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25th anniversary Dallas VideoFest includes two panels hosted by your friendly content provider


Still the man: Bart Weiss, founder of the Dallas Video Festival, strikes a pose in anticipation of its big 25th anniversary. Photo: Ed Bark

It's an honor and privilege to be doing two panels for the 25th anniversary of the Dallas VideoFest, which begins in earnest this weekend at the Dallas Museum of Art.

At 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29th, your friendly content provider will present a fast forward history of presidential campaign commercials, with 30 entrees on the menu. That 1952 "I Like Ike" spot is still kind of catchy -- and utterly benign when compared to the assault ads of later years.

Then on Sunday morning at the same time, the great Matt Seitz and yours truly will be "Breaking Down
Breaking Bad.

Each panel will be at the Crow Collection of Asian Art room within the Museum of Art. They're scheduled to run for 90 minutes apiece

There are a gazillion other things to do at VideoFest, but neither of these panels clashes with any other scheduled events. Or at least the first one-hour segments don't.

The complete Dallas VideoFest schedule can be found here. But if you stop by to see ol' Uncle Barky, well, you just might win a free soft cotton T-shirt with the official Little Barky head-in-a-vintage-TV-set logo. Um, who wouldn't want that?

C'mon out!

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Sept. 26-27) -- more new series rollouts, with Elementary the biggest draw

Thursday night's premiere of the Sherlock Holmes permutation Elementary fared well for the network even though it was CBS' second least-watched prime-time attraction.

Launching at 9 p.m., Elementary won its time slot with 344,210 D-FW viewers after receiving 475,010 from the Season 2 premiere of Person of Interest. CBS likewise won from 7 to 8 p.m. with its new season debuts of The Big Bang Theory (413,052 viewers) and the transplanted Two and a Half Men (323,557).

ABC's first episode of the critically acclaimed military drama Last Resort struggled to a third place finish at 7 p.m. behind the CBS comedies and Fox's The X Factor. Resort drew 206,526 viewers, enough at least to drub NBC's Saturday Night Live election special and Up All Night.

Resort beat only Up All Night among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, though. Big Bang won from 7 to 7:30 p.m. in that measurement before X Factor took the second half-hour.

ABC's new season debut of Grey's Anatomy was tops in the 8 p.m. hour among 18-to-49-year-olds, with Person of Interest and Fox's Glee close behind. Elementary won from 9 to 10 p.m., easily besting Fox4's local newscast.

Thursday night's return of the real referees for the Baltimore Ravens-Cleveland Browns game averaged 172,105 viewers on the NFL Network.

The X Factor had a big Wednesday night, with its two-hour edition sweeping the 7 to 9 p.m. slot in total viewers before CBS CSI: Crime Scene Investigation won the 9 p.m. hour.

ABC's season premiere of the Emmy-lauded Modern Family ran only third from 8 to 8:30 p.m., behind both the half-hour segment of X Factor and the first part of CBS' Criminal Minds. The network's new The Neighbors then drooped to fourth place, with NBC's 8:30 to 9 p.m. portion of Law & Order: SVU taking the bronze.

X Factor also ran the 7 to 9 p.m. table in the 18-to-49 demographic. Fox4's newscast and CSI tied for first place at 9 p.m. in that measurement.

Here are the two days' local news derby results:

Wednesday -- WFAA8 overcame CBS11's sizable lead-in advantage to win at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. Nielsens and also had twin wins at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. firsts went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Thursday -- WFAA8 and CBS11 shared the 10 p.m. gold in total viewers, with WFAA8 winning among 25-to-54-year-olds while CBS11 slid to a distant fourth.

NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first at 6 a.m. in total viewers; Fox4 had the edge with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 5 and 6 p.m. competitions respectively were swept by Fox4 and WFAA8.

The time is nigh, but is the timing finally right for KTXD-TV's baby boomer-aimed Texas Daily?


KTXD-TV station manager Brian Joyce and London Broadcasting Chief Operating Officer Phil Hurley have an old news idea. Photo: Ed Bark

Senior Living magazine is readily available to visitors and Cannon is rerunning on the reception area TV set.

This isn't the Si Spry retirement village, though. These are the North Dallas offices and studios of KTXD-TV (Ch. 47), where baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) are seen as the linchpins of a booming business.

Beginning on Monday, Oct. 1st, that strategy will take major shape and form with The Texas Daily, a one-hour 8 to 9 a.m. news presentation featuring an array of former D-FW anchors and reporters with more collective mileage on them than Apollo 13.

As previously posted, 13 of these 14 old hands formerly worked at some point in their careers for WFAA8, with ex-NBC5 sports anchor Scott Murray the lone exception. So perhaps the slogan for Texas Daily should be "8 Wasn't Enough." (Hey kids, that's a reference to the old Eight Is Enough TV series, circa 1977-'81 on ABC).

KTXD's roster of "Dallas' best-loved former anchors and journalists from the past three decades" -- as a publicity release puts it -- also includes Jeff Brady (the full-time host of Texas Daily) and part-time "pundits" Tracy Rowlett, Troy Dungan, Iola Johnson, John Criswell, Midge Hill, Phyllis Watson, Gary Cogill, Robert Riggs, Jolene DeVito, Debbie Denmon, Suzie Humphreys and John Sparks.

The station also met with former NBC5 anchors Jane McGarry and Mike Snyder. Nothing has developed so far with McGarry and "Mike wanted Jeff's job," Hurley says.

At the rate of two a day, the pundits will join Brady for a planned three segments tied to topical stories. In clips prepared for possible promotional use, Brady promises "a fresh look at the news" while Dungan says, "I'm a Christian conservative. I'm not gonna beat you over the head with that. But I have my opinions, and you'll hear 'em."

The mastermind of Texas Daily -- and a softer served daily Texas Living show launching at 11 a.m. on Oct. 1st -- is 64-year-old Phil Hurley, Chief Operating Officer of Dallas-based London Broadcasting Company in partnership with its president, Terry E. London.

Back in June of 1981, "I had this fabulous idea to start a senior channel," Hurley says during a late summer interview in his KTXD office.

No one listed for a long time, but Hurley says he mailed his "position paper" to himself and "had it notarized because I didn't want anybody stealing my idea."

Virtually all networks, both broadcast and cable, have an aversion to older viewers. They're deemed to be too set in their ways, too sedentary in their habits and not "impressionable" enough to buy into pitches for products they don't really need.

But Hurley and KTXD station manager Brian Joyce, still in the target 18-to-49 network demographic at the tender age of 36, see the baby boomer crowd as a still untapped gold mine. They make much the same points that CBS unsuccessfully made to Madison Avenue in the early 1990s. Namely that older viewers have more disposable income and watch TV in much larger numbers than their children or grandchildren. Not only that, they still watch TV on a living room TV set, preferring it to the Internet or an iPhone.

KTXD is an affiliate of ME-TV, purveyor of "classic" television evergreens such as Gunsmoke,The Rifleman, Bonanza, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Twilight Zone. For starters, the 9 to 11 a.m. bridge between Texas Daily and Texas Living will be repeats of Perry Mason and The Rockford Files. (The Texas Living hosts are Southern Living editor-at-large Kimberly Schlegel Whitman and Hilary Kennedy, a former Hot On! Homes personality who also has acted in a handful of small-budget films such as Evil Behind You.)

In last Monday's Nielsen ratings, a 1 p.m. episode of KTXD's Bonanza ran third in its time slot, outdrawing everything except CBS' The Talk and TXA21's Judge Mathis among viewers 55 years and older. A 2 p.m. hour of Big Valley easily beat WFAA8's competing syndicated Anderson in this age group while nipping NBC5's new Steve Harvey syndicated talk show.

The logo for KTXD's showcase locally produced program. Photo: Ed Bark

London Broadcasting officially took over KTXD in January, buying it from a religious broadcaster. The station soon became a ME-TV affiliate, but with the proviso that it have lots of leeway to preempt that network's oldies lineup in favor of its own programming.

"It wasn't easy, but after a month or so they finally figured out that the trade-off was pretty compelling," Hurley says. "We still need to have a branding, and we don't think it's just ME-TV. And that's where the news shows came from."

KTXD also had extra leverage with ME-TV as a station in the country's No. 5 television market, he adds.

Hurley, a former banker and Southwestern Bell executive, gained some notoriety in 2007 as the president and general manager of Tyler, TX-based KYTX-TV. It was home base for the Fox network's very short-lived Anchorwoman reality series, in which former model and wrestling villainess Lauren Jones joined a staff that already included Stormy the Weather Dog. The series was canceled after its opening night after the concept took a thorough bashing.

Five years later, Hurley says with some relish, "I always get a big laugh out of all the uproar. Now I look at all the different folks who've done different things who now proclaim themselves anchors. I think it's hilarious."

London Broadcasting owns 17 television stations across Texas and doesn't plan to expand beyond the state. It also wanted no part of D-FW, Houston, or San Antonio until religious station KTAQ-TV went into bankruptcy. Its sudden availability prompted London to make D-FW the lone exception in its small market strategy. The company never envisioned a full-power broadcast station becoming available in a top 10 TV market.

"I tend to get bored quickly. So when this Dallas thing came up, that's where the fun is," Hurley says. "I've always considered myself half-broadcaster, half-entrepreneur. I may be old, but I've still got a lot of passion and enthusiasm for building these projects and watching them succeed.'

Station manager Joyce, who has worked three previous times for Hurley, says his initial thought with KTXD was, "How the hell are we going to program this thing?"

After the ME-TV deal was in place, Joyce decided that a news program with potential high appeal among baby boomers would be a perfectly compatible fit. He put together a list of former D-FW television news luminaries and started making calls.

