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WFAA8 reporter opts for bigger stage in Big Apple (updated)

Dallas-based WFAA8 is losing a full-time reporter and occasional substitute anchor to ABC's flagship station in New York. Get the details here. Also, we scrutinize Tuesday night's battle for post-terrorist arrest scoops between 10 p.m. news kingpins WFAA8 and CBS11. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings again show CBS on a roll with prime-time crime.

Plus we chart the first week of the 2009-10 TV season. Who's up, who's down and who's down and out in the national Nielsen ratings? Come and get it here.
Ed Bark

Grammer, Heaton take two more shots in new ABC comedies

After working together in Fox's failed Back To You, Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton are back-to-back Wednesday nights in ABC's Hank and The Middle. Our reviews are here. Also, Monday's D-FW Nielsen ratings break down the Cowboys' latest triumphant march through some high-profile network programming. Plus, Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against CBS received a major slap-down Tuesday. We have the details here.
Ed Bark

Rowlett at rest, with a little teaching on the side


Former anchor Tracy Rowlett after teaching at SMU. Photo: Ed Bark

Tracy Rowlett, who spent 35 years in front of a camera at WFAA8 and then CBS11, seems more content in semi-retirement. He's also doing a little teaching, though. Check out our update on one of D-FW's signature news anchors.
Ed Bark

Crash/boom -- Trauma barges onto NBC

The last of NBC's new fall series, Trauma, premieres Monday. It looks like they may have spent some of that money they're saving on The Jay Leno Show. Our review is here. Also, the weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings have plenty to report.
Ed Bark

Fox's Cleveland Show makes it three from Seth

Seth MacFarlane, Fox's King of Cartoons, adds another notch Sunday night with the premiere of The Cleveland Show. Our review is here, where we also note the arrival of Ken Burns' latest PBS opus and the return of Showtime's Dexter for Season 4.
Ed Bark

D-FW's 10 p.m. newscasts converge on aborted terrorist bombing (updated with other links to inside stuff)

There was no disputing Thursday's biggest news. A would-be bomber's thwarted attempt to level downtown Dallas's Fountain Place building topped the 10 p.m. newscasts of all four major TV news providers. We assess the coverage here. Also, it was another big night in the fall season ratings wars. Click here for our "snapshot" of which big-ticket attractions drew the most D-FW viewers.

Plus, the new Fox sitcom Brothers launches on Friday night, Sept. 25. It stars former New York Giants mainstay Michael Strahan, but the actress who plays his mama carries the ball. Our review is here.
Ed Bark

ABC's FlashForward begins accelerating

Preceded by the fall season's biggest promotional campaign, ABC's FlashForward at last is nearly here. And our unclebarky.com review is here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show how four new series fared locally. And for grins, take a look at a quick but classic Daybreak blooper.
Ed Bark

Our marathon run continues

Four more new fall series premiere Wednesday. Click here for our combined reviews of ABC's Modern Family, Cougar Town and Eastwick. NBC's newcomer, Mercy, is critiqued here. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are largely a big plus for CBS -- and a nice little plus for The 33's new 5:30 p.m. local newscast.
Ed Bark

Throw another new whodunit on the fire -- namely ABC's The Forgotten

ABC's first series from CBS hitmaker Jerry Bruckheimer -- a crime drama, of course -- joins Tuesday night's roster of premieres. Our review of The Forgotten is here.
Ed Bark

Cowboys-Giants set record high for Sunday Night Football while Emmys escape record low

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Dagnabbit, we lost the dadgummed game: Perturbed Cowboys coach Wade Phillips and happier Emmy host Neil Patrick Harris Sunday.

The New York Giants last second win over the Dallas Cowboys set a national ratings record for NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Averaging 24.8 million viewers, it also was the most-watched prime-time regular season NFL game since the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers drew 27 million viewers on Dec. 15, 1997.

The season opener in Jerry's Palace supplants last season's Dec. 14th Cowboys-Giants game, which had 23.1 million viewers on Sunday Night Football. The Cowboys also were involved in the fourth most-watched SNF game, when 22.2 million watched them beat the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 21st of last year.

Caught in the pincers of Cowboys-Giants, CBS' competing telecast of the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards managed 13.47 million viewers. That's an uptick over last fall's 12.34 million viewers, making Sunday's telecast the fourth least-watched of all time. The 1990 Emmys on Fox still hold the record with 12.3 million viewers.

Emmy had its biggest audience in 1986, when 35.8 million watched NBC's presentation.

