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Uncle Barky's Mailbag (Nov. 4)

Readers had strong reactions to KTXD-TV’s (Ch. 47) decision last week to cut ties with ME-TV and its menu of vintage reruns. The station is expanding its hours of locally produced programming while also purchasing a new mix of old TV shows from various suppliers. Here’s a sampling of the fallout:

I appreciate you letting folks know. I have no interest in the programming of the new station. As you have stated, the viewership is minimal for the local programming. Will watch a combo of Antenna TV and TV Land. -- Alex Kelley

What a huge mistake to try this new format for Channel 47! Who can make such pathetic decisions to disaffiliate from ME-TV and go with a new lineup of local choosing? Doing away with Perry Mason, which offers fine acting, intelligent plots and quality entertainment, is so very disappointing. The greed to try to grab more of the advertisers’ dollars by offering inferior entertainment makes me delete the “new” format from my choices. What a bunch of trash selections they’re offering. I Dream of Jeannie, Charlie’s Angels? Really? Who do you hope to attract? Airheads? How pathetic. May they all be forced to watch Starsky and Hutch until they scream with disgust. Way to go, guys. Really smart! -- Kirby Howard

It is interesting that I read about KTXD-TV dropping their carriage of ME-TV on your web site, but I cannot find a published press release on londonbroadcastingcompany.com (owner of KTXD). I found myself watching ME-TV a few hours every day so I could enjoy these older shows that aired when I grew up. Hopefully another station will see this as an opportunity to carry these older shows in a 24/7 or “almost 24/7” format since much of the content is relatively tame and possibly more kid-safe compared to current TV standards. -- Jeff Rickman

It was bad enough when local programming replaced the early morning shows. This resulted in me turning off ME-TV in the morning. Now I will completely drop this station from anything I watch. I think the local shows are horrible. I watched these reporters years ago and their time is past. Goodbye, KTXD. I will not be back. -- Pam Polsky

Most of the changes in KTXD’s lineup are not that big of a deal. We will miss Perry Mason at night but the biggest loss is Svengoolie (which aired on Saturday nights). This was one of the most creative ways to present old fright movies. -- Rich Krekeler

What I and other fans of ME-TV programming want is an affiliate that carries the brand more than 12 hours a day. This should be a good market for ME-TV and I hope we won’t go long without it. They report a deal with U-verse already, but I’m Time Warner. -- Kyle Hall

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Mailbag (May 6)

Here’s another batch of reader reactions.

Whoever runs KTXD-TV (Ch. 47) -- is a moron. Sorry, but they’re going to kill their audience by doing everything they can to run anything BUT THE CLASSIC SHOWS. That is the purpose of the ME network. Now a Mark Davis simulcast from 7-8:30 a.m. And some other show (America Now) after that. And then two hours with the Ditzy Chicks (D magazine’s D: The Broadcast).

Four hours in the morning. And not a single classic show. And then two hours at night, with The Texas Daily and a repeat of The Texas Daily. Anyway, thank God for DVDs. -- John McDowell


Enjoyed your piece about CBS being the ratings champion (among 18-to-49-year-olds for the first time in 21 years). I’ve been one for far too long wishing it could shed its reputation for being the network that catered to blue-hairs. One thing I know I’ve written to you about before is CBS’ inability to capitalize primetime and daytime ratings into gold in the morning and at dinnertime. The network that is rewarded by viewers for tough journalism on 60 Minutes isn’t trusted to wake them up or tell them the day’s news at dinner.

I’m constantly confused by the fickle viewer. I’m sure network programming honchos are equally confused. -- Christopher Skorz


Can you PLEASE do a followup on the HUGE clusterf#@% that WFAA’s Daybreak show has become. This morning (May 1st) they had some guy dressed up as a woman doing traffic reports with Alexa Conomos in the 6:45 segment. I can’t believe what this program has become. It’s virtually void of any news and substance. I’ve switched to KXAS because I can’t stomach their program anymore. I want NEWS in the morning. Most mornings, Greg Fields looks severely annoyed. -- Freddie Johns


I thought The Following (on Fox) started off really well with some really nice twists and turns. But as the season went on, it became a little to a lot weak. The finale was not very good.

And the Mad Men season premiere was a little too out there for me. I just did not get it. Losing interest. -- Larry Hammond

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Mailbag (April 29) -- readers react to WFAA8's handling of live West, TX memorial service


A lasting image from the West, TX memorial service. Photo: Ed Bark

WFAA8’s decision not to join its D-FW rivals in continuous coverage of Thursday’s West, TX memorial service continues to prompt pointed responses from readers, via both email and Facebook.

