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Casey Norton leaving WFAA8; former weekend anchor partner Debbie Denmon takes career turn, too

Earlier this summer, Casey Norton and Debbie Denmon were WFAA8's weekend anchor duo. Now he's leaving, too, while Denmon shifts careers but stays in D-FW. Details on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Convention ratings wrapup

Fox News Channel again called the ratings tune in D-FW on closing night of the Republican National Convention. For our climactic breakdown -- until the Democrats come calling next week -- take a quick excursion to the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Not completely wild about "Dirty Harry'' (but would the convention really have been better off without him?)

I've thoroughly digested Clint Eastwood's performance on closing night of the Republican National Convention. And rather than speak my mind to an empty chair, I've written at length about it on the Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

A&E's Coma proudly presents its case as worst miniseries ever

The two-night remake of Coma premieres Labor Day on A&E. Oscar-winners Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss and Geena Davis are in it, as is veteran scenery-chewer James Woods. But Woods understandably doesn't have the energy here, leaving poor Lauren Ambrose of Six Feet Under fame to tote lots of the load. Our review of one of Tony Scott's last celluloid contributions is right here.
Ed Bark

Sorting out last night's Cowboys, convention, Rangers ratings

The Dallas Cowboys played their last pre-season game Wednesday night opposite the 9 p.m. hours of Republican convention coverage on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.

So who won? Well, they both did in a way. Get all the breakdowns in our latest D-FW Nielsen ratings "snapshot."

Also on unclebarky.com, Cowboys QB Tony Romo boldly -- and effectively -- states his case in a new sports gear ad. And Robin Roberts begins her extended medical leave from ABC's Good Morning America.
Ed Bark

From meltdown to motherlode: Sheen's Anger Management gets big last laugh

For a while there he wasn't "winning" under any circumstances. But now Charlie Sheen is swimming anew in cash, provided he can stay on track for at least two more years. Get the details of his Anger Management deal on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

GOP convention bombs on opening night -- except on Fox News Channel

Fox News Channel did something quite extraordinary in D-FW Tuesday during the 9 to 10 p.m. convention coverage window in which it faced off against cable rivals CNN and MSNBC plus big broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC. Get the details in our latest ratings "snapshot" on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Chris Matthews: once again he just can't help himself

MSNBC blowhard Chris Matthews again has injected himself into the political discourse. Not on behalf of poor blacks, but to further serve the greater glory of himself. Let's play hardball with this guy while also emphasizing that this isn't political. Yeah, like that'll do any good.
Ed Bark

Now it's NBC5's turn: Return of the two-headed weatherman

NBC5's David Finfrock, dean of D-FW's weathercasters, made his first joint appearance with his 10 p.m. successor Monday. Shades of WFAA8's Troy Dungan-Pete Delkus combo? Yes. Commentary and a picture on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Also, Monday was back-to-school day in D-FW. And early morning local newscasts love this time of year after a dose of summer ratings doldrums. See our latest "Local Nielsen Ratings Snapshot" to see which station lured the most eyeballs.
Ed Bark

Tom and Jerry: Guess whose Cowboys commercials were better

Your marginal enjoyment of Saturday night's pre-season Cowboys game may have been waylaid by owner Jerry Jones' latest Papa John's pizza commercial. In which he raps.

Do they really expect this to sell pies? The first coach fired by Jones -- Tom Landry -- likewise did a singing commercial a generation ago. That one wasn't exactly a chart-topper, but Landry did score big with another, still terrific ad for American Express. You can compare and contrast by watching all three on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Sticky wiki: not true that Wheel, Jeopardy! vacating CBS11 for Fox4

It would be a pretty big programming deal if Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy! and Inside Edition all moved from CBS11 to Fox4, starting on Labor Day. Both stations' wikipedia pages said that was the case, but your friendly content provider has prompted some quick edits. Details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Also, get the ratings for the weekend's Cowboys game -- and the Rangers three games, too -- in our latest D-FW Nielsen "snapshot."
Ed Bark

GSN scores biggest audience ever with American Bible Challenge

GSN (formerly Game Show Network) put itself on the national ratings map Thursday night with the largest viewership in the network's 17-year history. Drawing 'em in was the first episode of The American Bible Challenge, in which Team Minnie's Food Pantry of Plano, TX emerged as the show's first winner and advanced to the semi-finals. Details are on the TV Bulletin Board page.
Ed Bark

Coming soon to Waxahachie: the Dale Hansen Football Classic

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The U.S. Men’s soccer team’s dramatic 2-1 win over Ghana in their 2014 World Cup debut made a big ratings impression Monday, drawing a larger audience than anything in prime time.