CBS invigorates its Tuesday lineup with effective spinoff, terrific newcomer (updated)

The new TV season continues unfolding Tuesday, with CBS in the driver's seat. Check out our reviews of Julianna Margulies' The Good Wife and another crime spinoff, NCIS: Los Angeles. Also, we chart the Dancing with the Stars debuts of Tom DeLay and Michael Irvin on the TV Bulletin Board page. And we have a complete look at how an array of heavy-hitting prime-time attractions fared in D-FW on the first official night of the fall season. Your destination for that is our daily "Local Nielsen ratings snapshot."
Ed Bark

More new stuff inside -- pant, pant

It's been a very busy Sunday and Monday. Check out our new unclebarky.com posts on Lauren Przybyl's Good Day debut and the blockbuster D-FW ratings for Sunday night's Cowboys-Giants game. Also, we review CBS' latest Monday night sitcom entry, Accidentally On Purpose starring Jenna Elfman.
Ed Bark

Cowboys, Emmys, Megan

CBS threw on the annual prime-time Emmy Awards against the Cowboys game Sunday night. Neither was particularly pretty. Our Emmy coverage is here and our take on the Cowboys is here. Also, former Good Day anchor Megan Henderson can be seen on a rival D-FW station's newscasts this week. Get the details here.
Ed Bark

Cowboys new stadium gets joy ride on NBC's Today

NBC's Today show touched down at Jerry's palace in Arlington Friday for two-hours of adulation. The Cowboys' owner couldn't have scripted it any better himself. Click here for our review and accompanying pictures. Also, Thursday's D-FW Nielsen ratings show Jay Leno losing for the first time to a competing program. A rerun no less. But he made up for it with strong showings among advertiser-targeted viewers.

Plus we gamely make our Emmy picks in the face of Sunday's competition from the Cowboys' home opener. And check out the review of HBO's new Bored to Death comedy series, which will follow the Season 7 premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm this Sunday.
Ed Bark

Unclebarky.com careens into 4th year of existence

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A contemplative little Unca Barky envisions running his own website someday while perched comfortably on a patch of Racine, Wis. slush.

Established on Sept. 17, 2006, unclebarky.com turned three yesterday and starts its fourth year today as your homegrown purveyor of local and national TV news and reviews.

Its proprietor, pictured above during a deep, long-ago reverie, pledges/threatens to keep the site operative well into the foreseeable future. Thanks to all who have tuned in so far. Your praise, criticism and readership are the matches that light the fire.
Ed Bark

Guest envy? Leno gets the cream, Conan tills the crops (updated)

The Jay Leno Show is off to a big ratings start for NBC, which seems perfectly willing to let him line up the big-name guests while Conan O'Brien's Tonight Show is left with scraps or seconds. Check out our blow-by-blow guest breakdown for the next two weeks on the TV Bulletin Board page. Also, we review NBC's new Community comedy series and bring you the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings. And Cinemax's Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo, reviewed here, looks up-close at a violent, last of a kind Oklahoma "tradition."
Ed Bark

DeLay derailed? He says not

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Wacky ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay could find himself on ABC's health care plan after hurting his foot during rehearsals for Dancing with the Stars.

In this day and age, he of course tweeted about it.

Tweet 1: "Old age is catching up to me, may have a stress fracture in my foot. no worries, it'll take more than that to keep me off the dance floor!"

Tweet 2: "No stress fracture! It is a pre-stress fracture. I live for another day."

We'll see about that when Dancing premieres on Monday, Sept. 21st. Meanwhile, here's official ABC footage of DeLay rehearsing with pro partner and two-time champ Cheryl Burke, who tells him he looks "a little floaty."

New inside

Incoming Good Day co-anchor Lauren Przybyl made a few taped cameo appearances Wednesday on the Fox4 waker-upper. We've got details and pictures here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show a sizable dropoff for The Jay Leno Show, which nonetheless still won its time period Tuesday. And we review HDNet Movies' latest "Sneak Preview" film, The Burning Plain, which opens in theaters Friday after three free looks Wednesday night.
Ed Bark

New North Texas public radio music station set for Nov. 9 debut

KXT radio (91.7 FM), the new music arm of North Texas Public Broadcasting Inc. (KERA), will launch on Nov. 9th, providing nine to 11 hours of weekday local programming.

The announcement came Wednesday after Dallas-based KERA received official approval from the Federal Communications Commission to acquire the operating license. The 91.7 FM call letters currently are KKXT, but KERA has decided to subtract one of the Ks after initially trying to re-scramble them into a TX of some sort.

