- WFAA8's regular 10 p.m. start time was rubbed out by the NBA Finals, leaving CBS11 in position to sweep a downsized three-way competition.

NBC5 crowed in the early morning with a pair of 6 a.m. wins while WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. The ABC station also took the 5 p.m. gold in total viewers and tied NBC5 for first place with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Manana: KFWD-TV set to become D-FW's Spanish language MundoFox affiliate, ending association with Belo-owned WFAA8

150px-KFWD_Classic_TV MundoFox logo 2012

No one's commenting officially yet, but unclebarky.com has confirmed that KFWD-TV (Channel 52) will be the D-FW home of the new Spanish language MundoFox network when it launches on August 13th.

The agreement ends the "strategic alliance" between the "Classic TV" station and Dallas-based Belo Corp. whose WFAA8 provided some programming for KFWD and also has been replaying its 10 p.m. newscast at 11 p.m. on the channel.

The partnership also gave Belo an option to buy KFWD and establish a "duopoly" similar to that between CBS11 and TXA21. But that never happened.

KFWD, a Spanish language Telemundo affiliate when it signed on in 1988, is owned by HIC Broadcasting, Inc., But it essentially has been operated by Belo Corp., which also provides ad sales assistance and some technical and promotional services.

Besides "repurposing" WFAA8's late night newscasts, KFWD currently airs two syndicated shows -- Dr. Oz and The Insider -- that also are carried on WFAA8. But the station primarily is known for reprising former network hit series such as All In the Family, Perry Mason, The Jeffersons, The Andy Griffith Show, Night Gallery and the original Hawaii Five-0.

Representatives of MundoFox declined to comment Monday and WFAA8 spokesman Dave Muscari said the station would have "no comment at this time."

Dallas-Fort Worth is the fifth-largest TV market in the country and ranks sixth among Hispanic TV markets. Last month, MundoFox announced its initial programming plans during the network "upfronts" in New York.

The network's first president, Emiliano Saccone, told advertisers that " 'The New Latino' audiences we are targeting are clearly more demanding than previous generations. The mere fact that a program is in Spanish is not enough of a differentiator. Today's Latino wants content that is more enriching, challenging and 'Americano como tu (American like you)."

Besides the usual prime-time telenovelas, MundoFox is planning a "Latino version of Sex and the City" titled Santisimas and a game show adapted from NBC's Minute to Win It (titled Minuto para Ganar).

There also will be a national newscast and a mix martial arts series. MundoFox will be competing directly against powerhouse Univision and also-ran Telemundo (owned by NBC) for a prime slice of the growing Hispanic market.

Its executives have compared it to the launch of the Fox Broadcasting network in 1986 as a competitor to the long-established ABC, CBS and NBC networks.

CBS11 turns to former NBC5 anchor Higgins in hopes of waking up its early mornings

Brendan Higgins had been chillin' since leaving NBC5. Now it's back to the early morning grind, this time at CBS11. Facebook profile picture

Early mornings just got even more interesting with CBS11's surprise announcement Monday that former NBC5 anchor Brendan Higgins will return to the a.m. wars.

Higgins, who worked the Peacock's waker-upper shift from 2004 until January 2010, will be teamed with newcomer Adrienne Bankert, who hasn't yet appeared on CBS11. They'll make their debut together from 4:30 to 7 a.m. on the June 25th edition. CBS11 currently ranks a distant fourth at those hours.

Incumbent Keith Garvin, as rumored, will be taken off the early shift but remain with CBS11 as a reporter and fill-in anchor, director of communications Lori Conrad confirmed Monday. Garvin did not return previous emails inquiring about his situation at the station while Conrad declined to comment earlier this month.

Garvin, who wasn't mentioned in the CBS11 release heralding Higgins, had joined Lisa Pineiro on October 24th of last year after previously anchoring sister station TXA21's since canceled prime-time local newscasts. But Pineiro was recently dropped by CBS11 after just a year and a half as the early morning co-anchor.