Running from 5 to 6:56 p.m. on ESPN, the match averaged 213,039 D-FW viewers, with 123,755 of them in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Only CBS11’s pre-prime time Wheel of Fortune had more total viewers, drawing 284,052 between 6:30 and 7 p.m. But U.S.-Ghana easily ranked as Monday’s No. 1 draw among 18-to-49-year-olds. Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of 24: Live Another Day came in second with 87,931 viewers in this key demographic.

The Texas Rangers’ late night 14-8 win at Oakland averaged 92,317 total viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. The game drew 35,824 viewers in the 18-to-49 age range, making it no match at all for soccer’s 123,755.

Also of note: Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast solidly won that hour in both ratings measurements against network programming on ABC, CBS and NBC. The newscast’s 191,735 total viewers more than tripled the total for ABC’s bottom-rung new episode of Mistresses (56,810).

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

Fox4 nipped CBS11 for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 also swept the 6 a.m. competitions and ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds at both 5 and 6 p.m.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and NBC5 ran first in that measurement at 5 p.m.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: For those who can handle it, Fox Sports Southwest will have live coverage Wednesday of the San Antonio Spurs championship celebration. It begins at 6 p.m. with a River Walk parade before moving to the Alamodome for a 9 p.m. ceremony.

If that afternoon’s Texas Rangers-Oakland A’s game runs long, coverage of the Spurs parade will begin on Fox Sports Southwest Plus, spokesperson Ramon Alvarez said. It will then shift to FSS after the game is over.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Lifetime lands Harvey Keitel for Fatal Honeymoon

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino haven't yet succumbed to Lifetime movies. But now Harvey Keitel has. The man who once knew the glory of Mean Streets and Reservoir Dogs is aboard Fatal Honeymoon Saturday night (Aug. 25). His remains are reviewed here.
Ed Bark

New venue for WFAA8 alums Debbie Denmon, Iola Johnson

Former WFAA8 anchor Debbie Denmon, whose contract wasn't renewed last month, belatedly has discovered that her last deal with the Dallas-based station didn't have a standard issue non-compete clause. So she's free to be on the air anywhere she wants in D-FW. The first move will allow her to be on the same latter day TV page as her girl-hood idol, trailblazing WFAA8 anchor Iola Johnson. Get the details and read an interview with Denmon on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Veteran reporter Cynthia Vega leaves WFAA8 while ex-CBS11 newsman Keith Garvin quickly finds a new home

Cynthia Vega, best known for her live street reporting on WFAA8's Daybreak, has left the Dallas-based ABC affiliate after a 12-year stretch. You can find more right here.

Plus, CBS11 anchor-reporter Keith Garvin, whose last day at the station was Monday, Aug. 20th, will be on the air in Houston next week. More details on his quick turnaround also are on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

WFAA8's John McCaa agrees to new deal amid sea of "legacy" anchor switches

There's been significant movement lately among D-FW's long-term news personality mainstays. But count on WFAA8 anchor John McCaa to stay in place and stick around for a while. Under a new deal he'll continue to anchor the ABC affiliate's 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts. More details and a refresher course on what's been happening lately are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Godly without being gooey: GSN's American Bible Challenge game show an appealing way to do good

GSN's The American Bible Challenge premieres Thursday (Aug. 23) with Jeff Foxworthy hosting and Plano's appealing Team Minnie's Food Pantry spotlighted. Lord knows this could have been done very badly. But it's instead the best new game show in years -- whatever your beliefs. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Another end of an era (but not for a while yet): NBC5 meteorologist David Finfrock signs last contract with NBC5, begins making way for newcomer Rick Mitchell

NBC5 meteorologist David Finfrock, who joined the Fort Worth-based station in 1975, is beginning to phase out his iconic career. For starters, newcomer Rick Mitchell will be taking his spot on weekday 10 p.m. newscasts. All the details, plus another significant weathercaster change, are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

NBC's The Office will be shutting down after coming season.

