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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Sept. 18) -- NFL still sacks all comers despite one of worst prime-time games ever

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
The game was over almost as soon as it started, with the Atlanta Falcons effortlessly taking a 56-0 lead before the sub-woeful Tampa Bay Bucs scored two absolutely meaningless 4th quarter touchdowns against second- and third-stringers.

It was the worst NFL prime-time game in memory. But CBS’ Thursday Night Football still drew enough rubberneckers to dominate against broadcast network reruns save for NBC’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of The Biggest Loser and Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast.

Falcons-Bucs, which ran from 7:25 to 10:40 p.m., averaged 276,951 D-FW viewers, with the audience for the most part steadily dwindling after a high point of 369,268 viewers between 7:45 and 8:15 p.m. Thursday Night Football likewise won easily among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.

Fox4’s 9 p.m. news fared the best opposite the NFL, drawing 163,330 total viewers. Biggest Loser was the most-watched alternative among 18-to-49-year-olds.

Ratings for the NFL Network’s simulcast of the game were not immediately available.

Here are Thursday’s local news derby results.

Gannett8 won a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 notched twin wins at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to Gannett8 in total viewers and the Peacock among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Gannett8 tabs Monica Hernandez for reporting staff

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Monica Hernandez, from New Orleans’ WWL-TV, will be the latest addition to Gannett8’s reporting staff.

“It’s official!” she said on her Facebook page. “After four years in New Orleans, I will be moving to Dallas next month for a reporting job at WFAA (now referenced by its ownership in these spaces). I’m incredibly excited for the next adventure, but will miss my New Orleans family dearly!”

Gannett8 news director Carolyn Mungo has not returned an email asking for confirmation and a start date for Hernandez.

Her WWL bio says that Hernandez is originally from San Diego and graduated from Syracuse University in 2007 with a major in broadcast journalism and international relations and a minor in Spanish. Before joining WWL, a CBS affiliate owned by Gannett, she worked at WLBT-TV in Jackson, Mississippi and as a field producer for New York’s WNBC-TV.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

DMN managing editor George Rodrigue joining Gannett8 as assistant news director

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
George Rodrigue, managing editor at The Dallas Morning News since 2004, is leaving that position to join Gannett8 as assistant news director.

His departure from the paper was announced in a memo to staffers Thursday by DMN editor Bob Mong, who himself has announced he’ll be retiring sometime in 2015.

Rodrigue, whose last day at the paper will be Sept. 25th, was hired by Mong as a city hall reporter in 1983. His interim replacement as managing editor at the DMN will be staffer Keith Campbell, Mong announced.

It’s fair to say that Rodrigue had been looking for a while. To say any more would be to betray a confidence.

Gannett, which took control of WFAA8 from Belo late last year, has a content-sharing arrangement with Fort Worth’s Star-Telegram. This went into effect after the DMN ended its longstanding synergistic relationship with Belo-owned WFAA8 and signed a new deal with Fort Worth-based NBC5. So whatever Rodrigue’s ties to DMN staffers, he’ll have to play synergistic baseball with the Star-Telegram. In other words, that downtown Dallas driveway between the DMN and Gannett8 might as well be a moat under the relatively new scheme of things.

Mong praised Rodrigue as a “polymath, because he is so skilled at so many things . . . All of us are indebted to George for his many contributions to journalism, to this community and for the way he developed so many promising journalists.”

Gannett8 has been slumping in the ratings, lately winning only at 10 p.m. with any sort of regularity while struggling to stay in the ratings picture at 6 a.m. and at 5 and 6 p.m.

Rodrigue doesn’t mess around when it comes to whipping reporters into shape. His new newsroom boss will be Gannett8 news director Carolyn Mungo, who was hired by president-general manager Mike Devlin in February 2012.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Reporter Lari Barager leaving Fox4 after 15 years

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
One of Fox4’s best and most seasoned reporters, Lari Barager, is the latest to chart a new course and leave the daily pavement-pounding grind.

Barager, who joined the Dallas-based station in 1999, confirmed to unclebarky.com that Friday, Sept. 19th will be her last day. She’ll be joining the Duncanville ISD, which “has created an amazing position which allow me to use all the skills I’ve developed over the years to help children, teachers and staff,” Barager said. “This will definitely be a new and exciting chapter for me. I will miss the amazing professionals I’ve worked with -- including many colleagues and contacts I consider friends.”

Barager’s primary beat in recent years has been Tarrant County. The Texas native and University of Michigan grad is the mother of a son and daughter. She previously worked at ABC affiliate WOTV-TV in Battle Creek, Michigan.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Wed., Sept. 16-17) -- ups & downs for Mysteries of Laura/Red Band Society

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Fall’s first two new series, NBC’s The Mysteries of Laura and Fox’s Red Band Society, had their coming out parties Wednesday night.

Buoyed by a big lead-in from the America’s Got Talent season finale, Laura is celebrating anew. Red Band, which went into the teeth of AGT, for now is in mourning.

Although critically panned, Laura zoomed to an audience of 248,546 D-FW viewers after AGT averaged a time slot dominating 255,647 viewers from 7 to 9 p.m.

Red Band, which had mixed reviews, had 127,823 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour to run third behind AGT and CBS’ Criminal Minds repeat (134,925 viewers).

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Laura remained comfortably in first during the 9 p.m. hour while Red Band outdrew only ABC’s 8 to 8:30 p.m. Modern Family repeat before its second half-hour fell to fourth behind another MF rerun.

The season finale of CBS’ Extant -- and also likely the series finale -- also took a tumble. It ran third in both ratings measurements at 9 p.m., behind Laura and Fox4’s local newscast.

CBS’ Big Brother remained strong, though, winning the 7 p.m. hour among 18-to-49-year-olds and running second to AGT in total viewers.

Tuesday night’s best overall ratings performer, ABC’s 7 p.m. Dancing with the Stars results show, drew 305,356 total viewers. The season’s final AGT performance show then won from 8 to 10 p.m. with 284,052 viewers.

In the 18-to-49 demographic, Big Brother took the 7 to 8 p.m. gold before AGT cleaned up. Fox’s 7 p.m. hour of the new Utopia ran fourth in its timeslot in total viewers but moved up two notches to second place among 18-to-49-year-olds (beating DWTS and an AGT recap show).

Here are the local news derby results.

Tuesday -- NBC5 swept the 10 p.m. competitions in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 notched twin wins at 6 a.m. NBC5 and CBS11 tied for the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with the Peacock winning outright among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 5 p.m. golds went to Gannett 8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Wednesday -- NBC5 again rolled to a 10 p.m. sweep and Fox4 did likewise at 6 a.m.

NBC5 also ran the table at 5 p.m. and added a 6 p.m. win in total viewers. Fox4 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net