"And of course they're surprised at first," he says. And then they were very interested. As Joyce tells it, Iola Johnson, the trailblazing first black news anchor in D-FW, had just sold her home in Dallas and moved out of state. But the chance to make a comeback of sorts on Texas Daily proved irresistible. "I'm gonna buy another house in Texas and downsize from what I had," Joyce says Johnson told him. "And I'll be there as much as you want me to be."

They won't be getting paid all that much. And other than Brady, most of them aren't expected to work more than one day a week.

"We've got so many of them that you put them all together and it kind of makes for a full-time position," Hurley says. "We pay 'em on a day rate. It's almost like an actor or a musician. To us they're all the same and they all get paid the same. That was very important. We didn't want to negotiate individually."

KTXD also will have one full-time reporter and a photographer preparing story packages for Texas Daily. The idea is to present the news, weather and sports highlights in abbreviated fashion before the pundits weigh in. Tentatively it will be a "Morning Rush" segment followed by "Pundit Play," although the mix and format might well change on the fly as the program takes shape.

"It's not going to be chasing fire engines or ambulances," Joyce says. "A lot of the news stuff we do will be pre-produced ahead of time."

Former WFAA8 mainstays Rowlett & Dungan will ride again. KTXD photo

One of the promotional taglines for Texas Daily is Dungan's declaration, "You know me. But do you really know me?"

Joyce says several members of his pundit brigade told him in so many words, "This is an opportunity for me to say things that I never got to say before. And for me to be myself on television. For a long time I had to be Mr. or Mrs. Anchor. This is going to be an opportunity to show people who I really am."

There's this, too. "Nearly 100 percent of them don't see local news in Dallas-Fort Worth being done the way it should be done," Hurley says. "They felt like they did it the right way. And they're not happy about the depth and quality not being what it used to be. That may be part ego. But it's a consistent thread that today's local news is something this (baby boomer) audience doesn't care about. A lot them refer to it as 'Cop Shop News.' "

Others might see it as a severe case of "In My Day" myopia. But management at Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 has no interest in commenting publicly on a local TV news competitor. Some are privately disdainful of this back-to-the-future regathering of their former employees. But for public consumption, it's a catch-all "No comment."

In previously published remarks to unclebarky.com, Rowlett and Dungan said they're game to give this a try and happy to again share an anchor desk with one another.

"Could we see Tracy and Troy -- together again? Heck, I would watch that," Dungan said.

DeVito, who previously anchored for both WFAA8 and the companion TXCN cable news network, said she didn't envision "any project that would interest me and fit in my life. I was wrong on both counts. The Texas Daily is a unique opportunity to reunite with old friends and debate the news of the day. Heck, if you told me, 'Hey, Gary Cogill and Tracy Rowlett are down at Starbucks right now, chewing the fat, and they want you to come' -- I'd be there in a second. In this case, we'll just have TV cameras there, too."

KTXD offered one more carrot.

"We don't care what else they do," Hurley says. "Troy can do the weather for Channel 8 if he wants to. We don't care."

Dungan instead has been endorsing various companies in TV commercials that regularly air on WFAA8 and other stations. Brady, the principal host, still has his own public relations firm. And Denmon will be offering opinions on Texas Daily while also working her new full-time job as director of communications for the Dallas County District Attorney's office.

"I just have to clear with Craig (D.A. Craig Watkins) what we're talking about," she said in a recent interview with unclebarky.com. "He told me, 'I'm fine with it as long as you don't say anything crazy.' He looks at it as good PR for the county."

It all starts on Monday, Oct. 1st, after a Thursday night kickoff party at KTXD headquarters. Most if not all of the seasoned pundits will be in attendance to rally around the most intriguing new local news venture in decades if not generations.

It might be, it could be, but is it an idea whose time has finally come? Are baby boomers really worth this kind of investment?

"They're buyers, they're spenders. Man, it just makes all the sense in the world," says Hurley.

We'll see.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Sept. 25) -- a CBS sweep in total viewers but fall-offs with 18-to-49-year-olds

CBS returned to the living in a big way Tuesday night -- at least in the total viewers universe.

All it took were the season premieres of NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles followed by the launch of Vegas with Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis squaring off.

NCIS opened with 461,241 D-FW viewers, the biggest audience of the night. NCIS: Los Angeles had 406,168 viewers before Vegas held 100 percent of its lead-in with the identical audience at 9 p.m.

All three crime dramas were runaway winners in their time slots. NBC's 7 to 8 p.m. edition of The Voice offered the most resistance, with 316,673 viewers. ABC's two-hour Dancing with the Stars results show (Pamela Anderson is done) had 220,294 viewers before the 9 p.m. season of Private Practice fell to 178,989 in drawing less than half the audience for Vegas.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though, The Voice, DWTS, ABC's The Practice and Fox's double-barreled Season 2 premiere of New Girl put some limps in CBS' victory march.

The Voice won the entire 7 to 8 p.m. hour in this key demographic with 162,659 viewers. Fox's 7 p.m. episode of New Girl ran second, with NCIS holding off DWTS for third place.

New Girl's second new episode, at 8 p.m., won its half-hour slot before the closing half-hour of DWTS ran first from 8:30 to 9 p.m. ABC's season premiere of Private Practice had the most 18-to-49-year-olds in the 9 p.m. hour, with Vegas second.

Fox's launches of freshman comedies Ben and Kate and The Mindy Project dug ratings valleys in both measurements.

Ben and Kate had 96,379 total viewers off a lead-in of 192,758 from New Girl.

The 8 p.m. episode of New Girl built back up to 151,452 viewers before Mindy Project dropped less dramatically to 123,916 viewers.

The newcomers had sharper fall-offs among 18-to-49-year-olds, particularly Ben & Kate. It had 57,409 viewers in this age range after New Girl pulled in 133,955.

NBC's first-year The New Normal continued to slump. Its 8:30 p.m. episode ran fourth across the board among the Big Four broadcast networks.

The Texas Rangers' 3-2 loss to the Oakland A's, with reliever Mark Lowe serving up another extra-inning home run ball, averaged a nice-sized 289,136 total viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. Its 10 to 10:30 p.m. portion had 330,442 viewers in denting the audiences for late night local newscasts.

NBC5 had an unusually miserable night at 10 p.m., drawing a scant 20,653 viewers for its late night edition. CBS11 topped that field with 240,947 viewers, profiting from a bounteous Vegas lead-in to inch past runner-up WFAA8 (227,179 viewers).

But WFAA8 easily won at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

In the other local news derby results, Fox4 and NBC5 shared the total viewers lead at 6 a.m., with WFAA8 close behind. Fox4 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds, though.

The 6 p.m. golds went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic. At 5 p.m. the Peacock and CBS11 tied for the total viewers lead, with NBC5 alone on top with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Sept. 24) -- opening night of new season edition

NBC rolled through prime-time Monday on opening day of the new fall season while an Emmitt Smith-infused "All-Star" Dancing with the Stars hit a ratings wet spot on the ballroom floor.

The Voice averaged a night's best 385,515 D-FW viewers in direct competition with ABC's DWTS, which drew 289,136 viewers in the same 7 to 9 p.m. slot.

The Peacock then scored again with its second episode of Revolution, which had 371,747 viewers in holding almost all of its lead-in audience from The Voice. ABC's season premiere of Castle ran second at 9 p.m. with 268,484 viewers in the Big Four broadcast network division while CBS' new episode of Hawaii Five-O lagged in third with 199,642 viewers.

CBS' new Partners sitcom may have started digging an early grave for itself with 144,568 viewers at 7:30 p.m. That made it the network's least-watched show of the night, with Fox's competing second half-hour of Bones also drawing a bigger audience to take the bronze.

Fox's second episode of The Mob Doctor then fell to fourth place from 8 to 9 p.m. with just 123,916 viewers.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, NBC's Voice/Revolution combo reigned supreme all night while Mob Doctor easily had the lowest audience total in this key demographic.

In the cable universe, Fox Sports Southwest's dramatic Texas Rangers-Oakland A's game (with the Rangers a walk-off 9th inning winner) averaged 227,179 total viewers with a peak crowd of 337,326 for the closing 15-minute segment.

Over on ESPN, the biggest replacement ref screwup to date handed the Seattle Seahawks a "Hail Mary" win over the Green Bay Packers that inflamed all of the network's commentators, lit up Planet Twitter and even prompted Troy Aikman to tweet, "These games are a joke."

Dirk Nowitzki also expressed his extreme displeasure, tweeting, "Not gonna watch another nfl game until real refs r back. What a farce." (Love that Dirk.)

Anyway, Packers-Seahawks averaged 289,136 viewers, with 220,294 sticking around for the first 15 minutes of the wild 'n' crazy post mortem.

In Monday's local news derby results, WFAA8 overcame a substantial NBC5 lead-in advantage from Revolution to win at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 had the total viewers edge at 6 a.m. while WFAA8 won with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 added a 6 p.m. sweep while also running first at 5 p.m. in total viewers. NBC5 took the 5 p.m. gold among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Note to readers: This is the first "snapshot" of this year to use Nielsen's new D-FW population estimates, which are detailed in a previous post.

Latest Nielsen ratings point values for D-FW show overall increase in viewers, but drops in key demos


Nielsen Media Research's annual adjustment of ratings point values shows a plus side in D-FW for total viewers after last year's unanticipated drop-off.

But there's a "but." In the key advertiser target groups of 18-to-49-year-olds (for entertainment programming) and 25-to-54-year-olds (for news), the populations again dipped.

Here's a closer look.

The number of total viewers per rating point increased from 67,741 to 68,842, still a little short of the all-time high of 69,257 for the 2010-11 TV season. The new numbers took effect on Saturday, Sept. 22nd.

Nielsen says that the year-to-year 18-to-49-year-old population with TV sets dropped slightly, from 32,023 per rating point to 31,894. And the 25-to-54 estimate also fell a bit from 30,093 to 29,811.