The upcoming 2012-'13 TV season will be the last for The Office, executive producer Greg Daniels said in a teleconference Tuesday. Here's Variety's detailed blow-by-blow report of what else was said.
Ed Bark

A tale of two shifts: Nightline being pushed behind Kimmel while also getting Friday prime-time slot

Overall it's a demotion. After nearly 33 years in the same time slot, Nightline will be pushed back an hour early next year to make room for ABC's Jimmy Kimmel to go head-to-head with Jay Leno and David Letterman. But the house that Roone Arledge and Ted Koppel built will get a weekly prime-time fling as part of the deal. Details and analysis are on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

CBS11 reporter Jay Gormley still dreams of a Hollywood happy ending

Jay Gormley, veteran nightside reporter for CBS11, continues to write scripts and make movies in hopes of someday hitting it big. He's been at this for a decade now. An update on what's happened and what's happening is on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Katie does Dallas and WFAA8; Michael J. Fox doing NBC in a big way

At play and at work: NBC5's Scott Gordon rides again.

NBC5's Scott Gordon has been on quite a tear lately. On Valentine's Day, the veteran night ranger led the Peacock's 10 p.m. newscast with a live dispatch on the peanut butter recall by Peter Pan and Great Value. NBC's Today show ran with it the next morning, using footage from Gordon's report. It became a big national story.

Now Gordon's got another biggie -- video confiscated by Watauga police of two-and-five-year-old pot smokers being taught to inhale by their laughing 17-year-old uncle and an 18-year-old friend. NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry called it "sickening" at the top of Friday's 10 p.m. newscast. Today then featured it prominently on Monday's program.

When Gordon asked the since-jailed uncle how he could do such a thing, "he responded with expletives we can't put on TV," Gordon told viewers. He had video of that, too -- expletives deleted.

Via email Monday, Gordon explained how he nailed down another nationwide tongue-wagger.

"I had dealt with the Watauga police chief on previous stories," he said. "And when he told me about the video, I couldn't believe it. When I went to his office to look at it, my mouth dropped. It was one of those videos that is so shocking, I knew right away it would become a national story.

"We first heard about it on Thursday, but the chief wanted to blur the kids' faces before giving the video to us, so it had to wait until Friday. We happened to be at the police station when they brought in the suspect (who cursed him)

"Today I hear from Child Protective Services that the kids are doing well in foster care and that doctors don't expect t hem to have any long-term health damage. Still, it can't be good for kids that age to smoke a cigarette, let alone a marijuana cigar."

In an email exchange last month, Gordon detailed how NBC5 broke the salmonella-laced peanut butter story.

"Through our reporting, we learned directly from ConAgra (makers of the two brands) shortly before news time that they had decided to issue a massive recall," Gordon said. "We reported it well before it hit the wires or, so far as we know, any other news outlet . . .Everyone else in the country followed up on it. In my opinion, this was a valid 'Health Alert,' an important story that directly affected many thousands of our viewers, and could have prevented people from getting very sick. "

Everyone else in the country is following up on this latest Gordon scoop, too. Unclebarky.com has been relentlessly critical of NBC5's flash-and-trash approach to TV news. But in this case, Gordon again has the goods. He must be doing something right. Here's the video of his story:

Phyllis Diller no longer among the living

Phyllis Diller, whose merciless jabs at herself were often punctuated with a trademark cackle, died Monday at age 95. Her standup act was a staple of an earlier generation cavalcade of variety hours, Bob Hope specials and late night talk shows. A clip of her first-ever TV appearance, with Groucho Marx, is on our Network News & Reviews page.

