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RIP Luke Laufenberg: May 12, 1998 to Aug. 22, 2019

Luke 2 Luke 1

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Luke Raphael Laufenberg, youngest son of Babe and Joan Laufenberg, died on Thursday, Aug. 22nd, of cancer after a nearly two-year fight.

He was just 21 years old, and was first diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma on Dec. 26, 2017, according to a statement released by his family.

“We lost a son, a brother, a friend, and a warrior,” Babe Laufenberg said. “We have never seen a person battle like Luke, but he lost his fight with cancer. He was truly inspirational. The hole in our hearts will never be filled. You are my hero. RIP my sweet Luke. See you on the other side.”

Laufenberg, a former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and CBS11 sports anchor, remains as the team’s analyst, teaming with Brad Sham on radio broadcasts. The Laufenbergs also have an older son, Joe Willie Laufenberg.

Luke, who was born on May 12, 1998, learned he had contracted cancer a few weeks after the Mesa Community College football season. He had played tight end for the team after graduating from Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, TX.

The family’s statement said that Luke had been declared cancer-free on May 3, 2018. In January 2019 he was awarded a scholarship by UTEP, and was expected to start at tight end for the school’s football team this fall. But the cancer recurred on April 5 of this year, and on July 12th his condition was diagnosed as terminal.

“He handled the news with a strength of character and sweet demeanor that will always inspire his family, friends, coaches doctors and the treatment staff at Children’s Medical Center Dallas,” the statement said.

As a personal note, I never met Luke, but have had several extended coffee sessions and phone conversations with his father, who was at his son’s side during the highs, lows and in betweens. As was his ex-wife, Joan, with whom he remains “very good friends,” Babe emphasized in our exchanges.

“Our Luke has had one of us in his (hospital) room for virtually every minute,” Babe said in January of last year. “It has been brutally rough . . . We just try to put a day behind us. Then another.”

My sincerest sympathies to the Laufenberg family during this terribly sad time.


Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Aug. 20) -- AGT again rises to top

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NBC’s America’s Got Talent continued its latest summer season wind-down with another two prime-time wins in the two major ratings food groups.

Tuesday’s weekly 7 to 9 p.m. performance edition led all programming in both total D-FW viewers (302,260) and with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (66,422).

Fox4’s local news then cleaned up at 9 p.m., winning the hour with 203,850 total viewers and 60,384 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Here are Tuesday’s local news derby results.

Fox4 and NBC5 split all the spoils.

The Peacock drew the most total viewers at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added 5, 6 and 10 p.m. wins among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Mon., Aug. 16-19) -- rising, shining for super back-to-school Monday

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School’s back in. And while some of the kids may have long faces, D-FW’s early morning combatants are re-caffeinated with bigger audience pools to drink in.

It’ll gradually get better for them when the weather’s more of a factor and parents are wondering whether little Debbie should wear an overcoat, raincoat or perhaps even get the day off in the face of some sort of arctic blast. But the resumption of DISD classes Monday is still cause for a full-blown Super Monday show and tell.

The key 6 to 7 a.m. ratings again were good news for front-running Fox4, which led the pack with 98,410 total viewers and 60,134 in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming) before the 7 to 10 a.m. portions of Good Day soundly whipped everything else in sight during those hours.

Otherwise it’s become a pitched battle for second place between WFAA8’s Daybreak and NBC5 Today, which lately has made some big strides after playing dead for much of the past year or so. On Monday, the two stations tied for the lead in total viewers with 70,293 apiece while WFAA8 edged the Peacock among 25-to-54-year-olds by a score of 31,499 to 28,635. CBS11 remained dormant, drawing 35,147 total viewers and a wee 4,295 in the 25-to-54 age range.

In Monday’s prime-time festivities, Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast led all programming in total viewers (196,820) while Fox’s 7 p.m. episode of Beat Shazam pulled in 78,499 in the 18-to-49-year-old demographic to top all TV attractions in the main advertiser target audience for entertainment programming.

