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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Wed., April 23-24) -- Chicago, Chicago . . .

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC marched through prime-time Wednesday with time slot wins for all three of its Chicago-based action serial soaps.

Chicago Med took the 7 p.m. hour with 238,996 D-FW viewers, followed by Chicago Fire (246,026) and Chicago PD (246,026). That’s consistency personified.

Advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds weren’t quite as enamored, though. The 7 to 10 p.m. winners in that demographic were CBS’ Survivor (57,365 viewers), Fox’s Star (57,365) and Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast (a night’s high of 75,480).

Tuesday’s prime-time pacesetters were CBS’ NCIS repeat and Fox4’s 9 p.m. local news in total viewers (210,879 apiece), and Fox4’s news by itself in the 18-to-49 realm (69,442).

Here are the four-way Tuesday-Wednesday local news derby results.

Tuesday -- WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. races and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to the Peacock in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Wednesday -- On the eve of the four-week May “sweeps” ratings period, NBC5 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 won with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m., as did NBC5 at 5 p.m. The Peacock and WFAA8 tied for the 6 p.m. top spot in total viewers, with Fox4 alone in first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Mon., April 19-22) -- Stars build to late night win with overtime triumph

By ED BARK
@unclebarky com on Twitter
D-FW viewers slowly warmed to the icy confines of the American Airlines Center late Monday night, putting the Dallas Stars on top of the ratings for the closing half-hour of their 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. It allowed the home team to advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The matchup ended at 10:55 p.m., with a peak audience of 161,674 watching from 10:45 to 11 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest. (Nielsen measures in 15-minute increments.) Stars-Predators also won the 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. slot with 147,615 viewers.

In total viewers, hockey otherwise couldn’t match potent prime-time entertainment lineups on the Big Four broadcast networks.

NBC’s The Voice drew the most total viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. (196,820) before Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast won that hour with 182,762. But how about this? Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, Stars-Predators averaged a league-leading 60,384 viewers for the entire game. The second hour of ABC’s American Idol ranked as the runner-up in this key demographic with 51,326 viewers from 8 to 9 p.m.

And in case you’re curious, CNN’s parade of five town hall meetings starring Democratic candidates drew minimal crowds throughout Monday night. Bernie Sanders’ 8 to 9 p.m. appearance drew the most total viewers (28,644) while the last in line, Pete Buttigieg, drew the fewest (13,707) in the 10 to 11 p.m. slot.

Sunday’s prime-time Nielsens were topped by CBS’ 60 Minutes in total viewers (217,908) and Fox4’s 9 p.m. newscast in the 18-to-49 age range (51,326). CBS’ two-hour Motown Celebration special, which aired from 7 to 9 p.m., showed little punch with just 15,096 viewers in the 18-to-49 realm. But in the total viewers battle with ABC’s competing Idol, the Motor City music extravaganza ranked a close second with 161,674 viewers to Idol’s 168,703. Fox4’s 9 p.m. news won the 9 p.m. hour in this measurement with 161,674 viewers, making it a clean sweep for the retiring Richard Ray’s last time around as an anchor.

On Saturday night, ABC’s annual Easter season reprise of The Ten Commandments, which stretched from 6 p.m. to just short of 10:45 p.m., led in total viewers throughout the night with an average of 147,615. Commandments likewise won the night with 18-to-49ers, averaging 30,192 of ‘em.

Good Friday’s prime-time pacesetter in total viewers, Fox’s Last Man Standing, drew 168,703. The sitcom shared the lead among 18-to-49ers with CBS’ Blue Bloods (30,192 viewers each).

Here are the Friday and Monday local news derby results.

Friday -- CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 led among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

At 6 a.m., Fox4 and WFAA8 tied for first in total viewers if the ratings are rounded off to the next decimal (as all the stations usually do). However, WFAA8 otherwise narrowly won the 6 a.m. hour on percentage points by a score of 63,967 viewers to Fox4’s 60,452.

There’s clearly something about Good Friday when it comes to Fox4. The station last lost a weekday 6 a.m. ratings battle on Good Friday of last year (March 30th), when WFAA8 won by a paper-thin margin in the 25-to-54 demographic. In the latest Good Friday Nielsens, Fox4 edged WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Friday’s 6 p.m. firsts went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 measurement. At 5 p.m., Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the lead in total viewers, and Fox4 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Monday -- CBS11 again drew the most total viewers at 10 p.m. and tied NBC5 for the lead among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 resumed its winning ways at 6 a.m. with clearcut victories in both ratings measurements. NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m. and also won at 6 p.m. in total viewers. Fox4 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 18) -- Big Bang and Grey's top charts

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Two prime-time venerables, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, drew the biggest D-FW audience hauls on a Thursday night that overall didn’t amount to much.

