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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Jan. 30) -- socko numbers for Fox/Fox4

Fox's American Idol remained a force Wednesday night, with its latest two-hour audition edition pummeling all competitors while also giving Fox4's 9 p.m. local news a big push.

Idol averaged 461,241 D-FW viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. and also ruled its roost among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

The second most-watched program opposite Idol, CBS' Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials, drew a nice-sized 234,063 total viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. On the eve of the four-week February "sweeps," CBS then punted with repeats of Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

ABC alternated between repeats of The Middle, Modern Family and Nashville and new episodes of The Neighbors and Suburgatory. NBC was all-new all-night, but in the total viewers measurement did no better than third-place finishes by Whitney, Chicago Fire and the first half-hour of Law & Order: SVU.

Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast easily won its time slot with 254,715 total viewers while also romping with 18-to-49-year-olds.

In the cable universe, FX's launch of its critically acclaimed The Americans had 110,147 total viewers for an episode that stretched from 9 to 10:37 p.m. It was by far the network's most-watched program of the day or night after coming off a rather puny lead-in of 34,421 viewers for the closing 15 minutes of the movie Knight and Day.

Fox4 also had a big day in the four-way local news derby results. The station tied WFAA8 for the most viewers at 10 p.m. while winning outright among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 also again swept the 6 a.m. Nielsens and added a 6 p.m. win in the 25-to-54 demographic. It tied CBS11 for the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

The 5 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in both ratings measurements.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Jan. 29) -- CBS rules prime-time, save for one pocket of resistance

Paced as always by NCIS, CBS towered over Tuesday's prime-time ratings.

NCIS blew past the half-million mark with 564,504 D-FW viewers at 7 p.m., followed by more domination from NCIS: Los Angeles (475,010) and Las Vegas (378,631). Each of the crime hours had well over twice as many viewers as the nearest competitor.

That included ABC's second episode of The Taste, which had 117,031 viewers in the 7 p.m. hour. Among the Big Four broadcast networks, it narrowly outpointed only a 7:30 p.m. episode of Fox's Raising Hope (103,263 viewers).

Fox's 8 p.m. new episode of New Girl kept CBS from a sweep of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. It had 114,818 viewers in this key demographic opposite the first half-hour of NCIS: Los Angeles (105,250).

ABC's 9 p.m. repeat of Matt Damon's star-studded, critically praised heist of Jimmy Kimmel Live! ran fourth in both total viewers (48,189) and 18-to-49-year-olds (15,947). That's a surprisingly poor showing.

CW33's comedy-juiced Nightcap ("a different kind of news") had a far rougher go of it in the 9 p.m. hour. Coming off a lead-in of 48,189 total viewers from the CW network's Emily Owens, M.D., it cliff-dove to 2,754 viewers. And just 1,276 of them were in the 18-to-49 motherlode after Emily Owens provided 22,326. Um, that's not good.

In the local news derby results, CBS11 dominated at 10 p.m. in total viewers but WFAA8 edged into first place with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 maintained its month-long 6 a.m. winning streak with two more firsts while adding 5 and 6 p.m. golds in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 5 p.m. and CBS11 led at 6 p.m. in this measurement.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Jan. 28) -- The Following blasts Dallas on its home turf (updated with national numbers)

Fox appears to have a much-needed midseason hit in The Following, which increased its D-FW audience from last week's premiere while also crunching competition from TNT's Season 2 premiere of Dallas.

That's quite a feat on the Ewings' home turf, with the grisly Kevin Bacon serial drama amassing 344,210 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour while Dallas drew well less than half that crowd with 151,452. TNT's 9 p.m. second new hour of Dallas held pretty steady with 144,568 viewers. But that wasn't enough to outdraw Fox4's competing 9 p.m. local newscast (188,627 viewers) or CBS' repeat of Hawaii Five-0 (182,431).

The Following also drowned the first hour of Dallas among 18-to-49-year-olds by a score of 133,955 to 54,220. The 9 p.m. episode of Dallas ran second in this key demographic to Fox4's news.

The 8 p.m. hour of Dallas not only fell to The Following in both ratings measurements. It also trailed the second hours of ABC's The Bachelor and NBC's The Biggest Loser as well as CBS' reruns of 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly.

TNT's June 13th two-episode Season 1 premiere of Dallas fared far better. The first part had 331,931 total viewers in D-FW and the second hour moved up to 338,725. On that night, Dallas beat all competing programming -- and all programming period -- in both total viewers and 18-to-49-year-olds. So Monday night's Season 2 performance is a major drop-off, attracting less than half the overall crowd for Season 1's two-pronger.

The Following built substantially on its lead-in audience for Bones, which had 234,063 total viewers. In that respect at least, Dallas likewise significantly improved over its lead-in from TNT's repeat of The Mentalist (41,305 viewers).

(Dallas suffered the same fate in national Nielsens released later Tuesday. The double-barreled Season 2 premiere averaged 3 million viewers, a sharp drop from the 6.9 million who tuned in for last June's Season 1 launch.)

Here are Monday's local news derby numbers:

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

Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m. while adding 5 and 6 p.m. wins in the 25-to-54 demographic.

NBC5 won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and WFAA8 took the 6 p.m. gold in that measurement.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Jan. 25-27) -- throwaway Pro Bowl tops all weekend programming

The NFL's annual flag football-esque Pro Bowl, in which a few hard hits actually snuck in, dominated D-FW's Friday-Sunday Nielsens in both total viewers and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

A 62-35 win by the NFC over the AFC didn't deter an average of 275,368 viewers from tuning in NBC's prime-time presentation from Hawaii. And 133,955 of those viewers were in the 18-to-49 motherlode. That's a better percentage than the Dallas Cowboys drew for most of their games this season.

The Pro Bowl shrugged off competition from the Screen Actors Guild awards show on TBS/TNT (a combined 96,379 total viewers) and the Dallas Mavericks' home win over the Phoenix Suns (55,074 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest).

The weekend's second biggest draw, CBS' 9 p.m. Sunday episode of The Mentalist, had 240,947 viewers. PBS' wrenchingly sad Sunday night episode of Downtown Abbey scored fairly gargantuan numbers for public television, with 165,221 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour on KERA13. That was strong enough to beat the offerings on both ABC and Fox.

On Friday night, the Mavericks' embarrassing no-show against the depleted San Antonio Spurs lured 96,379 viewers on FSS and added another 27,537 on ESPN.

Here are Friday's local news derby numbers:

CBS11 took the top spot in total viewers at 10 p.m., but WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4's Good Day continued to have its way at 6 a.m. with a doubleheader win. The station hasn't been beaten in either ratings measurement throughout the entire month of January, with the four-week February "sweeps" starting this Thursday.

WFAA8 likewise ran the table at 6 p.m. and added a 5 p.m. win with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 had the most total viewers at 5 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Jan. 24) -- Katie, Jane & Jimmy

Thursday was very much out of the ordinary in terms of pretty big doings on three series carried by WFAA8.

The station's locally produced Good Morning Texas featured the return of former NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry after more than eight months off the air. She kicked off her weekly "Starting Over" series.

At 4 p.m., the syndicated Katie had host Katie Couric's heavily promoted first on-camera interview with imaginary girlfriend dupe Manti Te'o, who ended his career at Notre Dame with a runner-up finish in the Heisman trophy voting.