Higgins, who left NBC5 over a contract dispute, said in a CBS11 publicity release that he's "thrilled to be part of the team at CBS11 . . . There's an amazing sense of camaraderie here. I think viewers will sense that, and they're going to like what they see."

While at NBC5, Higgins sported a puckish sense of humor that now apparently is deemed essential in the early mornings. NBC5 has an affable chuckler in newcomer Mark Hayes, WFAA8 continues to sell anchor Ron Corning via an extended series of comedy spots and Fox4's Tim Ryan is the time period's dean of rib ticklers. Well over a dozen male anchors have passed through the early morning portals of rival D-FW stations during Ryan's almost 17 years in the early morning saddle.

But CBS11/TXA21 president and general manager Gary Schneider of course is adopting a sunny side up outlook as the station tries again.

"Brendan is well-known and well-liked by local viewers," he said in a statement. "We believe he and Adrienne will make a strong connection with morning news viewers based on their knowledge, experience and warm personalities."

One cautionary note: Higgins marks CBS11's second hiring in recent years of a competing station's early morning discard. Scott Sams, who previously anchored at WFAA8, arrived at CBS11 in April 2007 but was shown the door four years later.

Meanwhile, Pineiro says on her Facebook page that "CBS11 gave me a fantastic opportunity . . . and we part with good feelings on both sides. I was fortunate to work with people who became like family, many of whom I will have in my life forever."

Pineiro also said that "you haven't seen the last of me on TV. I have wonderful people working on my behalf to make sure I land someplace soon, whether in DFW or someplace else."

Until then, Pineiro said she hopes to develop her "hobby of healthy baking into a viable side business. Stay tuned for the launch of 'Little Sweet Nothings.' "

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., June 8-10) -- Tonys get plenty o' nuthin'

We live in a market where CBS' annual telecast of the Tony Awards in some segments had "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in the key 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

And where ABC's competing Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition devoured the Tonys like Tony Siragusa attacking the Bellagio buffet. Or to put it another way, Western Civ is using a walker while still recovering from hip replacement surgery.

From 8 to 10 p.m. in D-FW Sunday, Weight Loss Edition averaged 80,058 advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. That portion of the Tonys had 9,607 viewers in this demographic. But Nielsen data says that from 8:15 to 9 p.m., the Tonys had no audience at all among 18-to-49-year-olds. That's hard to believe, of course. And it's also likely a first for CBS, because I don't recall any prime-time program on that network ever registering zilch.

Over on AMC, the Season 5 finale of Mad Men likewise was no Colossus in these parts. It drew just 27,096 total viewers, but 22,416 were in the 18-to-49 range.

On NBC Saturday, the Belmont Stakes had 88,063 total viewers during the 15-minute segment in which the horses actually raced. That night on the Peacock, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Devils and the Kings averaged 47,419 viewers. ESPN's competing Game 7 of the Eastern Conference NBA finals -- Miami closed out Boston -- in contrast had 277,738 viewers.

Friday night's ratings were ruled by the late-starting Texas Rangers-San Francisco Giants matchup, which drew 209,007 viewers on TXA21. But in pre-prime-time hours, CBS11's syndicated Wheel of Fortune kept rolling with 237,094 viewers at 6:30 p.m.

Friday's local news derby numbers went like this: NBC5 scored at both 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., sweeping those competitions in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 had the edge with 25-to-54-year-olds. At 5 p.m., Fox4 ran first in total viewers while WFAA8 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 finalizes deal to leave only home it's ever known (but will stay in Fort Worth)


NBC5's age-old current home at 3900 Barnett St. in Fort Worth.

In a move akin to the Ewings leaving Southfork Ranch, NBC5/KXAS-TV at last has reached an agreement to leave the only home it's ever known and relocate to the CentrePort Business Park.

The new "state-of-the-art media facility," to be located just south of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, is slated to be ready for occupancy sometime in late 2013, with construction beginning at the end of this month. The 75,000 square foot building also will house KXTX-TV, the viewing area's Telemundo affiliate, and "several other smaller businesses" associated with NBC5's parent company, NBC Universal. Its official address will be 4805 Amon Carter Blvd. in Fort Worth.