Another younger audience segment, 18-to-34-year-olds, dipped from 16,872 to 16,758.

There were increases in two older audience groups that a majority of advertisers deem unworthy of their commercial pitches because they're supposedly less "impressionable" in their buying habits.

The number of viewers 65 years and older went up from 6,737 per rating point to 7,323. And viewers 50 years of age and older increased from 18,577 to 19,788.

Nielsen likewise showed increases in the number of African American and Hispanic viewers within a D-FW TV market of 6.84 million.

The African American population, which includes all ages, is up from 396,940 to 410,820. And the number of Hispanics has increased from 504,610 to 519,210.

D-FW remains the No. 5 TV market in the country, behind New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 21-23) -- Emmys take a big back seat; Cowboys win ugly with same ratings as ugly loss

The Dallas Cowboys turned the other cheek to win butt ugly in their home opener after the previous Sunday's sleepwalker in Seattle.

Both games were on Fox4 and each averaged the same number of D-FW viewers -- 1,110,952.

Sunday's 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay, which ground to a halt at 3:27 p.m., had a peak crowd of 1,280,305 between 3 and 3:15 p.m. The 27-7 loss to the Seahawks fell a bit short of that with a high point of 1,239,660 viewers.

Shortly after the Cowboys came the prime-time Emmy Awards from 7 to 10 p.m. on ABC. They averaged 311,609 viewers, which was no match for NBC's competing Sunday Night Football game between the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots (453,865 viewers).

It was worse among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with football more than doubling the Emmys' audience in that key demographic.

CBS' late afternoon/early evening Houston Texans-Denver Broncos game also easily outdrew the Emmys. In fact it had more total viewers than NBC's prime-time game.

Sunday's Texas Rangers win at Seattle, by a 3-2 score, began with a sub-scant 13,548 total viewers in the 3 to 3:15 p.m. segment. But by 6 to 6:15 p.m. the audience had ballooned to 250,642 viewers.

Saturday offered an usual three-way prime-time college football matchup on three of the Big Four broadcast networks, with only CBS abstaining.

Fox's Kansas State- Oklahoma game led the way with an average of 149,030 viewers, followed by ABC's Clemson-Florida State face-off (101,612) and NBC's Notre Dame-Michigan matchup (54,193).

The Rangers had their biggest crowd for Friday's late night game on TXA21, which averaged 250,642 viewers.

Here are Friday's four-way local news derby results, with just two stations taking all the firsts:

WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 likewise ran the table at 6 a.m. while adding 5 and 6 p.m. wins in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 won in total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.

It'll be stop and go for Samantha Davies as NBC5's new weather-proof traffic anchor


NBC5 meteorologist Samantha Davies will now be a roads scholar, too.

The Fort Worth-based station has made her its full-time early morning traffic anchor, filling a position that had been open since longtime "Gridlock Buster" Tammy Dombeck and NBC5 parted ways on July 27th. Davies also will continue her 4:30 to 5 a.m. "First Weather" reports before segueing to highways and byways from 5 to 7 a.m.

News director Susan Tully, in a newsroom memo, said that morning viewers "say they want a newscast that shows how the weather impacts their commute. With our cutting edge weather and traffic technology, Samantha can use her weather expertise to bring this important information to the viewer."

A variety of NBC5 staffers had been filling the traffic cop slot since Dombeck's departure, including Davies and fellow meteorologist Grant Johnston, who recently was named the full-time 5 to 7 a.m. weathercaster.

Davies joined NBC5 in February 2009 from NBC Weather Plus and MSNBC. She is a 2004 graduate of the State University of New York College at Oneonta, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in meteorology.

NOTE TO READERS -- Davies' new position was first reported Friday night on my Twitter account. So if you'd like to be among the first to know the latest, it might not be a bad idea to follow @unclebarkycom.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Sept. 20) -- tough night for returning Peacock comedies

NBC has been gunning its fall season engines earlier than the competition, but mostly spun its wheels Thursday night.

Facing wall-to-wall reruns on ABC and CBS, the Peacock's new Saturday Night Live election special opened with 155,804 D-FW viewers from 7 to 7:30 p.m. That put it third behind the first half-hour of Fox's The X Factor (216,771) and CBS' repeat of The Big Bang Theory (209,997).

The Season 2 premiere of NBC's Up All Night then dipped to 101,612 viewers, likewise running third in its time slot.

Next came Episode 1 of The Office's final season. It had 115,160 viewers from 8 to 8:30 p.m. Fox's first half-hour of a new Britney Spears-themed Glee episode won that slot with 223,545 viewers, followed by CBS' Two and a Half Men reprise (155,804).

NBC's season premiere of Parks and Recreation fell to fourth with 81,289 viewers. Glee again won from 8:30 to 9 p.m., with another Two and a Half Men rerun and ABC's second half-hour of a Grey's Anatomy do-over running second and third.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, SNL and Up All Night also ran third. The Office moved up to No. 2 behind Glee while Parks and Recreation nipped both Grey's Anatomy and Two and a Half Men for the silver.

Thursday's 9 p.m. wins in the Big 4 broadcast network universe went to Fox4's local newscast in both ratings measurements, with an especially dominant showing among 18-to-49-year-olds. But the first hour of the Rangers-Angels game on Fox Sports Southwest had the most total viewers at that hour, with the full game averaging 216,771 viewers.

WFAA8's syndicated Katie showed some improvement in the 4 to 5 p.m. hour, although its ratings remain weak. The heavily hyped Katie Couric talker ran third in total viewers, but placed second with both 18-to-49-year-olds and 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

In the four-way local news derby results, WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for first place at 10 p.m. in total viewers but were clubbed by a No. 1 Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 and WFAA8 shared the 6 a.m. lead in total viewers, with WFAA8 atop the 25-to-54 heap.

CBS11 had the 6 p.m. gold in total viewers while NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 5 p.m. spoils went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Sept. 19) -- X Factor takes on a new "reality competition" foe

Last Wednesday found NBC sending a new hour of The Voice to blunt the Season 2 premiere of Fox's The X Factor.

This week it was CBS' turn, with the expanded 90-minute premiere of Survivor: Philippines taking on Simon Cowell's would-be cash cow. NBC offered a drowned out Voice rerun.

Airing from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Survivor (with Fort Worth native and former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel among the castaways) averaged a bankable 237,094 D-FW viewers. That 90-minute portion of X Factor barely survived Survivor with 243,868 viewers. X Factor's entire two hours averaged 257,416 viewers, making it Wednesday's most-watched TV attraction.

CBS' following Big Brother 14, also 90 minutes, had 169,353 viewers. That fell short of X Factor, Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast, the first hour of the Rangers-Angels game on Fox Sports Southwest and even NBC's 9 p.m. repeat of Revolution.

X Factor won its entire two hours among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, but the Rangers were tops from 9 to 10 p.m. in this key demographic. Big Brother took the 9 to 10 p.m. silver ahead of Fox4's news.

Fox4 had a big day in the local news derby Nielsens, winning at 6 a.m. and at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). The station added 5 and 10 p.m. firsts in total viewers.

WFAA8 nipped Fox4 by a paper thin margin at 6 a.m. in total viewers while CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in that measurement.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Sept. 18) -- The Voice stays in tune for NBC

Facing ABC and CBS reruns in the final week before the fall season officially starts, NBC's one-hour edition of The Voice easily pulled in Tuesday's biggest D-FW audience.

Its 7 p.m. hour rang up 399,672 viewers before a new 8 p.m. episode of Matthew Perry's Go On also won its time slot with a nice-sized 250,642 viewers.

The Peacock then slid into third place finishes in the Big 4 broadcast universe with first-run editions of the new New Normal (135,482 viewers) and Parenthood (128,708).

But NBC ran the ball all night with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, sweeping prime-time from start to finish.

Barbara Walters' two-hour ABC countdown of America's favorite TV series in a variety of categories drew 162,578 total viewers but lagged with 18-to-49-year-olds.

The late-starting Texas Rangers game, a 11-3 road loss to the Angels, averaged 176,127 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

In Tuesday's local news derby results, WFAA8 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 took the top spot among 15-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 and WFAA8 shared the total viewers gold at 6 a.m. It also was a two-way tie with 25-to-54-year-olds, this time between NBC5 and WFAA8.

Fox4 was No. 1 at 5 and 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic. WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers; Fox4 and NBC tied for first at 5 p.m. in that measurement.

Press Club of Dallas feting D-FW's unprecedented five women news directors

Presumably appearing together for the first time, D-FW's five women news directors will be honored by the Press Club of Dallas at an event headlined "Breaking News and Ceilings --A First For Journalism in Dallas-Fort Worth."

The Oct. 29th gathering will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas.

Scheduled to attend are Fox4 news director Robin Whitmeyer, NBC5 news director Susan Tully, WFAA8 news director Carolyn Mungo, CBS11 news director Adrienne Roark and CW33 news director Larissa Hall.

Just a few days after the event, however, Hall may be presiding over a 9 p.m. comedy news presentation modeled after the station's early morning Eye Opener program. The new program, with a working title of Night Cap, is scheduled to debut on Nov. 1st.

"No television market in the United States, much a less a top five market such as D-FW, has achieved this feat," a Press Club publicity release says of the quintet of women news directors.

For further information and ticket purchases, go here.
Ed Bark

Former WFAA8 anchor Denmon says she'll double down as Dallas County D.A.'s head spokesperson and part-time commentaor on new Texas Daily news hour


Former WFAA8 anchor/reporter Debbie Denmon will still be a part-time commentator on KTXD-TV's (Ch. 52) upcoming The Texas Daily news program while also working full-time in her new post as director of communications for the Dallas County District Attorney's office.

