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ABC's The Whispers is another hot weather find

ABC has saved one of its better new drama series for the summertime, which no longer is a trash basket for “regular” season rejects. Our review of The Whispers is here.
Ed Bark

Lifetime's The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe has a mother dearest angle

A trio of solid performances, led by Kelli Garner in the title role, make Lifetime’s The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe a watchable 4-hour wallow. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Saluting the retiring Bob Schieffer with three articles from the vault

Austin native, Fort Worth-raised and TCU-educated Bob Schieffer is retiring from CBS News this Sunday via his last Face the Nation. Now 78, he’s spent 46 years with the network as a reporter, anchor and analyzer. We look back with three stories on the Back Channels page, beginning with a memorable experience with Schieffer on the floor of the 1988 Democratic convention in Atlanta.

Plus, if you haven’t seen them yet, the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page breaks down the local Nielsen ratings for Wednesday’s marathon live coverage of a mostly slo-mo car chase.
Ed Bark

Reviewing NBC's Aquarius after watching all 13 Season 1 episodes

It’s very much open to debate whether NBC’s Aquarius is worth 13 hours of your time. But the network made all of them available for review, and your friendly content provider stayed the course on your behalf. After the two-hour Thursday, May 28th premiere, the entire Season 1 will be streamed on NBC.com for those interested in watching at a faster rate than the weekly Thursday episodes. That said, our review is here.
Ed Bark

The Dave and Don goodbyes -- a post-vacation look at the finales of Late Show and Mad Men

While I was away, a few rather momentous TV events took center stage. Mad Men signed off on May 17th and Late Show with David Letterman did likewise on May 20th.

We can’t let this happen without saying something. So here’s to both Dave and Don in this two-pronged approach on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

Back from Alaska and posting the rest of those new network fall schedules

No, they didn’t arrive via pony express. But ABC, CBS and The CW networks announced their new 2015-16 prime-time schedules after your friendly content provider was enroute to Alaska. So here’s a catchup round for those three networks, with the NBC and Fox lineups previously posted.

You can find ABC right here.

And CBS right here.

And The CW right here.

Ed Bark

Two D-FW stations make history (one of them with a mere third place finish) in May "sweeps" newscast ratings

The May “sweeps” turned out to be history-making for Fox4 and CBS11 -- both of which achieved firsts at the expense of Gannett8.

We’ve got all the details, including year-to-year ups and downs, on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page. You won’t find this kind of independent, unfettered information anywhere else. Hey, it’s true.
Ed Bark

Heading on an adventure -- and again leaving lots behind

Long-planned trips sometimes get in the way of best-laid plans. So your friendly content provider will be missing a few things -- including the Mad Men and David Letterman finales -- while away from this grindstone. Some of the networks’ new season announcements, which continue this week, also will have to wait until after Memorial Day. As will the results of the May “sweeps” D-FW newscast wars.

But hey, I’ve left plenty behind, including reviews of the following (with links).

Wayward Pines (Fox) -- Thursday, May 14th.

Bessie (HBO) -- Saturday, May 16th.

Texas Rising (History network) -- Monday, May 25th.

Grace and Frankie (Netflix) -- newly streaming.

You also can find our compendium of vintage David Letterman articles on the Back Channels page. Individual links were posted earlier on Above the Fold.

See you soon and thanks for your continued readership!
Ed Bark

Reviewing Netflix's Grace and Frankie -- after first seeing all 13 Season 1 episodes

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen join together -- and split apart -- in Netflix’s Grace and Frankie. It gets better with age, aka, episodes. And its four stars, all in their 70s, can still bring it. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

NBC and Fox announce their fall/midseason fare

Emmitt Smith will try to re-win the Mirror Ball Trophy he took home back in 2006 when Dancing with the Stars presents its first "All-Star" competition this fall. Also returning: former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Melissa Rycroft and Bristol Palin. See the rest of the roster and Emmitt's DWTS stats on the Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

Texas Rising. And falling. And failing

Your friendly content provider is soon embarking on a long-planned trip. Hence the early reviews of some notable TV attractions that will air during my absence.