Big Bang led all programming in total viewers (224,938) while Grey’s corralled the most advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (66,422).

Perhaps you’re thinking that a lot of attention might have been diverted to the three cable news networks chewing over the Mueller report, which was released earlier Thursday. Not really. Fox News Channel ran first in total viewers during the prime-time hours of 7 to 10 p.m., but the top draw, Hannity, didn’t make much noise with 73,808 total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour. CNN’s coverage opposite Hannity led among 18-to-49ers with just 15,096 while Hannity had a puny 4,227 viewers in this key demographic.

Here are Thursday’s four-way local news derby results.

WFAA8 swept the 10 p.m. competitions, winning in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 extended its more than year-long winning streak at 6 a.m., but barely beat WFAA8 in the total viewers measurement by one-tenth of a ratings point. That’s the closest it’s been since Good Day began this unprecedented streak on March 31st of last year.

The 6 p.m. golds went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 broke through with a 5 p.m. win in total viewers while WFAA8 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon.-Wed., April 15-17) -- storm scare launches Fox4's 9 p.m. news into stratosphere

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The weather turned out to be not as severe as initially forecast, but fears of the worst certainly didn’t hurt the D-FW ratings for Wednesday’s 9 p.m. Fox4 local newscast.

It amassed the largest audience in recent memory, pulling in 379,582 viewers to swamp all competing programming while also ranking as the most-watched TV attraction of the day or night. In comparison, the runner-up competing attraction at 9 p.m., CBS’ SEAL Team, had 140,586 viewers.

The 7 to 9 p.m. hours otherwise were won by CBS’ pair of “reality-competition” shows. Survivor drew 224,938 viewers, followed by 168,703 for The Amazing Race.

In the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic, Fox4’s 9 p.m. news also easily topped all Wednesday programming with 132,845 viewers.

In Tuesday’s prime-time ratings, CBS won from start to stop in total viewers with its regular lineup of NCIS (302,260), FBI (246,026) and NCIS: New Orleans (217,908). NCIS also won the 7 to 8 p.m. hour with 18-to-49ers, as did the first half of FBI. From 8:30 to 10 p.m., though, the winners in this key demographic were ABC’s premiere of Bless This Mess and Fox4’s 9 p.m. news.

Monday’s biggest prime-time scorers were NBC’s The Voice and Fox’s 9-1-1 in total viewers (196,820 piece) and 9-1-1 by itself in the 18-to-49 realm (54,346).

Here are the four-way local news derby results for Monday through Wednesday.

Monday -- Fox4 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The station also swept the 6 a.m. competitions, with NBC5 doing likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. firsts went to the Peacock in total viewers and WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Tuesday -- CBS11 drew the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 nipped WFAA8 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 again had twin wins at 6 a.m. and NBC5 stayed solid in the early evening with sweeps at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Wednesday -- Fox4 ran the table at both 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. while NBC5 notched another pair of wins at 5 p.m. The Peacock also pulled in the most total viewers at 6 p.m., but the 25-to-54 prize went to WFAA8.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Reporter James Rose is latest Fox4 retiree

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox4 reporter James Rose has decided to retire from the Dallas-based station after a 22-year stay.

His last day will be on April 20th, Rose said in a newsroom memo obtained by unclebarky.com.

Earlier this month, reporter/anchor Richard Ray announced his retirement from Fox4 after 36 years with the station. And in early January, Fox4 reporter Fil Alvarado called it a day after first joining the station in 1985.

“I haven’t been here as long as some, but when it’s time to go, you just know,” Rose said. “I’ve had a fantastic career, had some crazy experiences and made some incredible friends along the way.”

Rose said he plans to “do something new, exciting and rewarding” after a total of nearly 30 years in television. “I will always be a journalist at heart. I truly believe ‘the 4th branch’ is an in integral fabric that binds us as a country. I’m proud to have been a part of such an incredible and uniquely American profession.”

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., April 12-14) -- CBS Masters coverage rolls along with Tiger

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Tiger gets his roar on after winning The Masters. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Overcoming major injuries, drug addictions and public humiliation/treatment as a “sex addict,” Tiger Woods improbably won his first Masters tournament in 14 years Sunday and his first Major since 2008.