KXAS originally signed on as WBAP-TV on Sept. 27, 1948, with offices and studios at 3900 Barnett St. just off the I-30 freeway in east Fort Worth. The station has operated out of that building ever since that day. Carter, then publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, originally dedicated the facility that "expanded his media business into the exciting new technology of TV," in the words of a station publicity release.

"As the North Texas area grew, we added a facility in Dallas," NBC5 president and general manager Tom Ehlmann said in a statement. "Now we will combine operations into one first-class operation to better serve our viewers and advertisers via television, the internet, mobile and still developing technologies." The lead architectural firm for the new building is Corgan Associates, Inc.

As part of the agreement that paved the way to CentrePort, NBC5 will give its current 66,000 square foot building and 26-acre site to the city of Fort Worth.

CentrePort already is home to more than 70 companies, including American Airlines, AT&T and Mercedes-Benz. The property also includes three hotels, 2,000 apartment units, restaurants and various retail businesses.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., June 7) -- dating vs. Duets

Fox's double dating shows were hit and miss Thursday night against ABC's competing Duets and CBS repeats.

Everything except CBS' rerun of The Big Bang Theory fell short of ESPN's Game 6 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals, though. Miami's LeBron James-fueled rout of Boston, evening their series at 3-3, averaged 230,319 D-FW viewers. Big Bang had a little bigger crowd, with 250,642 viewers.

Fox's George Lopez-hosted Take Me Out pulled in 101,612 viewers from 7 to 8 p.m., falling short of the first hour of Duets (115,160 viewers). The Choice, Fox's swiveled-chaired dating game answer to NBC's The Voice, inched up to 128,708 viewers, enough to edge the second hour of Duets (121,934 viewers). But CBS' Person of Interest reprise (216,771 viewers) had the largest non-basketball audience in the 8 p.m. hour.

CBS' repeat of The Mentalist nipped Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast in that hour by a score of 176,127 viewers to 169,353.

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, the Heat-Celtics game outdrew all competing programming. In the Big 4 broadcast network division, Take Me Out again fell short of Duets while The Choice again barely beat the second hour of ABC's singing competition concoction.

Fox4's news took the 9 p.m. hour in this key demographic while CW33's competing local newser registered "hashmarks" (no measurable audience).

The 8 p.m. premiere of NBC's Saving Hope medical drama had just 67,741 viewers, with a scant 12,809 of them in the 18-to-49 demographic. That put it a distant fourth at that hour among the Big 4 broadcast networks.

Thursday's four-way local news derbies went like this: WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the 10 p.m. spot in total viewers but WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 had a doubleheader win at 6 a.m, with WFAA8 likewise sweeping at 5 p.m.

WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and tied for first with Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Picturing Slater in post-WFAA8 surroundings

From traffic reporting to traffic-stopper: somehow Jane Slater seems a little more relaxed now.

Slater is closing out her first week of co-hosting the 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Elf and Slater radio show on The FAN (105.3 FM). Just a few weeks ago, she was still singling out early evening traffic jams on WFAA8 for a few seconds per newscast.

Her radio colleague, Mark Elfenbein, tweeted the Fuzzy's Taco shop pic during their remote broadcast Friday. So far the change of scenery seems to agree with her.
Ed Bark

Incoming reporter and Dallas native Calvert Collins due to start at Fox4 on June 18

Calvert Collins/KLAS photo

Dallas-based Fox4 will have a new nightside reporter in Calvert Collins, a Dallas native who's arriving from CBS station KLAS-TV in Las Vegas after a four-and-a-half-year stay.

The 2001 Highland Park High School grade, who also has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri, is scheduled to join Fox4 on June 18th.

News director Robin Whitmeyer, who announced the hiring, says in a publicity release that Collins' "tenacity, insightful storytelling and ability to produce a quality news report will be great assets to our station."

