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Opining on cnn.com

Your friendly content provider, upon request, has entered the realm of cnn.com with a commentary on the State Dinner-crashing Salahis and their thirst to be reality TV stars. If you'd like, you can read it here.
Ed Bark

Slugfest at 10 p.m., with head men at WFAA8 and CBS11 still trading punches after the bell

D-FW's November "sweeps" newscast ratings definitely marked a first for CBS11. But how much of a first? Uncle Barky's corner men are toweling him off after WFAA8 honcho Mike Devlin heatedly declared it a tie while CBS11's Steve Mauldin basically said that excuses are for losers. Get all the details here on what likely was the closest 10 p.m. race in the history of this market.
Ed Bark

Happy Thanksgiving to you and you and you

We'll be taking a few days off to celebrate the holiday. But not before thanking all of unclebarky.com's readers for their continued support and interest. Have a great and bountiful Thanksgiving. Posting will resume on the other side of Black Friday.
Ed Bark

Anchor Baron James getting walking papers at Fox4

Veteran Fox4 anchor Baron James won't be part of the Dallas-based station's news team for much longer. Unclebarky.com has the details here. Also, CBS11 still clings to a first-place ratings ledge with one night to go in its 10 p.m. November "sweeps" battle with WFAA8. Get the latest down-to-the-decimal point update here.
Ed Bark

Idol returns (of course) amid Fox's shaken and stirred midseason lineup

Fox announced its midseason lineup early Tuesday evening, and unclebarky.com has all the details here. Notable omission: Glee will be going away for a while after its "fall finale."
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Mon., Nov. 23)

The white-hot war for 10 p.m. ratings supremacy is in its closing stages, with both WFAA8 and CBS11 throwing a little fear factor into the top of their newscasts. Get our latest blow-by-blow look here. Also, see just how close it is at 10 p.m. in our latest D-FW Nielsen ratings "Snapshot."
Ed Bark

Up-close with an unguarded Oprah (just don't take her picture)

Oprah Winfrey's decision to leave her daytime talk show -- nearly two years from now -- prompts a return to a 1986 interview in Dallas just a month before the launch of her long-running syndicated smash. She was mostly without her handlers back then, but still very much in charge of what she wanted. See the Back Channels page for an unusual look at the future Queen of Talk.

Also, we have reviews of a new KERA13 special on the Trinity River and the latest anniversary-tied look at the dark day that President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Plus, check out our content analysis of Friday's 10 p.m. newscasts on arch rivals WFAA8 and CBS11. You also can see how the Cowboys did Sunday in a new Nielsen ratings "snapshot."
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Thurs., Nov. 19)

We're training our sights on just the two Titans -- WFAA8 and CBS11 -- as the November "sweeps" ratings period hits the homestretch. They're locked in a virtual dead heat for the 10 p.m. lead in total viewers. In that context, check out the games they're both playing.
Ed Bark

Oprah's long goodbye looks like pretty good news for WFAA8

The "Queen of Talk's" decision to leave broadcast TV -- effective with the Sept. 9, 2011 finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show -- likely won't leave Dallas-based WFAA8 in tears. In fact there may be some jubilation, although no one can say that publicly. Get our candid assessment here.
Ed Bark

"Street Squad" violation?

James Rose, whose "Street Squad" reports appear weekly on Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast, is a generally solid veteran with an aggressive bent. Should he have yielded, though, when a motorist kept telling him she didn't want to be on TV after being busted for a minor traffic violation? See and decide for yourself here.
Ed Bark

New night for Lost's last season

ABC has announced a launch date for the sixth and final season of Lost. Get the details here. Also, we go "Up-Close and Objective" with an emphasis on CBS11's gamesmanship during the backstretch of the hotly contested 10 p.m. ratings race.
Ed Bark

CBS11 ends 10 p.m. downturn, still clings to paper-thin lead over WFAA8

Nielsen ratings for Wednesday's 10 p.m. D-FW newscasts show CBS11 stopping a 5-night losing skid to remain precariously atop the late night news race with just five weeknights remaining in the November "sweeps." CBS11 is trying to win at 10 p.m. in total viewers for the first time ever in a sweeps period. But reigning champ WFAA8 is just a smidgen behind.