And at 10:35 p.m., ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! was hijacked by Matt Damon and retitled Jimmy Kimmel Sucks! while the host spent the entire hour bound and gagged in a swivel chair. Damon's all-star grouping of guests included Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Gary Oldman, Sheryl Crow, Robin Williams, Demi Moore, Andy Garcia, Amy Adams, Ben Affleck and Kimmel's ex-girlfriend, Sarah Silverman. That made for quite a night.

So how did they all fare in the D-FW Nielsens? GMT and Katie bombed while the heisted Kimmel Sucks! showed a considerably stronger pulse.

GMT drew just 30,979 viewers, with a sub-scant 957 of them in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 demographic. That put it fourth at 9 a.m. among the Big Four broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox). Fox4's syndicated Kelly & Michael led the way in both ratings measurements with 107,394 viewers and 51,987 in the 18-to-49 age range.

GMT's audience levels also were lower than the previous Thursday's edition. So no bump from McGarry.

Katie, which airs as the 4 p.m. lead-in to WFAA8's 5 p.m. newscasts, drew 48,189 total viewers with 4,465 in the 18-to-49 demographic. That also was an across-the-board fourth-place finish among the Big 4 broadcast stations. NBC5's First at Four local newscast led overall in total viewers with 87,429 while Fox4's two helpings of the syndicated Judge Judy were tops among 18-to-49-year-olds with 21,688 and 27,429.

Jimmy Kimmel Sucks! averaged 86,740 total viewers to rank third in that measurement behind Fox4's syndicated TMZ (113,589) and Access Hollywood (110,147) and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman (88,806). But Kimmel beat everything except Access Hollywood in the 18-to-49 measurement. It drew 41,781 viewers in this age range to Access Hollywood's 51,030.

In Thursday's prime-time rankings, Fox's 7 to 8 p.m. hour of American Idol easily was the top overall attraction with 447,473 total viewers. Idol also was the top draw with 18-to-49-year-olds.

CBS' Person of Interest won the 8 p.m. hour in total viewers, but ABC's Grey's Anatomy had the edge among 18-to-49-year-olds. CBS' Elementary ran first at 9 p.m. on both scoreboards.

Here are Thursday's local news derby numbers:

CBS11 finished first at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but Fox4 ranked No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 once again romped to twin wins at 6 a.m. while adding a 5 p.m. gold in the 25-to-54 demographic.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. WFAA8 won at 5 p.m. in total viewers and at 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Carla Wade is WFAA8's newest anchor/reporter


Dallas-based WFAA8 has added Carla Wade from Oklahoma City's KOCO-TV to its anchor/reporter staff.

Wade, who spent three years at KOCO, will be joining newcomer Jason Wheeler as co-anchor of WFAA8's Sunday night newscasts, news director Carolyn Mungo confirmed via email Friday.

Wade also will be reporting four days a week, starting immediately. She'll begin anchoring "probably in mid-February," Mungo said.

The University of Oklahoma broadcast journalism graduate previously was a weekend anchor at WTVQ-TV in Lexington, KY. Her first television reporting job was with KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma, according to her KOCO bio.

Here's video of a recent live report by Wade for KOCO.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Jan. 23) -- Idol still formidable

Its numbers aren't what they used to be. But Fox and local Fox stations will still take 'em.

Airing opposite a mix of new and repeat programming Wednesday night, American Idol handily won its 7 to 9 p.m. slot with 426,820 D-FW viewers. A new 8 p.m. episode of CBS' Criminal Minds placed a solid second with 337,326 viewers while ABC's Modern Family took the bronze (213,410 viewers).

Idol also won comfortably among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with Modern Family Wednesday's second most-watched attraction in this key demographic.

A new episode of CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ranked No. 1 at 9 p.m. with 268,484 total viewers. But Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast was tops at that hour with 18-to-49-year-olds.

ABC's new episode of Nashville, which began with shots of the Dallas skyline and performance footage from American Airlines Center, ranked third at 9 p.m. in both ratings measurements. It outdrew only a rerun of NBC's Chicago Fire.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. competition in total viewers while WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 continued to pound bumps on its early morning rivals with twin wins at 6 a.m. It added 5 and 6 p.m. firsts in the 25-to-54 demographic.

The 5 and 6 p.m. golds in total viewers respectively went to WFAA8 and CBS11.

Dombeck's next likely stop: filling in at CBS11

Tammy Dombeck in Facebook page pic

It's not completely official yet, but it's looking very much like former NBC5 "Gridlock Buster" Tammy Dombeck will soon have a new TV home.

CBS11 director of communications Lori Conrad, addressing rumors that Dombeck is heading to that station, said in an email reply that when main traffic reporter Whitney Drolen is off, "Tammy may potentially do some fill-in traffic reporting on occasion, just as Barb Smith and Elizabeth Dinh currently do."

Dombeck declined to comment for now, but noted that her six-month "non-compete" clause with NBC5 expires in February. It's likely that she would make her first appearance on CBS11 sometime after the four-week February "sweeps" ratings period, which starts on Thursday, Jan. 31st.

Dombeck's traffic reports were an early morning fixture on NBC5 for 12 years until her last day at the station on July 27th. She left after reaching an impasse with NBC5 on a new contract.

Dinh joined CBS11 in early December as an early morning reporter. Barb Smith is a former longtime traffic reporter for KTCK "The Ticket" (1310 AM) and currently reports for KRLD radio (1080 AM).

McGarry makes maiden voyage on WFAA8's Good Morning Texas


Jane McGarry wraps up her first GMT segment Thursday. Photos: Ed Bark

Starting over in her own right, former NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry returned to local television for the first time since last May for her inaugural "Starting Over" segment on Thursday's edition of WFAA8's Good Morning Texas.

It was OK for starters, although McGarry rather fixedly read a TelePrompTer in the program's opening minute after being warmly welcomed by co-host Paige McCoy.

"After all, every single day, someone among us is -- starting over," she intoned before returning midway through the program with a story on a Tolar, TX couple whose son was killed four months ago in Afghanistan.

McGarry's arrest on a DWI charge last May received heavy publicity before she eventually pleaded "no contest" and apologized on July 10th while NBC5 simultaneously accepted her "resignation." Although she's been almost hyper-active on Facebook and Twitter, McGarry hadn't been seen on a TV screen in more than eight months. There was no mention of her travails during the GMT appearance.

The "starting over" theme of these pieces -- four more are scheduled on consecutive Thursdays -- was hammered home both during the taped piece and in a live studio interview with surviving parents Mic and Joann Stephens. An empathetic McGarry helped to steady Mic by occasionally putting her hand on his knee.

Toward the end of the live interview, disconcerting whistle sounds could be heard several times off-camera. Joann reacted with a bit of laughter while McGarry said, "It's OK" and encouraged her to continue.

Joann and Mic spoke of all the help they had received from the community after their son Riley's death. "We've learned that a family isn't all about blood," Mic said.

McGarry closed with "The Take Away," ticking off five ways of "Helping Others With Grief." In the end she came off as equal parts counselor and reporter, which seemed to be the overall goal.

GMT long has accepted pre-paid segments in which product-pushers pay the station to hawk their wares in five-minute segments. But McGarry's "Starting Over" series is not one of those. Her stories are produced by WFAA8 -- and McGarry presumably is paid, not vice-versa.

She's scheduled to return next Thursday in what so far is a trial run. But it's easy to envision McGarry becoming a staple -- or someday even a co-host -- of GMT. The show could use a ratings boost, and it will be interesting to see if her first appearance moved the Nielsen needle.

McGarry on the GMT set with Mic and Joann Stephens.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Jan. 22) -- not much appetite for The Taste

ABC had hoped to gorge off CBS' rerun lineup with its two-hour premiere of The Taste Tuesday night.