The Sunday prime-time Nielsens were led by CBS’ 60 Minutes, which had 203,850 total viewers to beat Fox’s NFL pre-season clash between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks (175,733). ABC’s Celebrity Family Feud drew the biggest crowd of 18-to-49ers with 57,365, which was just good enough to outpoint Vikes-Seahawks (54,346).

Saturday night’s late-starting Dallas Cowboys-Los Angeles Rams pre-season game of course was the biggest draw of the day with 344,436 total viewers for the CBS11 telecast. Appreciably less than one-third of them -- 99,634 -- were in the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Friday’s prime-time pacesetters were Fox4’s 9 p.m. news and CBS’ competing Blue Bloods rerun with 119,498 total viewers apiece. In the 18-to-49 realm, Fox4’s news had the most juice with 27,173 viewers.

Here are the local news derby results for Friday and Monday.

Friday -- CBS11 broke out of a summer-long drought with a 10 p.m. win in total viewers while Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 edged Fox4 in both ratings measurements at 6 a.m. and NBC5 swept the 6 p.m. competitions. Fox4 had twin wins at 5 p.m.

Monday -- Fox4 had a big day, sweeping the 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. races while adding wins at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and WFAA8 did likewise at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

WFAA8 adds Jay Wallis to reporting staff


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Dallas native Jay Wallis, who’s spent the last three years at ABC affiliate KVUE-TV in Austin, is returning home to be a reporter for WFAA8.

Wallis, a University of Missouri graduate, announced the move on his Twitter feed.

“It’s the station I grew up watching and the station I’ve grown to respect,” Wallis said of WFAA8. “I’ll miss Austin for so many reasons, but this is where I’ve always wanted to be. See you soon, Dallas.”

WFAA8 and KVUE are both owned by Tysons, VA-based Tegna Inc.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Aug. 14-15) -- Fox4's news continues to prosper in prime-time (plus two local TV news notes

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Still giving off extra summertime heat, Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast again ranked as prime-time’s overall top attraction Thursday.

The news drew 175,733 D-FW viewers, equaling the combined audience for the competing shows on ABC, CBS and NBC. Namely, new hours of Reef Break and Elementary plus a repeat of Law & Order: SVU.

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of Spin the Wheel ranked No. 1 with 54,346 viewers while Fox4’s news and Fox’s Masterchef ran close seconds with 48,307 viewers apiece. In sharp contrast, ABC’s Reef Break had “hashmarks” (no measurable audience) in this key demographic.

ESPN’s pre-season NFL matchup of the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals averaged 84,352 total viewers.

Wednesday’s Nielsens were paced by NBC’s America’s Got Talent in total viewers (224,938) and Fox4’s 9 p.m. news among 18-to-49ers (45,288). The second episode of Fox’s BH90210 continued to perform solidly in this measurement, winning the 8 p.m. hour with 42,269 viewers.

Here are the local news derby results for Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday -- It was a tale of two stations. WFAA8 won in total viewers at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Fox4 took the 6 a.m. trophies in total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) while also winning at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Thursday -- WFAA8 and Fox4 repeated their respective wins at 10 p.m. in total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 also swept the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions. At 6 p.m., the spoils went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

After seven straight weekdays in third place at 6 a.m., WFAA8 edged back ahead of NBC5 into second place in both ratings measurements on Wednesday and also took the runner-up spot on Thursday in total viewers. The two stations tied for second on Thursday in the 25-to-54 demographic.

LOCAL TV NEWS NOTES -- Veteran Fox4 anchor Steve Eagar, who is most prominently seen on the station’s potent 9 p.m. newscast, underwent surgery Thursday morning for prostate cancer. He has posted more details and a video (prior to the surgery) on his Facebook page. We wish him the very best and a full recovery.

*** Several readers have inquired about the whereabouts of NBC5 anchor-reporter Kristi Nelson, who’s been off the air for roughly a month.

Nelson says there’s nothing to be concerned about. “I’m still with NBC5 and taking some time off to spend with family. I will return!” Nelson said in a response to unclebarky.com. “It’s good to know that people are concerned about me; I appreciate it.”

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net