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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., March 20) -- gotta sing, gotta dance

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
ABC launched its 5,687th edition of Dancing with the Stars Monday night. The best it could do was rhumba into second place opposite NBC’s competing two hours of The Voice.

The Peacock stayed in tune with 334,471 D-FW viewers for The Voice and 115,456 within the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old motherlode. DWTS ran an overall second from 7 to 9 p.m. with respective totals of 290,844 and 67,349 viewers.

CBS’ Scorpion then won at 9 p.m. in total viewers (167,235), but Fox4’s local newscast took the hour with 18-to-49-year-olds (54,521).

Here are Monday’s local news derby results.

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

Fox4 won at 6 a.m. in total viewers while the Peacock prevailed with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 also ran first in total viewers at 6 p.m. and tied Fox4 for the top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds. At 5 p.m. the two stations shared first place in total viewers while Fox4 barely beat the Peacock with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local TV news note: CBS11’s locally produced, one-hour special, Cowboys Super Reunion, will premiere at 11 p.m. on Saturday, March 25th. Hosted by sports anchor Bill Jones, it’s a look at the recent reunion of the team’s Super Bowl XXVIII-winning players and coaches. The event was organized by former Cowboys star QB/Hall of Famer Troy Aikman and benefited the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. Attendees included coach Jimmy Johnson, Aikman and fellow Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., March 17-19) -- NCAA tourney starts bouncing higher (updated in bold face)

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
First of all, ratings for Friday’s SMU and Baylor games on little truTV were not available for the D-FW viewing area. Nor for that matter were Sunday’s, in which Baylor advanced to the NCAA basketball tourney’s Sweet 16 by surviving USC -- and truTV.

In other words, the “Funny Because It’s tru” network just isn’t considered to be of enough consequence for local stations to keep tabs on its ratings. Sorry about that.

(CBS11 sports anchor Bill Jones did, however, post a chart on Twitter Monday afternoon with household ratings (we use total viewers) for the weekend tournament games. Sunday’s Baylor-USC game had a 2.0 rating (54,266 households in a D-FW market of 2.713 million) to rank seventh among the tournament match ups. Friday’s SMU-USC game had just a 1.2 rating (32,560 households) to finish 12th among the weekend games. The early-starting Baylor-New Mexico State game is not listed on Jones’ chart. D-FW’s top draw, Kansas vs. Michigan on CBS, drew 132,952 households. The top six most-watched games all were on CBS.)

The NCAA perked up on Saturday and Sunday, at least for the games shown by CBS. Sunday’s late afternoon/early evening Kansas-Michigan State matchup ranked highest with 174,506 total viewers and 73,763 in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. That game and the preceding Kentucky-Wichita State face-off on CBS easily beat all competing programming in both ratings measurements.

In prime-time Sunday, the CBS prime-time lineup of 60 Minutes, NCIS: Los Angeles, Madam Secretary and Elementary outdrew all of its rivals in total viewers among the Big Four broadcast networks. But NBC’s trio of Little Big Shots, Chicago Justice and Shades of Blue ran the table with 18-to-49-year-olds.

Again coming up virtually empty was ABC’s second episode of the first-rate American Crime series. It ran a distant fourth from 9 to 10 p.m. in total viewers (29,084) and 18-to-49-year-olds (6,414).

On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers’ big afternoon upset win over No. 1 overall seed Villanova ranked as the entire day’s top TV attraction with 138,151 total viewers on CBS. Friday’s nighttime NCAA match ups on CBS didn’t fare nearly as well. ABC’s 8 to 10 p.m. presentation, Truth and Lies: The Family Manson, more than doubled the ratings for basketball with 130,880 total viewers and also won comfortably in the 18-to-49-year-old realm with 38,485 viewers.

On all three days, the CBS tournament games drew bigger crowds than those on TBS and TNT.

Here are Friday’s local news derby numbers.

TEGNA8 topped the 10 p.m. ratings in total viewers while NBC5 led with 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and won at both 5 and 6 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. TEGNA8 drew the most total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m.

CBS11 had its 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts rubbed out by NCAA hoops coverage. And the station might as well not have bothered at 6 a.m., where its haul of 25-to-54-year-olds hit rock bottom and then some with -- 601. In comparison, frontrunner Fox4 had 39,087, trailed by NBC5 (28,864) and TEGNA8 (10,223).

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

No more Diana Zoga at D-FW's Fox4 (updated)

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
After just a two-year stay, Fox4 general assignment reporter Diana Zoga has parted ways with the station after the two sides apparently couldn’t agree on a new contract.

A New York-based Fox4 spokesperson confirmed Zoga’s departure Monday morning after the industry trade site ftvlive.com reported her exit earlier the same day. Her last day was Sunday, March 19th.