Also, the weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings, including Saturday night's Cowboys game, are in the house.
Ed Bark

Parental unit alert: here comes MTV's The Inbetweeners

Adapted from a same-named hit British series, MTV's The Inbetweeners premieres on Monday, Aug. 20th. As a high school comedy, it's par for the coarse -- and then some. But it's got a few bright spots, too. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

CW33 anchor Walt Maciborski latest to relocate

Walt Maciborski, who has co-anchored Dallas-based CW33's 9 p.m. weeknight newscasts since February of 2009, will be leaving to anchor at another Tribune-owned TV outlet. Details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, Thursday night's D-FW Nielsen ratings are more intriguing than usual. That's because of a Fox network pre-season NFL game that sunk Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast and pushed the 10 p.m. much deeper into the night while rival stations were all over the West Nile virus-tied airplane spraying. So what prevailed from 10 to 10:30 p.m. -- the dregs of the Bengals-Falcons game or the competing breaking news coverage on NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11? Take a look.

Also, we have a review of BBC America's first original scripted series for these shores, the Civil War era cop drama Copper. You can find it right here.
Ed Bark

WFAA8's Campos wrapping up 22-year tenure as 6 p.m. co-anchor

The Friday, August 17th 6 p.m. newscast on WFAA8 will be Gloria Campos' last as a regular co-anchor at that hour. Beginning on Sept. 4th, she'll be a part-timer with only the 10 p.m. newscast on her docket.

An interview with Campos, who was D-FW's first Hispanic anchor of weekday evening newscasts, is on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

CW33 names Larissa Hall its new Director of Content (also known as news director)

Another change hit Dallas-based CW33 Thursday, this time right near the top. Larissa Hall, who has been senior producer of Tribune Company's comedy-infused Eye Opener, will now be heading the entire newsroom. Details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, a trio of D-FW television news briefs are posted in a separate entry on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Grammer's back in Boss

Season 2 -- and quite possibly the last -- of Starz's Boss begins on Friday, Aug. 17th. We review it here while also taking an unbiased look at star Kelsey Grammer's claim that he was snubbed by Emmy voters because he's openly a Republican. Meanwhile, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association earlier gave him a Golden Globe for the same role.
Ed Bark

Anchor-reporter Keith Garvin leaving CBS11

This has been a busy summer for anchor-reporter departures in D-FW. The latest is CBS11 anchor-reporter Keith Garvin. Details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Also, we review the latest in a long line of star-seeking but seldom star-making singing competitions. A closer look at The CW's The Next is on the Network News & Reviews page. It premieres on Thursday, August 16th.
Ed Bark

Latest from The CW -- "Oh Sit!

The free-falling CW network has a new obstacle course game show with a "Sit List" included. It's Oh Sit!, and our damn review is right here.

Plus, the Dallas Cowboys opened their 2012 pre-season on a soccer score note with Monday night's 3-0 win at Oakland. How were the ratings? All the details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Collection Intervention comes to the rescue of Star Wars hoarder among others

Syfy's new Collection Intervention is another variation on Hoarders, but with neater stuff. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

The Who, what and where (primarily The Who) of NBC's Closing Ceremonies idiocy

NBC made another inexplicable programming judgement Sunday, buzz-killing a joyous Olympics Closing Ceremony by relegating The Who's closing performance to late night in favor of a monkey show. Details are on the Network News & Reviews page.

Also, Jim Lehrer signs up for his record 12th presidential debate, with a newswoman in the moderator mix for the first time in 20 years.
Ed Bark

Reporter Giselle Phelps calls it a day at CW33

Another news staffer has left the CW33 building. This time it's reporter Giselle Phelps. Details are on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

War games: NBC's Stars Earn Stripes arriving after 21-gun Olympic promo campaign

NBC's Stars Earn Stripes fires up Monday after an all-out promotional assault during the network's Summer Olympics coverage. The two-hour premiere was belatedly made available for review Friday. Our take is here.
Ed Bark

Fox's Hotel Hell gives Gordon Ramsay a fourth chance to spew

Monday brings tempestuous Gordon Ramsay's fourth series for Fox. The network's biggest overall star this time ventures into different territory with Hotel Hell. But his mouth is same-old, same-old. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Keri Russell a KGB spy in first series since Felicity; D-FW ratings for Dallas season finale

Former Felicity star Keri Russell, who once upon a time sent a tremor through prime-time by cutting her curly hair, will return to series TV for the first time since then as a KGB spy. Details are on our TV Bulletin Board page, which also has another tasty tidbit.