The reality-competition series, modeled after NBC's The Voice, instead was left with an empty feeling in the D-FW Nielsens.

Airing from 7 to 9 p.m. before the series finale of Private Practice, The Taste averaged 117,031 viewers opposite league-leading repeats of NCIS (282,252 viewers) and NCIS: Los Angeles (289,136).

The Taste also was outdrawn from 7 to 8:30 p.m. by NBC's two episodes of Betty White's Off Their Rockers and Go On and Fox's Raising Hope, Ben & Kate and New Girl. It edged into second place from 8:30 to 9 p.m. opposite Fox's The Mindy Project and NBC's The New Normal.

Among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, Off Their Rockers ran first from 7 to 8 p.m. before Fox took the top spot in the 8 to 9 p.m. slot. The Taste ran fourth in that key demographic during its first hour before winning the silver from 8 to 9 p.m.

ABC's Private Practice signed off at 9 p.m. with 158,337 total viewers, tying for second place with CBS' Vegas repeat behind Fox4's front-running 9 p.m. local newscast (178,989 viewers). But NBC's season finale of Parenthood won among 18-to-49-year-olds, with Private Practice slipping into second place a bit ahead of Fox4's news.

In Tuesday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. field in total viewers but WFAA8 prevailed with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 remained dominant at 6 a.m. with another pair of twin wins, both by lopsided margins. The station also won at 5 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds and tied WFAA8 for first in that measurement at 6 p.m.

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

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Jan. 21) -- solid start for The Following

Fox's heavily promoted premiere of The Following pretty much got the kind of following the network had hoped for Monday night.

The 8 p.m. launch of the grisly serial killer drama, starring Kevin Bacon in his first TV series, ranked as prime-time's most-watched attraction in D-FW with 323,557 viewers.

CBS' competing combo -- new episodes of 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly -- ran second with 240,947 and 213,410 viewers respectively. The Following also beat the second hours of NBC's The Biggest Loser and ABC's The Bachelor while notably improving on its 7 p.m. lead-in from Fox's new hour of Bones (165,221 viewers).

The Following had a tougher time among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though. Both 2 Broke Girls and Biggest Loser nipped it from 8 to 8:30 p.m. before The Following slipped past ABC's The Bachelor by a paper-thin margin from 8:30 to 9 p.m. while Biggest Loser and Mike & Molly ran third and fourth.

(Nationally, The Following ran a close second to the CBS sitcoms in both total viewers and 18-to-49-year-olds, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.)

The 9 p.m. hour in D-FW went to ABC's Castle in total viewers; Castle and CBS' Hawaii Five-0 tied for the 18-to-49 lead.

Monday's third episode of NBC's Deception remained in a ratings rut with fourth place finishes in both measurements.

ABC ranked as the most-watched network overall for the morning/afternoon presidential inauguration coverage. NBC, Fox and CBS trailed in that order. ABC also had the largest peak audience -- 192,758 viewers -- between 10:30 and 10:45 a.m. Its numbers for President Obama's actual inauguration speech dipped slightly.

In Monday's local news derby results, WFAA8 rolled at 10 p.m. with wins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 again swept the 6 a.m. competitions. The station hasn't yet been beaten this month in either ratings measurement, with the February "sweeps" ratings period starting on Thursday, Jan. 31st.

Both of the 5 p.m. face-offs also went to Fox4, which added a 6 p.m. win with 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Jan. 18-20) -- NFL again flexes might

Sunday's AFC and NFC championship games reigned with an iron fist in the D-FW Nielsens, although one fell just shy of the magic one million mark.

The CBS late game -- Baltimore's upset over New England -- averaged 1,039,514 viewers while Fox's afternoon encounter between victorious San Francisco and Atlanta drew 984,441 viewers. The audience for Ravens-Patriots was larger than three of the regular season's 16 Dallas Cowboys games.

CBS now will get a subtext "Harbaugh Bowl" matching head coach brothers John and Jim in the Feb. 3rd Super Bowl. Strap network execs to lie detectors and they'd have to admit that a face-off between the 49ers and New England's Brady Bunch is what they preferred. But this isn''t a bad marketing angle: Brother vs. brother in an East-West Coast blood feud.

On Saturday night, the long-delayed season opener of the NHL's Dallas Stars had 68,842 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. Friday's OT thriller between the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder didn't exactly light the ratings flame either, drawing 68,842 viewers on FSS and another 55,074 on ESPN.

In contrast, Friday's top prime-time draw, a 9 p.m. episode of CBS' Blue Bloods, had 316,673 viewers. An hour earlier, the series finale of Fox's Fringe lured 137,684 viewers, less than half the crowd for CBS' competing CSI: NY (289,136 viewers). Fringe won its time slot, though, among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

A prime-time edition of WFAA8's Good Morning Texas was Friday's overall loss leader in both ratings measurements among the Big 4 broadcasters. It had just 20,653 viewers, with 3,189 of them 18-to-49-year-olds.

In Friday's local news derby results, CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers and tied Fox4 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 continued to roll merrily along at 6 a.m. with a doubleheader sweep. The station also ran the table at 5 p.m. and added a 6 p.m. win in the 25-to-54 demographic.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Former NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry talks about returning to TV with 5-part series on WFAA8's Good Morning Texas

Jane McGarry in photo from her Facebook page

Off the air since May of last year, former NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry is getting a test drive on WFAA8's Good Morning Texas with a five-part "Starting Over with Jane McGarry" series.

It's scheduled to launch on Thursday, Jan. 24th and continue for the next four Thursdays, In a publicity release sent to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (but not to unclebarky.com as of this writing), WFAA8 said McGarry's weekly stories "will focus on a variety of subjects, all involving local people who have experienced significant change in their lives, often due to unforeseen circumstances."

Reached by phone Friday night, McGarry said she has completed one of the stories and will be in WFAA8's GMT studios this Thursday to introduce it during the show's regular 9 a.m. telecast. She declined to say what the topic will be.

"I think it's a terrific project that truly will help a lot of people," McGarry said. "And the people I've been working with at Good Morning Texas have been great. I'm excited to be back hopefully serving the community of viewers that I have known for more than two decades."

In that sense it will be a personal "Starting Over" for McGarry, who had been a key player at NBC5 since 1982 until being arrested last May for allegedly driving while intoxicated. She eventually pleaded no contest to a Class B misdemeanor charge and on July 10th both resigned from NBC5 and apologized on her still heavily trafficked Facebook page for "my irresponsible behavior."

McGarry agreed it was "like riding a bike" to get back in front of a television camera. Her segments are being shot and produced by WFAA8 staffers.

"The thing I've always liked most about TV is I like learning about people," McGarry said. "And this is going to give me a new opportunity to do that. I'm not just saying that. I think there's huge potential here. There's a chance to do some really fun, interesting and helpful work."

McGarry also acknowledged, "Those of us in the media, we love it. We just love it."

She firmly closed at least one door. KTXD-TV (Ch. 47) management had approached her about being a regular contributor to the D-FW station's baby boomer-aimed The Texas Daily, which launched on Oct. 1st of last year and since has been moved from an 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. start time.

"It was not a good match for where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do," McGarry said of Texas Daily, whose contingent of veteran D-FW television news personalities includes Tracy Rowlett, Troy Dungan, Iola Johnson, Scott Murray and John Criswell.

McGarry said she has other projects in the works, but isn't free to discuss them yet.

