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TV Bulletin Board (Wed., Sept. 28) -- 1st Trump-Clinton debate on ratings high


@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The national audience for Monday night’s first of three scheduled Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debates didn’t come close to projections of 100 million viewers.

And it fell well short of the 115.2 million viewers for the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX, which still ranks as the most-watched television program ever.

But the debate became first in its class among all general election presidential face-offs, with its 84,011,000 viewers surpassing the previous record of 80.6 million for the lone 1980 encounter between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter.

Trump-Clinton also easily surpassed 2012’s first debate between President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, which had 67,187,000 viewers according to Nielsen Media Research.

The 84 million figure for Clinton-Trump was drawn from 13 networks and does not include online watching or viewing in bars, restaurants, dormitories, etc.

Seven Super Bowls have drawn more than 100 million viewers to date, with just over half of them (26) pulling in more viewers than Trump-Clinton. The finales of M*A*S*H and Cheers also drew more total viewers.

Precise total viewer measurements for the Nov. 21, 1980 “Who Shot J.R.?” episode of Dallas and the Jan. 30, 1977 finale of Roots are harder to come by. Back then, Nielsen used “household” numbers to gauge a program’s popularity. Most sources now say that based on current-day audience measurements, both programs drew in excess of 80 million viewers. There was far less competition then, but also an appreciably smaller viewer pool.

Monday’s debate crushed the most-watched Oscar ceremony ever. The 1998 telecast, during which the immensely popular Titanic won for best picture, had 55,249,000 viewers.

***Jane Pauley has been named to succeed the retiring Charles Osgood as host of CBS Sunday Morning. The former Today star is scheduled to step in on Oct. 9th. She has been a contributor on the program since 2014.

Osgood hosted the Emmy-laden program for 22 years after replacing the late Charles Kuralt, who had a 15-year tenure.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., Aug. 30) -- Perry stumbles upon Dancing with the Stars

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Rick Perry with new DWTS partner Emma Slater and at a debate. ABC/file photos

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Apparently addicted to being quickly voted off big stages, Rick Perry’s next venture is Dancing with the Stars, where he’ll be hoofing and puffing next month after two failed presidential campaigns.

The former Texas governor joined a field of 13 announced Tuesday by ABC. When the 23rd edition of the show launches on Sept. 12th, he’ll be paired with pro dancer Emma Slater.

Other names you might recognize include recently disgraced Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, Dallas native Vanilla Ice (real name Robert Van Winkle), Marilu Henner, Maureen McCormick, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Calvin Johnson Jr., who had dropped the Jr. while playing in the NFL.

In video clips on ABC’s media site, Perry describes his new dance partner as “fabulously lovely and charming . . . I knew that I had hit the lottery.” Slater in turn calls him “devilishly handsome.”

Perry notes that he competed live onstage in previous Republican candidate debates, including his infamous “Oops” moment in the 2012 presidential contest. “It’s just in a little different silo,” he says of DWTS. “You’re out there without a wire every week.”

He pledges to speak up for veterans for however long he lasts. “This isn’t about me,” Perry says. “This is about the veterans in this country. We’re gonna tell a lot of their supporting stories” while also touting the organization “Advance the Colors.”

And in case you don’t think Perry’s in it to win it, well, “On a one to 10, I’m about 11.5 on the competitive scale,” he contends. “We came to win.”

Slater says she’ll be journeying to Texas for as long as Perry lasts to groom him for the samba, the rhumba, the fox trot, etc. She promises to push him hard. “No slack,” says Perry. “That’s how I like it.”

He’s not the first Texas politician to give DWTS a whirl. Tom DeLay, the former House Majority Leader until alleged ethics violations waylaid him, participated in the show’s ninth edition before withdrawing in Week 3 with an injury. In that same edition, ex-Dallas Cowboys star receiver and Hall of Famer Michael Irvin lasted all the way to Week 9.

But wait, there’s more. Former Dallas Cowboys star running back and Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith won the third edition of DWTS and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban competed in the fifth edition before being voted off in Week 5.

