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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs.-Sun., Oct. 17-20) -- Cowboys vs a tornado touchdown

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
A highly eventful Sunday night came and went with the Dallas Cowboys routing the visiting Philadelphia Eagles while a tornado tore up parts of Dallas and surrounding areas.

Before getting to the Nielsen numbers, let’s talk about what NBC5 did and didn’t do during NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

While Fox4, WFAA8 and CBS11 broke in with continuous weather coverage, NBC5 initially kept the game going without any warnings to viewers at all. The station then publicly apologized -- an extreme rarity in this market -- for its failure to alert those who were transfixed by the Cowboys game.

“We made a mistake by not immediately interrupting the football game with a Tornado warning,” NBC5 said in an early Monday evening post on its website. “Although our meteorologists were tracking thunderstorms across the area when the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Dallas County, we delayed breaking into programming for six minutes . . . When it comes to dealing with severe weather, we know that seconds matter. We should have broken into football programming sooner. We apologize and want you to know that we’re doing everything in our power to make sure this does not happen again.”

NBC5 eventually offered limited live updates and put a “Tornado Warning” bug on-screen. But in large part, commercials aired as scheduled, with advertisers paying premium prices for exposure during a game that averaged nearly 1.5 million D-FW viewers. My twitter feed, @unclebarkycom, became a hotbed of debate after I began commenting on the plusses and minuses of Sunday night’s weather coverage -- or lack thereof. For the record, CBS11 had the upper hand in the early going with continuous and alarming live video from one of its storm chasers. WFAA8 later weighed in with live ground level video of some of the serious damage while Fox4 stayed with in-studio weather graphics while the game played on.

After the game, NBC5 of course joined its rivals in offering live pictures of what the tornado had wrought. That’s the easy part. Based on nearly four decades of covering how D-FW’s four major TV news providers handled major breaking news, I can tell you that that the real litmus test is how a station performs in the heat of battle, so to speak.

In that context, NBC5 clearly could have done better, but didn’t. Had this been anything other than a Cowboys game, the station almost certainly would have joined its rivals in offering commercial-free, uninterrupted coverage. Fox4, WFAA8 and CBS11 didn’t face such a choice Sunday night. How they would have handled it will never be known. But for NBC5, which has a proud legacy of weather coverage and brands itself in that manner, Sunday night was a step backward.

“We look forward to regaining the trust of anyone we may have disappointed,” the station said in the final sentence of its apology. Viewers tend to forget in a hurry, so long- or even short-term damage to NBC5’s ratings is unlikely.

Ok, the Cowboys’ 37-10 blowout of the Eagles, which ran until 10:23 p.m., averaged 1,455,542 viewers locally, with 547,139 of them within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old age range. That fell short of the Game 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Fox, which remains this season’s high with 1,564,368 total viewers and 578,649 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Opposite the Cowboys, Fox4’s weather coverage led from 9 to 10 p.m. with 224,453 total viewers before WFAA8 won from 10 to 10:30 p.m. with 238,056.

Earlier Sunday, Fox got bountiful returns with its mid-afternoon/early evening New Orleans Saints-Chicago Bears game, which averaged 700,565 viewers.

On Saturday, Baylor’s daytime win over Oklahoma State on Fox led all college football attractions with 176,842 total viewers.

Friday’s prime-time TV attractions as usual were paced by CBS’ Blue Bloods in total viewers (244,858) while Fox’s two-hour dose of wrestling again drew the most 18-to-49ers (54,427).

Fox’s Thursday Night Football matchup, in which the Kansas City Chiefs dominated the Denver Broncos while star QB Patrick Mahomes got hurt, dominated with 353,683 total viewers and 160,418 within the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Here are the Thursday and Friday local news derby results.

Thursday -- WFAA8 won a downsized three-way 10 p.m. race in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Fox again trumped Fox4’s late nighter with a football overrun.

At 6 a.m., Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the lead in total viewers, with Fox4 nipping the Peacock among 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 swept the 5 p.m. competitions. The 6 p.m. golds went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Friday -- NBC5 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m. and Fox4 took the 25-to-54 crown.

Fox4 won in total viewers at 6 a.m., but it was WFAA8’s turn to rise up and win with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 drew the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and shared the 25-to-54-year-old lead with Fox4. At 5 p.m., the winners were NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

WFAA8 tabs Tashara Parker as Daybreak traffic anchor

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Dallas-based WFAA8 has quickly named a successor to Demetria Obilor, who left the station’s Daybreak earlier this month in pursuit of new opportunities after some clashes with co-workers.

The newcomer is Tashara Parker from nearby KYTX-TV of Tyler. She’ll join WFAA8 before the onset of the November “sweeps” ratings period, which this year begins on Halloween.