WFAA8 already is promoting McGarry's first appearance on GMT. Here's the spot.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Jan. 17) -- Idol still winning, but CBS gives it a free pass

Night two of Fox's Season 12 American Idol again ranked as D-FW's top prime-time attraction.

Still, the audience fell from Wednesday night's re-launch. And CBS dozed in a hammock of reruns rather than flexing its usually very potent Thursday night lineup.

Again airing from 7 to 9 p.m., Idol averaged 426,820 viewers, down pretty steeply from the 536,968 on the previous night. The haul of advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds likewise took a sizable dip, from 261,531 to 204,122.

Despite going with repeats, CBS placed a solid second in total viewers from 7 to 9 p.m., with The Big Bang Theory again its heaviest hitter (337,326 total viewers).

ABC won the 9 p.m. hour with its growingly popular Scandal (247,831 viewers). It also edged Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast among 18-to-49-year-olds.

NBC's all-new lineup of four sitcoms and Rock Center with Brian Williams ran fourth across the board in total viewers. The Peacock's new 1600 Penn fared particularly poorly, with a sub-anemic 34,421 total viewers and just 25,515 of them within the 18-to-49 motherlode.

D-FW ratings were not available for Part 1 of Oprah Winfrey's "world exclusive" interview with Lance Armstrong on her struggling OWN network. But surely it had a bigger audience than 1600 Penn.

Here are Thursday's local news derby results:

CBS11 took the top spot in total viewers at 10 p.m. while WFAA8 won with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 is still firmly in charge of the 6 a.m. Nielsens, and rang up another doubleheader win.

WFAA8 likewise swept the 5 p.m. competitions. CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 winning among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Jan. 16) --Idol still dealing Fox a winning hand

Fox can exhale a bit -- at least for now.

The network's Season 12 premiere of American Idol dominated D-FW's prime-time Nielsens Wednesday, with new judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban up for inspection among the nobodies vying for their affection.

The 7 to 9 p.m. relaunch averaged 536,968 viewers, with 261,531 of them in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 age range. The total viewer tally is down a bit from the 562,250 who watched last season's two-hour premiere. But the 18-to-49 number is an improvement over last January's 246,577 total. And that's the only number Fox really cares about.

CBS' new episode of Criminal Minds offered the strongest resistance, drawing 371,747 total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour. But only 124,387 of them were 18-to-49-year-olds.

CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation won the 9 p.m. hour in total viewers with 296,021. Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast ran a dominant first with 18-to-49-yar-olds (124,387).

NBC punted with an all-repeat lineup that ran fourth all night in both ratings measurements.

Here are Wednesday's local news derby results:

Fox4 had a big day, sweeping the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. Nielsens in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. The station added 6 and 10 p.m. wins in the 25-to-54 demographic.

CBS11 logged the other two firsts, with total viewer wins at 6 and 10 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Jan. 15) -- CBS runs the table

CBS pounded bumps on all competing programming Tuesday night with new episodes of its three crime and punishment series.

NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles and Las Vegas won as usual in total viewers, but added sprinkles to their sundaes with an uncommon sweep among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. Save for a pair of ABC sitcom reruns from 7 to 8 p.m., all of CBS' principal rivals aired first-run programming.

NCIS was the overall top dog with 571,389 total D-FW viewers. That was more than the combined 7 to 8 p.m. audience for ABC, NBC, Fox and CW programming at that hour.

The 7 p.m. return of Betty White's Off Their Rockers was NBC's most-watched attraction with 213,410 viewers. A sizable 98,871 of them were 18-to-49-year-olds, proving that prank-pulling Betty, who turns 91 on Thursday, Jan. 17th, can still hold her own demographically. Amazing. In fact, Off Their Rockers had more 18-to-49-year-old viewers than Fox's 8 p.m. new episode of New Girl. Doubly amazing.

In the pre-prime time hour, KTXD's (Ch. 47) 6 p.m. edition of The Texas Daily had one of its biggest audiences to date -- 6,842 total viewers. That's still dinky to be sure, but far preferable to the "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) that the program often registers. Tuesday's show was buoyed by a guest appearance from Charley Pride, who did a song and also conversed with host Jeff Brady and two other former WFAA8 alumni, Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan.

In the four-way local news derby results, CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 continued to control the 6 a.m. competitions with twin wins for Good Day. In fact, Tuesday's snowy start helped make the 7 to 9 a.m. portion of Good Day the station's most-watched program of the day by far in both total viewers and in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 added 5 and 6 p.m. wins among 25-to-54-year-olds while tying NBC5 for first at 5 p.m. in total viewers. NBC5 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Jan. 14) -- CBS, ABC split prime-time spoils

CBS' quartet of sitcoms mostly prevailed over ABC's The Bachelor Monday night despite the presence of Dallas stud Sean Lowe in the title role.

The Bachelor also was beaten by a new episode of Fox's Bones in its 7 to 8 p.m. segment.

A repeat of CBS' The Big Bang Theory was the night's top D-FW draw with 337,326 viewers from 7:30 to 8 p.m. The network's How I Met Your Mother (309,789 viewers), 2 Broke Girls (309,789) and Mike & Molly (296,021) also won their time slots.

Bones had 227,179 viewers in nipping the first hour of The Bachelor (220,294). The Bachelor's second hour bumped up to 240,947 viewers. ABC's 9 p.m. episode of Castle then edged CBS' Hawaii Five-0 by a score of 275,368 viewers to 268,484.

Among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds, Mother, Big Bang and 2 Broke
all ran first before the final half-hour of The Bachelor prevailed by a paper-thin margin over M&M. Hawaii Five-0 won the 9 p.m. hour in this key demographic.

The premiere of The CW's The Carrie Diaries had 75,726 total viewers at 7 p.m., with 35,083 in the 18-to-49 motherlode. That's actually a halfway decent showing for the ever-struggling CW.

The Dallas Mavericks, inching back toward respectability with a third straight win Monday night, averaged 96,379 total viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. As with Carrie Diaries close to half of them (44,652) were in the 18-to-49 age range.

Here are Monday's local news derby numbers:

WFAA8 comfortably won at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but fell to second behind Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 maintained its tight grip on the 6 a.m. Nielsens with twin wins while also topping the 6 p.m. competition in the 25-to-54 demographic.

CBS11 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers and WFAA8 ran the table at 5 p.m.

More changes at CW33's Eye Opener, with Danielle Vollmar off to Philadelphia and Zuri Hall already in play


Last call: Danielle Vollmar (foreground) breaks up with CW33's Nightcap. She's pictured with co-hosts Amanda Salinas and Charlie Berens on her last day of work. Photo from Vollmar's Twitter page.

Dallas-based CW33 continues to be the market's pace-setter in moving parts.

Latest to leave is Nightcap co-host and weathercaster Danielle Vollmar, who began a bit over a year ago on the station's similarly themed Eye Opener program.

Vollmar, who said goodbye at the end of Friday's program, is returning to her hometown of Philadelphia to do weather reports for WTXF-TV, the city's Fox-owned station. Her successor is Zuri Hall, who was already on the air Monday.

"It has been awesome and made me realize how much I love weather!" Vollmar said on her Facebook page of doing double duty on Nightcap. "So friends in Philly, please tune in for my debut next Saturday night (Jan. 19)! To all my loyal Dallas peeps, I appreciate you all and I love your city!"