"I just have to clear with Craig (D.A. Craig Watkins) what we're talking about," Denmon said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "He told me, 'I'm fine with it as long as you don't say anything crazy.' He looks at it as good PR for the county."

As previously reported, Texas Daily will be a one-hour weekday local news hour aimed at baby boomers and scheduled to premiere on Monday, Oct. 1st at 8 a.m. with a who's who of 14 past D-FW television luminaries.

Denmon, who spent 12 years at WFAA8 before her contract wasn't renewed this summer, began working for the D.A. on Sept. 10th. It would be a unique arrangement for her to have a dual role as a news commentator.

"I'll be very mindful. I won't say anything that will get me in trouble," Denmon said of her companion stint at KTXD. Her first scheduled day on Texas Daily commentator is Friday, Oct. 5th.

Former WFAA8 anchor/reporter Jeff Brady, who also has his own Dallas-based media consulting firm, will be the overall host of Texas Daily. In an earlier interview with unclebarky.com, London Broadcasting chief operating officer Phil Hurley said that contributors to the program will be able to continue with any other jobs they might have. London Broadcasting is the parent company of KTXD.

All but one of the program's initial 14 contributors, including Brady and Denmon, have previously worked for WFAA8-TV and in several cases rival D-FW television stations. The others signed on as Texas Daily commentators are Tracy Rowlett, Troy Dungan (who endorses products on the side), Iola Johnson, John Criswell, Midge Hill, Gary Cogill, Robert Riggs, Suzie Humphreys, Jolene DeVito, Phyllis Watson and John Sparks. The only commentator who has not worked for WFAA8 is former NBC5 sports anchor Scott Murray.

"It's a win-win, I think, for your TV types that might venture out into the PR field," Denmon said of her Texas Daily colleagues.

Commentators are scheduled to appear on the program only once or twice a week.

"It's going to be something that nobody's done before," Dungan said in a recent KTXD publicity release. "And that's hard to say in this world -- 'never been done before.' "

Denmon, who earlier lost a discrimination suit filed against WFAA8, was let go by the station in July.

"We'll see how it goes," she said of juggling her roles on Texas Daily and with the Dallas County D.A.'s office.

"I think you can take more control of your life when you're on the other side of the mike," Denmon said of her full-time duties as Watkins' head spokesperson. "There's never a dull moment. So far I like it."

KTXD also wants to have Watkins as a Texas Daily guest on occasion. "And he's open to that," Denmon said.

New possibilities at Fox4 with Tulsa early morning anchor Laura Moss in for an interview


Nothing apparently has been decided yet, but there could be an interesting news room development in the near future at Dallas-based Fox4.

Multiple sources confirm that Laura Moss, currently the co-anchor of both the early morning newscasts and the mid-morning Good Morning Tulsa at that city's KTUL-TV, was at Fox4 Monday (Sept. 17) interviewing for a position at the station.

An early tip on Fox4's interest in Moss first reached unclebarky.com last month. A subsequent call to a Fox spokesperson in New York -- questions about Fox4 personnel matters are handled at that level -- received an emphatic denial that the station had made any contact with Moss. That obviously has changed as of Monday. And so far Fox corporate has declined to comment further.

Fox4 is in another tight three-way early morning ratings battle with NBC5 and WFAA8 after running a close second to the Peacock in the May "sweeps" total viewer ratings while edging NBC5 and WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

The initial tip on Moss said that she was a likely candidate to replace incumbent Good Day anchor Lauren Przybyl, who began working the early morning shift with Tim Ryan in September 2009 after Megan Henderson left earlier that year to take an anchoring job at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

But there also are other openings at Fox4, so it's possible that Moss could fill one of those, too. She has the early morning hours down, though, after working that shift at KTUL (Tulsa's ABC affiliate) since 2011.

Moss also has Fox ties, according to her station bio. She previously worked at KWKT-TV, Waco's Fox station. And before that she contributed content for Shepard Smith's "U Report" segments on Fox News Channel. Moss is a journalism graduate from the University of Oklahoma.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Sept. 17) -- Revolution a street fighting man(ster) for NBC

NBC's big promotional push for Revolution paid off with dominating ratings -- opposite everything except football -- for its 9 p.m. Monday premiere.

Revolution drew 406,446 D-FW viewers, improving a bit on the overall 386,124 viewers for the Peacock's two-hour preceding edition of The Voice. That's a rarity these days for any 9 p.m. show, particularly when following a big-time ratings grabber.

The futuristic drama, in which earth has an all-encompassing power outage, also tied the 9 to 10 p.m. portion of ESPN's replacement referees-pocked Monday Night Football game between Denver and Atlanta. Football had the edge during that hour with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, but it was a pretty close score of 240,173 to Revolution's 208,150.

Nothing else at 9 p.m. was in that vicinity, although CBS only had a Hawaii Five-0 repeat while ABC countered with a thrown together CMA Festival special.

Monday's other notable prime-time premiere, Fox's critically panned Mob Doctor, pretty much took a baseball bat to the knees. It drew 149,030 total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour, falling sharply from the 237,094 for the network's preceding season premiere of Bones. And Mob Doctor arrived virtually DOA with 18-to-49-year-olds, luring just 32,023 of 'em.

In local news derby results, NBC5 failed to capitalize on its runaway lead-in advantage from Revolution, losing to WFAA8 in total viewers at 10 p.m. while tying Fox4 for first among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 nipped WFAA8 for the top spot in total viewers at 6 a.m., while in turn being edged by NBC5 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 won in total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.; Fox4 did likewise with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8's high-priced, heavily promoted syndicated Katie continued to fall short as a news lead-in. It placed fourth in total viewers at 4 p.m., third with 25-to-54-year-olds and in a fifth place tie with CW33's Ricki Lake Show in the 18-to-49 measurement.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 14-16) -- deflated numbers for bubble-bursting Cowboys

Game 2 of another rollercoaster Dallas Cowboys season, a 27-7 pasting by the Seattle Seahawks, found D-FW viewers reacting accordingly.

An average of 1,110,952 viewers partook, with a surprisingly big crowd of 1,090,630 sticking around for the final full 15-minute increment from 5:45 to 6 p.m. Still, that contrasted sharply with last season's Game 2 miracle win at San Francisco, which averaged 1,274,329 viewers overall and had 1,648,317 for the overtime denouement. Both games were carried by Fox4.

Extra Game Notes -- It was a bad day for Cowboys' talent evaluations of previous team members. Martellus Bennett caught a touchdown pass for the second straight game as a member of the New York Giants. Danny Amendola caught 15 passes for 160 yards and a TD in a St. Louis Rams uniform. And Adam "Pacman" Jones had an 81-yard punt return for a TD as a Cincinnati Bengal.

***Also of note -- or at least Uncle Barky would like to think so. I'm now 2-0 with this season's Cowboys picks while the football writers at The Dallas Morning News are a collective 0-14. Picked both the Cowboys to beat the Giants and the Seahawks to beat the Cowboys on my Twitter account -- @unclebarkycom. No brag, just fact. And I could just as easily be a bum next week.

Now back to the ratings, where the rain-delayed first-place Texas Rangers as usual were crushed by the Cowboys before coming up for air after football had run its course. A 2-1 victory over Seattle, which ended at 6:38 p.m on Fox Sports Southwest., averaged 304,835 viewers from 6 p.m. onward. A 5:45 to 6 p.m. Rangers audience of 196,449 viewers spiked to 270,964 from 6 to 6:15 p.m. and then kept building.

Saturday night's Rangers-Mariners game, on TXA21 in a swap with FSS, handily beat two big-time college football matchups -- Southern Cal-Stanford on Fox and Notre Dame-Michigan State on ABC. Each game averaged just 94,837 viewers while the competing Rangers rolled in with 209,997. Friday night's Rangers game on FSS had the best overall average of the three, with 237,094 tuning in.

Friday's season premiere of ABC's Shark Tank, with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban again a regular panelist, tied CBS' Undercover Boss rerun with 115,160 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. Tank easily topped the time period among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds among the Big Four broadcast networks. But nothing on any network could touch the Rangers.

Earlier in the day, a fifth 4 p.m. helping of Katie Couric's Katie continued to struggle on WFAA8, placing fourth at that hour in total viewers and fifth with 18-to-49-year-olds. Among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming), it also trailed Fox4's Judge Judy and the one-hour local newscasts on NBC5 and CBS11.

In Friday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers but again faltered badly among 25-to-54-year-olds, with WFAA8 taking the top spot.

WFAA8 impressively ran the table at 6 a.m. and overcame Katie's shortcomings to also sweep the 5 p.m. competitions.

The 6 p.m. firsts were split between WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Unclebarky.com turns 6, signs self to new one-year deal, heads off to jury duty


Daughter Liz and son Sam again over-react in celebrating another unclebarky.com anniversary. They secretly enjoy being embarrassed by this vintage photo from Six Flags. (Right, kids? Thought so.)

Unclebarky.com turns 6 on Monday, Sept. 17th. And there's barely time to say "Oh boy oh boy oh boy" before heading off to jury duty. Sometimes timing isn't everything.

Thanks to all for your readership and support, though. It's much appreciated and it's also what keeps this site going.
Ed Bark

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Sept. 13) -- another Fox/NBC faceoff

NBC's two-hour season finale of America's Got Talent battled Fox's second episode of The X Factor and the season premiere of Glee Thursday night.

It was pretty much a draw in total viewers but the Fox combo led the way with advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. But that's only among the Big Four broadcast networks, which also include ABC and CBS. We'll factor in the Texas Rangers' game in just a bit.

The first hour of Talent drew 223,545 D-FW viewers, with X Factor matching that total. Fox's following Glee moved up a bit to 230,319 viewers but Talent narrowly won out with 237,094 viewers for its second hour. That win was largely on the strength of the 8 to 8:15 portion of Talent, which had 304,835 viewers. The climactic 8:45 to 9 p.m. portion drooped all the way down to 196,449 viewers.