As previously posted, WFAA8 instead aired syndicated episodes of Anderson Live, Dr. Oz and Katie, breaking in only for President Obama’s remarks from 3:54 to 4:10 p.m. Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11 all preempted their regular programming to cover the more than two-and-a-half service from start to finish. WFAA8 news director Carolyn Mungo has not returned an email asking for an explanation of WFAA8’s editorial decision.

All four stations offered wall-to-wall live coverage of Thursday morning’s dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

WFAA8 has had subsequent investigative reports on the devastating fertilizer plant explosion, but wobbled again on Sunday’s 10 p.m. newscast. Newly hired anchor Carla Wade introduced a followup report on the small community by telling viewers, “In West tonight, the final victims of the bombings finally see their homes.” The station left the error intact for its post-midnight replay of the newscast.

Here’s a sampling of readers’ comments, beginning with portions of an email exchange with WFAA8 sent by reader/viewer Jack Wilson:

Wilson: You did the area a great disservice by not carrying the Waco Memorial until the President spoke. You did your news station reputation a huge disservice.

WFAA8 representative Ann Clark: The full memorial service has been airing on WFAA 8.3, TXCN and streamed online at wfaa.com.

Wilson: (Verizon) Fios does not carry TXCN and it does not carry any of the digital channels. I doubt that Dish, DirecTV or Time Warner carry the digital channels either. Your programming staff needs to take that into consideration when deciding what to broadcast . . . I am a Channel 8 fan. If I am going to watch news, 99% of the time my TV will be on Channel 8. I was really surprised when I discovered that you thought talk shows were more important than a tribute to Texas heroes.


For the life of me, I can’t comprehend WHAT is going on over at Channel 8. Could it be they just didn’t want to lose the ad money? I can’t think of any logical reason. -- holanasty 2


I watched it on Channel 11. There was full coverage of the George W. Bush library by WFAA, and it was very good. I think it’s good for the smaller stations to get a chance to cover a live event like the West Firefighter funerals. -- Lisa Lanier


WFAA being such a powerhouse with all the staff and special toys, it’s shameful they didn’t cover. Such a bad decision, not only by news director (but the) producer and assignment desk. This was a major event that needed to be covered. Makes one wonder!? -- Jerry Jenkins


They (WFAA) covered the ENTIRE morning with Pres. Library. And besides what’s the point when all the other networks are showing it? Only so much audience that I believe wanted to see that. Not cold, just truthful. I could only watch it in snippets. Very painful and hard. They preempted their WHOLE morning, so (they) lost big ad revenue. -- Allison Wheeler Kelley


I can’t speak to why they didn’t go live. But to WFAA’s credit, it had an investigative reporter, investigative producer and spot-news reporter in West the two days I was there this week. Can’t say that for the other stations. -- Reese Dunklin


I know you remember me from when I worked at Channel 8. I sent you press releases and helped set up interviews when ABC stars came to town. Whenever the switchboard got flooded, the operators sent the overflow of angry viewer calls to Public Relations and Programming. Whenever soap operas were preempted, it was a nightmare. This time, I’ll bet they had a flood of calls from people who were angry they DIDN’T preempt Anderson Cooper’s show. -- Pam Brooks


I totally agree with you on WFAA’s bone-headed decision NOT to air complete coverage of the West memorial service. On a day when plenty of LOCAL news was happening, our own locally-owned and operated TV station was absent when it clearly should have been out in front. It’s also curious given what I thought was excellent coverage (by Ch. 8) in the field when the blast happened. My only thought as to why there was this perceived stumble is that it wasn’t a stumble at all. My guess is there was some back-and-forth between the news and programming divisions, and programming won out. The needed the ad revenue from the syndicated shows and the syndicators wanted the showings during a ratings (sweeps) period. How else can one describe this move? -- Christopher Skorz


As a former News 8’r: Wow. Times have changed! -- Rick L’Amie

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Mailbag (March 27)

Here’s another batch of comments from unclebarky.com readers.


I just watched the Corning spot and it is beyond creepy. The whole set-up is weird, distasteful, juvenile, badly written, badly produced and so far beyond borderline. It’s amazing to think someone at a supposed powerhouse like WFAA would even think up something this bad and then put it together and then air it. Doesn’t anyone at WFAA have a brain or an ounce of courage anymore where they might speak up and say, “This really sucks?”