Tribune-owned CW33 launched Nightcap on Nov. 1st after dismissing many incumbent staffers and hiring new ones. The program is billed on the air by its hosts as "a different kind of news" in keeping with the parent company's view that there are too many similarly formatted local newscasts in D-FW and around the country. Vollmar moved from Eye Opener to the 5 and 9 p.m. Nightcap at its inception, joining original co-hosts Spencer Harlan and holdover CW33 news anchor Amanda Salinas.

Harlan lately has been absent from the air, with Charlie Berens moving up from featured contributor to co-host.

Vollmar was replaced on Eye Opener by Holly Morgan, formerly of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina's WPDE-TV and a graduate of Arizona State Univeristy's Walter Cronkite School of Broadcast Journalism. The program's current on-air staff also includes ex-CBS11 anchor-reporter Nerissa Knight.

On her website, newcomer Hall bills herself as an actress, TV host, singer and songwriter -- in that order. She most recently worked as host/producer of Living Dayton, a "one-of-a-kind local lifestyle talk show" that premiered on WDTN-TV of Dayton, Ohio in February of last year. Hall also has been one of the "official emcees" of the NBA's Indiana Pacers, according to her website bio.

PREGNANT PAUSE (updated) -- This is somewhat old news, but will serve as a catchup round on Dallas TV anchor pregnancies.

Lauren Przybyl of Fox4's early morning Good Day program is the latest with child. In a Dec. 14th post on her Facebook page, Przybyl announced, "Exciting news!! My husband and I have had our wish granted. We are expecting a baby this summer. We feel truly blessed!!" Przybyl was married late last year.

Over at NBC5, anchor Meredith Land is winding down her maternity leave after birthing her second child in mid-November.

WFAA8 remains the runaway leader in anchor pregnancies, with Shelly Slater, Cynthia Izaguirre, Shon Gables and Alexa Conomos all having one or more deliveries since unclebarky.com went online in September, 2006. Slater is still on maternity leave.

During that period, Fox4 anchor Heather Hays also has had a baby. And CBS11 kept the home fires burning with sports anchor Gina Miller's first child in October of 2011.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Jan. 11-13) -- Globes roll for NBC while NFL scores bigger for Fox, CBS


Tommy Lee Killjoy: Often unpleasant in real life, he didn't take well to an extended comedy bit by Golden Globe presenters Will Ferrell and Kristin Wiig. The Twitterverse duly noticed. Photo: Ed Bark

Sunday night's 70th annual Golden Globes awards ceremony on NBC lapped up the lion's share of the prime-time audience while falling far short of the weekend's four NFL playoff games.

The Globes, winningly co-hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, averaged 392,399 D-FW viewers, with 204,122 of them in the sainted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Next month's Oscars would love to have that big a percentage of advertiser-prized viewers.

Fox and CBS otherwise had ratings field days with their quartet of NFL playoff games. In order of popularity, here are the total viewer figures (with audience levels reflecting actual running times, including the Baltimore Ravens-Denver Broncos double overtime game).

Patriots-Texans (CBS) -- 874,293
Falcons-Seahawks (Fox) -- 791,683
Ravens-Broncos (CBS) -- 757,262
49ers-Packers (Fox) -- 667,767

The Ravens-Broncos game, despite ranking third overall, had the largest peak audience of 1,011,977 viewers for the 7:15 to 7:30 p.m. portion of the overtime. Fox delayed the start of the 49ers-Packers game because of the overtime, but a small portion of the game still competed directly against the conclusion of Ravens-Broncos.

Unlike the Globes, none of the games could quite surpass the 50 percent mark in 18-to-49-year-old viewers. That's not a particularly welcome sign for the NFL. Dallas Cowboys games this season also were top-heavy with viewers 50 year and older.

Also on Sunday night, a new episode of PBS' Downton Abbey drew a respectable 178,989 total viewers opposite the Globes. The Season 2 debut of HBO's Girls didn't fare as well with 41,305 viewers but had a much higher percentage of 18-to-49-year-olds. Competing against herself, Girls star/creator Lena Dunham won two Globes Sunday night.

Saturday night's Miss America pageant on ABC, which aired opposite the 49ers-Packers game, averaged 172,105 viewers from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Friday's prime-time Nielsens as usual were paced from start to finish in total viewers by CBS' regular lineup of Undercover Boss, CSI: NY and Blue Bloods.

CSI also won among 18-to-49-year-olds, as did the first half-hour of Undercover Boss. But ABC's Malibu Country won from 7:30 to 8 p.m., with Fox's Kitchen Nightmares the runner-up. And Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast controlled the 9 p.m. hour in this key demographic.

Here are Friday's four-way local news derby results:

CBS11 easily won in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 once again controlled the 6 a.m. competitions and likewise ran the table at 5 p.m.

CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. while WFAA8 broke through for a first place finish in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 meteorologist Ron Jackson gets his gray on

DSCN3636 666799_G

Veteran Fox4 meteorologist Ron Jackson's official station website picture hasn't quite caught up yet with his latter day on-air look. Photos: Ed Bark, myfoxdfw.com

After a long stint with tint, mainstay Fox4 meteorologist Ron Jackson lately has decided to pretty much quit his dye job.

Jackson, whose primary beat is weekend shifts, has been notably grayer on air as he nears his 31-year anniversary at the Dallas-based station.

"Yeah, I decided to simply let it go -- well mostly anyway," Jackson said in an email response. "I just turned 56 and was getting too old for that Bob Barker look before he let it go."

Barker darkened his hair for decades as the host of The Price Is Right. Then all of a sudden he went white. Jackson is now mostly silver.

"When I started here, I was totally dark and never needed to color it," he said. "I guess I started about 10 to 15 years ago when I saw the gray coming in. I decided to quit coloring it about two to three months ago . . . Keeping up with the coloring was a pain, as I had to do it about every month."

Jackson said he's still using Grecian Formula to achieve a "salt and pepper look," even if the pepper is far outnumbered now. "I always thought that keeping it dark would look the best. But every time I colored it, I would get reactions from viewers to leave it gray. They say it make me look 'more distinguished.' I'm not sure about that."

His father, who died at age 62, "didn't have a gray hair on his head," Jackson noted. "It must be the weather stress I'm going through here in North Texas."

He said that with a smile. Or in email parlance, a :)

Television personalities, whether in news or pure entertainment, fight constant battles with whether to keep pretending or basically act their ages. It can be tough to give up a dye job or hairpiece cold turkey after many years of going undercover.

Jackson has yielded to Father Time without apparently unduly alarming the viewing public. This has always been far easier for men than women, though. Double standards are firmly in place, and it doesn't matter whether your news director is male or female.

So don't expect Fox4's Clarice Tinsley or WFAA8's Gloria Campos to even think about pulling a Jackson until their on-air days are over and done. Right, girls?

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Jan. 10) -- CBS/ABC split spoils

CBS' The Big Bang Theory again ranked as Thursday's top prime-time performer while ABC cashed in with new episodes of Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.

Big Bang drew 481,894 D-FW viewers in setting the table for Two and a Half Men (344,210). The network's Person of Interest and Elementary also won their time slots with respective totals of 406,168 and 289,136 viewers.

The two comedies likewise prevailed with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. But ABC won the 8 to 10 p.m. hours in this key demographic with Grey's and Scandal.

NBC's regular time slot launch of 1600 Penn, which was sneak-previewed last month, fared poorly at 7:30 p.m. It had just 75,726 total viewers, running fourth in that measurement while occupying the same spot in the 18-to-49 demographic. But NBC's preceding new episode of 30 Rock was the night's overall ratings loser on the Big Four broadcast network. It drew 55,074 total viewers.