Fox won both hours among 18-to-49-year-olds, X Factor just barely and Glee in a walk. Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast ran first in that hour in both total viewers and 18-to-49-year-olds.

In the cable sports world, the Texas Rangers blew a ninth inning lead and lost 5-4 to Cleveland on Fox Sports Southwest while an overall average of 277,738 total viewers partook. That's another strong ratings showing.

The NFL Network's Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game averaged 169,353 total viewers. Native Wisconsinite Uncle Barky reveled in the Packers' decisive 23-10 win but choked on the godawful pre- and post-game shows featuring former Cowboys Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin striving to out-shout each other. Not sure that even an elephant tranquilizer would have worked.

And then there's Katie Couric's Katie, which is showing serious signs of being a major disappointment for WFAA8 in a key 4 to 5 p.m. slot that provides a pathway to its early evening newscasts.

Thursday's edition had just 40,645 total viewers to finish in a fifth place tie from 4 to 5 p.m. with CW33's new Ricki Lake Show.

But Katie's 18-to-49-year-old demographics were beyond horrid. It averaged a ridiculously low 2,242 viewers in this age range after the first half-hour had the dreaded "hashmarks" (no measurable audience). In contrast, MY27's double dose of Meet the Browns episodes led the way with 35,225 and 44,832 viewers in this key demographic.

Even CBS11's demographically challenged 4 p.m. local newscast was something of a Gulliver compared to Katie. It had 9,607 viewers of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

One more thing. Thursday's Nielsen ratings say that Katie drew fewer 18-to-49-year-olds than any other program throughout the broadcast day on WFAA8. That includes the 4:30 to 5 a.m. portion of the station's Daybreak, which had 6,405 viewers of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

OK, just one more thing on Katie -- honest. It also had a smaller 18-to-49 audience of any program airing from pre-dawn to past midnight on competing stations Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11. Given all the hype surrounding this show, that's a Ripley's Believe It Or Not entry.

Here are Thursday's four-way local news derby numbers:

WFAA8 found a beacon of light with its still very formidable 10 p.m. edition, which ran first in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept both the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions. At 6 p.m., WFAA8 won in total viewers and Fox4 took the 25-to-54 gold.

Dewberry new to NBC5, but familiar with D-FW


Fort Worth-based NBC5 has added Deanna Dewberry to its reporting staff.

The 1992 University of Texas at Austin grad is scheduled to join the station next month from WISH-TV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis. She has been at WISH since 2005, following a seven-year stint as an anchor/reporter at Belo-owned/Dallas-based Texas Cable News Network and WFAA8.

Her move was first reported by the subscription site newsblues.com and confirmed Friday morning by NBC5 spokesman Brian Hocker. He said that Dewberry will be a consumer/investigative reporter for the station, with a formal announcement of her hiring coming later.

Dewberry has been co-anchoring the noon and 5 p.m. newscasts at WISH. She is a survivor of leukemia and two diagnoses of breast cancer, the last in 2011 according to an article in Indianapolis Woman magazine.

Dewberry also has worked at TV stations in Lubbock and Little Rock. Her most recent treatments for breast cancer were detailed in a multi-part WISH series titled "Deanna's Discovery." In the below video, she takes questions from viewers and also talks about how she has coped with and fought the disease.

R.I.P. Alex Burton

Longtime D-FW radio personality Alex Burton died Thursday at the age of 80.

He had retired from daily broadcasting in 1994. The cause of death was complications from prostate cancer surgery.

Joe Simnacher, principal obituary writer for The Dallas Morning News, has a complete account of Burton's life and times. You can find it here.
Ed Bark

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Sept. 12) -- X Factor holds off The Voice in battle of singing competition titans

NBC's belated extra edition of The Voice, strategically sent to battle the Season 2 premiere of Fox's The X Factor, had mixed results in D-FW Wednesday night.

Both shows drew big audiences. But X Factor won the overall battle, outdrawing both The Voice and the second-to-last episode of the Peacock's America's Got Talent.

From 7 to 8 p.m., X Factor had 318,383 viewers, good enough to knock off The Voice (270,964).

The second hour of X Factor, with new judges Brittney Spears and Demi Lovato, then upped its audience to 345,479 viewers while 298,060 watched America's Got Talent.

X Factor also won both hours among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with close to half of its overall audience in that age range.

At 9 p.m., the "sneak preview" premiere of NBC's Guys with Kids fell to 176,127 total viewers. That came up short of the opening half hour of Fox4's local newscast (203,223) while tying the first half of CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation repeat. But Guys with Kids won its time slot with 18-to-49-year-olds.

The 9:30 returns for NBC's The New Normal repeat were dismal. Its 67,741 viewers were well less than half the totals for both Fox4's news and CSI. New Normal also trailed in third place among 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC's 9 p.m. Revenge rerun was out of the money in both ratings measurements.

Wednesday's third episode of Katie Couric's Katie continued to lose viewers, with just 40,645 from 4 to 5 p.m. on WFAA8. Katie did a bit better than the previous day among 18-to-49-year-olds and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) while still running behind Fox4's Judge Judy and NBC5's First At Four local newscast. But at least Katie outdrew TXA21's The People's Court this time.

In the four-way local news derby results, WFAA8 took the 10 p.m. prize in total viewers but Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 woke up to bright sunshine in the early morning, though, with its Daybreak running the table at 6 a.m.

Fox4 likewise swept the 5 p.m. competitions; the 6 p.m. firsts went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Sept. 11) -- NBC prospers in prime-time with first-run lineup; Katie tanking big-time

NBC's The Voice got into fighting trim for its big Wednesday night face-off with Fox's The X Factor by dominating Tuesday's D-FW ratings scorecard.

The one-hour second episode of Season 2 lured 318,383 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour while also wiping out all competition among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. That included the first hour of the Texas Rangers-Cleveland Indians game on Fox Sports Southwest, which had 169,353 total viewers.

A following new episode of NBC's Go On sitcom also handily won its 8 to 8:30 p.m. slot in both ratings measurements. But another Peacock newcomer, The New Normal, dipped to third place from 8:30 to 9 p.m. behind the Rangers (who steadily built up steam) and the second half of CBS' Hawaii Five-0 repeat.

The season premiere of NBC's Parenthood had 135,482 total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, trailing the Rangers and CBS' NCIS: Los Angeles do-over. But Parenthood moved up to second place with 18-to-49-year-olds, behind only the Rangers.

Stretching to 10:20 p.m., Texas' 6-4 home win over Cleveland averaged 223,545 total viewers overall. That's still a very nice-sized number for FSS, which has been raking in increased revenues all summer long for the first-place Rangers.

Meanwhile, in daytime developments, the second episode of Katie Couric's Katie ran fourth from 4 to 5 p.m. on WFAA8. Its audience dipped to 47,419 viewers, significantly down from the 81,289 for Monday's opener. Even so, that was only good for a third place finish behind Fox's two Judge Judy episodes and NBC's First At Four local newscast.

On Tuesday, Katie also fell behind CBS11's local newscast after the CBS-owned station carried its network's U.S. Open men's tennis final on the previous day.

Worse yet, Tuesday's Katie ran a sub-dismal seventh among 18-to-49-year-olds. Both CW33's new Ricki Lake Show and MY27's double run of Meet the Browns episodes had three times as many viewers as Katie in this key demographic. Katie also trailed TXA21's The People's Court, the two Judge Judy episodes and local newscasts on NBC5 and CBS11.

Katie managed a third-place tie (with Meet the Browns) among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. None of this is good news so far for WFAA8, which had been hoping for a considerable lead-in boost for its weekday 5 p.m. newscasts.

Here are Tuesday's local news derby results:

WFAA8 ran first at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds while NBC5 did likewise at 6 a.m.

Fox4 ran the table at 5 p.m.; the 6 p.m. wins went to WFAA8 in total viewers and NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Sept. 10) -- Katie doesn't do it on opening day in Dallas

Monday's much-hyped launch of Katie Couric's Katie in a key time slot on WFAA8 fell short of the sizable news lead-in the station had hoped for.

Airing from 4 to 5 p.m with opening guest Jessica Simpson, Katie drew 81,289 D-FW viewers in finishing third to NBC5's First At Four news and Fox4's double dose of Judge Judy. Those attractions tied for second with 115,160 viewers apiece. CBS11, carrying its network's U.S. Open Men's Tennis Final instead of a local newscast, placed fourth with 20,322 viewers within the 4 to 5 p.m. portion of the match.

Katie's opening day also failed to light the fuse among both 18-to-49-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming) and 25-to-54-year-olds (key target audience for news programming). It ran well behind Judge Judy and NBC5's local newscast in those measurements, too.

A single day's ratings aren't a fail-safe barometer for the future prospects for Katie. But in D-FW at least, those opening numbers aren't at all encouraging. Particularly on a day when tennis likely deflated CBS11's ratings. It usually does considerably better with its own 4 p.m. local newscast.

In prime-time, NBC's 7 to 9 p.m. return of The Voice beat all competing programming with a nice-sized 311,609 total viewers. That two-hour portion of ESPN's Monday Night Football ran a close second with 298,060 viewers.

The Peacock also won big among 18-to-49-year-olds, with Monday Night Football a bit farther behind in second place from 7 to 9 p.m. That's a considerable achievement for both NBC and The Voice. But then the bottom fell out.

NBC's 9 p.m. sneak preview of The New Normal lured just 115,160 total viewers off a 9 to 9:45 p.m. lead-in of 379,350 viewers from The Voice. The newcomer likewise cratered with 18-to-49-year-olds, as did a following episode of Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Go On. Among the four major broadcast networks, Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast handily won that time slot in both ratings measurements.