Besides the previously mentioned competitors, the latest DWTS field also will include Amber Rose, Jake T. Austin, James Hinchcliffe, Jana Kramer, Laurie Hernandez and Terra Jole, who’s a native of San Antonio.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Wed., April 20) -- Game's on this summer for ABC


Host Steve Harvey gets revved on Celebrity Family Feud. ABC photo

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Last summer’s launch of Celebrity Family Feud came up very big in the ratings for ABC. So here come new versions of To Tell the Truth and The $100,000 Pyramid in addition to the returns of Feud and 500 Questions.

ABC’s summertime game show palooza starts early on Thursday, May 26th with Season 2 of 500 Questions, hosted by Nightline anchor Dan Harris (Ted Koppel again throws up in his mouth) and produced by reality maestro Mark Burnett (Survivor, Shark Tank, etc.).

To Tell the Truth arrives on Tuesday, June 14th, with Anthony Anderson in charge of a celebrity panel that includes Betty White, NeNe Leakes, Jalen Rose and a weekly guest. For the many who don’t remember the original, this is the show where three people all claim to be the same person. But only one is.

Host Steve Harvey will add to his riches by again hosting Celebrity Family Feud, which returns on Sunday, June 26th. Harvey also has another big hit of late as the host of NBC’s Little Big Shots while continuing to preside over his daytime talk show. If anything, his famed Miss Universe gaffe has only made him bigger and more marketable.

The $100,000 Pyramid also premieres on June 26th. Michael Strahan (more on him later) will be hosting the timeless word association game. No celebrity participants have been announced yet.

There also are some new non-game show entries.

ABC is more than a little late to this particular game after FX drew virtually universal critical praise for its 10-part The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.
But O. J.: Made In America is coming anyway -- on Saturday, June 11th. It’s a seven-part documentary series from the producers of ESPN’s acclaimed 30 for 30 sports series. So this could be very good, too.

Uncle Buck also is coming -- on Tuesday, June 14th. Mike Epps plays the title character in this sure to be very broad sitcom. CBS offered a quickly canceled Uncle Buck series back in fall 1990, with Kevin Meaney starring. If only they’d wise up and retitle these things Uncle Barky.

***The aforementioned Strahan will be joining ABC’s Good Morning America as a full-time co-anchor in September while also leaving Live with Kelly and Michael, which is syndicated by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Strahan has co-hosted for the show for the past four seasons, and a search for his replacement will begin in the fall, ABC says in a publicity release.

ABC News president James Goldston praised Strahan as a “great modern thinker and leader, and with our brilliant team in front of and behind the cameras, he will help us drive forward into a very exciting future.”

Strahan called his time with Kelly and Michael “transformative. And my departure will be bittersweet.”

He’ll also continue as a co-host of NFL on Fox, which makes Strahan every bit as busy as -- Steve Harvey.

***Lifetime’s new clarion call is “Welcome to the Fempire.” It’s the network’s way of introducing a new 2016-’17 development slate that will include projects from Selena Gomez, Serena Williams, Janet Jackson and Rhonda Rousey.

Get a load of this mouthful from Lifetime programming head Liz Gately, who says in a publicity release: “Lifetime will expand its brand into a multi-platform destination with an aggressive investment in short-form digital content that will engage and entertain our viewers 24/7. With content and conversations curated around the fourth wave of feminism, ‘The Fempire’ will be a place where women come to share videos and conversations, connect with friends, learn new things and most importantly, be entertained. It still sucks to be a woman in America because women feel dismissed in both big and small ways throughout their day every day. We know our viewers come to Lifetime because we empower them.”

Uncle Barky feels dismissed.

***NBC says that Season 2 of its Charles Manson-themed Aquarius will premiere on Thursday, June 16th with a commercial-free two-hour episode.

Last summer’s Season One had lousy ratings by conventional standards, prompting NBC to send it off to Saturday night Siberia for the end of its 13-episode run. But the Peacock also streamed Aquarius in its entirety after its debut. And the network says that a “surge of online viewers for the series created demand for a second season.”

