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Withering heights: Kimmel escalates feud with Leno

Jimmy Kimmel's takes on NBC's late night pratfalls are pungent and now very personal. On Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live, he socked it to Jay Leno after Leno claimed that Kimmel had "sucker punched" him during a recent "10 at 10" segment. We've got the video here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings continued to sing for Fox, even without American Idol.
Ed Bark

And now Ray Romano as Al Capone . . .

No, not really. But our latest "Making a List" is for real, counting down the Top 10 head-scratching TV portrayals of real-life people by big-name stars. Also, Dallas-based WFAA8 finds itself near the top of the national download charts with its newly launched news app for the Apple iPhone and ITouch.
Ed Bark

Idol worship peaks with Dallas auditions

Sorry state of affairs? Wednesday's American Idol auditions from Dallas had more D-FW viewers on a single network -- Fox -- than President Obama's State of the Union Address had on the Big Four broadcast networks -- Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC. For all the numbers, check out our latest ratings "snapshot."

Also, we review Wednesday's Idol festivities on both Fox and Fox4. The two best audition videos also are included.
Ed Bark

Leno up-close in a vintage interview that still holds true

Back in spring 1995, Jay Leno was still the relatively new host of The Tonight Show and hadn't yet taken the ratings measure of arch rival David Letterman. Your friendly content provider interviewed him in his Burbank offices, where Leno let his guard down and pretty much said it all about himself. We recapture that close encounter on our Back Channels page.

Also, Fox has a monster week in the national prime-time ratings, leaving rival networks in near-eclipse. The latest, closer-to-home D-FW Nielsen ratings also are in.
Ed Bark

All-Star hoops in Dallas will have a big hurdle in prime-time

Newspapers will spill lots of ink. And local TV stations, with the possible exception of one, will devote plenty of air time to the Feb. 14th NBA All-Star game in Dallas at Jerry's Palace. NBC5 might be something of a holdout. Because after all, it has the Winter Olympics on the same night. Which puts the All-Stars on likely thin ice ratings-wise -- even in these parts.
Ed Bark

Branching out again with another cnn.com commentary

Your friendly content provider has another commentary on cnn.com, this one on the future talking points in late night TV now that the Conan O'Brien/NBC soap opera has ceased. You can check it out here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in place on unclebarky.com, and ABC's increasingly popular Castle is a prime beneficiary.

An added note for prospective commentors: Echo has taken over the "Comments" function from Haloscan, and the transition is currently underway. So it may be a day or so before the mechanism is fully back in order. Don't worry, though, comments are here to stay on unclebarky.com.

Addendum: The new and visually improved comments sections are up and running!!!
Ed Bark

Big doings in Dallas: new Fox action-comedy cop series set to start production Tuesday, with Fair Park as home base

The new summertime Fox series Code 58 (working title), starring Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, plans to spend the next six months filming 13 episodes in D-FW. It's from the creator of USA network's Burn Notice, and he sees Dallas as a "great city to jump on the hood of a car." Get our complete report here, including pictures and inteviews. Also, the D-FW weekend Nielsen ratings are in, with high profile attractions ranging from Sunday's Saints-Vikings white-knuckler to Friday's last Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
Ed Bark

Syfy fo fum: Caprica launches as Battlestar Galactica prequel

Acolytes of Battlestar Galactica can catch some more "frak" Friday on the Syfy prequel Caprica. Our out-of-this-world review is here. Also, CBS' 16th edition of The Amazing Race includes two more Texas teams. Plus, be sure to spend four minutes with The Late Night War, a Ken Burns mockumentary from Thursday's Jimmy Kimmel Live. The latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, too, and they're a boon for the next-to-last Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
Ed Bark

Starz new Spartacus is violent, excessive -- and bloody well done

The gladiator goings-on are unflinchingly graphic in the new Starz series Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Get our review from the combat zone here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are another big flex for American Idol.
Ed Bark

Tonight, Tonight: Conan out, Leno back in

NBC made it official Thursday, freeing Conan O'Brien from his contract with the network while re-deploying Jay Leno as Tonight Show host. We give you all the details -- and then analyze -- on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

Dallas-made The Deep End premieres as ABC's latest law drama

Filmed mostly in Dallas but set in L.A., ABC's The Deep End dog-paddles into view Thursday night as a legal drama with a Grey's Anatomy over-coat. Our review is here. Plus, Chelsea Handler had a unique riff on Dallas during Tuesday night's Jay Leno Show. We also have the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings and a look at Friday's two-hour benefit for Haiti, which will be shown on an unprecedented array of broadcast and cable networks.
Ed Bark

Incoming at WFAA8: two new weekend news anchors

WFAA8 is adjusting its weekend newscast picture by adding a pair of anchors from the East and West coasts. But incumbent Debbie Denmon will remain in the new mix. Get all the details here. Also, how high or low in the ratings did Sunday's Cowboys season-ender go? The D-FW numbers are here. And we catch you up on all the big developments from the TV critics "press tour" with links to the complete stories your friendly content provider wrote from Pasadena for locatetv.com. It's all on the TV Bulletin Board page.
Ed Bark

CW's newest: Life Unexpected

Rife with false moments and falser mood music, The CW's Life Unexpected premieres Monday. We take a further look here. Also, we catch up on all those D-FW ratings reports we missed while away, with the exception of Sunday's. Because of today's holiday, they'll be delayed.
Ed Bark

Back on site and catching up

We've resumed posting on unclebarky.com after a highly eventful week of Conan/Leno/Simon intrigue at the Television Critics Association "press tour" in Pasadena.