Zoga, who joined the Dallas-based station in March 2015, left behind an email to staffers, part of which was posted by ftvlive.

“I’m sure this seems sudden,” she said in part. “Unfortunately, it’s a decision I had to make quickly, but I want you to know I didn’t make it lightly. It was just a business deal that didn’t work out. It’s no one’s fault. And there are no hard feelings on either side.”

Zoga said her tenure at Fox4 amounted to “the most important two years of my career. I’ve learned a lot from you all. You pushed me to do better . . . Be kind to each other, continue to help each other dig and tell stories that matter. The business is tough and it’s going to get a lot tougher. You have to stick together because journalism needs you.”

Zoga so far has not returned a message asking for comment. The 1999 Plano East Senior High school graduate arrived back in North Texas from KMOV-TV in St. Louis, where she had spent seven years. She also is a graduate of the University of Texas.

(Zoga responded later Monday, reiterating there are “no hard feelings” between herself and Fox4 management, “but it just wasn’t the right contract for me.” Translated: Fox4 wanted to pay less than Zoga thinks she is worth.)

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., March 9 to Thursday, March 16) -- master blaster catchup round

By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Nielsen’s lengthy, storm-related ratings delays presumably are in the past at this point. But we’ve got a lot of catching up to do after the full eight days of local numbers finally arrived late this week.

Thursday marked the tip-off the NCAA basketball tourney, with Uncle Barky’s alma mater Wisconsin Badgers capping off CBS’ nighttime coverage with a gritty win over Virginia Tech. It was the most-watched of CBS’ four games, but with just 79,982 total D-FW viewers and 25,657 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic. That put Wisconsin-Virginia Tech well behind other prime-time and late night attractions. NBC’s 8 p.m. episode of Chicago Med ranked No. 1 in total viewers with 203,591 while ABC’s 7 p.m. hour of Grey’s Anatomy (which ended before Wisconsin-Virginia Tech began) was tops with 18-to-49-year-olds (67,349 opposite the closing portion of CBS’ Villanova-Mt. St. Mary’s matchup).

TNT, TBS and truTV also aired four tournament games apiece Thursday. Puny tru isn’t included so far in the local Nielsen reports, but stay tuned. Otherwise, the games on TNT and TBS haven’t been “titled” yet. But judging from published start times, TNT’s Xavier-Maryland game drew its biggest crowd and TBS scored highest with Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt.

Let’s move along at a quicker pace now.

Wednesday’s prime-time menu was led by Fox’s Lethal Weapon in total viewers (239,946) and NBC’s The Voice among 18-to-49-year-olds (76,970).

On Tuesday, NBC rolled to twin wins in prime-time with the 8 p.m. season finale of This Is Us. The season’s biggest first-year hit had 370,826 total viewers and 176,391 in the 18-to-49 realm. The Peacock’s double-pronged premiere of the “true crime” spoof Trial & Error then fell off a cliff with 18-to-49-year-olds. Each half-hour episode drew just 25,657 viewers in this key demographic. Even so, it was good enough for a second place finish from 9 to 10 p.m. behind Fox4’s local newscast (32,071 viewers).

The Monday night Nielsen parade was led by NBC’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of The Voice in both total viewers (305,386) and 18-to-49-year-olds (96,213).

Sunday night brought the Season 3 premiere of ABC’s challenging but first-rate American Crime, which predictably crashed with a measly 65,440 total viewers to run fourth in its 9 p.m. slot in the Big Four broadcast network universe. It got worse with 18-to-49-year-olds, with American Crime luring just 12,828 of ‘em.

Let’s skip Saturday, because there’s nothing to see.

Friday’s overall top prime-time draw, CBS’ 8 p.m. episode of Hawaii Five-0, had 225,404 total viewers while NBC’s two-hour Dateline pulled in the most 18-to-49-year-olds (41,692).

Finally, the Thursday, March 9th prime-time Nielsens were led by CBS’ The Big Bang Theory in both total viewers (363,555) and 18-to-49ers (109,041).

Let’s wrap up with six weekdays’ worth of local news derby results.

Thursday, March 9 -- TEGNA8 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 had the most total viewers at 6 a.m., but NBC5 took the 25-to-54-year-old gold. The Peacock ran the table at 6 p.m. and also drew the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 5 p.m. Fox4 and NBC5 shared the total viewers lead at 5 p.m.

Friday -- NBC5 won at 10 p.m. in both ratings measurements and Fox4 did likewise at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Peacock took both golds at 6 p.m.

Monday -- TEGNA8 swept the 10 p.m. competitions while Fox4 scored twins at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. NBC5 stayed strong at 6 p.m. by running the table.

Tuesday -- CBS11 broke through with a 10 p.m. in total viewers, ending a prolonged drought. NBC5 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at that hour.

