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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 13-14) -- NBC still squeezes out a win with NFL lemon

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The biggest Thursday Night Football stinker of the season still had surprisingly fragrant ratings.

NBC strived to dress up the sub-meaningless Denver Broncos-Indianapolis Colts matchup with a “Sky Cam” motif that may have in part turned the trick. The Broncos’ 25-13 win at Indianapolis averaged 249,274 D-FW viewers on NBC and tacked on another 28,488 for the NFL Net’s simulcast. That was good enough to win every 15-minute segment from 8 to 10:30 p.m. after NBC’s portion of the game lost by a sliver from 7:30 to 8 p.m. opposite CBS’ Young Sheldon.

Broncos-Colts otherwise easily won from start to stop with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with NBC pulling in an average of 87,377 and the NFL Net chipping in with a scant 9,362.

Fox’s pair of first-run Christmas specials, Taraji’s White Hot Holidays and Showtime at the Apollo: Christmas, came nowhere close to football in either ratings measurement. In fact, Fox4’s following 9 p.m. local newscast had bigger crowds in both cases -- while also losing out to Broncos-Colts.

In Wednesday’s prime-time proceedings, CBS’ 7 p.m. hour of Survivor was the top draw in total viewers (256,396) while Fox’s Empire drew the most 18-to-49-year-olds (87,377).

Here are the local news derby results.

Wednesday -- TEGNA8 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 continued to run wild at 6 a.m. with dominant twin wins and also swept the 6 p.m. competitions. NBC5 ran the ratings table at 5 p.m.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 swept a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. while NBC5 was blotted out by the Thursday Night Football run over.

Fox4 again logged two firsts at 6 a.m. and also won with 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 and 6 p.m. NBC5 had the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

NBC5 adds Minnesota's Jack Highberger to reporting staff

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Jack Highberger from Minneapolis’ Fox-owned KMSP-TV is the latest addition to Fort Worth-based NBC5’s reporting staff, sources confirm.

He’ll primarily cover Dallas after spending the last three years at KMSP. His first day at NBC5 will be Jan. 15th.

Highberger previously was a reporter for KGPE-TV and KSEE-TV in Fresno, CA. He’s a graduate of Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

His KMSP station bio describes Highberger as an “old soul” who “loves classic movies and records and is always looking to add to his collection.” In a companion Q&A, Highberger says the “most beautiful film I’ve ever seen is (Bernardo Bertolucci’s) The Conformist.” Now that’s going deep.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Countdown to Christmas -- Episode Three

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Credit Johnny Cash for being open to offbeat entertainers on his Christmas specials. In 1979, with an assist from June Carter Cash, he welcomed Andy Kaufman as Santa Claus. Or “Sanny Claus,” as she put it.

Later in the show, Kaufman returned to do his killer Elvis impersonation after a little opening banter with Johnny. You can see that lengthier video right here. But below, here’s Andy’s first walk-on in semi-Santa attire.



Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Uncle Barky's Countdown to Christmas -- Episode Two

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Not quite yet a full-blown country music deity, a 34-year-old George Strait lip synced “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas” with all the dexterity of a dog gumming peanut butter.

It was 1986, the last year in which ABC presented the late Perry Como’s annual Christmas special. Strait joined Como and guests Angie Dickinson, Julia Migenes-Johnson and then San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros in the Alamo City. Strait’s out of body contribution -- a piped-in vocal has never been quite this obvious -- came at an outdoor party where he interacted with guests and danced with some of them while gamely grinning his way through it all.

Your friendly content provider was in San Antonio for the first day of taping on All Saint’s Day. Como much more convincingly lip synced his trademark “Ave Maria” inside the historic San Fernando Cathedral before later taping a segment at the San Jose Mission. He had recorded his latest version of “Ave Maria” two days earlier in Los Angeles.

During a subsequent interview, Como was asked about his 1984 Christmas special from London, when he dared to substitute “O Holy Night” for “Ave Maria” as his traditional show closer.

“I caught hell for it,” Como said, pledging to never do this again.

Como didn’t shatter any illusions formed over the years by a kid who at first endured his annual Christmas specials before later coming to almost revere them. He proved to be as nice off-camera as on-, signing autographs, bantering with fans and remaining self-effacing.

“You’re my era,” a middle-aged woman getting around on crutches told him.

“I’m everybody’s era,” he said before signing a dollar bill for her.

Unfortunately, Como’s last performance of “Ave Maria” for ABC is not available for reprising here. So Episode 2 of The Countdown brings you this must-see-it-to-believe-it outing by Strait, whose “When It’s Christmas Time In Texas” wound up on his “Merry Christmas Strait to You!” album along with “For Christ’s Sake, It’s Christmas” among its nine other tracks.



Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielen ratings snapshot (Tues., Dec. 12) -- CBS/NBC sweep prime-time golds

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
CBS’ NCIS, Bull and NCIS: New Orleans all won their time slots in total D-FW viewers Tuesday while NBC’s The Voice, Gwen Stefani’s You Make It Feel Like Christmas and Chicago Med all did likewise with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

NCIS was the overall top draw (327,617 total viewers), with Bull right behind (299,128) and NCIS: NO having just enough punch (192,297) to win the 9 p.m. hour over Med (185,175).

In the 18-to-49 realm, The Voice and You Make It Feel Like Christmas won their slots with 59,291 viewers each before Med mopped up (49,930).

The Middle paced ABC in both ratings measurements, as did Lethal Weapon for Fox.

Here are Tuesday’s local news derby results.

NBC5 won in total viewers at 10 p.m., edging TEGNA8 and Fox4. But with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming), Fox4 routed the competition.

Fox4 as usual ran the table at 6 a.m. while NBC5 swept the 5 p.m. races. The Peacock and TEGNA8 tied for the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 taking the 25-to-54 gold.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net