There are close newscast races at 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., too. And Wednesday's Mavs-Spurs overtime game also moved the Nielsen needle. For info. you won't get anywhere else, see our latest ratings "Snapshot."
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Tues., Nov. 17)

Battered Reunion Arena finally came tumbling down Tuesday afternoon, providing a picture-perfect TV story that all but one station capitalized on. The one that didn't might shock you -- as they like to tease in the TV biz. Get our latest content analysis here. Also, a rallying WFAA8 continues to hit ratings homers at 10 p.m. in its quest to remain late night's power-hitter. For the latest numbers, see the Monday (which had been delayed) and Tuesday D-FW ratings "snapshots."
Ed Bark

Meteorologist MacLaughlin leaving NBC5

Meteorologist Steve MacLaughlin, nearly a six-year veteran of Fort Worth-based NBC5's weather team, has decided to leave the station at the end of his contract, which expires in January.

"Steve's choice to leave is simple," NBC5 vice president of content development Susan Tully said in a memo to staffers Wednesday. "He's decided it's time to go back to the East Coast to be near family. It's a choice we can all respect."

MacLaughlin joined NBC5 in January 2004 from WPHL-TV in Philadelphia. He has been working the 4 p.m. weekday shift as well as the station's 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekend newscasts.

"The management team had hoped Steve would stay on," Tully said in the memo. "He's a great contributor to the weather team. We especially enjoyed his dedication and skills during winter weather, where Steve always had a way of nailing it."

MacLaughlin grew up in New Jersey and is a graduate of Rutgers University, according to his NBC5 bio. The station says he's also a guitarist, drummer, singer and songwriter.

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Mon., Nov. 16)

Our latest critical assessment is in place, with WFAA8 under the most scrutiny after first deploying scare tactics and then reverting to anchor hijinks while weatherman Pete Delkus tried to get his sub-freezing game face on. Get the details here.

Note to readers: Monday's D-FW Nielsens have been delayed by technical problems and Tuesday's might be, too. At least two local stations aren't thrilled about this. It's the heart of the November "sweeps," and the 10 p.m. battle between WFAA8 and CBS11 remains way too close to call. Any perceived irregularities can only complicate matters.
Ed Bark

Meet 'n' greet with Oprah 'n' Sarah

Sarah Palin launched the TV portion of her book tour Monday with a much-publicized appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. How'd they do? See our review. Also, check out an evocative collection of D-FW newscast openings, circa 1986. So many anchors, so few still working here.
Ed Bark

Calling all bootys -- the bigger the better

The butt stops here. That other dancing show -- Oxygen's demurely titled Dance Your Ass Off -- wants to see yours shake, rattle and undulate during an upcoming Dallas casting call.

Here's the come-on: "For anyone who is ready to make a change and bust a move while doing it, this is the chance of a lifetime to turn flab into fab while America cheers on!"

Your chance of a lifetime arrives on Saturday, Dec. 5th from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dallas Powerhouse of Dance, 12300 Inwood Road #124. Further hint: It's in the Summertree Shopping Center.

This will be the show's second season, believe it or not.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Fri., Nov. 13)

The D-FW television market's two most prominent cop shop reporters battled it out with their stations' lead stories Friday night while rival stations had nothing to report on the calculated slow-down in traffic tickets by protesting police officers. Get our analysis here. Also, the weekend ratings "Snapshot" has the latest Cowboys numbers plus a look at the ever-tightening 10 p.m. newscast race.
Ed Bark

Ghost of Christmases past? Troy Dungan says Santa's Helpers toy drive apparently will go on without him for first time in more than 30 years

Former WFAA8 weatherman Troy Dungan, synonymous with Dallas-based WFAA8's Santa's Helpers toy drive since its inception in the 1970s, says the station hasn't invited him this time around. Get his reaction only on unclebarky.com, as they like to say in the TV biz. Also, our latest 10 p.m. newscast report card is in. And WFAA8 closes the gap in what looks to be a down-to-the-wire 10 p.m. newscast ratings race with CBS11.
Ed Bark

AMC's re-do of The Prisoner again plays by the numbers

AMC's six-hour "reinterpretation" of the cult classic The Prisoner fires up on Sunday night. And complex though it may be, at least you'll get a resolution this time. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

CBS11 meteorologist Larry Mowry a dad anew

CBS11 chief meteorologist Larry Mowry and his wife, Lisa, are new parents of a second daughter.

Parker Grace Mowry arrived at 12:32 p.m. Thursday. Official measurements: 8 lbs., 7 oz. and 21 inches long. Parker's big sister is named Reagan.