Plus, TNT's Dallas ended its first season Wednesday night -- opposite the Olympics. How'd it do in D-FW? All the info. is on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Major Crimes a quality continuation of The Closer

Kyra Sedgwick and The Closer bow out Monday after seven seasons on TNT. No worries, though, Most of the supporting cast returns in the Mary McDonnell-powered Major Crimes. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Monkey shines in NBC's Animal Practice

NBC's second sneak preview of a new fall comedy comes Sunday after the Olympic closing ceremonies, when Animal Practice arrives early with a full episode. Crystal the Capuchin monkey steals the show, but is it petty theft amid too much lame human interaction? Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Season ending, season beginning for two long-running Dallas serial dramas

Season One of TNT's Dallas wraps with a cliffhanger Wednesday night while the city's even longer-running serial drama, the Dallas Cowboys, get ready for their exhibition season kickoff Monday.

CBS11/TXA21 will be home to all four pretend games, and the schedule is on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, enjoy one of the late Marvin Hamlisch's latter day appearances, from the studios of WFAA8's Good Morning Texas. And thrill to a 1982 KXAS-TV newscast open while learning what became of the day-glo "Action News" logo behind the anchor desk.

Also, Monday's D-FW Nielsen ratings are in.
Ed Bark

TNT's Dallas wraps up Season 1 Wednesday with -- what else? -- a cliffhanger

No spoilers are coming. But I've seen this season's final episode of Dallas, whose cliffhanger "will leave everyone shocked and on the edge of their seats," says a network publicity release. Well, not quite. But not bad either. We take a closer look on the Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

New Matthew Perry sitcom sneaking into view (with NBC doing little to apprise viewers)

NBC promos within the Olympics keep saying that the new Matthew Perry comedy, Go On, is coming on Sept. 11th. Which might leave most viewers surprised to learn that the network is sneak-previewing the full first episode on Wednesday, Aug. 8th after that night's Olympics coverage. Review copies have been sent to TV critics, so here's our review.

Plus the weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings also are in.
Ed Bark

NBC5 flashes investigative superpowers in new Olympics promo

For many years the only gumshoes at Fort Worth-based NBC5 were shoes -- that stepped in gum. But a showy new promo airing during the summer Olympics hails a new bloodhound unit headed by reporter Scott Friedman. The 30-second spot and our commentary are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

NBC5's Newy Scruggs has his moment -- of zen

NBC5 sports anchor Newy Scruggs popped up Thursday night during The Daily Show's climactic "Moment of Zen." Get the details and the video on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page, where you'll also find the local Nielsen numbers for Thursday night's Olympics vs. Rangers faceoff.

Plus, check out The Wall Street Journal's high-larious "Homemade Highlights" video of Thursday's Olympics competition. Definitely worth a short jaunt to the Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

The late Gore Vidal had a TV life, too (and not just opposite William F. Buckley)

Gore Vidal had a surprising TV output over the years. We recount his small-screen teleplays while also revisiting an old interview tied to the 1988 miniseries Lincoln, adapted from Vidal's bestselling book. It's all on the Network News & Reviews page.

Also, Wednesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings found three local 10 p.m. newscasts caught in a buzzsaw of the Olympics on NBC and a near-miracle comeback by the Texas Rangers on Fox Sports Southwest.
Ed Bark

NBC's prime-time Olympics coverage still racking up big ratings while detractors rake away

NBC's latest tape-delayed prime-time approach to the Olympics isn't hurting the Peacock in the pocketbook so far. But critics are still mounting their charge on #NBCFail. We take a look and venture opinions on the Network News & Reviews page.

Tuesday's D-FW Olympics/Rangers ratings also are in. And since it's another change of the month, July is now being archived on some of unclebarky.com's busiest pages.

Plus, please remember to make the amazon.com buys you were going to make anyway by first clicking through an Amazon ad on any unclebarky.com page. Pennies from heaven ensue, helping this site in a very small way (believe me) to keep bringing you D-FW's only independent look at both the local and national TV scenes.

Thanks again for our patronage and support.
Ed Bark