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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Jan. 29) -- return of TGIT gives ABC a leg up on opening night of Feb. "sweeps"

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
ABC broke fast out of the starting gate with the return of its “Thank God It’s Thursday” lineup on night one of the February “sweeps.”

The network’s three-pronged attack of Shonda Rhimes-produced dramas was paced by a new 8 p.m. episode of Scandal. It easily won its time slot in both total viewers (299,882) and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (145,075).

ABC’s How to Get Away with Murder held serve at 9 p.m. with 258,038 total viewers and 138,767 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

In the 7 p.m. hour, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory reigned with a prime-time leading 425,414 total viewers and 157,690 in the 18-to-49 realm. The second half of Fox’s American Idol then won from 7:30 to 8 p.m. with respective totals of 313,830 and 122,998 viewers.

Fox’s 8 p.m. second episode of Backstrom took a tumble from Week 1, but still beat the second hour of NBC’s The Biggest Loser and CBS’ fading The McCarthys in total viewers. But Biggest Loser moved ahead of Backstrom among 18-to-49-year-olds.

NBC’s 9 p.m. series finale of Parenthood ran third in total viewers with 153,428, edging CBS’ competing Elementary (146,454). The Bravermans’ swan song likewise took the bronze with 18-to-49-year-olds. Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast registered solid second place finishes in both ratings measurements, in each case bouncing up from Backstrom.

Thursday also marked the start of the four-way local news wars among Fox4, NBC5, Gannett8 and CBS11. Here’s how it went.

Gannett8 started strong at 10 p.m., winning by comfortable margins in both total viewers and with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). CBS11 had a sub-dismal showing in the 25-to-54 demographic, drawing just 14,817 viewers compared to Gannett8’s 133,353.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions, with Gannett8 taking the silver in both measurements. But the 25-to-54 numbers for Gannett8, NBC5 and CBS11 were closely bunched. Fox4 led the way with 59,268 viewers, followed by Gannett8 (38,524), NBC5 (32,597) and CBS11 (29,634).

Gannett8 had the most total viewers at both 5 and 6 p.m. while NBC5 took the top spots at those hours among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Take it from Ernest: "Get that ol' TV antenna fixed . . . the Channel 4 news is about to come on"

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
It’s been 30 years since KDFW-TV (now Fox4) went the cornpone comedy route in a series of newscast promos starring the late Jim Varney’s Ernest P. Worrell character and his unseen friend, Vern.

As another ratings “sweeps” period begins, here’s a look at how they sold the product back in 1985. Ernest is climbing to a rooftop to urge Vern to “get that ol’ TV antenna fixed” in a hurry. Because the Channel 4 news would soon be on the air, starring anchors Clarice Tinsley and Steve Bosh, weatherman James Spann and sports dude Paul Crane. Clarice is still standing, of course. The others are long gone from D-FW.

WFAA-TV (now known as Gannett8 in these spaces) countered two years later with some very earnest homespun spots starring the late actor Dennis Weaver. But those Ernest/Vern promos are still a hoot -- even if it’s hard to imagine them ever happening in the first place. Have a look.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues.-Wed., Jan. 27-28) -- Empire rules again

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Thursday mornings are still sunshine and lollipops for Fox, which is treated to the sweet ratings returns for Empire.

Wednesday’s Episode 4 again ruled with both the night’s biggest haul of D-FW viewers (418,440) and the most advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds (220,766).

ABC and NBC both made it easier with reruns in the 8 p.m. hour. But in previous weeks, Empire has been beating their first-run programming anyway. A new episode of CBS’ Criminal Minds again ran second at 8 p.m. with 306,856 total viewers and 94,614 in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Fox also easily won the 7 p.m. hour with American Idol’s 334,752 total viewers and 116,691 in the 18-to-49 realm. Fox4’s local newscast then cleaned up at 9 p.m. with respective winning totals of 244,090 and 97,768 viewers.

Tuesday also provided a prime-time mix of first-runs and reruns. CBS’ won from start to stop in total viewers with reprises of NCIS and NCIS: New Orleans and a new episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The winners in the 18-to-49 demographic were NCIS, NCIS: New Orleans and Fox4’s 9 p.m.local news.

ABC’s new 8 p.m. episode of Marvel’s Agent Carter managed an overall second place finish among total viewers in that time slot while falling to the No. 3 spot with 18-to-49-year-olds.

Here are the local news derby results.

Tuesday -- Gannett8 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. and tied Fox4 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

NBC5 uncommonly notched a pair of twin wins at 6 a.m. while Fox4 ran the table at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Wednesday -- CBS11 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds while CBS11 fell to fourth.

