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On the road again: D-FW stations rev their motors for another live police pursuit

First the chase, then the smackdown. Photos from myfoxdfw.com.

They keep telling us it's for our own good. Never mind that it primarily provides a showy picture story with a predictable yet uncertain ending.

Led by Fox4 and CBS11, D-FW's four major TV news providers again joined in the live police pursuit of a runaway idiot Monday afternoon. They broke from the starting gate just a few hours after one of Fox4's helicopters made an emergency landing after developing out-of-the-blue engine failure. Thankfully, none of the three passengers was seriously hurt.

Last week, however, four TV news reporters were killed in Phoenix when two station helicopters collided in mid-air while covering a police chase. That's a very sobering backdrop for the events of mid-Monday afternoon, when Fox4 and CBS11 knocked out regularly scheduled entertainment programming from 2:30 to 3 p.m. before NBC5 and Belo8 likewise went live at around 3 p.m.

CBS11 anchor Doug Dunbar kept referring to the obvious questions being raised in many viewer's minds.

Why cover this? Because "it is a threat to public safety this afternoon, and you should be aware of it," he said.

How dangerous or foolhardy is it for all those news helicopters? "They're talking to each other on the radio, ensuring the safest possible environment while they cover this," Dunbar assured. The news choppers also are flying well above a Texas Dept. of Public Safety copter so as not to get in its way, he said.

Chopper 4's Scott Wallace took the same tack, telling viewers that the runaway SUV driver with out-of-state license plates is "a real danger to the traveling public."

Wow, how did we ever survive before the era of live TV pictures at any time from anywhere?

It all finally ended at 3:23 p.m., when the motorist pulled over after his left front tire went flat courtesy of spike strips thrown in his path by police officers. He had swerved and wound his way at sometimes high speeds through Garland, Mesquite, Plano, McKinney and Allen before being apprehended in Richardson.

So was the public really served? Anchors stir visions of mothers grabbing their toddlers and racing indoors to avoid coming within even a 25-mile radius of an unpredictable driver. But seriously, those motorists already on the roads weren't likely to be swayed by TV coverage they couldn't see. In reality, the risks taken by the news station choppers seem to far outweigh any dangers to the public at large.

It can be a transfixing picture story, though. Stations in Los Angeles have been on these scents for years. Now they're staples in markets large and small. Hell, more people watch this stuff than NASCAR.

The driver, Ron Teague, later told reporters that he was only trying to get his sick cat to a veterinarian. A star is born. Make that two of them. Only in America, where the news just keeps getting dumb and dumber.

Allen in for good on CBS11's waker-upper

Ginger Allen and Scott Sams will try to lift CBS11 in the mornings.

CBS11 has gone in-house to name Ginger Allen co-anchor of CBS11's News This Morning

The well-tanned veteran, who joined CBS11 in 1999 from a Cincinnati station, will team with the recently hired Scott Sams. She had been filling in on occasion for Shannon Hori, who left Dallas last month to anchor at Miami's CBS-owned WFOR-TV.

CBS11 remains last in the Nielsen ratings among the early morning's four major news providers. The station said Allen will continue to do investigative reports as well.

Summer TV "press tour" -- It's a wrap

Ali Larter of Heroes strikes a pose at NBC party. Photo: Ed Bark

BEVERLY HILLS -- It's all over but the packing. TV's annual summer "press tour" finally wrote an end to itself Thursday night. Check out The Last Picture Show for unclebarky.com's parting shots.
Ed Bark

This just in: Sarah Dodd departs CBS11

High profile reporter/anchor Sarah Dodd has decided to leave CBS11. Her resignation was effective July 14th.

Dodd, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment, reportedly was dissatisfied with the new direction of the station under vice president of news Regent Ducas. His "urgent" approach to the news, most notably at 10 p.m., generally calls for a volley of quick-hit crime and tragedy stories at the top of newscasts.

CBS11 president and general manager Steve Mauldin praised Dodd's contributions in a note sent to staffers Thursday afternoon.

"She has been around the world covering important news for the station, including spending a month in Iraq covering the beginning of the war," Mauldin said in part. "Sarah has broken some of the biggest and most memorable stories at Dallas City Hall, and in 2006 won an Edward R. Murrow award for her work . . . We wish Sarah good luck in her future endeavors."

Dodd joined CBS11 in 2000 and in December married Dallas police chief David Kunkle. A splashy D Magazine cover story ensued. Before joining CBS11, the Baylor University grad worked at TV stations in Tyler, Waco and Oklahoma City.