Fox's season finales of Hell's Kitchen and Masterchef ran third from 7 to 9 p.m. behind The Voice and Monday Night Football.

Monday's local news derby results went like this:

WFAA8 topped the 10 p.m. field in total viewers while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added 5 and 6 p.m. firsts in the 25-to-54 demographic.

The 5 and 6 p.m. wins in total viewers respectively went to NBC5 and WFAA8.

WFAA8 has a Corona -- as a freelancer for now after she lost previous lawsuit against Houston TV station


Wendy Corona, who two years ago lost a $3.2 million wrongful termination suit against a Houston television station, has landed at WFAA8 as a freelancer.

A station representative did not return an email Monday asking for confirmation of Corona's status. But sources at WFAA8 say that for now she is a part-time hire working weekend shifts. Corona had a report on Sunday's 10 p.m. newscast (see video below) on the murder of a 16-year-old Carrollton high school girl.

Corona previously worked for Houston's NBC affiliate, KPRC-TV, but was dropped by the station in 2009. She then filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, misrepresentation and fraud.

But in July 2010, a Harris County judge ruled against Corona and in favor of KPRC-TV, according to a published report in the Houston Chronicle. At the time, an attorney representing one of the KPRC news directors sued by Corona said that a counterclaim against her remained pending before the court.

The Corona lawsuit is interesting in light of WFAA8's experiences with former anchor-reporter Debbie Denmon, who lost a discrimination suit against the Dallas-based ABC affiliate while still employed at the station. In mid-July, WFAA8 declined to renew Denmon's contract and let her go after a 12-year tenure.

Denmon last month took a position as director of communications for the Dallas County District Attorney's office.

WFAA8 has a growing number of holes to fill, with the recent departures of Denmon; early morning reporter Cynthia Vega (now with Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport); reporter Craig Civale (now with Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System); and weekend anchor/reporter Casey Norton. The latter anchored Sunday's late night newscast on WFAA8. But as previously reported, he's leaving to take a public relations position with the Dallas-based Weber Shandwick firm.

WFAA8 reporter Marcus Moore, who joined the station in December of last year, is replacing Vega as the principal reporter on Daybreak.

Here is Corona's Sunday night story for WFAA8:

Vega lands at DFW Airport (updated with comments from Vega)


Former WFAA8 reporter Cynthia Vega, who left the Dallas-based ABC affiliate late last month, has already booked an arriving flight at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

She began on Monday, Sept. 10th as the airport's manager of media relations after spending 12 years at WFAA8, mostly on the early morning shift.

David Magana, the airport's senior manager of public affairs, sent word Monday of Vega's new position. She'll be reporting to him.

In a telephone message, Vega said her resignation at WFAA8 was effective on Aug. 17th.

"I'm just grateful for the last 12 years at WFAA," she said. "I thought it was nothing more than an honor and a privilege to be able to report on the major news events of the day . . . Being at one of the best stations in the country was just a great time."

Vega said she also is "really excited about this new opportunity" at DFW Airport.

A number of D-FW reporters recently have left their stations for PR positions, including CBS11's Jay Gormley and WFAA8's Craig Civale and Casey Norton. Late last year another WFAA8 reporter, Chris Hawes, went to the "other side," as some reporters still say. And Debbie Denmon, whose contract wasn't renewed by WFAA8, is the new principal spokesperson for the Dallas County District Attorney's office.

Vega is a Yale University graduate who previously worked for TV stations in Boston, Orlando, FL and El Paso.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 7-9) -- Numbers up for Peyton's return

NBC's Sunday Night Football, flexing with Peyton Manning's return to the NFL after a full season's absence, topped all weekend programming with nearly three-quarters of a million D-FW viewers.

Manning led the Denver Broncos to a 31-19 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers to the tune of 745,151 viewers.

Fox's pair of earlier NFL games also scored high. The Green Bay Packers' home loss to the San Francisco 49ers (put a long face on ol' Uncle Barky) averaged 627,991 viewers while the preceding Redskins win at New Orleans (which ran past the 3:25 Packers-Saints start time) pulled in 467,413 viewers.

CBS drew the short stick Sunday with a Houston Texans-Miami Dolphins matchup that drew 169,353 viewers. But that still easily out-pointed the competing Texas Rangers-Tampa Bay Rays game on Fox Sports Southwest. Just 94,837 viewers watched the first-place Rangers absorb a 6-0 shutout.

The Rangers fared much better Friday night on TXA21, even though they again were on the losing end. An extra inning Rays win, on a walk-off home run, easily paced all of that day's programming with 270,964 viewers. Saturday's game on FSS, an extra inning win for the Rangers, averaged 216,771 viewers. That also made it the day's most-watched program.

Friday's local news derby numbers were controlled by Fox4 and WFAA8.

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

Fox4 likewise swept the 5 p.m. competitions while adding 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. wins with 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

"Dirty Dining" promo still mmm mmm goofy

Sorry, but I just can't help falling in love with this throwback KXAS-TV (NBC5) promo for the station's old series of hard-to-swallow "Dirty Dining" reports.

The 30-second spot stars an unbilled actor as an unrepentant, cigarette-smoking, unkempt, cackling fry cook. Cartoon-y music and talking roaches are the lumpy cream gravy, with one of the creepy crawlers ending matters with a hearty, "Hey, everyone, let's go out for dinnuh."

Every D-FW station at one time or another has done a variation on this time-honored ratings "sweeps" stunt, which was pioneered in the 1980s by investigative reporter Charles Duncan's recurring "Eat, Drink and Be Wary" dispatches for WFAA8. But the below promo is the best of show, epitomizing the overall cheesy nature of the rats, rodents and regurgitate beat.
Ed Bark

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Sept. 6) -- NBC leads convention ratings parade while Rangers swing for fences

The Democrats shut down their three-day convention Thursday while the Texas Rangers played deeper into the night before emerging victorious at Kansas City.

And during the 9 to 10 p.m. picture window, baseball on Fox Sports Southwest outdrew the combined convention audience on ABC, CBS and NBC.

OK, lets touch all these bases.

The Rangers' extra inning win, which stretched to 10:30 p.m., averaged 264,190 D-FW viewers overall. But interest built during the game's latter innings, with the 9 to 10 p.m. portion drawing 291,286 viewers.

President Obama's acceptance speech began at 9:25 p.m. and bled a bit past the 10 p.m. witching hour before ending at 10:04 p.m. Here are the 9 to 10 p.m. convention numbers, during which ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel all had coverage. (NBC, making an attempt at a make-good after Wednesday's NFL football pre-emption, began its convention coverage an hour earlier at 8 p.m.)

NBC -- 155,804 viewers
PBS -- 81,289 viewers
MSNBC -- 74,515 viewers
ABC -- 67,741 viewers
CNN -- 60,967 viewers
CBS/FNC -- 54,193 viewers each

The total seven-network audience of 548,702 viewers fell short of the 602,895 viewers who witnessed Mitt Romney's acceptance speech on the GOP convention's final night last week.

Some other observations:

PBS, whose commentators mostly shut up when speakers were at the podium, made a very strong showing on closing night of the Democratic convention. And it ranked No. 3 in the D-FW ratings on the final night of the Republican convention. Maybe some viewers still prefer impartiality and actual podium speeches?

Fox News Channel went from the penthouse to the outhouse, as did MSNBC. The "Fair and Balanced" network was a runaway first on the Republicans' closing night, amassing 209,997 viewers while Democrat-sympathizing MSNBC ranked next to last with 54,193 viewers.

On closing night of the Democratic convention, FNC tied for last with CBS, losing more than 150,000 viewers from the previous Thursday. MSNBC moved up to third place with 74,515 viewers for Obama's speech. It had more viewers than FNC all week for the Democratic convention while the reverse was true for the Republican gathering.

CBS by far fared the worst among the Big 3 broadcast networks, ranking behind ABC and NBC on both closing nights despite the presence of Texan and former WFAA8/NBC5 reporter Scott Pelley as its principal convention anchor.

CNN also had a rough time, ranking last on the Republicans' closing night and barely outdrawing FNC for the Democrats' finale.

One more thing. MSNBC, led by Rachel Maddow, ridiculed the Republicans for putting Clint Eastwood in the 9 to 10 p.m. prime-time showcase spot while showing Romney's biographical film before ABC, CBS and NBC began their convention coverage. All three commercial broadcast networks obviously would have carried the film, said Maddow. And even she thought it was an effective piece of campaign imagery. Thereby the Republicans really blew it, she said.

Well, on closing night of the Democratic convention, the Obama bio film in fact did air between 9 and 10 p.m. NBC showed it in its entirety, ABC joined it roughly halfway through after a commercial break and CBS completely ignored it in favor of jabber from its convention team. Case closed.

Here are Thursday's local news derby results.

The 10 p.m. newscasts again got a late start, so let's just leave them out of this mix.

NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first in total viewers at 6 a.m., with the Peacock alone on top among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

CBS11 finally broke into the winner's circle by finishing first at 6 p.m. in total viewers. But Fox4 won by a comfy margin in the 25-to-54 demographic.

The 5 p.m. wins went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Former CW33 anchor Walt Maciborski already popping up in new promo for Indy's Fox station

Hmm, he seems to look happier -- and more relaxed.

Anchor-reporter Walt Maciborski, who left traumatized Dallas-based CW33 in mid-August, already is shown in a new promo for Indianapolis Fox affiliate WXIN-TV (Fox 59), which is adding a one-hour 6 p.m. newscast on Monday, Sept. 10th.

An animated, smiling Maciborski, coatless in a powder blue shirt, can be glimpsed about halfway through the below promo.

"You know us. We bring you the news," says a pitchman, even though Indianapolis viewers don't yet know Maciborski.

