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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs.-Sun., May 18-21) -- peak of Preakness outdraws climactic overtime hole of Byron Nelson

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The weekend’s big upset wasn’t just on the Preakness track.

NBC’s telecast of the Triple Crown’s second leg also outdrew CBS’ climactic 15 minutes of the homegrown Byron Nelson golf tournament over the weekend.

The 10-horse Preakness field went off at 5:51 p.m. Saturday, with longshot Cloud Computing nipping one of the favorites, Classic Empire, while Kentucky Derby champ Always Dreaming faded to eighth. Nielsen Media Research measures in 15-minute increments. And from 5:45 to 6 p.m., ratings for the Preakness peaked at 174,506 D-FW viewers.

On Sunday, Billy Horschel beat Jason Day on the first playoff hole at the Byron Nelson. Their match ended just a few second before 6 p.m. From 5:45 to 6 p.m., ratings peaked at 159,964 viewers.

In Sunday’s prime-time Nielsens, ABC’s three-hour Billboard Music Awards topped all TV attractions with 189,049 viewers and 86,592 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old age range. The Texas Rangers’ Sunday night road win at Detroit on ESPN’s featured game finished a close second in total viewers with 174,506.

Friday’s prime-time ratings leaders were CBS’ 7 p.m. hour of Undercover Boss in total viewers (159,964) and NBC’s 8 to 10 p.m. edition of Dateline in the 18-to-49 demographic (41,692).

On Thursday night, Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast was the top draw in both measurements, with 232,675 total viewers and 70,556 in the 18-to-49-year-old realm.

Here are the Thursday/Friday local news derby results for the 16th and 17th weekdays of the May ratings “sweeps,” which end this Wednesday.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 drew the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 news won with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

NBC5 ran first in total viewers at 6 a.m., but Fox 4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The Peacock enjoyed ratings sweeps at both 5 and 6 p.m.

Friday -- TEGNA8 swept the 10 p.m. competitions and Fox4 did likewise at 6 a.m.

NBC5 and TEGNA8 shared the total viewers lead at 6 p.m., but Fox4 had the edge with 25-to-54-year-olds while CBS11 registered “hashmarks” (no measurable audience).

NBC5 again had twin wins at 5 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Pay-for-play conundrum clouds TEGNA8's high-profile "sweeps" series on Dallas County voter fraud

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TEGNA8 reporter Jason Whitely & news director Carolyn Mungo.

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
TEGNA8’s heavily touted series of stories on alleged absentee voter fraud in Dallas County elections became tainted Friday when The Dallas Morning News published a front page story saying that the station’s whistleblower also is a “person of interest” under investigation and that the Dallas-based ABC affiliate paid him for exclusive rights to audio recordings.

Respected reporter Jason Whitely is not named in the lengthy piece by Naomi Martin (with contributions by Robert Wilonsky). But he’s been the point man for the ongoing series, which is airing during the competitive May “sweeps” ratings period. The station so far has made no mention on the air of its payments to Sidney Williams, whose secret recordings have fingered another man, Jose Barrientos, as the primary perpetrator of voter fraud. Barrientos has denied any wrongdoing and claims there’s an ongoing “witch hunt” directed at him.

From a television criticism perspective, it’s an ethical misdemeanor at best to pay sources for information. But it’s appreciably worse not to disclose such payments. Or to belatedly claim they’re something other than what they were.

Williams told The News that TEGNA8 paid him $2,500 for the tapes under the provision that he not share them with anyone else. The News said he showed the paper a $1,000 contract with TEGNA8 but declined to show another contract that allegedly showed the station paying an additional $1,500.

TEGNA8 news director Carolyn Mungo termed the station’s payments a “licensing fee,” but for less than the $2,500 that Williams is claiming.

“We do not pay for information,” Mungo said in an email response to The News. “In this case, WFAA had already done its reporting. We conducted our on-camera interview. We then licensed the contents of the audio conversations as supporting documentation of information already obtained.”

A source at rival CBS11 said the station was pitched the same story, but declined after learning it had a price tag attached. Williams has a minimal criminal record, but in 2007 was sentenced to 75 days in jail for misdemeanor theft, The News reported. He also pled guilty later that year for knowingly filing a false official report in Bexar County, the paper said.