The D-FW ratings reacted accordingly, with CBS firing up its coverage at the early hour of 8 a.m. to avoid predicted heavy storms later in the day. It wasn’t until 1:27 p.m. that Woods dropped in his winning short putt. The audience had grown to 379,582 viewers for those final minutes before ballooning to a high of 400,670 for the 1:30 to 1:45 p.m. post-tournament coverage.

Last year’s Masters, which stretched to the usual early evening hours, had a higher peak audience of 420,204 viewers for the closing 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. segment. That was due in large part to Dallasite Jordan Spieth’s charge from nine strokes back to a tie for the lead before eventually losing by two strokes to fellow Texan Patrick Reed. Overall, the 2018 Masters averaged 299,128 viewers, appreciably higher than the 231,967 viewers for the entirety of CBS’ Sunday coverage. The absence of Palm Sunday church-goers no doubt significantly deflated the morning numbers for the Woods-fueled final round. But it was still Sunday’s biggest programming draw, with CBS’ 8 p.m. episode of NCIS: Los Angeles the runner-up with 210,879 viewers.

(Nationally, CBS says that Sunday’s final round was its highest-rated morning golf telecast in 34 years.)

D-FW ratings were not immediately available for Sunday’s Season 8 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Saturday’s Round 3 of CBS’ Masters coverage peaked at 309,289 D-FW viewers between 5 and 5:15 p.m.

In Friday’s Nielsen numbers, the prime-time pacesetters were CBS’ Blue Bloods in total viewers (246,026) and NBC’s 8 p.m. episode of The Blacklist among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (30,192).

Here are Friday’s local news derby results.

NBC5 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added 5 and 6 p.m. wins with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 led in total viewers at 5 p.m. and tied WFAA8 for the top spot in that measurement at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Reporter Sebastian Robertson ending his stay at WFAA8

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
WFAA8 reporter Sebastian Robertson, who joined the Dallas-based station in September 2013, is heading west to Seattle’s KING-TV to join that station’s news staff.

“The move will allow me to report for the legacy station I watched growing up and for the first time live in the same market as my family,” Robertson said in a Facebook post. “I am leaving Dallas a better journalist because of the staff I worked alongside.”

The Gonzaga University graduate joined WFAA8 from Austin, where he reported for the city’s Time Warner cable station. He was born in Lima, Peru but raised in Seattle.

Both WFAA8 and KING-TV are owned by TEGNA, Inc. King is an NBC affiliate and WFAA8 airs ABC network programming.

LOCAL TV NEWS UPDATE -- Former NBC5 morning anchor Marc Fein, who left the station in February, has landed at Baseball Nation.

“I’ve been lucky enough to call the folks there my friends for years; now I’m excited about the opportunity to work with them,” Fein said on his Facebook page. “It brings together my love for sports, media and working with young athletes.”

Fein said he’ll also be teaching at the University of North Texas as an adjunct professor.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., April 10-11) -- still a big Wheel

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Every once in a while, the staying power of Wheel of Fortune merits a mention.

Thursday was one of those days. Wheel drew 224,938 D-FW viewers in the 6:30 to 7 p.m. slot, not only whipping the three competing rag mags but outdrawing all programming in the day or night. Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast was the runner-up with 168,703 viewers.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy led the way with 54,346 viewers while Wheel still had enough juice to easily win its time slot against Entertainment Tonight, Extra and Access Hollywood.

On Wednesday’s Nielsen ratings report card, Wheel again ranked No. 1 in total viewers (182,762) while CBS’ 7 p.m. hour of Survivor won the prime-time spoils with a top mark of 175,733.

Dirk Nowitzki’s last game as a Dallas Maverick, on the road at San Antonio against the Spurs, averaged 70,293 total viewers on Texas21. Thursday’s 18-to-49 crown was worn by Fox’s 8 p.m. episode of Star (45,288 viewers). Dirk’s finale drew 27,173 viewers in this key demographic.

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

Wednesday -- Fox4, WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the 10 p.m. top spot in total viewers but Fox4 had first place to itself among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions while NBC5 ranked No. 1 in total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 p.m. and WFAA8 won in that measurement at 6 p.m.

Thursday -- WFAA8 led in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 again took the 25-to-54-year-old gold.

Fox4 also ran the table as usual/always at 6 a.m. and added 5 and 6 p.m. wins with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 again had the most total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., April 9) -- Dirk goes out on top

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Dirk Nowitzki signed off Tuesday night, making every word count. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The game itself couldn’t hope to outdraw CBS’ powerful Tuesday night crime lineup, at least not in total viewers.