In late night, the Dallas Mavericks' overtime win at Sacramento averaged an identically pint-sized 55,074 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest. But ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! made its best showing to date in its new 10:35 p.m. slot with wins in both total viewers and 18-49-year-olds opposite NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, CBS' Late Show with David Letterman and Fox4's syndicated combo of TMZ and Access Hollywood.

Here are Thursday's local news derby results.

WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the top spot in total viewers at 10 p.m., with WFAA8 winning outright among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 ran the table at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. while tying for first with Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: In light of the Newtown tragedy, KERA13 is airing the 2009 documentary A Reason To Live at 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11th.

Distinguished Dallas filmmakers Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell are behind the camera in this one-hour look at young adult depression and suicide. It continues to be used as a teaching tool in classrooms.

Besides interviewing a number of troubled real-life young adults and their parents, the film also includes two reenactments of calls to crisis center hotlines. They're not labeled as reenactments, though, but should have been to avoid any viewer confusion.

The Mondells made Reason to Live at the request of a family friend whose son committed suicide. It's dedicated to Benjamin Cottrell Schepps -- 1984 to 2005.

This obviously isn't typical Friday night escapist TV after another work week. But it's a valuable and worthy film aimed both at treating depression and preventing young adult suicides. Most of the afflicted who tell their stories on camera have managed to overcome their demons or at least keep them at bay via therapy and/or medication.

"People need to know. Things get better," a young woman says just before the closing credits. In the context of this film, those are words to live by.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Jan. 9) -- Chicago Fire heats up while Kimmel cools down

NBC's fall season success with The Voice and Revolution has been duly noted in these spaces. Now it looks like the Peacock may have a late bloomer in Chicago Fire.

Created by Dick (Law & Order) Wolf, Fire commandingly won its 9 p.m. slot Wednesday with 261,600 D-FW viewers. And it did so opposite the closing hour of CBS' annual People's Choice Awards (185,873) and the midseason return of ABC's Nashville (172,105).

Fire also hosed the competition among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC's Modern Family likewise swept its 8 p.m. slot before NBC's Law & Order: SVU controlled the Nielsens from 830 to 9 p.m.

The 7 p.m. hour went to CBS' I Get That A Lot in total viewers and the first half of Fox's Celebrities In Danger: The High Dive in the 18-to-49-demographic. Among those going off the deep end was Terrell Owens, who lost out to Antonio Sabato, Jr. in the climactic final splashdown.

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in its second outing at 10:35 p.m., ran second in total viewers among the three late night talkers. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which also topped Fox4's TMZ and Access Hollywood, led with 137,684 viewers, with Kimmel (68,842) outpointing CBS' Late Show with David Letterman (61,958).

Leno also thumped Kimmel among 18-to-49-year-olds after losing to him on Tuesday night. But TMZ was the overall leader in that key demographic before Leno took over at 11 p.m.

WFAA8 continues to possibly hamper Kimmel by subjecting viewers to a lengthy block of commercials following its 10 p.m. newscast. CBS11 saves a brief newscast "kicker" story for last before saying goodnight and going immediately to Letterman. NBC5 pretty much does the same, in getting very quickly from the end of its newscast to Leno. Not WFAA8. And damned if makes any sense to configure your commercials this way. But whatever.

Here are Wednesday's local news derby results.

The 10 p.m. firsts were split between NBC5 in total viewers and WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 again commanded the 6 a.m. slot in both measurements and added 5 and 6 p.m. wins with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 topped the 5 p.m. competition in total viewers and CBS11 did likewise at 6 p.m.

NBC5 saying goodbye to sports anchor-reporter Matt Barrie, who's heading to ESPN


Matt Barrie, a distinctive, live wire sports anchor-reporter for NBC5 since joining the Fort Worth-based station in 2008, has decided to take his considerable talents to ESPN.

His last day will be March 3rd, the station announced Wednesday evening.

"Matt is a terrific journalist who brought fantastic energy to the NBC5 sports team," vice president of news Susan Tully said in a statement. "We're sorry to see Matt leave, but wish him success in his new network job."

Barrie, an Arizona native, joined NBC5 from WLTX-TV in Columbia, South Carolina. One of his stories for the station, "A Game of Hope," won a national and regional Edward R. Murrow award and an Emmy.

NBC5 said a replacement hasn't been named yet. Veteran Newy Scruggs remains the station's principal sports anchor.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Jan. 8) -- mixed results for Kimmel's first 10:35 p.m. outing

ABC's inaugural edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live! in a 10:35 p.m. slot opposite Jay Leno and David Letterman had an up-and-down ride in the D-FW Nielsens Tuesday.

Let's look at the results in three major food groups -- total viewers, 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) and 18-to-49-year-olds (main target audience for entertainment programming). Because they're so close in some measurements, we'll break them down to three decimal points instead of rounding off the Nielsen numbers.

Total Viewers
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC) -- 99,821
Late Show with David Letterman (CBS) -- 99,132
TMZ (Fox4 syndicated) -- 92,937
Jimmy Kimmel Live! (ABC) -- 86,741
Access Hollywood (Fox4 syndicated) -- 70,907


TMZ -- 59,622
The Tonight Show -- 55,448
Access Hollywood -- 49,486
Jimmy Kimmel Live! -- 44,120
Late Show -- 29,811


TMZ -- 51,987
Access Hollywood -- 43,376
Jimmy Kimmel Live! -- 36,359
The Tonight Show -- 25,515
Late Show -- 22,964

WFAA8 likely didn't help Kimmel by airing a seemingly eternal block of commercials between the end of its 10 p.m. newscast and the start of Kimmel. Potential viewers are tempted to switch rather than sustain such an onslaught. Rivals NBC5 and CBS11 are much quicker on the draw in going to Leno and Letterman. But this can easily be fixed if WFAA8 management indeed thinks it needs fixing. Which it does.

ABC's Nightline, sent to a likely boneyard at 11:35 p.m. after years of serving as WFAA8's lead-out, had just 38,552 total viewers in its first outing at that later hour. On Monday, the show's last 10:35 p.m. edition drew 72,973 total viewers.

Tuesday's prime-time Nielsens were paced in a big way by CBS' 7 p.m. new episode of NCIS, which crushed it with a whopping 564,504 viewers. CBS also easily won in total viewers with its regular 8 to 10 p.m. lineup of NCIS: Los Angeles (475,010) and Las Vegas (337,326).

In the 18-to-49-year-old arena, NCIS likewise won at 7 p.m. before Fox's New Girl ran first from 8 to 8:30 p.m. and NBC's The New Normal topped the 8:30 to 9 p.m. slot. At 9 p.m., NBC's Parenthood had a comfy win in this key demographic.

Tuesday also marked the switch of KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) locally produced, baby boomer-targeted The Texas Daily to a live one-hour show at 6 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. It drew 2,065 total viewers, with a 9:30 p.m. repeat dropping to 1,377 viewers.

Over at CW33, it's looking up just a little bit for the station's locally produced Nightcap, which is aimed at younger viewers. It had an overall audience of 20,653 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, with 9,568 in the 18-to-49 age range. That's not much, but both numbers are improvements from the CW's 8 p.m. lead-in series, Emily Owens, M.D.. It had 13,768 viewers, with 3,189 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

In Tuesday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 won in total viewers at 10 p.m. while WFAA8 finished first with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m.

WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the most viewers at 6 p.m., but Fox4 took the 25-to-54 gold.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Jan. 7) -- Notre Dame pratfall deflates championship game crowd

As expected, ESPN's college national championship football game between Alabama and Notre Dame dominated Monday's prime-time D-FW Nielsens.