The station is adding more news, because, well, you know, the news never stops.

"We're kind of like family," says the promo. "When you need us, we're there."

Maciborski, who joined CW33 in February 2009, landed safely on his feet before staffers were informed Tuesday that they'll have to reapply for newly defined jobs at the Tribune-owned station. The current 5 and 9 p.m. newscasts are in the process of being remolded in the likeness of Tribune's early morning Eye Opener, which has a decided comedic bent.

Here's the new 30-second image spot for WXIN:

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Sept. 5) -- ratings dip a bit, but Cowboys in much better New York state of mind

The Dallas Cowboys' second straight season-opening trip to New York slipped in the D-FW ratings but virtually ensured bigger TV crowds to come.

Wednesday night's energizing 24-17 win against the Super Bowl champion New York Giants ran until 10:34 p.m. and averaged 1,348,046 viewers as the opening act of NBC's prime-time NFL franchise.

Last season's first regular season game, also in prime-time on NBC, drew 1,634,465 viewers. But the Cowboys' late collapse on the New York Jets home field sent most of that crowd to bed in a nightmare mood.

There's been some ratings deflation from year-to-year, with each Nielsen point now worth 67,741 viewers instead of last fall's 69,257. Even so, the Cowboys-Jets game still had significantly better numbers. Wednesday night's win against the Giants would increase its total by 30,168 viewers to 1,378,214 viewers using last season's Nielsen rating point values. That's still a shortfall of more than 250,000 viewers.

Well more than half of Wednesday night's crowd hit the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old motherlode. The total of 797,373 viewers in this key demographic was down from the 835,812 who watched the Cowboys-Jets 2011 opener.

Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the first-place Texas Rangers' 6-5 road win at Kansas City averaged 155,804 total viewers, more than 1.9 million fewer than Cowboys-Giants. The 18-to-49 haul was 32,023 viewers.

Night two of the Democratic National Convention, with a showcase speech by Bill Clinton, had the misfortune of going against both the Cowboys and the Rangers. NBC took a pass for football, leaving ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel to deal with it.

Clinton went long, of course, ending his speech at 10:24 p.m. after firing up at 9:35 p.m. That shattered the 9 to 10 p.m. "windows" allotted by ABC and CBS. Here are the 9 to 10:30 p.m. total viewer numbers for the convention. That's as close as we can get because Nielsen measures audiences in 15-minute increments.

ABC -- 88,063 viewers
MSNBC -- 81,289 vieweres
PBS/Fox News Channel -- 60,967 viewers each
CBS/CNN -- 40,645 viewers each

Hand calculator technology says that's a total of 372,576 convention viewers on six networks, compared to the Cowboys' 1,348,046 on NBC alone. You win some, you lose some. And the Democratic convention lost 94,837 D-FW viewers from night one's total, when Michelle Obama spoke.

Here are Wednesday's local news derby results, with 10 p.m. omitted because of the convention over-runs.

Fox4 won at 6 a.m. and at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for the total viewers lead at 6 a.m.; Fox4 won at 5 p.m. in this measurement and NBC5 ran first at 6 p.m.

Comedy central: WFAA8's Cowboys Kickoff Special strives to be laughing matter


Dale Hansen "interviews" fake Jerry Jones, voiced by Gordon Keith, during Tuesday night's Cowboys Kickoff Special. Photo: Ed Bark

And now for the comedy sports, with apologies for a serious-minded, mid-show report on NFL concussions.

WFAA8's Tuesday evening Cowboys Kickoff Special, which teamed sometimes slap-happy sports anchor Dale Hansen with "Ticket" court jester Gordon Keith, looked pretty close to what CW33 plans to do with its prime-time newscast by re-making it in the image of the station's early morning Eye Opener.

Except that WFAA8's effort might prove to be even goofier.

Hansen, who's always known how to have fun, may have jumped the carnival midway shark by "interviewing" mockups of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett. Both were voiced in Clutch Cargo style by Keith, who also was borrowing a page from the fake moving mouth interviews that regularly popped up on early editions of NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

"I'll just do exactly what Jerry tells me, and then I'll shut up," Garrett said during his brief session with Hansen, who for some reason failed to wear one of his Hawaiian shirts. "Garrett" later referenced his "robot brain."

Fake Jerry had more time for Hansen. Still lazing about in Arkansas, he obligingly brought up his "face work" before quickly acknowledging, "I look like death with dentures."

Jerry also bragged about building a football palace "where Cowboy fans can watch mediocrity in high definition while buying $25 dollar nachos."

Hansen chortled, at times a bit robotically. But Jerry was happy to "clear the air" while also noting the aroma being emitted by the heavy-eating Hansen, who's also been known to enjoy a cocktail or 10.

"It smells like you ate a whole burrito and wolfed it down with a gallon of gin," Jerry observed before cackling. Hansen summoned a non-plussed look before throwing it to a commercial break that included one of those deadly serious WFAA8 spots for its award-winning investigative team of Byron Harris and Brett Shipp. Together they have a "power other stations can only try to emulate," said the voice-over pitchman.

It wasn't the best of transitions -- from a sports anchor supposedly stinking of gin and burritos to a spot for the station's crusading wrong-rigthers. Kind of like going from South Park to Christiane Amanpour.

The half-hour special also included reporter George Riba's report on the long-term ramifications of NFL head-banging and Joe Trahan's boilerplate dispatch from New Jersey on the Cowboys' readiness to play the New York Giants Wednesday night.

"What is your best defense for self doubt?" Trahan asked Cowboys QB Tony Romo in a previously taped interview.

"I don't even know what that question means," Romo replied.

Otherwise it was the comedy store, with Hansen and Keith happily recycling Jones' evocative "I want me some glory hole" comment from training camp and Keith topping things off with another of his "Man on the Street" segments spotlighting an array of befuddled Dallas denizens. They still work pretty well.

Reporter Ted Mann also kept matters light by twitting Hansen about his lack of tweeting after Hansen asked rhetorically, "How did we survive before Twitter? Quite well, actually. But Ted Madden's our guy for that."

"Yeah, I'm the guy for it because you won't do it," Madden retorted before his report on the Cowboys' top tweeters and non-tweeters. The latter group includes Romo.

So what's the takeaway? Well, I enjoy Keith's humor more often than not, although by a relatively slim margin. And Hansen's willingness to speak his mind and try just about anything have generally been plusses for him.

That doesn't mean that this particular effort worked very well, though. Grading on the curve, I'd give it perhaps a C+. And that's mainly because the station continues to experiment with different forms of local programming while its rivals seldom do much of anything beyond their regularly appointed newscasts.

There is the risk, of course, of tarnishing the bread-and-butter news "brand." WFAA8 increasingly is the D-FW market's comedy central, whether it's the series of promotions for early morning anchor Ron Corning; Texas Rangers pitcher Derek Holland goofing his way through a weather segment or forecaster Pete Delkus jabbing at Hansen -- and vice-versa -- during virtually every newscast.

The Cowboys Kickoff Special opened with Delkus serving as Hansen's valet, applying makeup and hairspray while Keith barged in to suggest story ideas. How about "Joe Trahan in a Speedo having a hot dog eating contest on a unicycle," he asked.

Hansen liked that idea. But lo and behold, it didn't make the cut. Not this time anyway.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Sept. 4) -- polar opposite viewing patterns for first night of Dem convention

Ratings for Tuesday's first night of the Democratic National Convention underscored the ridiculously partisan times in which we live.

Fox News Channel, a runaway No. 1 in D-FW during last week's Republican gathering, fell to third place even in the cable universe. And the Texas Rangers 6-3 loss at Kansas City nonetheless had almost enough kick to outdraw the combined Dem convention audience on ABC, CBS and NBC, all of which started their engines at 9 p.m.

Let's look at the 9 to 10 p.m. "window" in which seven broadcast and cable networks went head-to-head against the final innings of the Rangers game. First Lady Michelle Obama went a bit long, until 10:04 p.m., with ABC, CBS and NBC all bailing by 10:06 p.m. or earlier. So we'll stick to the one-hour convention coverage window after noting that the Rangers-Royals ended at 9:49 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest.

The entire game averaged 223,545 viewers, making it the most-watched attraction in prime-time. From 9 to 10 p.m. (Nielsen measures in 15-minute increments) the Rangers game and 11 minutes worth of FSS's post-game show had 189,675 viewers despite a significant dip from 9:45 to 10 p.m. That dented the 9 to 10 p.m. average and enabled ABC, CBS and NBC to edge the Rangers with their combined audience of 203,223 viewers.

Here are the 9 to 10 p.m. convention ratings:

ABC/NBC/CNN -- 74,515 viewers apiece
MSNBC -- 67,741 viewers
PBS/FNC -- 60,967 viewers
CBS -- 54,193 viewers

On opening night of the Republican convention, FNC had 189,675 viewers from 9 to 10 p.m., more than tripling the audience for any individual competing network. CNN had just 27,096 viewers and MSNBC, 20,322.

The stark partisan divide between left-leaning MSNBC and right-leaning FNC ("leaning" is being charitable) shows up crystal clear in the ratings for the two parties' conventions. MSNBC outdrew three networks with its Democratic convention coverage after finishing last among all networks on the Republicans' first night. After rolling with the Republicans, FNC beat only CBS on the first night of the Democrats.

Elsewhere Tuesday, the debut of the new Live! with Kelly and Michael (Strahan) easily won its 9 a.m. time slot on Fox4 with 101,612 viewers. It also ran a comfortable first among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Fox's 7 p.m. hour of Hell's Kitchen was the prime-time runner-up to the Rangers with 203,223 total viewers. And Fox4 again profited from having its local 9 p.m. newscast opposite the convention coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC. Fox4 had 149,030 viewers, doubling the individual audiences for both ABC and NBC.