But Dirk Nowitzki’s post-game farewell during an unforgettable ceremony won across the board in the D-FW Nielsen ratings. And the Dallas Mavericks’ 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns also was a big enough draw to beat all competing programming in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic.

Let’s break it down.

In the total viewers measurement, the game (which ended just before 10 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest), drew an audience of 112,469. From 7 to 10 p.m., CBS”s trio of NCIS (309,289 viewers), the premiere of The Code (231,967) and NCIS: New Orleans (203,850) all scored higher while also winning their time slots.

But Dirk’s goodbye, in which he officially announced his retirement, outpointed all competing programming in the full 10 to 10:45 p.m. slot with 161,674 viewers.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, the game averaged 51,326 viewers before the big farewell for Dirk rose to 87,557 viewers. The best the broadcast networks could muster was 42,269 viewers for NBC’s 8 p.m. episode of The Village.

The post-game ceremony was spiced with on-court appearances by the five players that Dirk had idolized before becoming an NBA player himself. Namely Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf. That’s a gathering for the ages, but the news of the night came when Dirk said, “This is my last home game.” There had been little doubt it would be, but making it official provided a poignant punctuation.

Dirk also rose to the occasion with a season high 30 points, making him the oldest NBA player ever to hit the 30 mark. The Phoenix Suns’ Jamal Crawford also made history by becoming the oldest player to score 50 points. Michael Jordan previously had held both records.

Dirk’s last game as an NBA player will be on Wednesday, April 10th, with TXA21 carrying the game instead of FSS. The Mavericks will be playing the Spurs in San Antonio. That should be something, too.

OK, here are Tuesday’s anti-climactic local news derby results.

CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 continued its more than one year long winning streak by again sweeping the 6 a.m. competitions. The station also had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 and 6 p.m. while NBC ran first at those hours in total viewers.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., April 8) -- down goes Tech, up go numbers for NCAA title game

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Texas Tech got to the brink of its first NCAA hoops championship Monday night before losing in overtime to Virginia, which claimed its first after yet another incredible run of last-ditch clutch shooting coupled with referee generosity.

The 85-77 Cavaliers win on CBS (8:20 to 10:47 p.m.) soared in the D-FW ratings, averaging 709,959 total viewers and 265,690 advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. That obliterated the viewership for last April’s title game, in which Villanova routed Michigan 79-62 on TBS. The audience was 299,128 total viewers, with 140,427 in the 18-to-49 realm.

The peak overall crowd for Virginia-Tech came in the final full 15-minute segment (10:30 to 10:45 p.m.), with 892,721 viewers.

NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s American Idol, both airing from 7 to 9 p.m., offered little resistance. The Voice had 161,674 total viewers while Idol drew 84,352.

Here are Monday’s local news derby results.

WFAA8 won a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. races and also ran first at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and tied with Fox4 for the top spot at 5 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs.-Sun., April 4-7) -- Texas two-step in NCAA tourney

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The Baylor women upheld their end with a scintillating one-point win over Notre Dame to win the NCAA championship Sunday night.

And Texas Tech stepped into the men’s title game Saturday night by suffocating Michigan State’s potent offense with a 10-point win. This sets up an unprecedented state of Texas combo if the Red Raiders prevail over Virginia Monday. Add Texas’ earlier NIT title as gravy. Now let’s look at the D-FW numbers.

Playing on ESPN from 5:16 to 7:15 p.m., Baylor’s down-to-the-wire 82-81 win came after star forward Lauren Cox exited the game with a serious knee injury late in the 3rd quarter. Notre Dame then mounted a big comeback in a game that was as good and as tense a college hoops final as any in recent memory. The game averaged 161,674 viewers, with 36,230 within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old age range.

Baylor-ND, which deserved a far bigger audience than that, couldn’t touch CBS’ 7 to 10 p.m. telecast of country music’s ACM awards. It easily led all Sunday programming with 302,260 total viewers and 72,460 in the 18-to-49 realm.

On Saturday night, Tech’s 61-51 throttling of MSU (7:59 to 10:08 p.m. on CBS), made a much bigger splash with 506,110 total viewers and 166,056 of the 18-to-49 persuasion.

The warmup act, Virginia’s highly controversial one-point win over Auburn, fired up at 5:10 p.m. and ended at 7:12 p.m. with a chorus of prolonged boos. CBS’ telecast averaged 288,201 total viewers, with 93,595 in the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Friday’s prime-time parade was paced by CBS’ Blue Bloods in total viewers (253,055) and Fox4’s competing 9 p.m. local newscast among 18-to-49ers (36,230).