Corning was never my style to begin with. Personally I think he’s a lightweight, but that’s just my opinion. But this spot really does clarify many things and they’re ALL bad about where WFAA is going. Boy am I glad I am out of TV.
Dan Ronan (former WFAA8 reporter)

***You’re right. Creepy.
Bill Gilkison

***WTF were they thinking? The little girl’s expression at the very end of the spot is likely to be shared by 99% of their viewers. Also, I totally agree with you about the “team approach.” To me, Cynthia Izaguirre is the much more likable and promotable anchor.
Kevin McCarthy


One thing you didn’t discuss is whether or not someone might pick up Leno. That was a huge concern only a few short years ago for NBC. My hunch is that no other network is real eager to jump in to try to grab him. That may make the suits at NBC feel somewhat emboldened to kick him to the curb. This is, of course, remarkably stupid. Getting rid of Leno and replacing him with Jimmy Fallon probably puts the Tonight Show in AT LEAST second place in the ratings for a while. Then finding another Late Night host will be dicey.

The one smart move would be to keep Leno where he is. Unlike the Conan situation, there’s not a line of networks waiting to grab a restless Jimmy Fallon from Late Night. He’s not going to leave that show unless NBC fires him.
Randy Edwards

***Is there a possibility that NBC is guessing that Letterman is about to exit gracefully, like Carson, with a year-in-advance announcement that his contract ending in 2014 is in fact his last? That would put Fallon, Ferguson and perhaps Seth Meyers in play for that spot. I would assume NBC wants Fallon locked up and Meyers in Fallon’s Late Night time slot.

Even though we’ve always liked Jay, my wife and I have tired of both Leno and Letterman, and I think it’s time for both to gracefully retire. But to your other point, Comcast now appears to have picked up the “head of TV and microwave programming” bug from GE. What morons. Trash a promising season with odd scheduling followed by terrible shows. Trash the Today Show for allowing Matt Lauer to be positioned as the bad guy when Ann Curry was always the wrong choice. And then, after replacing her, not change the format -- which in our opinion is the real problem. And now get in a fight with Leno while he’s still on and leading in the ratings.
UB Fan


As one of the all-time Shelly Slater non-fans, I’ve been impressed by her anchoring this week at 10 p.m. (I never watch 5 p.m.) Despite an obvious make-up problem last night -- that’s catty -- her delivery and approach is far less affected than in the past. Good for her.
UB Fan


I, for one, am amazed he held out this long. Maybe out of loyalty or hope for a one-station career type of thing. But he had David Margulies (head of his own media consultant firm) for an example among others. Kudos and luck to Brad!
Brad Giles

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Mailbag (Feb. 11)

Presenting the first edition of Uncle Barky's mailbag, a forum for your emailed comments. Some are edited for length.

Post Grammy conclusions:

I really like LL Cool J, but keep those NCIS: Los Angeles ratings up. Just be retired and talk about your music career. Do not even try to compete with Justin Timberlake and crew. I hate to see someone I like embarrass themselves. Good job on the emcee work, though.

I became a Kelly Clarkson fan. (Big Time).

Adele apparently is the new Momma Cass.
Jack Grady

I have been reading your thoughts on Good Morning Texas and I would like to know why WFAA continues to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results. The demographics of Dallas are changing and GMT has not gotten on board. The show with the current host is unwatchable. WFAA probably needs to review what goes into that time slot.
Brian Harts

That (post on I'm Dickens . . . He's Fenster) was another trip down memory lane for me. I remember that we had just one television, a monstrous 200 lb. Philco. There were only three channels and the entire family watched whatever show my dad wanted to watch. I can still hear him telling me to get up and change the channel. The channel changer was stiff and clicked with each number, like a new combination on a bank vault. If I turned it too quickly, the internal plastic parts would eventually break off. I recall at times we had a set of pliers sitting on top of the set to change the channels. Even though my dad was well-off, he was notoriously cheap when it came to calling repairmen.

I don't remember I'm Dickens . . . He's Fenster, but I do remember Have Gun, Will Travel. It was an unusual concept to have a good guy playing a hired gun. Sometimes I catch one of those old-time shows on a nostalgia station. Two things that strike me: many of the secondary characters were famous actors early in their careers and how poorly made and cheaply constructed the shows actually were. I've seen a few Have Gun episodes recently and they are simply unwatchable today.
Danny Kunsch

Do you think CBS11 is doing the "Watch and Win" because of sweeps? I recall when I worked at Channel 39 in the '80s we would have similar contests during sweeps. Frankly, I have not seen such a hokey gimmick over the past 20 years. Why would they, in this day and age, have such an unimaginative promotional campaign? It's kind of like those stupid text polls that all stations do ad nauseum.
Nick Anich

Always read with interest your local ratings recaps for sweeps. It seems with some regularity that CBS11 is in the unenviable position of winning total viewers but losing advertiser-craved demos owing to the mostly older-skewed Wheel of Fortune and perennially challenged-for-younger-viewers primetime offerings. Hasn't CBS always been home to the older demos since Walter Cronkite? So you're young and watch something else until your 40s and then suddenly watch CBS? Never understood that.
Oak Park Studio