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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon.-Wed., Aug. 26-28) -- Wheel still rolling, rolling, rolling

Unclebarky.com appears to have recovered from a busted fan belt -- afflicting the computer not the proprietor -- and is up and running again.

We catch up on three days worth of D-FW Nielsen ratings by spotlighting a show that just keeps rolling along. That would be CBS11’s 6:30 p.m. editions of the syndicated Wheel of Fortune, which was this viewing area’s most-watched TV show on both Tuesday and Wednesday while running second only to CBS’ Under the Dome on Monday.

That’s pretty remarkable, considering that the show is 2,189 years old and was dumped by WFAA8 back in September of 2005 after an 18-year run at that station. The rationale: WFAA8 management wanted to draw a younger audience and felt that Entertainment Tonight (which had been airing in late night) would click better with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

There’s something to be said for tonnage, too, though, particularly in a time slot following local 6 p.m. newscasts that generally draw older audiences. For years, some of those viewers have been “warming up” their TV sets for Wheel before the 6 p.m. newscast ends. And that helps the second halves of 6 p.m. newscasts, with CBS11 the beneficiary for the past eight years.

Wednesday’s Wheel drew 227,170 total viewers, with NBC’s 8 p.m. edition of America’s Got Talent the runner-up with 199,642 viewers. Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Wheel won its 6:30 p.m. slot with 31,894, edging No. 2 ET (28,705). But Wheel had close to twice as many total viewers as ET.

Wheel also was Tuesday’s overall top draw -- in daytime or nighttime hours -- with 240,947 total viewers. ET had 110,247 viewers but outdrew Wheel by a score of 44,652 to 22,326 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

On Monday, Wheel’s 199,642 total viewers ran second to Under the Dome’s 227,179. And in the 18-to-49 measurement, Wheel nipped ET at 6:30 p.m. by 25,515 viewers to 24,239.

Wheel’s percentage of 18-to-49-year-old viewers remains minimal. Still, it’s enough to remain competitive with ET while the total viewer Nielsens are no contest on night after night after night. The aging stars of Wheel, Pat Sajak and Vanna White, presumably have conquered their fears of HD, which were expressed to unclebarky.com just before Wheel’s transition to sharper focus in 2006. And in a very crowded TV universe, the show remains a ratings juggernaut that has improved CBS11’s competitive position in the 6 p.m. newscast competitions. The station has run first in total viewers at that hour for three straight ratings sweeps periods (November, February and May).

***In other ratings news, the Texas Rangers’ three-game road sweep of the Mariners suffered from two late night starts and Wednesday’s afternoon game.

All of the games were on Fox Sports Southwest, with Tuesday’s elongated extra inning win averaging the biggest overall crowd of 151,452 viewers. Wednesday’s afternoon game clocked in at 103,263 viewers while the Monday night game had 144,568. Those are smallish totals for the first-place Rangers. Games with earlier nighttime starts -- particularly home games -- generally score in the 200,000 viewers vicinity and beyond.

Also in the sports genre, ESPN2’s Monday 10 p.m. premiere of Olbermann drew a sub-scant 688 viewers before the Tuesday edition perked up to 6,884. Ratings for Wednesday’s Olbermann were not immediately available after the show was switched from ESPN2 to ESPN News to accommodate a U.S. Open tennis over-run.

Here are the Monday through Wednesday local news derby results:

Monday -- WFAA8 had dominant wins at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions, with WFAA8 a close second in both measurements.

WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. and tied with Fox4 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds. There were more ties at 5 p.m., with Fox4, WFAA8 and CBS11 sharing the total viewers gold while Fox4 and WFAA8 were tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Tuesday -- Fox4 had a big day in the 25-to-54 demographic, winning at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m. while adding a total viewer gold at 6 a.m.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m.; WFAA8 ran first in that measurement at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Wednesday -- It was WFAA8’s turn to roar. The station ran the table at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. with wins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 stayed strong at 6 a.m. with another sweep.


Fox4 was the only major D-FW TV news provider not to carry President Obama’s Wednesday afternoon speech on the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” oratory. Obama delivered his speech from the same spot that King did. NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 all carried it live, as did CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. Fox4 opted to stick with Divorce Court and a smidgen of the following Judge Alex before the president ended his remarks at 2:34 p.m.

***Nothing apparently has been decided yet, but sources say that Indianapolis anchor/reporter Jenny Anchondo was interviewed at Fox4 this week for a possible position with the Dallas-based station.

Anchondo currently anchors the 4 to 6 a.m. weekday newscasts and also reports for WXIN-TV (Fox 59). She joined the station in 2010 from KOLD-TV in Tucson, Arizona. Fox4 has a policy of not commenting on potential hires.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net