"We tried to secure call letters that conveyed a sense of place, but everything with the combination of 'TX' was already licensed," KERA president and CEO Mary Anne Alhadeff said in a statement. "Yet, the reversal of the letters with KXT was different, and we liked that."

The station will debut with the 7 a.m. locally produced KXT Morning Show and also will feature mid-afternoon and evening components. Local hosts and special program features will be announced later.

An array of national programs also is on the schedule, most prominently UnderCurrents from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays. According to KERA's description, UnderCurrents "provides a thoughtful, yet playful free-form music mix: rock, folk, blues, reggae, dub, electronica, hip-hop, world and roots music." What, no polka?

Here's the complete KXT schedule:
kxt radio logo grid 8-09

Leno laps up extra-large ratings

D-FW viewers went for the premiere of The Jay Leno Show in a big way Monday night, particularly during Kanye West's one-night act of contrition. Our latest ratings "snapshot" has all the details. Also, we review The CW's new The Beautiful Life: TBL, a series about New York-based models that should fit right in with Wednesday's preceding America's Next Top Model.
Ed Bark

Comedy tonight: The Jay Leno Show vs. those teases for NBC5's late night newscasts

NBC's exhaustively promoted Jay Leno Show finally premiered Monday night. So did a new brand of teases for Fort Worth-based NBC5's 10 p.m. newscasts. Hmm, which was funnier? We look at Jay's opening night here, and NBC5's paper sack wearing flasher gambit here.
Ed Bark

Swift kick: Kanye again makes spectacle of self

The big boor struck again Sunday on MTV's Video Music Awards. Many D-FW viewers likely had better things to see -- including the Season 2 finale of HBO's True Blood, another new episode of AMC's Mad Men or the Packers battling and finally beating the Bears on NBC's Sunday Night Football thriller.

Kanye West is Monday morning's No. 1 buzz, though, for his roundly booed interruption of Taylor Swift's acceptance speech after she won a "Best Female Video" thingee.

"Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'm going to let you finish," West said after taking the mike from her. "But Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time."

Fellow nominee Beyonce looked on quizzically from the audience while Swift was rendered speechless. This is only the latest in a series of West outbreaks. He doesn't like to lose. Nor does he like to see people win other than other than those he thinks should.

Taking the stage later, Beyonce invited Swift back for a do-over. Which she did. West later apologized on his blog, telling the world he's "sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom." Indeed he's sorry. Here's how it came down:

R.I.P. Larry Gelbart (Feb. 25, 1928 to Sept. 11, 2009)


Larry Gelbart (3rd from right) with cast members of M*A*S*H at this year's TV Land awards. He also wrote for Sid Caesar's legendary Your Show of Shows during a 65-year career in TV/film/radio.

Larry Gelbart, an all-time great TV writer whose masterwork was M*A*S*H, died Friday after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 81.

Gelbart's TV credits also include Sid Caesar's renowned Your Show of Shows and two acclaimed HBO movies, Barbarians at the Gate and Weapons of Mass Distraction. For the big screen he wrote Tootsie, Oh, God! and Blame It On Rio. And for the stage he penned A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in partnership with Stephen Sondheim and Burt Shevelove.

Gelbart broke into show business as a 16-year-old, writing for the Danny Thomas radio show. In his last major honor, he was inducted last year into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. It was long, long overdue.

Jay talking -- and other new stuff inside (updated)

Drawing from a teleconference earlier this week, we take a long look at Jay Leno and the risk he's taking with his new five-nights-a-week, prime-time comedy hour. Includes pictures and a short comedy film at the end. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are a bonanza for Thursday night's NFL kickoff. There's a new TV Bulletin Board, too. And we've got an already evocative clip featuring three former WFAA8 news personalities who were still with the Dallas-based station just a couple of years back.

Plus we'd like to remind you a final time about the "Take Dale Out to the Ballgame" fund, which actually benefits the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation for underprivileged kids. If you enjoy this site -- or just love to hate it -- please send a buck or two in support of a far worthier cause. All the details are here.
Ed Bark

Today to make the scene at Jerry's new spread

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NBC's Today will touch down at Jerry's Palace on Friday, Sept. 18th to trumpet the Dallas Cowboys' home opener against the Giants on Sunday Night Football.

Co-hosts Matt Lauer and Al Roker will do the show live from Arlington, with former Cowboys great (and current Cowboys naysayer Emmitt Smith) providing a behind-the-scenes tour of the $1.12 billion football emporium. Smith made news this week by predicting his old team will go 7-9 this season.