But the Crimson Tide's 42-14 demolition of the alleged Fighting Irish put an early lid on any really big ratings expectations. Grinding to a merciful halt at 10:40 p.m., the game averaged 578,273 viewers. That fell short of Friday night's Cotton Bowl and all four of the past weekend's NFL playoff games.

Alabama-Notre Dame peaked at 709,073 viewers between 8 and 8:15 p.m. In the final full 15-minute segment -- 10:15 to 10:30 p.m. -- the number dove down to 419,936 total viewers.

CBS punted in prime-time with an all-repeat lineup while Fox served up a Bones repeat and a throwaway final episode of its canceled The Mob Doctor. But ABC and NBC went with all-new programming, including the premiere of the Peacock's Deception.

NBC's two-hour edition of The Biggest Loser had 185,873 viewers to beat ABC's return of The Bachelor (151,452 viewers) despite the presence of Dallas resident Sean Lowe in the title role. But ABC retaliated at 9 p.m., with its new hour of Castle beating Deception by a score of 206,526 viewers to 144,568. Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast (165,221 viewers) also outdrew Deception.

Biggest Loser thumped Bachelor by a bigger margin among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. But at 9 p.m., Deception outdrew Castle in this key demographic while both dramas ran behind Fox4's news.

In Monday's four-way local news derby results, WFAA8 ran the table at 6 and 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 5 p.m. competitions and also ran first at 6 a.m. in total viewers. Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the 6 a.m. lead among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Hey, it is called the Fan Sports Show

CBS11/TXA21 meteorologist and avowed Texas A&M loyalist Jeff Jamison doubled his fun Friday night during a live shot outside Cowboys Stadium.

Jamison, appearing on TXA21's Fan Sports Show before the Aggies destroyed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, was joined by 2 broke, er, 2 (seemingly) blotto girls with a jones for Johnny "Football" Manziel. They had their looks about them, if not their wits. So Jamison happily played along while sports anchor Gina Miller laughed it up from the studio.

The dfw.cbslocal.com website later posted video of Jamison and friends with the accompanying headline, "Jeff Jamison's Live Shot Hijacked by A&M Fans." Preceded by a very brief commercial, it appears below for your enjoyment.

The Kimmel Live! 10 p.m. news leadout: coming very soon to WFAA8


ABC's Jimmy Kimmel with WFAA8's 10 p.m. anchors, John McCaa and Gloria Campos, during a Dec. 4th stop at the station. wfaa.com photo

Even with remote controls at the ready, "lead-ins" can still have a major impact at both the local and national TV levels.

They've been referenced regularly on unclebarky.com. But "lead-outs" also can play a role in how well a program performs in the Nielsen ratings. And we're nearing another possibly big test of that truism.

WFAA8's weekday 10 p.m. newscasts get a new lead-out on Tuesday, Jan. 8th, when ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! debuts at 10:35 p.m. (central) while Nightline gets pushed back to a likely 11:35 p.m. burial ground. Station management is hoping for a ratings lift, particularly among the key advertiser target audience for news programming, 25-to-54-year-olds.

The lead-out factor currently is most evident with the still potent Wheel of Fortune, which follows CBS11's 6 p.m. newscasts. The station engages in a bit of chicanery here by starting Wheel at 6:27 p.m. nightly while WFAA8 generally is in a bank of commercials following its 6 p.m. edition.

In the November ratings "sweeps," CBS11 nipped WFAA8 by a paper-thin margin in total viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. And that was in no small part due to Wheel's overall average audience of 247,831 D-FW viewers compared to just 110,147 for WFAA8's competing Entertainment Tonight. (WFAA8 willingly let Wheel go over to CBS11 in Sept. 2005, with station management publicly stating that its audience had grown too old.)

Here's another Nielsen number to digest. The second half of CBS11's 6 p.m. newscasts -- the part containing those three minutes of Wheel -- averaged 165,221 viewers in the November sweeps, up from the 137,684 who watched the 6 to 6:15 p.m. segment. WFAA8 averaged 151,452 viewers for the first half of its 6 p.m. newscasts before dipping a bit to 144,568 for the 6:15 to 6:30 p.m. part.

That made the difference -- the "warm-up" factor for Wheel on the part of viewers who had CBS11's newscast in view for at least a portion of it.

Wheel of Fortune also won its time slot, but by a far narrower margin, among 25-to-54-year-olds. But it wasn't nearly enough to keep CBS11 out of fourth place in that key demographic.

OK, let's go to latenight, where the first 15 minutes of Nightline beat all competing programming in total viewers during the November "sweeps." Among 25-to-54-year-olds, Nightline trailed only Fox4's syndicated TMZ, which got a 5-minute jump start at 10:30 p.m.

Kimmel Live!, which started at 11:05 p.m., was beaten in total viewers by the closing half-hours of both NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman. Kimmel tied Letterman among 25-to-54-year-olds, with both shows edged by Leno.

Nightline obviously is a news program, although it's gradually gotten lighter than a souffle. And a news lead-out on the face of it should be more compatible with a preceding news program. So that's a challenge for Kimmel.

It's also yet to be determined whether Kimmel's brand of humor will play well in D-FW opposite the full editions of both Leno and Letterman. It's already a given that he's not particularly in sync with WFAA8's longstanding "Family First" tagline. On the current cover of Rolling Stone, Kimmel flashes a plumber's butt crack. And the early potion of the accompanying story details Kimmel packing a dose of pot "into a ceramic one-hitter" while weighing whether to allow this to be on the record.

"Ah, f . . . it," he later says. "Write about the weed."

So it should be interesting. And the February "sweeps" ratings competition is now just three weeks away, with a Jan. 31st to Feb. 27th duration.

WFAA8's earlier gamble this fall with the syndicated Katie as its 5 p.m. local news lead-in so far has been something of a bust. Performing reasonably well nationally, Katie Couric's daytime talker ran fourth in D-FW during the November sweeps in total viewers and third with 25-to-54-year-olds. That's a far cry from what The Oprah Winfrey Show used to do for much of its quarter-century run on WFAA8.

Veteran WFAA8 anchors John McCaa and Gloria Campos now will be required to tout Kimmel's featured guest instead of Nightline. That will be quite a change of pace for them, although it's something the anchors at NBC5 and CBS11 have been doing for years.

For now, CBS11 is the defending 10 p.m. sweeps champ in total viewers -- and by an uncommonly large margin over WFAA8. But WFAA8 holds the 25-to-54 crown, where CBS11 wasn't a factor in November.

We'll let you know in March whether Jimmy Kimmel Live! proved to be a help, a hindrance or a wash.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun, Jan. 4-6) -- Johnny F'ball ranks 2nd to RG3

Texas A&M's Friday night rout of Oklahoma, led by QB Johnny "Football" Manziel, ranked as D-FW's second most-watched weekend attraction, with Fox profiting even more from Sunday's Redskins-Seahawks playoff game.

The Robert Griffin III-fueled NFL faceoff, from which he emerged with another knee injury, averaged 922,483 viewers as Fox's late afternoon game Sunday. Fox's Friday prime-time telecast of the A&M-OU Cotton Bowl from Jerry's Palace averaged 812,336 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

NBC's Saturday night Packers-Vikings playoff game had the weekend's third biggest audience with 681,536 viewers. CBS' Ravens-Colts matchup early Sunday afternoon drew 626,462 viewers while NBC's Saturday matinee, Texans and Bengals, trailed the football field with 605,810 viewers.

