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Gannett8 adds Philip Townsend to reporting staff

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Dallas-based Gannett8’s newest reporter/multi-media journalist is Philip Townsend, who arrives from Norkfolk, VA’s , ABC affiliate, WVEC-TV.

Townsend spent four years at the station before leaving in early December. He’s already on the job at Gannett8, and recently filed a report on Arlington’s longstanding Interlochen Christmas light display. On his Twitter page, he describes himself as “mostly news with an opinion littered in from time to time.”

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

CBS11 naming Phoenix's Kaley O'Kelley as Karen Borta's 5, 6 and 10 p.m. anchor successor

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
For starters, she should be a big hit on St. Patrick’s Day.

Sources at D-FW-based CBS11 have disclosed that veteran anchor Karen Borta’s successor on the station’s 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts will be Kaley O’Kelley from Phoenix’s KTVK-TV. She’s set to join the station on Jan. 19th and will begin anchoring with incumbent Doug Dunbar a bit later but in time for the February ratings “sweeps.”

CBS11 management declined to confirm O’Kelley’s hiring pending a Friday afternoon meeting with newsroom staffers.

O’Kelley, who also has been a weather anchor at Phoenix’s KNXV-TV, joined KTVK in 2009 as “co-anchor, reporter and host” of Good Morning! Arizona, according to her station bio. KTVK is owned by Meredith Corporation as part of a duopoly with the market’s CBS affiliate, KPHO-TV.

The Pepperdine University graduate also previously hosted The Emmitt Zone with former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith, whose last two years in the NFL were with the Arizona Cardinals.

A native of East Wenatchee, Washington, O’Kelley is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. She also has filled in as a weekend weather anchor on ABC’s Good Morning America, hosted the daily magazine show Sonoran Living Live and was the climate expert on History Channel’s Life After People.

CBS11 news director Mike Garber praises O’Kelley’s “rare ability to connect with just about everyone” in official comments obtained by unclebarky.com before the station held its newsroom gathering. “She has some big shoes to fill, but we are confident that the Dallas-Fort Worth community will soon embrace Kaley and her unique style.”

O’Kelley, in her station-approved statement, says that “my husband and I have always felt right at home in Texas, whether spending time with family in Dallas-Fort Worth or vacationing in the Hill Country. We’re proud to make our home in North Texas and raise our kids here.” O’Kelley’s husband lived in Dallas before moving to Phoenix and meeting her.

In a surprise shakeup Thursday, CBS11 confirmed that Borta would be re-locating to the early morning shift after 19 years of late night and early evening newscast anchoring. On Jan. 12th she’ll be replacing Adrienne Bankert, who has decided to “purse other opportunities” and will leave CBS11 on New Year’s Eve, according to the station.

Borta didn’t actively lobby for the move, but told station staffers in a since-posted video that she has enthusiastically embraced it after feeling guilty for the past several years about not spending more time with her three children, who are all now in junior high or high school.

“It’s been very challenging for the last several years . . . I knew right away that this was a blessing,” Borta said of the big switch.

CBS11 has long ranked fourth in the early morning ratings race and also is looking for a second news anchor to pair with Borta as well as a traffic reporter after the departures of Brendan Higgins and Whitney Drolen. The station additionally has a 4 p.m. weekday newscast vacancy following the recent departure of anchor Tracy Kornet.

O’Kelley’s departure from KTVK and pending move to CBS11 was first reported by the national media website FTVLIVE, which posts “Gossip And News From Inside TV Newsrooms Around The Country,” according to its masthead. The site later speculated that O’Kelley could be Borta’s successor in a post headlined, “Taking Over the Main Chair in Dallas?”

Here’s video of O’Kelley’s tearful goodbye to her Good Morning! Arizona co-anchor, Scott Pasmore, who offered some parting gifts.



Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 17-18) -- people who need People magazine's awards show are mostly not from North Texas

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Television’s latest self-congratulatory extravaganza, People magazine’s first annual awards show, ended up a relative non-person in D-FW’s Thursday night Nielsen ratings.

Airing from 8 to 10 p.m. on NBC, the show drew just 97,636 viewers in falling short of CBS’ competing Two and a Half Men, The McCarthys and Elementary and Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast. The People awards otherwise edged ABC’s second hour of The Taste and also outdrew reruns of Fox’s Bones and ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, The Taste, Fox4’s news, Two and a Half Men and Elementary all beat the People awards, which in turn knocked off The McCarthys, Bones and Murder. The awards show drew far less than 50 percent of its viewers in this key demographic, though. Specifically, 34,692.

CBS’ 7 p.m. repeat of The Big Bang Theory had the night’s biggest hauls of total viewers (258,038) and 18-to-49-year-olds (66,230).

Wednesday’s biggest prime-time draw, CBS’ two-hour finale of Survivor: Blood and Water, had 230,142 total viewers in the 7 to 9 p.m. slot while also ranking No. 1 for the night among 18-to-49-year-olds (88,306). NBC’s new 8 to 10 p.m. edition of The Sing-Off drew roughly half as many total viewers (118,558) and fared worse with 18-to-49-year-olds (34,692).

Here are the local news derby results.