Fox4 returned to the top at 6 a.m. with twin wins and also had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at both 5 and 6 p.m. Gannett8 ran first in total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Jan. 26) -- CBS/ABC get the most out of prime-time

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Paced by a Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials special, CBS swept Monday’s prime-time total viewers ratings but again stumbled with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

The one-hour Supie special led off with 258,038 D-FW viewers, followed by time slot-winning numbers for CBS’ Scorpion (237,116) and NCIS: Los Angeles (202,246).

ABC’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of The Bachelor won among 18-to-49-year-olds, though, nipping Supie before winning more comfortably from 8 to 9 p.m. over NBC’s second half of The Celebrity Apprentice. Fox4’s local newscast then stepped into the winner’s circle by easily drawing the most 18-to-49-year-olds in the 9 p.m. hour.

Here are Monday’s local news derby results.

Gannett8 ran first at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 nipped runner-up NBC5 at 6 a.m. in both ratings measurements. But the big news at that hour was Gannett8’s continued slippage in the 25-to-54 demographic. CBS11 has outdrawn Gannett8 the majority of the time since Karen Borta stepped in as the station’s early morning co-anchor on Monday, Jan. 12th. But Monday’s numbers were especially dismal for Gannett8, which had just 17,780 viewers in the 25-to-54 age range compared to third-place CBS11’s 35,561.

The four-week February ratings “sweeps” begin on Thursday, Jan. 29th. CBS11’s early morning news has never finished better than fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds in any sweeps period. But perhaps it has a fighting chance for the bronze this time around. Then again, Gannett8 could just as easily vault back into third place.

Fox4 added twin wins at 5 p.m. and also finished first at 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

The scoop -- and the poop -- on Kaley O'Kelley's impromptu CBS11 anchoring debut

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Incumbent Doug Dunbar and newcomer Kaley O’Kelley teamed up for the first time on Friday’s 10 p.m. CBS11 newscast. Photo: Ed Bark

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
CBS11 opted to sneak preview new anchor Kaley O’Kelley Friday night during a 10 p.m. newscast that might best be remembered for her touting of a “glowing toilet seat.”

The saucy import from Phoenix wasn’t scheduled to make her on-air debut until Monday, Jan. 26th, when she’ll officially succeed Karen Borta on the D-FW station’s 5, 6 and 10 p.m. weekday newscasts.

But to hear Dunbar tell it, “We couldn’t wait . . . It came down to rock, paper, scissors. You lost -- and you’re on the air right now.”

Wearing a salmon-colored dress for the occasion, O’Kelley made it through her impromptu maiden voyage without stumbling through any news copy or mis-pronouncing any North Texas cities within CBS11’s viewing area. But she teamed with Dunbar for a memorable exchange after both anchors termed the impending demise of SkyMall “a bummer.”

Dunbar chose the Litter Robot as his spotlight SkyMall product, saying it would help keep his cat’s leavings from smelling quite so much. Then O’Kelley went with SkyMall’s glowing toilet seat, which likewise was shown on screen. It would be a nice plus for those late night returns home, she explained.

Meteorologist Larry Mowry quickly pounced at the outset of his segment. “It’s rather telling that both of your items had something to do with poop,” he jabbed. Kelley later joked, “I’ve got class with a capital K.”

Dunbar, who was all atwitter on Twitter both before and after O’Kelley’s debut, hugged his new desk partner at newscast’s end, telling her, “We love you, buddy. Welcome to CBS. Welcome to Texas.”

This came after he had joked, “Better bring a better effort, though.”

Neither Dunbar nor O’Kelley mentioned Borta, who now is CBS11’s early morning news co-anchor after nearly two decades of working the P.M. shift. It would have been nice had Dunbar said something on the order of, “You have big shoes to fill, Kaley, but I know Karen is rooting for you.” You know, just a bone.

O’Kelley is the first major hire by CBS11 news anchor Mike Garber, who joined the station in July with an eye toward improving some pretty dismal ratings among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming). In that respect, Borta’s addition to the early mornings has improved CBS11’s standing in this key demographic -- at least in the battle for third place with Gannett8.

Garber has a number of other anchor vacancies to fill, including a replacement for longtime 6 and 10 p.m. sports anchor Babe Laufenberg, who left CBS11 earlier this month after the two sides couldn’t agree on a new contract.

O’Kelley looks like a live wire addition who will ratchet up the anchor banter with the jab-throwing Dunbar. Glowing toilet seat notwithstanding, “You guys have been so warm,” she said on Friday’s newscast. And so have he viewers.” So it’s been a “much easier transition than I figured it would be.”

The four-week February “sweeps” ratings period fires up on Thursday, Jan. 29th, with CBS11 hoping to pack a stiffer punch at 10 p.m. after running second in total viewers and fourth with 25-to-54-year-olds in the November sweeps. Stiffer punchlines also seem to be in the playbook, although the bathroom humor perhaps will have to be flushed.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net