Sunday night's two-hour Season 3 premiere of PBS' Downton Abbey averaged 178,989 viewers, falling short of CBS' competing 8 to 10 p.m. combo of The Good Wife (192,758) and The Mentalist (213,410). The acclaimed World War I era melodrama also lost out to NBC's two-hour The Biggest Loser and Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast, both with 213,410 viewers.

Here are Friday's local news derby numbers:

CBS11 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Fox4's late-nighter was delayed by the Cotton Bowl.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and WFAA8 did likewise at 5 and 6 p.m. Fox4's 6 p.m. news gave way to a Cotton Bowl preview special that won the timeslot among 25-to-54-year-olds but placed third in total viewers.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Jan. 2-3) -- a boffo Big Bang

CBS' regular Thursday lineup returned to the living with all new episodes while rival broadcast networks either went with repeats or, in Fox's case, burned off episodes of Howie Mandel's Mobbed.

The Big Bang Theory emerged as the night's big winner, drawing 461,241 D-FW viewers in the 7 p.m. slot before Two and A Half Men (309,789) and Person of Interest (351,094) also cruised to easy wins.

CBS' 9 p.m. entry, Elementary, had 247,831 viewers in falling short of the competing hour of ESPN's Fiesta Bowl matchup between Oregon and Kansas State. The entire game averaged 275,368 viewers.

Against little resistance Wednesday night, ESPN's Sugar Bowl bout between Louisville and Florida was the overall top draw with 213,410 viewers.

Here are the local news derby results:

Wednesday -- CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 had the edge among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept both the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions. The 6 p.m. golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Thursday - The respective 10 p.m. winners were the same as Wednesday's while Fox4 again ran the table at 6 a.m.

NBC5 broke through with a 5 p.m. sweep; CBS11 topped the 6 p.m. field in total viewers and Fox4 ran first in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Jeff Smith joins NBC5's early morning reporting staff

Jeff Smith with farewell cake from WSOC-TV

Fort Worth-based NBC5 has hired Charlotte, NC reporter Jeff Smith to join its weekday early morning news staff.

The station hasn't officially announced his arrival, but Smith says on his Twitter page that he'll be starting at the end of January as "your go-to guy for news in the morning."

The New Jersey native joined ABC affiliate WSOC-TV in June 2010. He'll be a street reporter for NBC5. WSOC already has removed his bio from the station's web page.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon, Dec. 31-Tues., Jan. 1) -- WFAA8's Big NYE outdraws all New Year's Day football games

Some people might cringe, but a lot of people watched.

WFAA8's 6th annual Big D NYE presentation from Victory Park Plaza lit up the late night D-FW Nielsen ratings, averaging 419,936 viewers for its 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. running time.

Hosted by weathercaster Pete Delkus and sports anchor Dale Hansen with supporting roles by Gordon Keith, Ron Corning and Amy Vanderoeuf, the sometimes unintentionally comic production has become a big draw in recent years. So much so that no New Year's Day football game could equal its audience.

Coming closest was ESPN's Rose Bowl between Wisconsin and Stanford. It averaged 330,442 viewers locally in edging ABC's runner-up Georgia-Nebraska Capital One Bowl (316,673 viewers).

ESPN's prime-time Orange Bowl game -- Florida State and Northern Illinois -- had 268,484 viewers while the network's South Carolina-Michigan Outback Bowl drew 123,916. ESPN2's Northwestern-Mississippi State Gator Bowl lagged far behind with 20,653 viewers. Ratings for ESPNU's lopsided Oklahoma State-Purdue Heart of Dallas Bowl were not available, but likely didn't amount to much on the network's fourth-tier channel.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot -- Cowboys roundup


A worn Cowboys fan greets Tony Romo's win-killing interception with a same-old/same-old jack o' lantern smile. Photo: Ed Bark

The Dallas Cowboys saved their best TV ratings until last while also ending the season with another do or die loss.

Snatched from Fox and showcased in prime-time on NBC's Sunday Night Football, the 28-18 closer at Washington averaged 1,652,208 D-FW viewers. That easily topped the audience for the Cowboys' season-opening upset win over the Giants. More on this later.

The Cowboys as usual were a much bigger hit among older viewers than younger ones. Nielsen Media Research data says that 771,732 of the viewers were 50 years or older, with 319,257 of them in the 65+ range.

In contrast, 273,155 viewers in the 18-to-34 demographic watched the Redskins win the NFL East title and advance to the post-season. In the world of prime-time TV entertainment, that audience composition gives most advertisers the chills. But the bulk audience for the Cowboys remains immense.

Sunday's second-biggest TV attraction, the Vikings' high-scoring win over the Packers on Fox, drew 647,115 total viewers, with 263,180 of them 50 years or older. Among 18-to-34-year-olds, the game had 130,712 viewers.

During the holiday season, the Cowboys also lost an overtime home thriller to the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 23rd. Fox amassed 1,094,588 total viewers for that noon-starting game.

Now that the 2012 season is over and out, here's a look at the top-to-bottom D-FW crowds for all 16 Cowboys games. Measurements are in total viewers, with D-FW ranking as the No. 5 TV market in the country with 6.884 million available viewers.

Cowboys at Washington Redskins, Dec. 30 on NBC -- 1,652,208
Cowboys at New York Giants, Sept. 5 on NBC -- 1,348,046
Redskins at Cowboys, Nov. 22 (Thanksgiving Day) on Fox -- 1,301,114
Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons, Nov. 4 on NBC -- 1,280,461
Giants at Cowboys, Oct. 28 on Fox -- 1,218,503
Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys, Dec. 2 on NBC -- 1,218,503
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys, Dec. 16 on CBS -- 1,177,198
Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks, Sept. 16 on Fox -- 1,110,952
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys, Sept. 23 on Fox -- 1,110,952
Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 9 on Fox -- 1,108,356
Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens, Oct. 14 on Fox -- 1,101,472
New Orleans Saints at Cowboys, Dec. 23 on Fox -- 1,094,588
Cowboys at Eagles, Nov. 11 on Fox -- 1,087,704
Chicago Bears at Cowboys, Oct. 1 on ESPN/TXA21 -- 1,018,862
Cleveland Browns at Cowboys, Nov. 18 on CBS -- 984,441
Cowboys at Carolina Panthers, Oct. 21 on Fox -- 950,020

Comment: Two Cowboys games fell below the one million mark this season. And the Oct. 1 blowout loss to the Bears on Monday Night Football barely got over that hump.

As previously reported, the Cowboys hadn't dipped below one million viewers since an embarrassing Halloween Sunday home loss to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. But that game, with a TV crowd of 907,276, basically served as a warmup act for that night's Game 5 of the 2010 World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants. The Cowboys fell to 1-6 with that loss en route to the firing of head coach Wade Phillips after the following week's humiliation in Green Bay.

But this season's climactic TV audience for the Cowboys -- 1,652,208 -- far exceeded the crowd for last season's win-or-go-home finale. The Cowboys' season-ending thrashing by the Giants drew 1,490,302 viewers on NBC. On the other hand, many tuned out down the homestretch of a 31-14 thumping by the G-men.

The Cowboys remain a huge draw in Big D, despite overall diminished ratings this season. But they're going to have to generate stronger appeal among advertiser-coveted younger viewers, many of whom have seen nothing but mediocrity from "America's Team."

Winning cures all ills. But another non-playoff season could well double the number of sub-one million audiences in 2013.