Wednesday -- Gannett8 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but Fox4 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

The two stations also split the golds at 6 a.m., with Gannett8 tops in total viewers and Fox4 reigning in the 25-to-54 demographic. It was the same story in the 6 p.m. competitions.

At 5 p.m., NBC5 had the most total viewers and CBS11 took the 25-to-54 gold.

Thursday -- Fox4 swept the 10 p.m. Nielsens in both competitions and had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 a.m. and 5 and 6 p.m.

NBC5 won in total viewers at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. while Gannett8 and CBS11 shared the 6 p.m. golds in that measurement.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Cuban on hand for Colbert Report finale, but screened out of his closeup

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Zeroing in on Mark Cuban at The Colbert Report finale. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Count Mark Cuban among the mega-gaggle of celebrities on hand for the amazing closing sing-off on Thursday night’s finale of The Colbert Report.

But most viewers likely missed him. Accompanied on piano by Randy Newman, the celebs sang “We’ll Meet Again” in sequential groups of four to six. But Cuban’s close-up was inadvertently blocked by Charlie Rose. Cuban stood to his left on home screens, but the cameraman only went as far as Rose. So in effect Cuban was screened out -- basketball style. Even on your friendly content provider’s 60-inch HD screen.

The Dallas Mavericks owner later could be seen from afar in the back row of a bigger group shot (see above), with Rose and Bryan Cranston standing close-by. But his visibility lasted for only for a second or two as the camera panned the entire stage.

“Bumped. Bummer,” Cuban said via email Friday when informed of this.

I watched the finale as it happened, but also would have missed Cuban had fellow participant Keith Olbermann not tweeted, “@MarkCuban finalized Rondo deal in green room sitting w/Waterston, Daniels, me + dismaying UN Amb. Samantha Powell.”

That would be Sam Waterston and Jeff Daniels, whose The Newsroom recently had its HBO finale. And the deal was for Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who now is a Maverick.

Cuban clarified and elaborated in his email message to unclebarky.com: “I didn’t finalize it. The trade was finalized. In the NBA, a deal isn’t done until it’s done. So I was on pins and needles waiting on the trade call to finish -- all in the green room. Surrounded by these huge celebs and I was head down and then people started hearing about the trade and asking me.”

It may have been the most eclectic, out-sized group of celebs in TV history. So much so hat the gathering reminded me of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover, where the images ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Bob Dylan to Oscar Wilde.

In addition to Cuban and the others mentioned above, here’s just a partial list of those on hand in The Colbert Report studio: Willie Nelson, Henry Kissinger, Katie Couric, Ken Burns, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Barry Manilow, George Lucas, Cyndi Lauper, Tim Meadows, Alan Alda, Patrick Stewart, Bob Costas, Christiane Amanpour, James Franco, Mike Huckabee, Gloria Steinem, Michael Stipe, Tom Brokaw, Ariana Huffington, Andrew Young, Mandy Patinkin, Big Bird, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Ric Ocasek and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

And here’s the video itself. Catch Cuban if you can.



Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Veteran CBS11 anchor Karen Borta moving to early mornings as part of surprise station shakeup

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CBS11 anchor Karen Borta (left) is moving to early mornings and replacing Adrienne Bankert, who’s leaving the station. CBS11 photos

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
In a surprise shift at D-FW-based CBS11, veteran 5, 6 and 10 p.m. co-anchor Karen Borta will be moving to early mornings while incumbent Adrienne Barnkert is leaving the station.

The changes were confirmed Thursday by CBS11, which issued an announcement that Borta will make the move on Monday, Jan. 12th. No mention was made of Bankert, but CBS11 director of communications Lori Conrad later said, “Adrienne has told us that she is leaving to pursue other opportunities. We wish her all the best. Her last day will be Dec. 31.”

Conrad also said that CBS11 will “announce a new co-anchor for 5, 6 and 10 p.m. soon. But there will likely be a short period of time when Doug (Dunbar) will single-anchor those newscasts until the new anchor joins us.”

Interestingly, Dunbar began at CBS11 as an early morning news anchor before eventually succeeding Tracy Rowlett as the 6 and 10 p.m. leading man.

Borta said in a statement that after nearly 20 years at CBS11, the offer to anchor in the A.M. “seemed almost too good to be true. Professionally, it’s an exciting challenge which will allow me to spread my wings a bit. But more important to me personally is that this is incredibly awesome for my family life. My three children are now in high school and junior high. This new schedule will finally allow me to do the things that so many people take for granted, such as eating dinner with my family and attending my kids’ weeknight games -- all things I often missed when working nights.”

CBS11 president and general manager Gary Schneider said the station is “thrilled to have our viewers start their day with the information they need from someone they know and trust . . . Karen knows North Texas. She was born here, grew up here and is raising her family here.”

CBS11 has long ranked fourth in the early morning ratings race in times when the 4:30 to 7 a.m. newscasts have become second only to the 10 p.m. editions in terms of revenues and importance. The station’s early morning program has been in flux since co-news anchor Brendan Higgins was dismissed in August and traffic reporter Whitney Drolen resigned in October. CBS11 staffer Jason Allen and freelancer Tammy Dombeck respectively have been filling in and will continue to do so in the short term.

Bankert joined CBS11 in June 2012, replacing Lisa Pineiro. She originally partnered with Higgins as the station’s new morning news anchor duo.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net