Collins describes herself as a "seventh-generation Texan . . . who rarely missed a Fox4 9 o'clock newscast growing up. I am thrilled to begin the next chapter of my life in my hometown."

During an earlier stint at Omaha's KPTM-TV, Collins made some news by posing with a Democratic congressional candidate on her Facebook page and urging friends to vote for him. The Fox station then dropped her in June 2007. KLAS hired Collins in November of that year.

Collins acknowledged, in a story by msnbc.com, that her father had made a $500 donation in her name to candidate Jim Esch, who lost the election. She also said that her father had donated $2,000 in her name to Texas Republican congresswoman Kay Granger in 2004. At the time she was a broadcast journalism student at the University of Missouri.

Collins told msnbc.com she removed the Facebook picture with Esch immediately after her KPTM boss heard about it, and said that establishing a rapport with candidates was part of her job as a reporter.

"In a way, I'm glad this happened to me at age 23, and not 33," she told msnbc.com. "And I will learn from it."

Collins was part of an msnbc.com investigation that identified 143 journalists who had made financial contributions to political candidates. Two prominent MSNC personalities, Joe Scarborough and Keith Olbermann, received suspensions in 2010 for their contributions to candidates.

Here's a brief video montage -- compiled by Collins -- of her more recent work for KLAS in Vegas.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., June 6) -- OKC knocks out Spurs, counts out competition

The NBA post-season spotlight shifted to TNT Wednesday night, with more ratings gold to mine.

Oklahoma City's comeback win over San Antonio -- and entrance into the NBA Finals -- averaged 277,738 D-FW viewers to outdraw all other TV attractions. As usual, the crowd built slowly but surely, starting with 149,030 viewers in the first 15-minute increment and ending with 406,446 in the last full quarter-hour segment between 10:15 and 10:30 p.m. (The game ended at 10:32 p.m., meaning the 10:30 to 10:45 segment also has to be counted. Otherwise the ratings would have been a bit higher overall.)

Thunder-Spurs also dominated throughout the night with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Over on cable's NBC Sports Network, Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils averaged 54,193 total viewers. The Devils staved off a Kings sweep by winning 3-1.

In the Big 4 broadcast network arena, CBS had the most-watched prime-time show with its 7 p.m. episode of Dogs in the City (189,675 total viewers). But Fox's 7 to 9 p.m. edition of So You Think You Can Dance easily was the top draw among 18-to-49-year-olds before Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast took that hour in both ratings measurements.

Wednesday's four-way local news derby results had something for everyone.

CBS11 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but WFAA8 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 took the 6 a.m. gold in total viewers while sharing the 25-to-54 lead with NBC5.

CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers, as did the Peacock at 5 p.m. Fox4 topped both of those competitions in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Stegall backtracks, returns to Dallas (updated)


Casey Stegall, who left Fox4's Good Day in March 2007 to become a Los Angeles-based correspondent for Fox New Channel, is reversing course to become part of the cable network's Dallas bureau.

His official first day is June 18th. He replaces Kris Gutierrez, who departed FNC's Dallas bureau in February of this year to become a weekday early morning anchor for CBS-owned WBBM-TV in Chicago. His wife, Krystle Gutierrez, left Good Day after four and a half years to join him in Chicago.

Stegall, an Indiana native and graduate of David Letterman's alma mater, Ball State University, spent two years with Fox4. He had joined the station from KVUE-TV in Austin.

"I am very excited about my return to the big D," Stegall said in an email reply to unclebarky.com. "California has been good to me, but I've always missed Texas. There is certainly no shortage of news in that part of the country and I'm now very much looking forward to providing the network with coverage out of that crucial region."

Stegall said he still has many contacts in North Texas. "I'm ready to hit the ground running as I will be responsible for reporting on all of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana."