Mowry joined CBS11 in January 2008 from the CBS affiliate in Orlando, FL. Congrats to all.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Wed., Nov. 11)

D-FW's 10 p.m. newscasts get another content inspection in our latest ratings sweeps compendium. Take a look at the good/bad/laughable right here.
Ed Bark

Tight local news races across the board as November "sweeps" hit halfway point

Our latest Nielsen ratings "snapshot" shows WFAA8 getting a nice boost at 10 p.m. from ABC's dominant Country Music Association Awards. But CBS11 still leads in total viewers as D-FW's November "sweeps" competition hits the midpoint. We've got the results from Wednesday night plus the 10-day newscast ratings averages at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m. For info. you won't get anywhere else, go here.
Ed Bark

Dobbs done with CNN

Self-promoting, hackles-raising Lou Dobbs has left CNN. He announced his departure on Wednesday's edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight. So where does he go next? That seems kind of obvious. Get our take here.
Ed Bark

Hank, Dollhouse marching off cliffs

The reaper's blade is sharpening as the holiday season nears. Prime-time's latest cuts are ABC's Hank and Fox's Dollhouse. They join a few other fall casualties. Get the details here.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (10 p.m. newscasts, Tues., Nov. 10)

Tuesday afternoon's Fort Hood memorial ceremony was still very much in evidence on that night's 10 p.m. newscasts. But one station found a way to differentiate its coverage from the others. Check out our latest summations, including WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen's joking reference to a former colleague as a terrorist. We also have the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective ( 10 p.m. newscasts, Mon., Nov. 9)

The November "sweeps" are in full bloom as we launch two weeks of watching the 10 p.m. newscasts on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11. Who excelled and who didn't Monday night? Plus, how did the stations handle Tuesday afternoon's memorial ceremony at Fort Hood? The way we see it is here. Also, HBO has announced that its 10-hour The Pacific, sequel to Band of Brothers, will premiere in March. We whet appetites with two brand new trailers. The latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, too. And Smithsonian Channel's six-hour documentary Apocalypse, premiering on Veterans Day, provides a stark new look at World War II.
Ed Bark

It's on: KXT-FM (91.7) makes its music felt

Dallas-based KXT-FM (91.7) launched Monday morning as the music arm of long-running 90.1 FM. Give a listen if you'd like. Here's your pathway.
Ed Bark

Two winning teams Sunday night -- Cowboys and NBC's Michaels/Collinsworth

The Cowboys notched their most impressive win of the season Sunday night. Lucky for us we had Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth to bring it on home. Get our view from the sidelines here.
Ed Bark

Lopez, Sykes ready to colorize late night TV (updated)

George Lopez and Wanda Sykes are poised to start their late night shows on TBS and Fox. Our up-close look is here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show which stations drew the most viewers for their breaking news coverage of the Fort Hood shootings. Plus, we have the final national Nielsen ratings for the 2009 World Series, the most-watched in five years. And your friendly content provider now also is content-providing periodically for locatetv.com. For those who are interested, the first commentary, on Sarah Palin's upcoming TV tour, can be found here. But unclebarky.com still is my No. 1 priority. Absolutely, positively.
Ed Bark

Fort Hood shootings test the quick response capabilities of North Texas TV stations

When tragedy struck at Fort Hood, Fox4 proved highly adept at covering itself. Its three principal D-FW rivals otherwise set the pace with live reports and interviews. Our analysis is here.
Ed Bark

Deborah does Dallas, pitching a new book on respect and also talking about how NBC gave her none (updated)

Deborah Norville brought her new book to Dallas. Photo: Ed Bark

Touting her latest book, The Power of Respect, Deborah Norville also remembers the heavy-duty dissing she took as a Today show co-anchor. Read about then and now in her interview with unclebarky.com. Also, the World Series bows out on an upswing in the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings. Also, check out the Tonight Show's dramatic readings of Levi Johnston's alleged tweets, which have the punk and his lawyer demanding a retraction. Take a look on the Network News & Reviews page while you still can.
Ed Bark

Babs/Palin matching up on ABC (updated)

Barbara Walters will notch another "Big Get" when she quizzes Sarah Palin in a series of interviews during the November "sweeps" ratings period. Get the details and news about the two new Oscar hosts on our TV Bulletin Board page. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings chart V's heavily hyped touch-down in this market. And a new "Ask Uncle Barky" is in the house.
Ed Bark

Dirk at work

Tuesday night's best TV drama had nothing to do with actors and their roles. How many viewers saw what Dirk did to the Jazz after all seemed hopeless? We do our best to recapture it here.
Ed Bark

Hell-o-o-o-o. Does anyone out there actually watch the commercials during DVR playback? (updated)