Thursday’s prime-time leaders were CBS’ Young Sheldon in total viewers (267,113) and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy with 18-to-49-year-olds (60,384).

Here are the Thursday and Friday local news derby results.

Thursday -- CBS11 was tops in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 and WFAA8 shared the lead among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and also won at 5 and 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 scored with the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Friday -- CBS11 again led in total viewers at 10 p.m., but WFAA8 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 ran the table at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., April 3) -- everybody's a winner, except for ABC once again

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
NBC’s first two hours of its Chicago trilogy, Med and Fire, won the 7 to 9 p.m. hours Wednesday before Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast nipped the competing Chicago PD.

Fire led all programming in total D-FW viewers with 253,055.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, CBS’ Survivor won the 7 p.m. hour with 48,307 before Fox’s Star (54,345) and Fox4’s news (a night’s high 84,538) reigned from 8 to 10 p.m.

This again left ABC on empty in prime-time. In fact, for the third straight weekday, the network’s World News Tonight drew more viewers than any of ABC’s prime-time offerings.

A new episode of LeBron James’ Million Dollar Mile played deader than his Los Angeles Lakers. Airing in the 8 p.m. hour on CBS, it lured just 70,293 total viewers and a sub-puny 10,567 in the 18-to-49 realm.

Here are Wednesday’s four-way local news derby results.

Fox4 had a big day, sweeping the 6 a.m., 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

NBC5 kept Fox4 from a very rare double grand slam by topping the 6 p.m. field in total viewers while Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Fox4 mainstay Richard Ray is calling it a day (updated)

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fox4 anchor/reporter Richard Ray, a fixture at the Dallas-based station since 1983, will be retiring on May 1st, he announced Thursday on his Facebook page.

“For everything there is a season,” Ray said in a one-minute video. “And after nearly 50 years, 36 of them here in Dallas-Fort Worth, my season in TV news is coming to an end.”

His official departure date from the station will come 10 days after his last on-air appearance. It will be on Easter Sunday, April 21st, when Ray as usual will be anchoring the 9 p.m. newscast as well as the 5 p.m. edition. Ray’s weekend duties also include anchoring the Saturday 6 and 9 p.m. editions. Additionally he contributes a weekly “Lone Star Adventures” feature.

“I’m retiring, but I’m not dying,” Ray said, noting that he and his wife, Catherine, will remain active in their Denton community and church while also having more time to travel and visit their children and grandchildren, who are “scattered all over the country.”

Ray, a Minnesota native who grew up in a small farming community according to his station bio, also has worked at TV stations in Nashville, TN, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa, and Rochester, Minnesota.

His experiences in TV news, both in the field and with colleagues, have “been remarkable,” Ray said. “I don’t want to sound too much like a politician, but this is heartfelt. I pray that God would bless you and yours as he has certainly blessed me and mine.”

During his time at Fox4 (the station was a CBS affiliate when he first arrived), Ray also has been D-FW television’s foremost John F. Kennedy historian. During the 50th anniversary of the President’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, Ray excelled in re-chronicling the tragic and indelible events of that day. He also was the curator of Fox4’s special JFK website.

Ray won’t get nearly the sendoff from Fox4 that WFAA8 anchor John McCaa received before signing off on March 1st. But he certainly deserves more than a passing mention. Both had careers of the same duration, and each distinguished themselves time and again without ever being attention-seekers. That sort of comportment is receding fast.

(In a subsequent tweet to unclebarky.com, Ray said he’s just been informed that Fox4 has added a May 1st sendoff during the 9 p.m. newscast “and maybe more. KDFW TV & Dallas/Fort Worth have been good to me.”)

A class act from start to stop, Ray also took the time to reflect on his former KDFW/Fox4 colleague Walter Evans when he died in July of last year at age 86 long after retiring from the station. Ray had kept in touch with Evans and last talked to him by phone about three weeks before his death.

“I don’t remember him ever having a cross word for anyone. I don’t ever remember him in conflict with anyone,” Ray said of Evans. “And that is very rare in a newsroom filled with type A personalities. He was sweet and funny and always a professional.”

Much the same can be said of Richard Ray, a reporter and anchor of the highest order at a station that will be losing another major part of its history.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon.-Tues., April 1-2) -- NCIS again is top draw

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The oldest of CBS’ scripted reliables, NCIS, again led all prime-time TV attractions Tuesday with 288,201 D-FW viewers.