Look inside for news of two big splits from the NBC5 and CBS11 news departments. We also assess where the Cowboys first went very wrong before being drubbed 34-3 by the Vikings. Plus, a brief look at Sunday night's Golden Globes show and a review of Fox's Human Target, which continues with a second episode on Wednesday night after Sunday's sneak-preview.

Those who want to read the collection of press tour dispatches from Pasadena can find them here at locatetv.com.
Ed Bark

Leaving on a jet plane (pretty much know when I'll be back again)

Your friendly content provider will leaving Friday morning to spend a week at the mid-season television critics "press tour" in Pasadena, CA. where various networks gather to sell themselves.

This time, though, I'll be doing actual paid work for locatetv.com (stingy Uncle Barky doesn't pay much of anything to his sole employee). So there'll be no further unclebarky.com postings until late next week, but numerous filings for locatetv. You can find them here, and I encourage you to do so periodically for the latest on what the networks have in mind.

Meanwhile, these spaces are well-stocked. We have new reviews of this Sunday's 20th anniversary Simpsons special and of next week's new and ultra-ribald/risque FX animated series, Archer. Also, what cable or broadcast network could you least do without? Escalating fee wars between cable providers and networks make this an ever-pertinent question. Your comments are welcome on our Network News & Reviews page. Plus, Fox abruptly has yanked the heavily promoted Our Little Genius after producer Mark Burnett cited "an issue with how some information was relayed to contestants." Get all the details on our TV Bulletin Board page.

As always, thanks for your continued support of unclebarky.com. It's a labor of love supplemented by the urge to make a little money once in a while.
Ed Bark

New Survivor includes old Texas heartthrob

Former Dallas car customizer Colby Donaldson, heroic figure of 2001's Survivor: The Australian Outback, returns to play again in CBS' upcoming 10th anniversary edition, Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Get the details on our TV Bulletin Board page. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings boost both The People's Choice Awards and CBS11's cold weather 10 p.m. newscast.
Ed Bark

Krystle gets Good Day visibility boost

Dismayed by somewhat slumbering ratings for its early morning Good Day program, Dallas-based Fox4 is giving former substitute anchor Krystle Gutierrez a more prominent role. Get the details here. Also, a new "Ask Uncle Barky" is in play. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show that CBS' crime shows squeezed out Fox's Orange Bowl telecast.
Ed Bark

Contract negotiations at CBS11, big numbers for an otherwise despondent TCU, Brit Hume plays God, etc.

We've got an eclectic collection for you inside. Two prominent CBS11 news personalities remain in contract renewal talks as 2010 kicks in. TCU's disappointing Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State again proves that misery loves company. Fox news commentator and former anchor Brit Hume calls Tiger Woods home to Christ during a controversial riff on Fox News Sunday. And WFAA anchor/reporter Shelly Slater shows off her big ol' high school smile in our belated li'l wrapup of the station's Big D NYE telecast.
Ed Bark

By the numbers: Cowboys in review

Another Dallas Cowboys' regular season is in the books. And on unclebarky.com, we've got the top-to-bottom D-FW Nielsen ratings for all 16 games. Which was the biggest draw -- and the biggest "loser" -- in a season where every Cowboys contest topped the one million mark? For stats you'll find nowhere else, go here.
Ed Bark

Fox/Time Warner tiff is good news for news print

Who benefited the most from the recently settled transmission dispute between Fox Networks Group and Time Warner Cable? Read all about it here, and get a few other D-FW news scoops as well. Plus, ABC makes "love" Monday night with three candy-hearted reality hours.
Ed Bark

Peacock, not Fox, plucks plum Cowboys-Eagles playoff rematch

Cowboys QB Tony Romo lights up on Fox Sunday. Photo: Ed Bark

Fox is the network of the NFL's NFC division. But NBC again will have the Dallas Cowboys just where it wants them -- in prime-time.

The TV schedule for this weekend's four opening playoff games was set Sunday night, with NBC announcing that it will have Saturday night's rematch between Dallas and Philadelphia at Cowboys Stadium.

That gives NBC5 the game that Fox4 clearly coveted. Each of this season's 16 Cowboys regular season games have drawn more than one million viewers in the D-FW market. But Fox4 has seen some of the marquee games go to NBC or elsewhere, including the Sept. 20th unveiling of Jerry's Palace in a gut-grinding 33-31 loss to the New York Giants.

That game, on NBC's Sunday Night Football, still ranks as this season's biggest draw locally, with more than 1.7 million viewers. But Saturday night's Cowboys-Philadelphia game stands a very good chance of bettering that mark.

Fox and Fox4 instead will get Sunday afternoon's Green Bay Packers-Arizona Cardinals matchup, which clearly is no match for a Cowboys game.

The Peacock's Sunday Night Football also landed two other prize NFC Cowboys games -- the key Nov. 8th win at Philadelphia and the playoff-clinching Dec. 27th victory at Washington.

All told, Fox4 carried nine of the regular season's 16 games, but just two of the final six.

NBC can't strike again, though. It gets only Saturday's two playoff games before the rest of the NFC and AFC matchups respectively go to Fox and CBS.

So if the Cowboys win on Saturday night -- and that's a big if -- Fox4 can still clean up with at least one and possibly two huge post-season draws. For now, though, NBC is in the driver's seat, nabbing the game that got away. As for the Super Bowl, it'll be on CBS. For now, dream on.