Nielsen Media Research says, and The New York Times is reporting, that almost half of TV viewers in the motherlode 18-to-49 age group actually watch the commercials during DVR playbacks. I find that very hard to believe, but what are your viewing habits? Get details of the Times story and register your comments here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show that the World Series did all right in North Texas Monday night, but still was no match for ESPN's Monday Night Football. And how low can NBC go? Its latest weekly ratings appear to be the lowest ever during TV's traditional regular season. We assess the damage here.
Ed Bark

Leapin' lizards: V at last lands on ABC

After a super-spashy promotional campaign, the sci-fi series V finally visits Earth and ABC Tuesday night. Our review is here. Also, a new TV Bulletin Board breathes some life into NBC's previously canceled Southland. Plus, the latest Cowboys-infused D-FW ratings are in. And we also look at the Barry Levinson documentary Poliwood, in which the acclaimed filmmaker finally discovers the link between politics, TV and show biz. P.S. Don't forget to look below for our report on the Cheaters "scandal."
Ed Bark.

Inside Edition goes after Cheaters -- which probably loves the pub

Bobby Goldstein of Cheaters and Inside Edition's Deborah Norville

File this one under "The image on the Lincoln penny is that of -- Lincoln."

A ratings sweeps month "exclusive investigation" by Inside Edition raises questions about some of the "reality" depicted on the long-running, reliably seedy, Dallas-produced series Cheaters. Wow. Shocking.

The syndicated tabloid show (4:30 p.m. locally on CBS11) will report on Tuesday's edition that Cheaters "has hired people to pretend they have been caught in the act of cheating on their spouses or lovers."

Particularly at issue is an episode -- ranked #2 on the E! Entertainment network's 101 Craziest TV Moments -- in which Cheaters host Joey Greco allegedly was stabbed "during a wild confrontation on a boat in Texas."

Cassandra Terrazas tells Inside Edition that she was paid $350 to appear in the segment.

"There was nothing real about it," she says in quotes included in an Inside Edition publicity release. "We were all in on it. He was not stabbed. He was not harmed at all."

Bobby Goldstein, creator and executive producer of Cheaters tells Inside Edition, "I think you are on a wild goose chase." But he then adds a disclaimer: "Let me say this. If it was all poppycock, it sure did great in the ratings." He supposedly intends to "investigate" the matter.

The official Cheaters website says that the show's episodes are based on "actual true stories, filmed live, documenting the pain of a spouse or lover caused by infidelity. This program is both dedicated to the faithful and presented to the false-hearted to encourage their renewal of temperance and virtue."

Yeah, and The Jerry Springer Show and its recurring "fights" are dedicated to cathartic fence-mending between aggrieved parties with the collective IQ of a rutabaga. Simply put, anyone who buys into the "reality" of your basic reality TV series also would be a good bet to believe that babies arrive via stork.

Cheaters airs at a variety of times locally on KDAF-TV (Channel 33). It's also presented in 17 other Texas TV markets. As previously posted on unclebarky.com, former CBS11 investigative reporter Robert Riggs joined Bobby Goldstein Productions in February as executive producer of New Programming and Development. Riggs said he hoped to bring a "git 'er done" discipline to BGP, which "needs to become more than just Cheaters."

One of their planned joint initiatives, iaccuse.com, is still "under construction." Here's a video of the "stabbing" incident, which so far has been viewed almost 75,000 times on youtube.

Back in play -- after the play

Daughter Liz after her play and with playgoers. Photos: Dad

We're back from Chicago, where daughter Liz Ladach-Bark directed the original play 1512 West Studebaker Place at Prop Theater. Obviously it was a trip well worth making.

Back in the real world, October heads to the archives as new November posts appear. You can catch up with last week's Tuesday-Thursday D-FW Nielsen ratings -- which include the first day of the November "sweeps" -- by going here, here and here.

Also, my latest "Media Matters" piece for D CEO magazine is newly available. It's an up-close look at CBS11/TXA21 president-general manager Steve Mauldlin. A link and a picture are here. Plus, Season 8 of Fox's 24 is coming soon, with Jack Bauer taking on a role besides terrorist fighter. Go to our Network News & Reviews page for the first official trailer.

Thanks as always for reading, and for checking out our advertisers. As the Christmas season draws near, support unclebarky.com by clicking to amazon.com via this site before buying your gifts. Amazon in turn will funnel 4 percent of each purchase to this website. It adds up very slowly, but is genuinely appreciated.
Ed Bark