History channel’s five-part, 10-hour Texas Rising doesn’t premiere until Memorial Day. But our review is now posted and you can find it right here.

Plus, the Wednesday-Thursday D-FW Nielsen ratings “snapshots” again show the ratings power of bad weather.
Ed Bark

Queen Latifah showcases herself in HBO's Bessie

HBO’s latest movie looks at vintage blues singer Bessie Smith, with Queen Latifah in the title role. It’s a showy performance in more ways than one. And our review is here.
Ed Bark

Time-traveling with Dave: Our complete collection

In less than two weeks, David Letterman will leave the after-hours firmament after a record 33-year run on NBC’s Late Night and then the CBS Late Show.

My first-hand, up-close experiences with him date to his second year at the Late Night He began hosting the show on Feb. 2, 1982 and I interviewed him in the fall of the following year. Letterman was considerably more accessible to reporters back then. Even though he still didn’t really enjoy it all that much.

Our Back Channels page now houses four Letterman stories for your reading enjoyment -- or whatever. Here they are in chronological order, with links to one and all:

1983 -- An interview with Letterman within the confines of his Late Night office, whose contents included a well-used baseball with the notably smudged signature of Johnny Bench.

1987 -- Dave does Vegas for a week’s worth of shows. And your friendly content provider joins him.

1993 -- In one of his last mass press conferences, Letterman is in Los Angeles to talk up his upcoming new CBS Late Show. He still openly smoked cigars at the time.

1994 -- A tour of “Mr. Letterman’s Neighborhood” in the immediate vicinity of the Ed Sullivan Theater. Once upon a time, Mujibur and Sirajul were star players within the walls of their Rock America souvenir store.

Take a look if you would. All these years later, it was a voyage of discovery for me again, too.
Ed Bark

Viewers can see the trees -- and eventually the forest, too -- in Fox's plot-knotted Wayward Pines

Fox’s promotions for the 10-part “event series” Wayward Pines have been ubiquitous for the past two months. Now the premiere date is finally near after some false scheduling starts. That’s usually not a good sign at all. In this case, though, perhaps not a problem. The first six episodes of Wayward Pines were more than enough to put me on board for the duration. But soon you’ll be the judge. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

Dave way back when: a reprise of his 1987 Late Night shows in Vegas

Our Back Channels page begins its David Letterman time travels with a look at your friendly content provider’s up-close experiences with him in Las Vegas. Hey, it was only 28 years ago, during times when Dave was still fairly accessible to the media madding crowd. Letterman’s last CBS Late Show will be on May 20th. You can find the first in our series of remembrances right here.

Also, Tuesday’s D-FW Nielsen ratings “snapshot” is freshly posted.
Ed Bark

Mayweather and Pacquiao via Periscope

Your friendly content provider had a unique viewing experience Saturday night. It had to do with the Big Fight -- and watching it for free. A blow-by-blow account is on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

Running for the roses and the ratings with Saturday's Kentucky Derby

NBC’s annual presentation of the Kentucky Derby easily ranked as the weekend’s most-watched D-FW TV attraction during the 15-minute segment in which the race was actually run. All the details are on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, Gannett8 has hired Wes Houx from a Gannett-owned sister station as its new weekend morning meteorologist. See Sunday’s post here.
Ed Bark

Feeling a Draft in Thursday night's D-FW Nielsen ratings; CBS11 confirms hiring of Chelsey Davis as new traffic reporter

ESPN and the NFL Network each had a continuous three-and-a-half-hours of NFL Draft coverage last night. It drew a sizable audience but not enough to beat some competing programming. We have the ratings breakdown on our Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Also, revisit an obviously dated weather promo in which a D-FW station’s chief temperature taker actually was praised for using restraint while his rivals all sounded alarms. I know. Seems impossible. But it actually happened and you can find the proof here.

Plus, CBS11 on Friday confirmed the hiring of Chelsey Davis as its new early morning traffic reporter after dropping interim replacement Tammy Dombeck from consideration. Unclebarky.com originally reported on Tuesday of this week that Davis would be the one.
Ed Bark