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"Corporal Nick" still a bumper car as Daybreak's new traffic reporter


”Corporal Nick” cross-talks with Daybreak anchors Wednesday. Photos: Ed Bark

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The man they call “Corporal Nick” navigated his way through a second day as Daybreak’s traffic reporter Wednesday.

The roly poly DeSoto cop, again in full uniform, still tends to skid in and out of his segments for WFAA8’s No. 3-rated early morning program. Whether he’ll emerge as an authority figure with a guy next door appeal remains to be seen. His most notable on-camera misdemeanor at the moment is a tendency to dart his eyes to the left (and viewers’ right) at the close of his segments. He’s still a bit stiff, too. But eye contact and body language can be learned if viewers are willing to play along with the D-FW market’s first full-time uniformed roads warrior.

WFAA8’s cop-on-the-beat gambit, first disclosed Aug. 2nd on unclebarky.com, puts a raw rookie on display in terms of television experience. “Corporal Nick” -- full name Nick Bristow -- is a 20-year veteran of the DeSoto police force but had no previous TV training until the station began grooming him earlier this month.

On Wednesday’s Daybreak, news anchors Ron Corning and Alexa Conomos twice informed viewers that “Corporal Nick” would be reporting for duty at 8 a.m. after finishing his 4:30 to 7 a.m. Daybreak shift.

“These are two separate jobs, people,” Corning said before Corporal Nick agreed he’d soon be “on the streets” as a DeSoto police officer. Maybe a little groggy, though, later in his shift?

During the 5 to 5:30 a.m. segment, Conomos and Corporal Nick had a little anchor desk chat about Tuesday’s Day One.

“Ya came back, we like to say,” she said. “We didn’t scare ya off yet.”

“It was good yesterday,” Corporal Nick said. “It came out a lot better than I thought it would. I was concerned a few times, but you know what, we pulled it off.”

You pulled it off,” she said.

We pulled it off,” he said again.


Corporal Nick during one of his Daybreak segments Wednesday.

Corporal Nick corrected himself on a couple of his traffic segments and also tripped over “George Bush Turnpike.”

But Corning had his back, noting that “at this early hour, Corporal Nick, your tongue doesn’t always work. Take it from us.”

Corporal Nick’s police expertise also prompted the anchors to include him in conversations about emergency preparedness and “chasing down hoaxes” that basically waste an officer’s valuable time. He sits at his traffic central post under such circumstances, appearing to be more at ease.

All of this can be a lot to process for a TV novice, and Corporal Nick could be an old smoothie in due time. For now, his recitation of traffic stops and go’s can be rigid at times. And after he’s survived another segment, Corporal Nick’s abrupt eyeball detours make it seem as though he sees a bad guy approaching fast.


Corporal Nick still tends to end his traffic reports this way.

As previously posted and shown in a promotional video, San Antonio’s KSAT-TV uses a pair of younger, trimmer and conventionally handsomer cops for its traffic reports on Good Morning San Antonio.

Corporal Nick is built more along the lines of a Mavs Maniaacs dancer, with a mug that’s far closer to Willard Scott’s than Scott Bakula’s. But WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen, now in his 31st year at the station, has gotten mega-mileage out of loudly proclaiming himself an “old, fat, bald white guy.” So there’s that.

It seems like a long shot, though, for viewers to associate “authority” and “experience” with Corporal Nick’s traffic reports. He may have helped to clean up a few freeway wrecks in his time. But in the end he’s parroting basically the same information as his outwardly more telegenic civilian competitors at Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11.

Still, Corporal Nick may seem like someone with whom to have a donut, a beer or, in Wednesday morning’s case, a fried Sriracha Ball at show’s end. Corning and Conomos insisted that he gulp one down before heading off to his other day job. So that’s what he did before giving a look that said he would have much preferred a pastry.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net