While with FNC in Los Angeles, Stegall's assignments ranged from the deaths of Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston to California wildfires to reporting from the scene in Afghanistan and Israel. He also was an occasional fill-in anchor out of FNC's New York mothership studios.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., June 5 ) -- America's Got Talent outpoints Boston's baking of Heat

NBC's Tuesday edition of America's Got Talent ranked as D-FW's most-watched prime-time attraction while Boston's gritty win over Miami also scored with viewers.

Talent drew 338,705 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour, with ESPN's pulsating Game 5 of the Western Conference finals pulling in second with 237,094 viewers. The two competitions also ranked one-two in prime-time among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Fox's 7 p.m. hour of Hell's Kitchen ran third for the night in total viewers with 189,675. The Texas Rangers late-starting win at Oakland, shown on Fox Sports Southwest, had a respectable 182,901 total viewers, matching the 8 p.m. haul for CBS' 8 p.m. repeat of NCIS: Los Angeles. But the Rangers impressively nipped Kitchen for third place in the 18-to-49 demographic.

ABC's two-hour concert for Queen Elizabeth averaged 135,482 total viewers from 8 to 10 p.m., good enough to whip NBC's competing two-hour Season 2 launch of Love In the Wild (94,837 viewers). Wild outdrew all the the Queen's men -- and women -- among 18-to-49-year-olds.

In the barely noticed division, The CW's 7 p.m. premiere of the reality series Catalina had a sub-smallish 20,322 total viewers, with just 6,405 of them in the 18-to-49 realm.

Tuesday's local news derby results went like this: CBS11 rang the bell twice at 10 p.m. with wins in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 likewise swept the 6 a.m. competitions, but by very small margins over NBC5 in total viewers and the Peacock and WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 ran first at 6 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 nipped the ABC station in the 25-to-54 demo.

At 5 p.m., WFAA8 won in total viewers and tied for first with Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., June 4) -- TNT struts with Spurs-OKC

TNT's pivotal Game 5 of the Western Conference finals topped all TV attractions Monday, with the Thunder holding off the Spurs to take a 3-2 lead.

The game peaked at 372,576 D-FW viewers in the closing minutes while averaging 277,738 overall. OKC-San Antonio also ran first in its time slot among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Before the game's 8 p.m. start, Fox and NBC split the 7 p.m. proceeds, with the Peacock's America's Got Talent winning in total viewers while the summer season premiere of Hell's Kitchen had the edge with 18-to-49-year-olds.

The Texas Rangers' late-starting 12-1 pounding by the Oakland A's averaged a substandard 128,708 viewers after reaching a high point of 257,416 between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.

Fox4 had a big day in the local news derby results, running first at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The station also won at 5 p.m. in total viewers and tied for first at 6 a.m. in that measurement with NBC5.

Monday's other total viewer golds went to WFAA8 at 6 p.m. and CBS11 at 10 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun, June 1-3) -- still a Rangers world

The Rangers' numbers are still up, despite losing two out of three road games against the arch rival Angels over the weekend.

Two of the three games were the most-watched TV attractions in D-FW, with each cracking the 200,000 viewers barrier.

Friday's Rangers-Angels faceoff on TXA 21 had 237,094 viewers, with CBS11's Wheel of Fortune coming in second (162,578 viewers).

Saturday's game averaged 243,868 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest, beating TNT's Game 4 of the Spurs-Thunder Western Conference finals (182,901 viewers).

Sunday afternoon's finale -- the only game Texas won -- drew 264,190 viewers on FSS, falling short of the crowd for that night's overtime Game 4 of the Boston-Miami Eastern Conference finals on ESPN (298,070 viewers).

Sunday night's Game of Thrones Season 2 finale on HBO had 64,741 viewers.

In Friday's local news derby results, CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions in both measurements while NBC5 ran the table at 6 p.m.

A grand old soap opera: TNT's Dallas has world premiere at Winspear


Face in the crowd: Larry Hagman takes a bow at Thursday night's world premiere of Dallas at the Winspear Opera House. Photos: Ed Bark

Dallas officially returned to Dallas Thursday night with the gala world premiere of the first two episodes of TNT's reboot.