“Thrilled to announce I’ve accepted a position at @wfaa as Morning Ensemble Anchor and Traffic Reporter!” Parker said on her Twitter page. LEGGOOOO!”

She accompanied the announcement with a #TasharaTakesTexas hashtag and video of her dancing on the set of KYTX, a CBS affiliate which, like WFAA8, is owned by Virginia-based TEGNA, Inc.

Parker, a Texas A&M grad who also has a masters degree in journalism from DePaul University, has been anchoring the weeknight 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts on KYTX. Her station bio, which also bills Parker as a “solo storyteller,” says she has a “vivacious spirit” and is “someone who truly cares about people and this community. She lights up the room with her awesome personality.”

Parker currently is a small-timer on “social media” compared to her predecessor, with 2,296 followers on Twitter and 10.5 K on Instagram. Obilor, who specializes in being showy, has 157.1K followers on Twitter and 652,000 on Instagram.

“I just do me. On air, off air,” Obilor said in an August 15th tweet that is still pinned to the top of her account.

WFAA8 currently is locked in a tight three-way battle in the key 6 to 7 a.m. slot with NBC5 and longtime champ Fox4. Under TEGNA ownership, the station has become appreciably more social media-centric than its competitors, with its “Morning Ensemble” in almost constant high gear on Twitter and other platforms.

The station recently released a 4-minute “I’m Makin” a Move” YouTube dance video (embedding disabled) starring the entire Daybreak crew, save for Parker. Even longtime meteorologist Greg Fields, who used to be strictly nuts and bolts, joins in as best he can while others look more like naturals. Fields and news anchors Kara Sewell and Marc Istook dress up as a painting crew while reporters Sean Giggy and Chris Sadeghi initially are shown as a milkman and a delivery man. Video lives forever.

The production values are first-rate, though. So much so that the cost of making this short film likely could pay several annual reporter salaries. The message also is clear. WFAA8’s morning show is intent on breaking boundaries wherever and whenever it sees fit. A younger, more “desirable” audience is the end game. To that end, Daybreak is not your grandfather’s, father’s or even older sister’s “newscast.” Whether you’ll buy in is still up in the air.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 16) -- Masked Singer again dominates while two new dramas fall, can't get up

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox’s The Masked Singer cruised to another big night Wednesday, with Paul Shaffer uncovered as “The Skeleton.”

Your friendly content provider, in a rare display of Twitter prescience, predicted it would be Shaffer after seeing The Skeleton perform on the show’s second season premiere last month. So hey, gives me props, even if I haven’t watched since.

Anyway, Masked Singer easily led all prime-time attractions with 319,675 D-FW viewers and 137,501 in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. The audience then plummeted for Fox’s followup act, Almost Family. The first-year series had 81,619 total viewers and 42,969 in the 18-to-49 realm.

ABC’s 9 p.m. entry, the new Stumptown, likewise continued to struggle with 95,222 total viewers and 20,052 in the 18-to-49 age range. That put it last in its time period among the Big Four broadcast networks. NBC’s Chicago Med and Chicago P.D. won from 8 to 10 p.m. in both ratings measurements.

Here are Wednesday’s local news derby results.

WFAA8 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m. while tying NBC5 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

In the ever-changing 6 a.m. competitions, Fox4 won in total viewers but fell to third among 25-to-54-year-olds behind frontrunner WFAA8 and runner-up NBC5.

The Peacock drew the most total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m. while Fox4 took the 25-to-54 golds at both hours.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Tues., Oct. 8-15) -- how 'bout them Dems, Cowboys?

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Newly back from Minnesota after seeing the sibs. So let’s catch up.

Tuesday night’s clash among a dozen Democratic presidential candidates consumed CNN’s prime-time hours and averaged a decent-sized 142,834 D-FW viewers. But the night’s league leader, CBS’ NCIS, as usual had nothing to fear. It averaged 326,477 viewers to lead all TV attractions, with NBC’s competing hour of The Voice taking the runner-up slot with 251,659.

CBS also won the 8 to 10 p.m. slot with FBI (244,858 viewers) and NCIS: New Orleans (204,048).

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, The Voice ranked as Tuesday’s top draw with 85,938. The debate drew 40,104.

In Monday’s prime-time Nielsens, Fox’s 7 p.m. episode of 9-1-1 continued to rock with 306,072 total viewers and 83,073 in the 18-to-49 realm. Both of those numbers ruled in the Big Four broadcast network universe. But as usual, ESPN’s Monday Night Football (Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions) led all programming with 319,675 total viewers and 143,230 in the 18-to-49 age range.

Sunday’s big draw of course was the Dallas Cowboys game, even though they were beaten on the road by the previously winless New York Jets. Shown on CBS, the game averaged 1,448,741 total viewers and 535,680 within the 18-to-49 motherlode.