David Duchovny stars as a hard-boiled, Joe Friday-ish detective in Aquarius, with Gethin Anthony as Manson. Season 2 will add Manson “Family” member Charles “Tex” Watson to the mix, with Cameron Deane Stewart playing him.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Tues., March 8) -- Dancing with the Stars ups its game

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Antonio Brown, Von Miller and their pro partners on DWTS. ABC photos

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The 22nd edition of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars has come to play with two current bonafide NFL stars in its current mix.

Reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller of the Denver Broncos and All-Pro receiver/punt returner Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers are among the 12 contestants ready to hoof and puff when DWTS resumes on March 21st.

Recent editions of the long-running “reality competition” series have been heavy on has-beens and short of legitimate A- or even B-listers. The latest field also is spiced by Fox News Channel’s Geraldo Rivera; one of Donald Trump’s ex wives, Marla Maples; and Good Morning America meteorologist Ginger Zee. Her participation is questionable at best, but will give ABC’s GMA a built-in new DWTS angle beyond the usual cooing and catering. It does raise the question, though, of whether ABC’s news division draws any lines at all anymore.

Here’s the complete field and their pro partners:

Von Miller and Witney Carson
Antonio Brown and Sharna Burgess
Marla Maples and Tony Dovolani
Geraldo Rivera and Edyta Sliwinska
Ginger Zee and Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Mischa Barton and Artem Chigvintsev
Kim Fields and Sasha Farber
Jodie Sweetin and Keo Motsepe
Doug Flutie and Karina Smirnoff
Wanya Morris and Lindsay Arnold
Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas
Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

TV Bulletin Board (Fri., Jan. 29) -- Fox will bow to The Passion on Palm Sunday

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Passion players Trisha Yearwood, Tyler Perry, Chris Daughtry.

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Grease is the word this Sunday (Jan. 31st) on Fox, but the network also is planning a blessed musical event for Palm Sunday.

Live from New Orleans on March 20th, it’s The Passion. Fox just announced that Latin heartthrob Jencarlos Canela will star as a singing Jesus Christ. Others on board include Trisha Yearwood as Mother Mary and former American Idol finalist Chris Daughtry as Judas. Actor/producer/director Tyler Perry will host and narrate the two-hour production.

Fox publicity materials say the “epic music event” (7 to 9 p.m. central) is set in modern times and “will unfold live at some of New Orleans’ most iconic locations, while featuring a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from outside the Superdome to the live stage at Woldenberg Park on the banks of the Mississippi River.” It’s all from Dick Clark Productions.

CBS has announced the post-Super Bowl 50 guests for Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He’ll be joined on Feb. 7th by Tina Fey and Margot Robbie (stars of the upcoming feature film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot), Will Ferrell (plugging Zoolander 2) and Key & Peele (plugging Keanu).

Colbert, still trailing NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon by substantial margins in both total viewers and advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, is hoping the added exposure will give him a boost. It’s the first time a late night show has been the post-Super Bowl attraction.


Donald Trump is busy doing something else, but NBC is going ahead with an eighth edition of Celebrity Apprentice hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The newly announced 16 contestants include two former star running backs who graduated to the NFL after big careers at Texas universities. Former SMU RB Eric Dickerson, who joined Craig James in the school’s “Pony Express” backfield, will compete for Arnold’s favor along with ex-Texas Longhorns RB Ricky Williams, who earlier won the Heisman trophy.

The other celebrities -- and the term has to be used rather loosely -- are Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Carnie Wilson, Vince Neil, Chael Sonnen, Porsha Williams, Laila Ali, Boy George, Brooke Burke-Charvet, Matt Iseman, Carrie Keagan, Carson Kressley, Lisa Leslie, Kyle Richards and poor Jon Lovitz.

Arnold’s “advisors,” most of whom more famous than many of the celebrities, are Warren Buffet, Tyra Banks, Jessica Alba and Patrick Knapp Schwarzenegger, the host’s nephew.

A new kiss-off tagline will have to be deployed. Perhaps Arnold will declare “You’re terminated.” Or maybe he’ll opt for the gentler “You won’t be back.” NBC hasn’t announced an air date yet.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net