The three principal links to the series' storied past -- Larry Hagman, Linda Gray and Patrick Duffy -- were duly accounted for and introduced one-by-one before the screening began inside the Winspear Opera House.

All of the new arrivals likewise took bows, including Brenda Strong as Bobby Ewing's third wife, Ann; Josh Henderson as J.R. Ewing's no-good son, John Ross; and Jesse Metcalfe as Bobby's goodly son, Christopher.

The original Dallas ran from 1978 to 1991 on CBS, ranking in prime-time's top 10 for seven of its seasons and No. 1 for three of them. Its final episode aired on May 3, 1991, but several subsequent made-for-TV movies kept the chicanery in play at Southfork Ranch.

TNT will begin anew on Wednesday, June 13th, with 10 episodes ordered and all of them already completed. We'll have a full review closer to the appointed night. But as previously posted, the pilot episode likely won't disappoint longtime fans of the serial soap and might well draw in a large number of new ones. It's handsomely shot, deviously plotted and, as usual, heisted by Hagman's J.R., who at age 80 hasn't lost his knack for stealing every scene he's in.

Before the screening, TNT president Steve Koonin told attendees that the original Dallas was mostly filmed in Los Angeles, with its namesake city used only for exteriors.

Not quite. During early seasons, the cast spent a minimum of two sweltering months each summer in Dallas, and it was for far more than establishing shots. In contrast, the first five episodes of Dallas were shot in and around the city during the particularly frigid and snowy winter of 1977-78. The very first episode hit home screens on April 2, 1978.

TNT, after some wrangling, agreed to film the complete first season on location in Dallas. "This is your city," Koonin said. "And it's an important character in the show."

Koonin also noted that his first date with his current wife of 29 years dovetailed with the 1982-83 cliffhanger finale of Dallas, which ended with Southfork ablaze. Being a devoted Dallas fan, she didn't want to leave the house that night, Koonin said. But he had a vintage VCR and coaxed her to first go out with him and then end the night at his place, where they could watch the tape together.

The plan worked, and all these years later, "I am J.R. Ewing's boss," Koonin said.

After the screening, guests dined on a Wolfgang Puck spread and could sample the appropriately named "Bourbon Backstabber" if they chose. It's a mix of Jack Daniels, Triple Sec, lemonade and Sierra Mist. Didn't have one. Had to drive.

Here are a few more pictures from Thursday night's festivities.


Duffy side-by-side on the red carpet with TV son Metcalfe.


Looming large -- in person and life-size TNT promotional placard.


Duffy makes a face at Hagman, who was seated a bit downwind.


A shot in the dark: Hagman aglow seconds after screening.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., May 30-31) -- ain't no cure for the summertime blues

For two days running, nary a single prime-time program cracked the 200,000 viewers mark in D-FW.

Not even the usually reliable Texas Rangers, whose Wednesday night 21-8 drubbing by Seattle mustered just 135,482 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

That left CBS11's pre-prime-time Wednesday edition of Wheel of Fortune as the grand champ of the past two days. It had 250,642 viewers before the following premiere of CBS' Dogs In The City dipped to 155,804 viewers but still won its 7 to 8 p.m. slot against ABC's sitcom repeats, NBC's Stanley Cup Finals match and Fox's So You Think You Can Dance.

On Thursday, The CW's premiere of the ballet reality series Breaking Pointe barely broke through with 33,871 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. The night's most-watched attraction, Oklahoma City's dismantling of San Antonio in Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals series, lured 196,449 viewers to TNT.

Here are the local news derby results:

Wednesday -- WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the lead in total viewers at 10 p.m., but WFAA8 edged Fox4 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and WFAA8 did likewise at 5 p.m. CBS11 nipped WFAA8 for first place in total viewers at 6 p.m. while WFAA8 was a clear winner in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Thursday -- WFAA8 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m., with Fox4 setting the pace among 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 stayed strong at 6 a.m. with twin wins while WFAA8 ran the table at both 5 and 6 p.m.