The occasion also will mark the first Today story by former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager, NBC says. She was recently hired as a Washington, D.C.- based contributing correspondent.

Also in the Today mix: Lauer will interview Cowboys owner Jerry Jones while Roker spends some quality time with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Plus, Lauer and Roker get to sample some of the new stadium's food choices.

"What's a Przybyl?"

Faithful unclebarky.com readers already know the answer to the above, but Dallas-based Fox4 is still playing name games in a new promotional spot. Get the details here. Also, Wednesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings pitted the fall season premiere of Fox's So You Think You Can Dance against President Obama's health care reform speech to Congress. And check out our review of The CW's new The Vampire Chronicles.

Plus, consider sending a buck or two to the "Take Dale Out to the Ballgame" fund, which actually will benefit the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation. All the specifics are here. And we thank you.
Ed Bark

A surprise but savvy choice: Idol picks Ellen

Fox's American Idol struck faster than expected Wednesday night, naming Ellen DeGeneres to replace Paul Abdul and become the show's fourth judge. Get our take here.
Ed Bark

It might be, it could be, it is -- the launch of our "Take Dale Out to the Ballgame" drive

WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen says his Dallas-based station doesn't have enough money budgeted to send him to the ballpark for a live sportscast during the upcoming 9-game Texas Rangers homestand. Not that he's been much of a baseball fan anyway. But unclebarky.com has a plan -- in the form of a "Take Dale Out to the Ballgame" fundraiser. Actually it will benefit the very worthy Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation. But Hansen's the guy who'll have to take one for the team. Get all the details here. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Ed Bark

Glee brightens Fox anew

After another big buildup, Fox's Glee returns Wednesday, Sept. 9th, for its first full-fledged fall season. We take another look here. Also, NBC5 coughs up a big lead-in audience Tuesday night, with our latest D-FW ratings snapshot picking up the pieces. And the 15th edition of CBS' The Amazing Race has an unusual brother duo, with one of them from Fort Worth.
Ed Bark

Melrose re-do launches fall TV season

The CW begins its fall season festivities Tuesday night with a compatible pairing of the returning 90210 and the network's new version of Melrose Place, last seen 10 seasons ago on Fox. Our soap-sudded review is here. Also, the holiday weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings are in.
Ed Bark

From Woodstock bliss to Manson mayhem

The summer of '69 had a decidedly ugly side, too. History Channel's two-hour Manson, premiering Labor Day night, combines actor re-enactments and interviews with the likes of former "Family" member Linda Kasabian. Our review is here. Also, WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen again lifts a leg on the Rangers. And CBS11 is losing a member of its 10 p.m. reporting team.
Ed Bark

Charting the new fall TV season: Datebook

Network television's latest fall season kicks off unofficially next Tuesday with the premiere of The CW's Melrose Place and the return of 90210. We've got all of the network-by-network dates for you on our illustrated down-loadable look at what's coming when. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings end an early morning slumber for an otherwise decaffeinated waker-upper.
Ed Bark

Lady in waiting: Sawyer will helm ABC's World News after Gibson retires in January

Charles Gibson's decision to depart ABC's World News gives Diane Sawyer the job she'd wanted before rival Katie Couric made history. Get all the details here, including a telltale quote from Gibson during last year's stop in Dallas. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are dominated by NBC5 and Fox4. And the Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place The Movie, starring Grand Prairie's Selena Gomez, is another jolt to broadcast networks' ratings pictures. Check out the boffo numbers and get other TV tidbits on our Bulletin Board page.

Plus, Dallas-based CW33's news director comments for the first time to unclebarky.com on the rumored dating between his newly hired high school sports reporter and Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo. It's all here.
Ed Bark

A busy September beckons

Television's annual pre-Labor Day lull will soon give way to a flood of fall season premieres, beginning with the return of Fox's Glee on Wednesday, Sept. 9th.

You can read all about them on reader-friendly unclebarky.com, which also will reach its third anniversary this month.

In the meantime, in between time, August posts are fading into the archives on various UB destinations. We begin with the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page, which chills with a collection of clips starring D-FW anchors and a certain red-headed talk show host experiencing varying forms of reptile dysfunction.

Also, the Network News & Reviews page has a brisk catch-up clip of ABC's Desperate Housewives, which starts Season 6 on Sept. 27th. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are a celebratory hoe-down for ABC.

Please remember that you, too, can put a few pennies in this website's pockets by clicking on our amazon.com ads before making your purchases. Give our other advertisers an occasional look, too. It all helps.

Thanks again for reading and participating. It's always appreciated.
Ed Bark