Fox4 led in total viewers at 6 a.m. while the Peacock was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5 won in total viewers at 6 p.m. and shared the lead among 25-to-54-year-olds with Fox4 and TEGNA8. It was another split decision at 5 p.m., with NBC5 running first in total viewers but Fox4 narrowly taking the 25-to-54 gold.

Wednesday -- NBC5 came within a sliver of pulling off a very rare double grand slam. The Peacock swept the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. competitions and also won at 6 a.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds. But Fox4 edged NBC5 for the top spot at 6 a.m. in total viewers.

Thursday -- TEGNA8 ran the table at 10 p.m. while Fox4 and NBC5 divided the spoils at 6 a.m. and at 5 and 6 p.m. The Peacock had the most total viewers at 5 and 6 p.m., but Fox4 led both times with 25-to-54-year-olds. Things were reversed at 6 a.m., with Fox4 on top in total viewers and NBC5 winning with 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11’s 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts were punched out by CBS’ basketball tournament coverage.

And that’s all, folks.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net

Pee-yew: SMU, Baylor get back-to-back day games on tawdry truTV

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By ED BARK
@unclebarkycom on Twitter
TruTV, self-described as “Funny Because It’s Tru,” tends to be not overly amused when it’s also branded a joke by snarky types like your friendly content provider.

Usually it’s not worth the trouble, because the network remains out of sight and out of mind in most cable and satellite homes. But its basic invisibility annually becomes an issue during the early stages of the NCAA basketball tournament, when tru shares space with CBS, TBS and TNT as part of a long-term licensing agreement. On the opening two days and nights of “March Madness,” truTV gets the same number of games -- eight -- as the other three far more-watched networks. For most viewers, this requires an archaeological dig if a game of particular interest gets the short straw and winds up on tru.

It all came to a head when the NCAA and its TV partners sentenced Texas’ two most prominent tournament qualifiers -- SMU and Baylor -- to Friday daytime slots on tru. No. 3 seed Baylor plays New Mexico State at 11:40 a.m., followed by No. 6 seed SMU vs. USC at 2:10 p.m. If both Texas teams win, only one can advance to the “Sweet 16,” because they’ll play each other on Sunday.

It’s assumed that most North Texas sports bars have tru and likely can find it in ample time to accommodate customers making early getaways from their places of employment. Still, no team should have to play on tru. And Texas teams are getting a double shaft with early games on a network whose biggest “success” story is Impractical Jokers. Here’s a drinking game that will get you sloshed before SMU and USC even tip off. Imbibe every time tru airs an Impractical Jokers promo. My over-under for the two games combined is 20 -- and that’s probably being conservative.

I earlier took a few pops at tru on Twitter. And tru fired back.

“Look, it’s uncle barky again! BARK. BARK. BARK.” the network twitted after I’d tweeted, “Trying to watch 2nd half of K State-Wake Forest NCAA play-in game on truTV & already hit with 4 #ImpracticalJokers spots. Subtract 2 IQ pts.”

An accompanying tru video attached to their retort has a woman saying that “every basketball season the Internet trolls love to come out and say that truTV is so hard to find. Which is fair. But a lot of things we want in life are hard to find. But for trolls, a willing vagina. But keep dreaming.”

I’m not sure I even have ties older than that joke. Still, this was getting to be fun. So I took the bait and responded, “A ‘troll’ with 7,700 Followers (a few thin-skinned Trumpeteers since have unfollowed). More than your audience. But at least I’m alerting viewers of your existence.”

TruTV again had something to say: “Three wildly ignorant statements in less than 140 characters and you still had room for the hashtag!” This time, in the accompanying video, a woman said of the NCAA games on tru: “They just are. And they will be for another 15 years. Deal with it.”

A little more Twitter banter ensued, but you probably get the picture, even if you don’t get tru. This is a network that’s armed and ready to defend itself as the current home of not only Impractical Jokers but of The Carbonaro Effect, Hack My Life, Fameless and Chris Webber’s Full Court Pranks. And as the former home of other gems such as Bait Car, Barmageddon, Hair-Jacked, Hardcore Pawn, Southern Fried Stings and Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, which I actually reviewed for some reason under the headline “Jesse Ventura body slams brain cells.” Charitably gave it a grade of D-minus.

No hard feelings, though. SMU and Baylor can’t help it they’ve been Siberia’d to truTV as a further sign of disdain for Texas-bred basketball. Some of that is understandable. The state hasn’t had a team in the Final Four since 2003, when the University of Texas got there. And before that it was Houston for three years in a row back in 1982-84.

In that sense, the truth hurts and tru may hurt even more. Playing there, compared to CBS, TBS or TNT, is the equivalent of winning $2 in the lottery or staying at the Desert Inn after it’s just been imploded. Or as my last so far unanswered Tweet back to tru read: “Exaggeration is the sincerest form of humor.”

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net