During WFAA8's 6:30 p.m. Cowboys Kickoff Special, WFAA8 anchor Dale Hansen told a mock Jerry Jones (voiced and lipped by comedian Gordon Keith), "I have a feeling nobody is seeing this right now."

He was a bit off. The special had 81,289 total viewers to run fourth in its time slot opposite CBS11's Wheel of Fortune (209,997 viewers); Fox4's Access Hollywood (101,612) and MY27's repeat of The Big Bang Theory (94,837).

Here are Tuesday's four-way local news derby numbers.

WFAA8 topped the 10 p.m. field in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first place at 6 a.m. in total viewers while Fox4 and the Peacock shared the 25-to-54 lead.

The 5 and 6 p.m. wins among 25-to-54-year-olds went to Fox4. WFAA8 won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and NBC5 finished first in that measurement at 6 p.m.

Veteran CBS 11 reporter Jay Gormley opting for new career; so is the station's special projects editor


Add CBS11 veteran Jay Gormley to the list of D-FW television reporters making a career change.

Gormley, who joined the station in 1997 and has been a nightside reporter throughout his tenure, is resigning to become director of communications for the Dallas region of Time Warner cable.

His last day at CBS11 will be on Sept. 14th and he starts his new job on the 24th of this month.

"I've been very fortunate, very blessed," Gormley said in a telephone interview Tuesday evening. "I just reached a point where I've done everything I can as a journalist . . . I'm a man in my mid 40s (46) and now is the time to strike if I'm going to make this leap."

Gormley, who's also a filmmaker and scriptwriter in his spare time, said his family is now the single major priority in his career decisions. He got married in October 2009 to Dallas social worker Robin Lisa Raxlin, and they have a one-year-old son, Daniel Patrick.

He had heard about the opening at Time Warner, and decided to apply in the interests of working more stable hours at a job that might have more of a future for a person his age.

"It was such a great opportunity that I couldn't pass on it," Gormley said. "I have nothing but glowing things to say about Channel 11. And Adrienne (news director Adrienne Roark) could not have been more gracious about the situation. I'm leaving on great terms. I'm leaving on a high."

Gormley logged a total of 23 years as a TV reporter, roughly two-thirds of them with CBS11.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to work with the journalists in this market at all five TV stations," he said. "I'll put this market up with any market in the country."

CBS11 also is losing its editor of special projects and investigations, Daniel Penz. He's resigning to join the JCPenney corporate communications team, CBS11/TXA21 director of communications Lori Conrad confirmed Tuesday.

This has been an unusually busy summer for departures at D-FW television stations. To name just a few, WFAA8 reporter Craig Civale and anchor-reporter Casey Norton have segued to public relations positions while longtime meteorologist Bob Goosmann, who worked at both CBS11 and later CW33, is getting into real estate.

Another veteran, ex-WFAA8 anchor Debbie Denmon, recently accepted a position as director of communications for the Dallas County District Attorney's office after the station declined to renew her contract.

Dramatic overhaul for CW33 newscasts, with no one's job guaranteed (updated)


In happier times: Former CW33 9 p.m. news team of Rebecca Miller, Walt Maciborski, Amanda Salinas and Dave Crome. Photo: Ed Bark

Details are coming out from the sobering, mandatory high noon meeting Tuesday among Tribune-owned CW33 management
and their staffers.

Basically put, no one's job appears to be safe in terms of continued employment on the station's 5 and 9 p.m. local newscasts. They're going to be remade in the image of the early morning Eye Opener program.

"I think it's going to be very similar to Eye Opener from top to bottom, and every space in between," said a CW33 staffer who requested anonymity. "The current newscasts will remain in place until the new hires and format are finalized . . . All members of the staff have the opportunity to reapply for the newly created positions. They're basically re-starting from the ground up."

Eye Opener, which airs from 5 to 8 a.m. on CW33, originates entirely from the station's Dallas studios and is syndicated to several other Tribune-owned stations. Its approach is decidedly comedic. And its senior producer until last month, Larissa Hall, was named CW33's new Director of Content on Aug. 16th.

The drastically revamped CW33 newscasts will include "more multi-media journalists," says a source. A previous term for them was cheap-to-hire "backpack journalists." The new terminology is "preditor," , which one CW33 staffer described as a "do it all, shoot, write and edit field reporter who will tell stories in a much different manner." Whatever the title, they seem to be the wave of the not-so-distant future at many local TV news operations, both large and small.

Conventional photographers and editors will still be used in some fashion, another CW33 source said. Staffers were told they will be informed in September whether they have a position with the new-look newcasts, which tentatively are scheduled to launch on Nov. 1st.

Interviews for the new positions began at mid-afternoon Tuesday and are expected to be completed by Thursday, according to a letter distributed to all CW33 employes and obtained by unclebarky.com. Conducting the interviews are Hall and another member of management, Tribune Corp. vice president of news Steve Charlier.

"If you are interviewing for any of the Host positions, you will be interviewing with both Steve and Larissa," the suddenly disenfranchised staffers were told. "If you want to interview for Preditor, Associate Preditor, Show Producer, Web Designer, Operational Assignments Coordinator, or Show Director/Production Technician, please sign up to interview with Larissa. If you are interviewing for Live-Story Teller, Art Designer, or Executive Producer/Special Projects Preditor, please sign up to interview with Steve."

An overall staff reduction of 25 to 30 percent is anticipated, according to sources. One of the posted available positions is "Host/Comedic Writer."

CW33's showcase one-hour 9 p.m. local newscast has had severe ratings problems in recent years. A turbulent four-year reign of former WFAA8 news director David Duitch (now editor of dallasnews.com) was marked by numerous staff firings and hirings, an emphasis on "social media" content and the deployment of a full-time "sexpert" who since has left the station.

But none of this really worked, with CW33 management acknowledging as much during Tuesday's tense meeting. A staffer said the "quote of the day" was "We brought in a proven winner, David Duitch, to deliver higher numbers and more revenue. And he failed."

Of the above-pictured team, sports anchor Dave Crome departed CW33 in April 2011 and news anchor Walt Maciborski recently resigned to take an anchoring job at the Fox affiliate station in Indianapolis.

Crome's successor as sports anchor, Chase Williams, also recently jumped ship. As did longtime CW33 meteorologist Bob Goosmann, who will be working in real estate. Goosmann had been the station's principal weathercaster until former NBC5 early morning meteorologist Rebecca Miller was hired in January 2009. Miller and co-news anchor Amanda Salinas are still at CW33.

The station launched its 9 p.m. local newscast in 1998 under news director Anthony Maisel, who built the program from the ground up. KDAF-TV (Channel 33) was an affiliate of the now defunct WB network in those days. Maisel resigned in Sept. 2007 after the station was re-christened CW33. He declined to comment Tuesday on the changes in progress at his old station.

Maisel's successor as news director, Mark Shepherd, was quickly supplanted by Duitch in the summer of 2008. One of his first management moves was to fire both of the anchors hired by Maisel, Tom Crespo and Terri Chappell. The replacements were Maciborski and Salinas.

Crespo now is news director and anchor at KTEN-TV in Sherman-Denison, where his boss is Maisel, the station's general manager. Chappell is now a weekday morning anchor at KKCO-TV, the NBC station in Grand Junction, Colorado.

CW33's 9 p.m. newscasts averaged 13,548 total viewers in the most recent major ratings period, the May "sweeps." In contrast, Fox4's competing one-hour newscasts averaged 176,127 viewers.

Eye Opener had roughly the same viewership as CW33's 9 p.m. news during the May sweeps.

Two Mays earlier, in the 2010 sweeps, CW33's 9 p.m. edition had more than twice as many viewers -- 33,932 -- while Fox4 averaged 142,512 for its competing edition.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Aug. 31-Sept. 3) -- Friday night Rangers edge Saturday night football from Jerry's Palace

A more competitive game would have helped.

Still, it's pretty impressive when a Friday night Texas Rangers-Cleveland Indians game can outdraw a prime-time Saturday face-off between two marquee college football programs. In olden days -- pretty much all seasons before this record-setting one -- few if any regular season Rangers games could have stood up to a big-time college football game on a Big Four broadcast network.

Friday's 5-3 Rangers win averaged 209,997 D-FW viewers on TXA21. Alabama's 41-14 drubbing of Michigan at Jerry's Cowboys Palace averaged 189,675 viewers on ABC Saturday night.

Texas-Cleveland also had a bigger peak audience, with 311,609 viewers between 8:45 and 9 p.m. Alabama-Michigan topped out at 264,190 viewers between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m.

It should be noted, however, that Saturday night's Rangers-Indians game on Fox Sports Southwest fell short of football with 142,256 viewers.

The Rangers' Labor Day afternoon win at Kansas City had a decent-sized 182,901 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. That made it the holiday's second most-watched TV attraction, behind Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast (223,545 viewers). But because of its "H" for holiday designation, the newscast's numbers don't officially count in Nielsen's tabulations.

The Sunday afternoon Rangers game at Cleveland, also on FSS, averaged 196,449 viewers to easily rank as the day's No. 1 TV attraction in D-FW.

Sunday night's summer season finale of AMC's Breaking Bad had 88,063 viewers, with an impressive chunk of them -- 60,844 -- within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 motherlode.

Sunday's 7 to 10 p.m. portion of the Jerry Lewis-less MDA telethon on TXA21 averaged just 9,484 total viewers, with "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) for its closing half-hour.

Here are Friday's local news derby numbers:

WFAA8 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but Fox4 continued its strong run among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) with a comfy win over WFAA8.

Fox4 narrowly won at 6 a.m. in total viewers while tying WFAA8 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. and added a 5 p.m. win 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 and WFAA8 shared the 5 p.m. gold in total viewers.