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This just in: a night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Mon., Nov. 26)

Picking up where NBC5 left off: Rebecca Lopez and Janet St. James.

Belo8 continues to thump once-dominant NBC5 in the 10 p.m. Nielsen ratings. So it shouldn't have to recycle some of the Peacock's earlier stories. Perhaps they thought no one was watching? Alas, that's what they don't pay unclebarky.com to do.

The ABC station led Monday's late nighter with claims of exclusivity that simply weren't accurate. Later in the broadcast, Belo8 glommed onto a health story that NBC5 likewise had done much earlier in the November "sweeps." Here's a regress report.

Belo8 anchor Gloria Campos began the newscast by teasing a followup to the brutal purse snatching and beating earlier this month of elementary school teacher Sheryl Walsh. She was accosted in the Tom Thumb grocery store parking lot at Preston and Beltline, and remains hospitalized.

"Police say the purse snatchers have struck before, and only News 8 knows where," Campos told viewers.

Co-anchor John McCaa added, "You'll only hear this information on News 8."

Reporter Rebecca Lopez then said that surveillance pictures taken at the Mockingbird and Abrams Tom Thumb show what seems to be the same black SUV leaving the scene of a purse snatching that occurred five days before Walsh was assaulted. Police think the two crimes might be connected. No other D-FW station supposedly had this alleged scoop.

In fact, NBC5 newcomer Ellen Goldberg reported this information a week earlier on the station's 10 p.m. newscast. At the end of her Walsh followup, she said police were investigating a similar crime -- by perhaps the same assailant -- at the Mockingbird and Abrams Tom Thumb. Goldberg said police also believed that a purse snatching at a Mesquite Albertson's store likewise may have had the same perpetrator. As evidence, she showed viewers surveillance cam pictures of the black SUV.

Any and all efforts to catch the pig who's committing these crimes should be applauded. But Belo8 erred in claiming that it alone had advanced the story.

Later in the newscast, medical reporter Janet St. James tested a calorie-counting contraption called the Body Bugg. It costs more than $300 and you strap it to your arm as an aid to losing weight.

St. James said she didn't like wearing the Body Bugg. Or as she put it, "Like excess weight, I couldn't wait to lose it."

Another woman loved the thing, though, leaving viewers to decide for themselves at the end of St. James' report.

She didn't claim any exclusivity. But let the record show that another NBC5 newcomer, Lindsay Wilcox, had a less critical Body Bugg story way back on Nov. 8th.

James usually is much better than that, but she's had a notably sub-par November. An earlier piece on tree yoga made her look like a sap. And a story about a pricey, low-fat catering service played more like a spoon-fed infomercial.

James hasn't yet resorted, though, to a story on "vaginal rejuvenation." But CBS11's Monday night piece did have an indirect Belo8 connection.

Reporter Kimberly Ball interviewed one of D-FW's most prominent practitioners, Dr. Wesley Anne Brady. Her vaginal tuneups, she said, make women feel "just sexier, more feminine and just more attractive and confident in themselves."

Dr. Brady is the wife of Belo8 anchor Jeff Brady, which Ball of course didn't mention. His salary just might be peanuts compared to the reported $5,000 to $8,000 his wife charges for each vaginal makeover.

It also should be noted that new CBS11 assistant news director Sarah Garza, formerly of both Belo8 and Fox4, is a big believer in stories aimed directly at female viewers. They just happen to watch newscasts in appreciably greater numbers than men, according to Nielsen Media Research statistics.

In the end Ball's report wasn't nearly as salacious as her station's promotions. Co-anchor Doug Dunbar steered clear of any verbalizing Monday night, teasing a pair of upcoming stories before adding, "Plus." Viewers then were treated to video of a young woman whispering to another while a narrator cautioned, "Shhh, don't talk about it out loud. But many North Texas women have found a new way to change their sex lives for the better."

Accompanying horn music sounded like the mood-setter at Vinny VaVoom's Triple X Chalet. But hey, that's sweeps.


***Fox4 investigator Paul Adrian, one of D-FW's very best, had a thorough and revealing look at a wide range of puzzling home appraisals. Such reporting obviously isn't very "visual," but Adrian again made his painstaking efforts come alive. He also talked to the Dallas Central Appraisal District's head man, Ken Nolan, who made a game effort to explain the discrepancies.

Adrian's reporting isn't flashy but it's definitely on the mark. Viewers invariably are well-served by his sleuthing. He gets at big issues of genuine import, as he did earlier this November with a lengthy piece on the questionable signal timing at red light camera intersections. Is he an endangered species, though? Probably.

***Veteran D-FW street reporters Jeff Crilley (Fox4) and Scott Gordon (NBC5) reported live from a heavily attended candlelight vigil for two high school students from The Colony who died in a weekend car wreck. Each invariably can be counted on to handle such stories with grace and sensitivity. And that they did. Belo8 and CBS11 offered only brief, anchor-narrated video.

***CBS11 had the night's big blooper, courtesy of reporter Katherine Blake. She led the newscast with a piece on the alleged attempted kidnapping of a Fort Worth child.

It didn't merit such prominent play, but Blake made her dispatch memorable after anchor Dunbar said, "CBS11's Katherine Blake (is) live there tonight with the rest of this story."

Blake then asked, "Are we still in the program before us?"

Um, no. CSI: Miami already was over and out.