The network’s FBI then shared the 8 p.m. lead with NBC’s season finale of This Is Us (238,996 viewers apiece) before NCIS: New Orleans took the 9 p.m. hour outright with 168,703 viewers.

It was a different story, again as usual, among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. NBC’s Ellen’s Game of Games won at 7 p.m. with 36,230 viewers before This Is Us scored a runaway night’s best of 78,499. Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast and NBC’s competing The Village then tied with 48,307 viewers each.

Also worth noting as a followup to a point I made on Twitter: ABC’s 5:30 p.m. edition of World News Tonight outdrew all of the network’s prime-time programs in total viewers while NBC’s Nightly News trailed only This Is Us. So no, they’re not quite yet dinosaurs.

In Monday’s prime-time festivities, CBS’ 9 p.m. episode of Bull set the pace in total viewers with 238,996 while Fox’s 8 p.m. hour of 9-1-1 ran just a bit behind with 231,967.

In the 18-to-49-year-old realm, 9-1-1 reigned with 57,365 viewers. Fox’s 7 p.m. episode of The Resident and Fox4’s local news also won their time slots in this key demographic.

ABC’s World News Tonight again drew more total viewers than any of the alphabet network’s prime-time brethren, including the 7 to 9 p.m. edition of high-priced American Idol.

Here are the four-way local news derby results for Monday and Tuesday.

Monday -- CBS11 drew the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and WFAA8 did likewise at 6 p.m. At 5 p.m., the firsts went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Tuesday -- CBS11 again won at 10 p.m. in total viewers and Fox4 repeated its first place finish among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. while adding 5 and 6 p.m. wins with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 drew the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., March 29-31) -- hooping it up, with down-and-out-Duke setting the pace

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Michigan State’s upset of Duke’s blue-blooded, Zion-fueled one-and-doners set the Sunday ratings ablaze for CBS.

The 68-67 win, which ended at 6:08 p.m., averaged 302,260 D-FW viewers to rank as the day’s most-watched TV attraction.

Auburn’s preceding overtime win over Kentucky, also on CBS, drew 210,879 viewers to easily win its time slot.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Michigan State-Duke weighed in at 111,710 viewers while Auburn-Kentucky had 78,499.

Saturday’s pair of Elite 8 games were on TBS, with Texas Tech’s win over Gonzaga leading off at 5:10 p.m. and running until 7:23 p.m. It averaged 182,762 viewers before Virginia’s overtime win over Purdue upping the ante to 267,113 viewers. Virgina-Purdue also outpointed Tech-Gonzaga among 18-to-49-year-old viewers.

Both Tech and Auburn will be making their first-ever Final Four appearances, with perennial basketball powers Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Gonzaga all missing in action. CBS gets the games this year, and the network’s ratings could suffer, at least nationally, from the absence of “marquee” teams.

In Friday’s Nielsens, CBS’ prime-time Duke-Virginia Tech game, which also went down to the final seconds, easily topped all prime-time programming with 238,996 total viewers and 96,614 within the 18-to-49-year-old sweet spot.

Here are Friday’s local news derby results, with CBS11’s 6 and 10 p.m. editions again punched out by NCAA basketball.

WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and also ran first at 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The total viewer golds went to NBC5 at 5 p.m. and WFAA8 at 6 p.m.

In the 6 to 7 a.m. hour, Fox4’s Good Day now has gone a full year without losing a single weekday in either ratings measurement. The station had last lost on March 30th, 2018, which was Good Friday, to WFAA8’s Daybreak by a skinny one-tenth of a rating point in the 25-to-54-year-old demographic.

The Fox4 streak, which shows no signs of ending, is unprecedented in the D-FW market. So perhaps frugal Fox corporate might spring for a big ice cream cake or something. But probably not. But maybe -- just maybe. Nah.

Friday’s 6 to 7 a.m. wins were typical, with Fox4 drawing far more 25-to-54-year-olds (83,042) than NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 combined (40,089).

In total viewers, Fox4 had 168,703, again exceeding the combined audience draw of its three rivals (154,645).

For good measure, the 7 to 9 a.m. portion of Good Day again pummeled the three network shows while 9 a.m. hour also won in both ratings measurements.

So congratulations to the long-running Good Day quartet of Tim Ryan, Lauren Przybyl, Evan Andrews and Chip Waggoner. While NBC5 and WFAA8 both have new anchor vacancies, they just keep on keeping on.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net