On Saturday, Fox’s 11 a.m.-starting Texas-Oklahoma game, won by the Sooners, scored big with an average of 741,374 total viewers and 211,980 in the 18-to-49 sweet spot.

CBS’ Friday, 9 p.m. episode of Blue Bloods as usual topped the prime-time field in total viewers with 251,659. Also as usual, Blue Bloods dive-bombed with 18-to-49ers, drawing 37,240 of ‘em compared to Fox’s Friday Night Smackdown, the top dog with 68,750.

Fox’s Thursday Night Football (New England Patriots vs. New York Giants) easily set the pace in both ratings measurements, drawing 374,088 total viewers and 163,282 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Wednesday’s top attraction, Fox’s The Masked Singer, lured 258,461 total viewers and drew 108,855 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Finally, on Tuesday night, Oct. 8th, NCIS again led in total viewers (292,469) while NBC’s This Is Us was the top prime-time draw among 18-to-49ers (63,021).

OK, here are the local news derby results for the six weekday competitions.

Tuesday, Oct. 8) -- WFAA8 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m., but Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Otherwise NBC5 rolled with twin wins at 6 a.m. and at 5 and 6 p.m. It was the Peacock’s biggest day in recent memory.

Wednesday -- WFAA8 repeated its 10 p.m. win in total viewers while Fox4 again ruled with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 won at 6 a.m. in total viewers and shared the top spot with NBC5 in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic. Fox4 also had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 and 6 p.m.

NBC5 and WFAA8 shared the 6 p.m. lead in total viewers, with WFAA8 alone on top in this measurement at 5 p.m.

Thursday -- WFAA8 swept a downsized competition at 10 p.m., with Fox4’s latenighter pushed back by the NFL football overrun.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m., with NBC5 doing likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Friday -- WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for first place in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 fended off NBC5 to score twin wins at 6 a.m. The Peacock pulled in the most total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m., with Fox4 tops among 25-to-54-year-olds at those hours.

Monday -- WFAA8 scored another 10 p.m. win in total viewers but was again beaten by Fox4 in the 25-to-54-year-old realm.

Fox4 held serve at 6 a.m. with twin wins and NBC5 swept the 6 p.m. races. The 5 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Tuesday -- WFAA8 stayed strong in total viewers at 10 p.m. with another win while Fox4 as usual notched the 25-to-54 gold.

Fox4 again swept the 6 a.m. competitions, but it remains a three-way race with both NBC5 and WFAA8 close behind while CBS11 is out of the picture.

Fox4 also ran the table at 5 p.m. and shared the 6 p.m. lead with NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds. The Peacock drew the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Anchor-reporter Gilma Avalos departs CBS11, quickly lands in NYC

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
As previously tweeted from afar (Minnesota), anchor-reporter Gilma Avalos has resigned from D-FW’s CBS11 after a five-year stay.

It now can be reported that she’s quickly landed elsewhere. New York City’s WNBC-TV has announced that Avalos will be co-anchoring the station’s weekend P.M. newscasts while also reporting on weekdays. Her first day is Nov. 4th.

Hired by CBS11 in October 2014 as a weekend morning anchor and weekday reporter, Avalaos lately had been co-anchoring weekday early evening newscasts with longtime incumbent Doug Dunbar. But she was left off the 10 p.m. editions, where Dunbar soloed while CBS11 won the total viewers ratings wars at that hour in the November, February and May “sweeps.” CBS hasn’t had a full-time desk mate for Dunbar at 10 p.m. since Kaley O’Kelley left back in May 2018. She’s now anchoring mornings in Phoenix.

Another shoe soon could drop at a rival D-FW TV newsroom. Avalos is married to WFAA8 reporter Bradley Blackburn, who joined the station in January 2016 after previously serving as an associate producer for the ABC network and for fusion.com. Blackburn and Avalos were married in September 2017.

Avalos is a Columbia University graduate who arrived at CBS11 from Miami’s NBC station, WTVJ-TV. As a 12-year-old, she broke into the TV biz as the host of Paleokids, a Spanish language children’s program for Discovery Channel. The El Salvador native also has previous experience in New York as an anchor-reporter for News 12 The Bronx.

LOCAL TV NEWS NOTE: Fox4 reporter Blake Hanson, who joined the Dallas-based station in July 2017, has been promoted to a weekend anchor spot. He’ll solo on the Saturday 6 and 9 p.m. newscasts and join incumbent Natalie Solis on the Sunday 5 and 9 p.m. editions while also continuing to reporter on weekdays.

Hanson is succeeding Richard Ray, who retired in May of this year after 36 years at Fox4.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net