Mungo does not talk to this reporter, and in fact sometimes steers interviews with station personnel to Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram after unclebarky.com makes inquiries, according to sources at TEGNA8. The station has a “content sharing” arrangement with the Star-Telegram, as does The News with NBC5, which regularly features several of the paper’s reporters in on-air segments.

TEGNA8 is locked in a tight “sweeps” battle for first place in total viewers at 10 p.m. Through the first 16 of 20 weekdays measured by Nielsen Media Research, TEGNA8 is averaging 159,964 viewers per newscast, with CBS11 (152,693) and NBC5 (145,422) close behind.

Among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming), TEGNA8 also is in the thick of it. Fox4 leads with 45,101 viewers, followed by TEGNA8 (42,094) and NBC5 (39,087).

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., May 17) -- Downward Dog is DOA in D-FW

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
It did better in the national Nielsens, but ABC’s Wednesday night sneak preview of Downward Dog got treated like rabies by D-FW viewers.

The critically praised saga of Martin the philosophical talking mutt and his owner, Nan (Baylor grad and former Dallasite Allison Tolman from Fargo) ran a distant last among the Big Four broadcast networks following a lead-in from the season finale of Modern Family. DD drew just 72,711 total viewers and a measly 9,621 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 age range.

Prime-time’s overall top dog, Fox’s 8 p.m. hour of Empire, had 232,675 total viewers and 115,456 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Here are Wednesday’s local news derby results for the 15th weekday of the May “sweeps” ratings period.

TEGNA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 and NBC5 shared the 6 a.m. lead in total viewers, but Fox4 won outright with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 swept the 5 p.m. competitions. At 6 p.m., CBS11 pulled in the most total viewers; Fox4 and TEGNA8 shared the 25-to-54 gold.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., May 16) -- NCIS again sets the table

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The latest NCIS season finale as usual topped all D-FW programming in total viewers Tuesday while also setting up CBS’ two following crime dramas for time slot wins.

NCIS drew 349,013 viewers in handily defeating NBC’s competing hour of The Voice (276,308). Bull (276,302 viewers) and NCIS: New Orleans (254,489) then breezed to wins from 8 to 10 p.m.

The advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic again told a different story. The Voice won from 7 to 8 p.m. with 73,763 viewers before the Peacock’s first of two Great News episodes led from 8 to 8:30 p.m. with 57,728.

Fox’s second half-hour of Prison Break then took over with 48,107 viewers in this key audience measurement before Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast pulled in 36,561 viewers to scratch out a narrow win over NCIS: New Orleans (34,637 viewers).

ABC’s 9 p.m. attraction, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., typically bottomed out with just 9,621 viewers in the 18-to-49 motherlode. For whatever reason, ABC has renewed it for another season anyway. One of Marvel’s innumerable superheroes must have super duper mind-melding power. Or perhaps just incriminating pictures.

Here are Tuesday’s local news derby results for the 14th weekday of the May ratings “sweeps.”

CBS11 remained in contention for a big morale-boosting 10 p.m. win by placing first in total viewers while TEGNA8 overcame the skimpy S.H.I.E.L.D. lead-in to win with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and NBC5 likewise ran the table at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to the Peacock in total viewers TEGNA8 in the 25-to-54 realm.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., May 15) -- and The Voice again trade punches

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
ABC’s Dancing with the Stars bested The Voice in total D-FW viewers for the second straight Monday before again “skewing old” with a vengeance.

From 7 to 9 p.m., DWTS pulled in 247,217 viewers, with The Voice close behind (239,946). But it was another slaughterhouse among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, with The Voice drawing 76,970 to just 25,657 for DWTS.

In the 9 p.m. hour, CBS’ Scorpion had the most total viewers (218,133) and NBC’s The Wall prevailed with 18-to-49-year-olds (41,692).

Here are the local news derby results for the 13th weekday of the May ratings “sweeps.”

CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but TEGNA8 drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The spoils also were split at 6 a.m., with Fox4 running first in total viewers and NBC5 on top with 25-to-54-year-olds.

TEGNA8 swept the 6 p.m. competitions and NBC5 did likewise at 5 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net