Summer TV "press tour" -- Day 12

Sopranos creator David Chase returns home. The End. Photo: Ed Bark

The Television Critics Association had its 23rd annual awards ceremony Saturday night, with Sopranos mystery man David Chase the prize attendee. Hear his cryptic musings and get another eyeful of unclebarky.com pics.
Ed Bark

Summer TV "press tour" -- Day 11

Here's Charlie Sheen on the day he got an Emmy nod. Photo: Ed Bark

Jericho fans sure knew what to do with their nut sacks. Read all about it and check out another batch of unclebarky.com pictures, too!
Ed Bark

Summer TV "press tour" -- Day 10

Lookin' good in the neighborhood: Jennifer Love Hewitt. Photo: Ed Bark

Come along for a rare look at the innards of CBS' Big Brother, complete with more one-of-a-kind unclebarky.com camera shots.
(Note: Some of the comments from my daughter Liz's previous China pages are showing up with these dispatches. Don't know how to remedy that from out here, but they really are nice comments.)
Ed Bark

Summer TV "press tour" -- Day Nine

The red carpet becomes her. Down, dirty and often drunk as Calamity Jane on HBO's Deadwood, Robin Weigert will have a new look as a police lieutenant on the NBC fall series Life. Photo: Ed Bark

Keith Olbermann takes on Bill O'Reilly again, and winds up pictured on the business end of a horse. See the story and the unclebarky.com pictures in our latest dispatch from the all-too-real land of make-believe.
Ed Bark

Summer TV "press tour" -- Day Eight

Friday Night Lights star Kyle Chandler beams becomingly. Photo: Ed Bark

Positioning itself as anything but a "football show," NBC's Friday Night Lights will play on this fall. Get all the latest info on the Austin-made series and also feast your peepers on a new batch of unclebarky.com star shots.
Ed Bark

And so it begins . . . Summer TV "press tour" 2007

The Griffith Observatory at dusk Photo: Ed Bark

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- How's this for a scene-setter? Network TV's 2007 summer "press tour" began Monday night with a lengthy bus jaunt from the Beverly Hilton to the almighty Griffith Observatory.

There you could see Hollywood's brightest stars, all without facelifts, through some venerable high-powered telescopes. Cell phone service couldn't survive such heights, knocking out your friendly correspondent's regular Monday night radio segment on KMOX-AM radio in St. Louis just as it was about to begin.

PBS chose the site to tout its new Wired Science series, which premieres on Oct. 3rd. Assembled TV critics then partook of a Wolfgang Puck-catered buffet starring salmon and noodles.

Uncle Barky, paying his own way to see such splendors, cut costs with all-day connecting flights from Dallas to Denver to Palm Springs to L.A. That last plane flight sounded like a lawnmower with wings. And the temps took a mighty plunge, from 105 degrees to 71. Pretty cool.

Beginning on Wednesday, look to our special July TV Press Tour page for daily reports on this 18-day march from PBS to ABC. It's Uncle Barky's 28th straight life-shortener, so keep him in your prayers and please patronize his advertisers. Gotta run. Talk to you soon.

Hail, hail D-FW's underappreciated TV news-getters

You see them all the time, but seldom if ever behind an anchor desk. They're D-FW television's long-entrenched men and women in the trenches. Unclebarky.com's latest Top 10 list recognizes them for what they are -- mostly unheralded pros who deserve a big ol' back-pat.
Ed Bark

A holiday ode to Belo8 rainmaker Pete Delkus

We loathe you, Pete Delkus
Though it's not your doing.
You keep bringing wetness
While we can't stop booing.

You seem to enjoy
All this rain beyond norm.
Your eyes begin brightening
As clouds start to form.

Your Chia Pet hairdo
Is always fresh cut.
Our lawns are not likewise.
We're all in a rut.

These bad weather forecasts
Are given by others.
But they seem so downcast
While you're like Tom Smothers.

You get so excited
When talking of storm cells.
But your seven-day forecasts
Are our living hells.

If "Delkus Delivers"
Then return to sender.
You're nothing but trouble
A real weather bender.

So try something different,
Do the weather in shades.
Put on a swimsuit
Pass around lemonades.

Give Gloria a hickey
And Dale a goose.
Pretend it's all clear
You're carefree and loose.

The sun's shining brightly
No Mudvilles in sight.
Live in denial
Go fly a kite.

Whatever you do
End this talk about records.
Let it rain, let it pour
But only on Decherds.

Kwik-E Monster

Feeling his oats: Former Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Precker strongarms limited edition Krusty O's at the bustling 7-Eleven turned Kwik-E-Mart on 6833 Northwest Highway at Hillcrest. The Dallas location is one of just 11 nat'l makeovers. Photo: Ed Bark

Dallas' newest tourist attraction has been constantly crowded since re-opening for business as a Kwik-E-Mart tied to the July 27th opening of The Simpsons Movie. Tuesday morning was no different, with workers resorting to threatening signage in an effort to keep the small parking lot in working order. "5-Minute Parking. Violators Will Be Executed," they warn. OK, it's pretty much just a joke. For more pictures and details, see the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark