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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues, Oct. 30) -- improbable Mavs win witnessed by smallish crowd

The undermanned Dallas Mavericks manned up to stun the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers in both teams' season opener late Tuesday night.

Not a lot of viewers went along for the ride. The Mavs' 99-91 win averaged 144,568 D-FW viewers on TNT, with a peak crowd of 199,642 for the opening 15-minute segment. The final full 15-minute increment, from midnight to 12:15 a.m., drew 130,800 viewers. Better than half the overall audience hit the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old motherlode, though. So that's a plus.

Tuesday's biggest draw in total viewers, the second half of NBC's The Voice, had a crowd of 371,747 from 8 to 9 p.m. That was just a bit better than CBS' competing NCIS: Los Angeles (364,863 viewers).

CBS' NCIS won the 7 p.m. hour with 357,978 viewers, beating both the first half of The Voice and ABC's Dancing with the Stars results show (goodbye, Sabrina Bryan with Emmitt Smith still a contender). CBS' Vegas had the most viewers at 9 p.m., with 282,252.

ABC's 8:30 p.m. episode of Don't Trust the B -- in Apartment 23 had the smallest audience among the Big Four broadcast networks with just 55,074.

NBC paced the ratings among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, sweeping prime-time with The Voice and a 9 p.m. Hurricane Sandy special that easily outdrew ABC's.

Over on KTXD-TV (Ch. 47), an on-camera reunion of former WFAA8 stalwarts Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson and Troy Dungan failed to move the Nielsen needle. Their appearance on The Texas Daily, for the first time in more than 27 years, had "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) for the live 8 a.m. edition and 2,065 total viewers for the 6 p.m. repeat.

In Tuesday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 rolled to a comfortable win in total viewers but NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Otherwise it was mostly Fox4's day. The station swept both the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions while adding a 6 p.m. gold in the 25-to-54 measurement. WFAA8 was tops at 6 p.m. in total viewers.

Rebecca Miller says goodbye -- As previously posted, CW33 meteorologist Rebecca Miller will not be a part of the station's new comedy-laced 9 p.m. Nightcap News, scheduled to launch on Thursday, Nov. 1st. Tuesday turned out to be her last day at the station, although she'll be paid for the rest of her contract, which expires in January.

In a goodbye note to CW33 staffers, Miller said in part: "I have so much to be thankful for here, and it is with sadness but understanding that I'm leaving. You are embarking on what I hope will be a very successful venture for everyone. It's okay that I'm not quite what you need at this time, but I'm more than happy to keep in touch with everyone and help you any way I can."

Miller said she has no firm future plans in terms of full-time employment, but will be making former NBC5 colleague Tammy Dombeck's wedding cake in December. (They were together for many years on the station's early morning news program, with Miller forecasting and Dombeck the traffic reporter.)

Miller said she'll also be working with the North Central Texas Council on Governments to install radar "in every single county so you all know what's going on next time 17 tornadoes hit us in one day." And she'll continue with her Living Natural First radio show Sundays on WBAP (820 AM) from noon to 1 p.m.

Say it fast 10 times: New NBC5 weekend meteorologist is Lindsay Schwarzwaelder


NBC5 hasn't officially announced it yet, but Lindsay Schwarzwaelder has.

On her Facebook page Tuesday, the Lexington, KY meteorologist says she's joining the Fort Worth-based station after two years at NBC affiliate WLEX-TV.

"I want to announce that this Friday will be my last day at LEX 18," Schwarzwaelder said. "I have accepted a job at KXAS (NBC5) in Dallas." It's a big jump. Lexington is the 64th largest TV market; D-FW is No. 5.

NBC5 has had an opening for a weekend meteorologist, so that's where Schwarzwaelder initially will fit in. Asked last Thursday if anyone has been hired, the station's vice president of programming, Brian Hocker, said in an email reply, "Nothing to announce on the weekend meteorologist at this time. Work-in-progress."

Schwarzwaelder joined WLEX in November of 2010. Her first job as a meteorologist was at WIVB-TV in Buffalo. She's a Pennsylvania State University graduate.

Upon her arrival, NBC5 will have six meteorologists in place, the largest contingent at any D-FW television station. The others are David Finfrock, Rick Mitchell, Samantha Davies, Grant Johnston and Remeisha Shade. But Davies lately has been doing the early morning traffic reports, succeeding longtime "Gridlock Buster" Tammy Dombeck.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 29) -- NBC vs. ABC, with rivals in reruns

NBC and ABC sent their usual Monday night big guns head to head while CBS opted for sitcom repeats and a Hurricane Sandy special and Fox threw in a two-hour reprise of The X Factor following a short order World Series.

NBC's The Voice edged ABC's Dancing with the Stars in D-FW by a score of 337,326 viewers to 316,673. ABC then rebounded with a 9 p.m. win in another close battle. Castle had 254,715 viewers to Revolution's 240,947.

NBC ran the prime-time table, though, among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. On that front, The Voice as usual made a wallflower of DWTS, winning in this key demographic by 169,038 viewers to 63,788.

Over on ESPN, the 49ers' mashing of Arizona averaged 240,947 viewers on Monday Night Football.

In local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 likewise swept the 6 a.m. competitions. WFAA8 had three of the other four golds, with two wins at 6 p.m. and a 5 p.m. first among 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 nipped Fox4 at 5 p.m. in total viewers.

Running the shows: Press Club of Dallas salutes five boss ladies of D-FW television news


Left to right are D-FW television news directors Adrienne Roark (CBS11); Robin Whitmeyer (Fox4); Susan Tully (NBC5); Carolyn Mungo (WFAA8) and director of content Larissa Hall (CW33). Photos: Ed Bark

A bright, picture-perfect fall day brought out the sunny dispositions Monday of a unique Dallas-Fort Worth quintet.

No other TV market has women in charge of all five major broadcast station news rooms. And they gathered together for the first time at a sold-out "Breaking News and Ceilings" event sponsored by the Press Club of Dallas.

The mood remained decidedly congenial during a 90-minute luncheon/panel session at the posh Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas. No one rained on anyone's parade during the outset of the highly competitive November "sweeps" ratings period. But the dean of the group, NBC5 news director Susan Tully, did acknowledge her fondness for inclement weather and the inflated newscast audiences that usually accompany it.

"To me the fun events are ice storms . . . I love ice storms," she said. Disclaimer: "I hate them personally," she added. But few sights warm a news director's heart more than a live shot from an overhead bridge, complete with a flash-frozen reporter braving the elements. They're ratings gold.

CBS11 news director Adrienne Roark also professed her love for ice storms. "The weather here is just fantastic," she said before also extolling North Texas as home to some of the best hail storms in the business. Fingering wrong-doers also can be a blast, said Roark. "When you catch someone doing something they shouldn't be doing, that is a lot of fun."

The session was moderated by veteran political media strategist Mark McKinnon, whose clients have included George W. Bush, Ann Richards and Bono. But McKinnon never mentioned the upcoming presidential election during his quizzing of the five women. Nor did any of a few pre-written questions from the audience.

All agreed this is still a great time for young journalists to get into the TV news business, even though budgets, salaries and staffing aren't nearly what they used to be. The increasingly heavy "social media" content of local newscasts make them ripe for newcomers who grew up with Facebook, Twitter, blogs and the like, said WFAA8 news director Carolyn Mungo.

"This is the best time for interns to come in and work in a news room," she emphasized. And the non-stop, constantly ravenous 24-hour news cycle couldn't agree with her more. "I adore it. I embrace it," Mungo said.

WFAA8 news personalities such as Gloria Campos, one of the station's more frequent tweeters, give viewers an extra bonus by revealing more of themselves, Mungo added. "If she (Campos) pulls back the curtain a little bit, people eat that up."

Fox4 news director Robin Whitmeyer, who worked her way from the ground floor up during a long tenure at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, NC, said she'd still rather hunker down in a news room with her reporters and editors. The closed-door managerial demands of her job often aren't as much fun, she said, but can't be pushed aside.

Breaking news still dominates on most days and nights. But Whitmeyer said she often gets more excited about "the enterprise stories that start out small and then on the air, they just flourish."

Larissa Hall, newest addition to this group as CW33's director of content, is currently devising a revamped 9 p.m. Nightcap News hour modeled after the station's early morning, comedy-laced Eye Opener. Launch date is Thursday, Nov. 1st, with hopes of retaining a larger percentage of the CW network's 18-to-34-year-old target audience. Many of the old newscast staffers have been terminated during this unsettling transition.

Hall said she considers herself a "change agent" whose mantra is "Let's do something different." Keeping up with the ever-escalating changes in technology and news delivery "can be frustrating," she said. But whatever direction a newscast takes, "at some level we are all entertaining in a way," Hall said.

The audience for the event included a number of prominent anchors and reporters. Fox4's Steve Eagar, Heather Hays, Clarice Tinsley and Brandon Todd made the trek, as did NBC5's Deborah Ferguson, Brian Curtis and Mark Hayes. WFAA8's Campos and Shon Gables also were in the house. But the event's only spontaneous standing ovation was for NBC5 entertainment reporter Bobbie Wygant, whose tenure with the station dates to its very first day on the air.

Here are a few other pictures from Monday's unprecedented gathering:


WFAA8's Gloria Campos and NBC5's Deborah Ferguson.


Fox4's Steve Eagar, Robin Whitmeyer and Heather Hays.


The one, the only Bobbie Wygant, still with NBC5.


Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Oct. 26-28) -- Cowboys no Giant-killers, but high-jump back over one mil mark

Last week's D-FW ratings depression gave way to a different low Sunday with the Cowboys' down-up-down mindbender against the New York Giants.

Rallying all the way back from a 23-0 deficit before taking a 29-24 knockout in the closing seconds, the Cowboys averaged 1,218,503 D-FW viewers for Fox's mid-afternoon to early evening game from Jerry's Palace. On the previous Sunday, Dallas drew fewer than one million viewers (950,020 to be exact) for the first time in almost two years with their lackluster road win at Carolina.

Sunday's Cowboys-Giants game hit a low of 1,005,093 viewers between 5 and 5:15 p.m. before rebounding to a high point of 1,438,798 viewers in the 6:15 to 6:30 segment.

Fox's followup act, the Giants' four-game World Series sweep of the favored Detroit Tigers, went all the way to 10:50 p.m. before San Francisco prevailed 4-3 in extra innings. It picked up stream down the stretch to finish with an overall average of 378,631 viewers. That fell just shy of the 399,284 viewers for NBC's lopsided Sunday Night Football matchup between the victorious Peyton Manning-led Broncos and the over-matched, Drew Brees-led Saints.

In an irony for the ages -- or so it says here -- Cowboys' QB Tony Romo couldn't close out the New York Giants while the San Francisco Giants' closer, Sergio Romo, struck out the side in the 10th inning to finish off the Tigers.

Saturday's big-ticket college football matchup, Notre Dame's road rout of favored Oklahoma, averaged 247,831 viewers in prime-time on ABC. Fox's Game 3 of the World Series pretty much tanked with 206,526 viewers opposite football.

On Friday night, NBC's 7 p.m. airing of the busted pilot Mockingbird Lane (an odd, oft-grisly update of The Munsters), drew 110,147 viewers in running third to CBS' NCIS repeat (185,873 viewers) and ABC's Shark Tank (144,568). Mockingbird Lane moved up to second place among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, behind Shark Tank.

CBS' 9 p.m. episode of Blue Bloods again was Friday's overall most-watched TV attraction with 302,905 total viewers.

Here are Friday's local news derby results on Day 2 of the four-week November "sweeps" ratings period.

CBS11 took the 10 p.m. top spot in total viewers but WFAA8 ranked a solid No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 nipped NBC5 in total viewers at 6 a.m. and had a little more leg room among 25-to-54-year-olds ahead of runner-up WFAA8.

WFAA8 won at both 5 and 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic. The total viewer golds went to CBS11 at 6 p.m. and Fox4 at 5 p.m.

CW33 forecasts meteorologist Rebecca Miller out of its picture


CW33 meteorologist Rebecca Miller not part of station's future plans. Photo: Ed Bark

It's official -- both the start date and title of CW33's revamped 9 p.m. newscast and meteorologist Rebecca Miller's disinvite.

Several sources at the Dallas-based,Tribune-owned station say that Miller was informed Thursday that the new comedy-laced Nightcap News program, set for a Thursday, Nov. 1st debut, will not be including her.

The station will honor her existing contract through the end of this year, but Miller reportedly is free to leave if she finds another job. Miller and holdover anchor Amanda Salinas, whose contract likewise expires in January, have been co-hosting a lame duck 9 p.m. newscast until Nightcap News is unveiled. Miller's role in that program, if any, is likely to be behind the scenes.

As previously reported, CW33 terminated numerous staffers early this month as part of a transition to a prime-time show modeled after its freewheeling, early morning Eye Opener program. Airing from 5 to 8 a.m. weekdays, Eye Opener is produced entirely out of CW33's Dallas studios and syndicated to several other Tribune-owned stations. The station's new list of job titles for Nightcap News includes "Host/Comedic Writer" among others.

The format for Nightcap News is still being formulated, with an overall "push the envelope" mantra in place while station management continues to debate how far and hard to push.

Miller, a former mainstay of NBC5's early morning news program, was dropped by that station in March 2008 and had to spend six months off the air as part of a standard "non-compete" contract. She was hired in January 2009 by former CW33 news director David Duitch, who left earlier this year to become editor of The Dallas Morning News website.

CW33 has tried numerous gambits at 9 p.m. in an effort to both differentiate itself and generate higher appeal among its network's 18-to-34-year-old target audience. Nothing has really worked and ratings have continued to decline.

Thursday night's 9 p.m. CW33 newscast, which also marked the start of the four-week November "sweeps" ratings period, drew 27,537 viewers in a D-FW market of almost 6.9 million viewers. Of those viewers, 11,731 were 18-to-34-year-olds.

Although small, CW33's haul of 18-to-34-year-olds exceeded that of CBS11's 10 p.m. newscast, which drew just 8,379 viewers in this age range, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

The most-watched hour of Thursday's Eye Opener, its 7 to 8 a.m. portion, had 5,027 viewers within the 18-to-34 demographic.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Oct. 25) -- better numbers for World Series, fast start for Fox4 news on first day of "sweeps"

Thursday's Game 2 of the World Series didn't hit a ratings home run, but scored far better in D-FW than the Detroit Tigers' suddenly impotent offense.

Stretching to 10:15 p.m. after a 7:09 p.m. start, the Giants' 2-0 win averaged 302,905 viewers with a peak crowd of 364,863 between 9 and 9:15 p.m. That's a significant bump up from Fox's Game 1 average of 227,179 viewers with a high of 302,905.

Still, the Series didn't win all of its time slots. CBS' The Big Bang Theory was the most-watched attraction between 7 and 7:30 p.m. with 364,863 viewers. And the network's Person of Interest commanded the 8 p.m. hour with 357,978 viewers. Giants-Tigers won the other prime-time segments, from 7:30 to 8 p.m. and from 9 to 10 p.m.

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Big Bang and CBS' following Two and a Half Men controlled the 7 p.m. hour before ABC's Grey's Anatomy edged the Series from 8 to 9 p.m. in this key demographic. Baseball then easily took the 9 p.m. hour.

Thursday also marked the first day of the four-week November "sweeps" ratings period, which again are getting off to an early start. Fox4 had the most opening day bragging rights, winning at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 also added a 6 p.m. first in the 25-to-54 demographic while the Series rubbed out the regular start time for its 10 p.m. newscast.

In the downsized three-way late night news race, WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for first in total viewers, but NBC5 led among 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m.

Local News note: For the first time ever in D-FW, Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8, CBS11 and CW33 all have women news directors/directors of content.

As previously posted, they'll make their first appearance together at the Press Club of Dallas' "Breaking News and Ceilings -- A First For Journalism in Dallas-Fort Worth." And now the time is near -- Monday, Oct. 29th from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas in Las Colinas.

Scheduled attendees are Fox4's Robin Whitmeyer, NBC5's Susan Tully, WFAA8's Carolyn Mungo, CBS11's Adrienne Roark and CW33's Larissa Hall. For further information and ticket purchases, go here.

NBC5's digital channel 5.2 will soon be a COZI environment for vintage TV


Some D-FW viewers were miffed -- even irate -- when "Classic TV" station KFWD-TV (Ch. 52) became the Spanish language network MundoFox in August.

This happened when Belo-owned WFAA8 sat back and let the station slip from its grasp rather than exercising an option to buy it and expand well beyond the "strategic alliance" it had with Ch. 52. Besides re-purposing some WFAA8 newscasts, KFWD offered oldies such as Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and I Spy.

Never fear, though, more vintage TV is near. NBCUniversal announced Wednesday that the digital channels operated by its 10 owned-and-operated stations -- including Fort Worth-based NBC5 -- will become COZI TV carriers early next year.

NBC says the new network "will combine many of America's most beloved and iconic television series, hit movies and original programming with a warm and welcoming vibe that engages viewers."

Among the former hit TV series migrating from the NBCUniversal library to COZI are The Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie's Angels, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, Marcus Welby, M.D., Magnum, P.I., You Bet Your Life, The Red Skelton Show, The Lucy Show, Highway to Heaven and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

NBC5, whose digital 5.2 channel is dubbed "DFW Nonstop," will be the new D-FW home of COZI TV, vice president of programming Brian Hocker confirmed Thursday.

"There will be opportunities for local stations to air local programming on COZI," he said. "So the 6:30 p.m. news (currently anchored by newcomer Deanna Dewberry) does not have to disappear. However, we'll be looking at the entire schedule to see what makes sense for us."

NBCUniversal said that COZI TV's overall objective is to stir old movies and TV series, plus first-run programming, "into one compelling network that will appeal to viewers who want to relax and escape."

Also promised are "innovative online and social media initiatives to engage the audience and enhance the viewing experience."

Also of note at NBC5 -- Thursday, Oct. 25th is the first day of the four-week November "sweeps" ratings period. And with co-anchor Meredith Land beginning her maternity leave, the station will deploy Kristi Nelson to take her spot at 10 p.m. with incumbent Brian Curtis.

The aforementioned Dewberry, who joined NBC5 this month, will co-anchor at 5 and 6 p.m. weekdays, Hocker said. She is familiar with the market and to some viewers after working for seven years, up until 2005, as an anchor-reporter at Belo-owned/Dallas-based Texas Cable News Network and WFAA8.

Reunion towers: former WFAA8 news stars Rowlett, Johnson, Dungan on TV together for first time since 1985


Iola Johnson, Tracy Rowlett at recent kickoff event for Texas Daily. Photo: Ed Bark

Together again on TV for the first time in more than 27 years -- Tracy, Iola and Troy.

Their scheduled venue is the Tuesday, Oct. 30th 8 a.m. edition of KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) The Texas Daily, where former WFAA8 news stars Tracy Rowlett, Iola Johnson and Troy Dungan are scheduled to be that day's featured attractions.

Along with sports anchor Verne Lundquist, they were a ratings juggernaut for WFAA8 from 1975 into the early/mid-1980s.

Lundquist, still a major presence with CBS Sports, was the first to leave in 1982. Johnson departed WFAA8 on Feb. 28, 1985 after becoming D-FW's first African-American news anchor a decade earlier. Rowlett began anchoring for rival CBS11 in early 2000. And Dungan retired as WFAA8's chief weathercaster in July of 2007.

Rowlett and Johnson re-teamed to co-anchor CBS11's 4 p.m. local newscasts from 2000 to 2002. But Tuesday will mark the first time since early 1985 that Dungan will make it an on-camera threesome.

'Iola and I have remained close friends through the years," Rowlett said in an email reply. "She was perhaps the most popular anchor ever in the D-FW market and possessed a God-given talent that is rarely seen.

"Troy is one of my closest friends, and I have always seen him as a broadcaster's broadcaster, a delight both in front of and behind the camera. Iola, Troy and I share many memories and pulled together through both the glad times and the sad times."

Rowlett said he hoped to "be able to skype Verne in on a future broadcast so the four of us can be reunited."

As previously posted, The Texas Daily, which launched on Oct. 1st, uses a rotating group of former D-FW news personalities to comment on various issues of the day. The one-hour program, now repeated at 6 p.m. weekdays, is hosted by former WFAA8 anchor-reporter Jeff Brady. Its target audience is baby-boomer viewers aged 50 and older. Most advertisers pay a premium for supposedly more "impressionable" 18-to-49-year-olds. But KTXD is hoping to profit from aiming its programming at what the station believes is a grossly under-served pool of avid TV watchers.

Below is a publicity shot of (left to right) Rowlett, Lundquist, Dungan and Johnson during their WFAA8 heyday.


Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 24) -- CBS' Survivor, crime hours outdraw Game 1 of World Series

A Texas Rangers-less World Series struck out more often than not Wednesday night in D-FW.

Fox's Game 1 of the Giants' 8-3 win over Detroit, which featured three home runs by SF's Pablo Sandoval, was outdrawn across the board in total viewers by CBS' regular prime-time lineup of Survivor: Philippines, Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

The Series, which ran until 10:34 p.m., averaged 227,179 viewers, with a peak crowd of 302,905 between 8 and 8:15 p.m.

Survivor started the night for CBS with 240,947 viewers in beating the 7 to 8 p.m. portion of the Series. Criminal Minds followed with 330,442 viewers before CSI mopped up at 9 p.m. with 282,252.

ABC's 8 p.m. episode of Modern Family also beat that half-hour segment of the Series with 337,326 viewers. From 9 to 10 p.m., two new drama series, ABC's Nashville and NBC's Chicago Fire, finished third and fourth in their time slots with 172,105 and 144,568 viewers respectively.

Survivor also won the 7 p.m. hour among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. And Modern Family easily topped the 8 to 8:30 p.m. segment. The second half-hour of Criminal Minds tied the Series for the No. 1 spot between 8:30 to 9 p.m. before baseball won the 9 p.m. hour in this key demographic.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, CBS11 won a downsized three-way competition at 10 p.m. in total viewers; WFAA8 topped the field among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added 5 and 6 p.m. firsts in the 25-to-54 demographic.

NBC5 won at 5 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for the 6 p.m. lead in that measurement.

Another incoming reporter at WFAA8: Jobin Panicker from KSEE-TV


Dallas-based WFAA8 continues to replenish its reporting staff, adding Jobin Panicker from Fresno, Calif.'s NBC affiliate, KSEE-TV.

His first scheduled day is Dec. 4th, WFAA8's vice president/product development Dave Muscari said Wednesday.

Panicker has been at KSEE since July 2008, according to his station bio. The New York native has a Master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Communication. Panicker first worked as a reporter at WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Maryland.

As posted Tuesday, WFAA8 also is adding Austin anchor-reporter Jason Wheeler to its newsroom staff.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 23) -- ABC comedy returnees face stiff opposition

ABC's two-pronged return of the sitcoms Happy Endings and Don't Trust the B -- in Apartment 23 ran into stiff opposition Tuesday from all three principal broadcast network rivals.

The combative 8 p.m. hour was won by CBS' NCIS: Los Angeles with 357,978 D-FW viewers. From 8 to 8:30 p.m., NBC's Go On nipped Fox's New Girl for second place by a score of 172,105 viewers to 165,221 while Happy Endings hung fairly close with 151,452 viewers.

In the 8:30 to 9 p.m. slot, a substitute episode of Fox's The X Factor (which was waylaid last week by a rain-delayed NLCS game) took the silver while Don't Trust the B nipped NBC's The New Normal for the bronze.

Nielsen's advertiser-prized 18-to-49 measurement dumped NCIS: L.A. into fourth place; Go On nipped New Girl for the gold from 8 to 8:30 p.m. before X Factor topped the 8:30 to 9 p.m. field. The ABC sitcoms both ran third.

CBS also won the total viewer battles at 7 and 9 p.m. with NCIS and Vegas. But their 18-to-49 audiences again were dismal, with both crime shows placing fourth. NBC's The Voice easily won at 7 p.m. X Factor's spill-over into the 9 to 9:30 p.m. slot topped ABC's runner-up Private Practice before the medical soaper won from 9:30 to 10 p.m.

KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) The Texas Daily continued to draw very minimal audiences with its 8 a.m. live hour. It had 2,754 total viewers for Tuesday's post-debate edition. But a 6 p.m. repeat fared considerably better with 13,768 viewers following a lead-in of 27,537 viewers from a rerun of The Rifleman.

As previously posted, Texas Daily reunites teams of old-time news anchors and reporters for a conversational hour hosted by former WFAA8 anchor-reporter Jeff Brady. The audience so far is predominantly 55 years of age and older, but the basic game plan is to hit this baby boomer target audience and convince advertisers of its value.

In Friday's four-way local news derby results, CBS11 topped the 10 p.m. field in total viewers before again skidding to fourth place with 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming). Fox4 won in that measurement by a comfy margin over second-place WFAA8.

Fox4 also swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added a 6 p.m. win among 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8 had Tuesday's other golds, running the table at 5 p.m. and finishing first in total viewers at 6 p.m.

Reporters Latoya Silmon, Jason Wheeler respectively hired by Fox4, WFAA8

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New hires at Fox4/WFAA8: Latoya Silmon and Jason Wheeler

Latoya Silmon of Tulsa's KTUL-TV has been hired as a general assignment reporter for Dallas-based Fox4's Good Day.

Fox4 news director Robin Whitmeyer, who made the announcement Tuesday afternoon, said that "Latoya's passion for local news, versatility and ability to connect with viewers make her a great addition to the Good Day team."

Silmon replaces Krystle Gutierrez, who left Fox4 in February of this year to join her husband, Kris Gutierrez in Chicago, where he co-anchors WBBM-TV's early morning newscasts.

The announcement said that Silmon's first day at Fox4 will be on Nov. 5th. She joined KTUL, Tulsa's ABC's affiliate, in May 2010, and has been co-anchoring the station's 5 p.m. newscasts in addition to reporting. A native of Tulsa, she was raised in Dallas, according to her KTUL station bio.

Silmon has a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast journalism and public relations from the University of Houston, and previously has worked at TV stations in Greenville, S.C. and Waco.

***In another D-FW hire, veteran anchor-reporter Jason Wheeler of Austin's KEYE-TV will be joining WFAA8 on November 26th, news director Carolyn Mungo confirmed Tuesday evening.

Wheeler, also a University of Houston graduate, has been with the CBS affiliate since August 2007. He previously worked at TV stations in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, San Antonio, Pittsburgh and El Paso, where he got his start in TV news in 1995.

Before becoming the 5 p.m. news anchor for KEYE, Wheeler co-hosted the station's lifestyle/entertainment show Austin Live. Mungo has not yet specified his duties at WFAA8 to unclebarky.com, but it's assumed that he'll be anchoring on weekends as well as reporting during weekdays.

***Fort Worth-based NBC5 has officially announced the duties of Deanna Dewberry, whose hiring was reported in September by unclebarky.com and other media outlets.

Dewberry will be a consumer/investigative reporter in a unit headed by NBC5 veteran Scott Friedman. She also has been named as the new anchor for the station's 6:30 p.m. newscast on digital channel 5.2. Dewberry succeeds Jane McGarry in that anchor position. McGarry resigned earlier this year after pleading no contest to a DWI charge.

***Finally, the Courthouse News Service reports that Dallas dentist Dr. Richard Malouf, who had been accused of Medicare fraud, has won a restraining order against WFAA8 investigator Byron Harris and real estate reporter Mary Candace Evans. It bans them from coming within 50 feet of his Dallas mansion and from taking images of the property.

Malouf sued WFAA8, Harris and Evans last week, alleging trespass, invasion of property, defamation, libel, slander and conspiracy, Courthouse News Service reports. He claims that the reporters have run about 40 stories in the past year on him and his mansion, where he's building a massive water park on his backyard property.

On Oct. 18th, wfaa.com posted raw video of Harris and a cameraman approaching Malouf outside a Dallas courtroom. Malouf and his wife, who was with him, allege that Harris "stormed" in on a "private civil hearing," the stations says.

Here's the raw video from wfaa.com:

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 22) -- debate audience drops opposite baseball/football


One last time: Romney vs. Obama in debate finale. Photo: Ed Bark

Absent one network and going against both baseball and football, the final debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney drew fewer D-FW viewers than either of the first two. But it barely beat the only veep encounter between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

Fox, contractually obligated to show Game 7 of the NLCS between the victorious Giants and vanquished Cards, reduced the prime carriers to nine networks Monday night.

Here's the breakdown in total viewers:

ABC -- 302,905
NBC -- 289,136
Fox News Channel -- 247,831
CBS -- 178,989
CNN -- 103,263
Univision -- 89,495
PBS -- 68,842
MSNBC -- 61,958
CNBC -- 4,819

Add 'em all up and that's 1,347,238 viewers. Icky foreign policy tends to fall short in the ratings game, even though this was the last debate before election day.

Here are the D-FW audiences for the three other debates:

Presidential No. 1 -- 1,445,681
Presidential No. 2 -- 1,631,556
Vice Presidential -- 1,342,417

The Giants' 9-0 closeout of the Cards, which stretched through Fox4's 10 p.m. newscast, averaged 151,452 viewers. ESPN's Monday Night Football game between the Bears and Lions had 213,410 viewers.

The pre-debate warmup shows on NBC and ABC both outdrew football or baseball. NBC's truncated 7 to 8 p.m. showing of The Voice won the time slot with 337,326 viewers while ABC's shortened Dancing with the Stars ran close behind with 323,557 viewers.

The Voice as usual slaughtered DWTS among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, by a score of 162,659 viewers to 54,220.

Here are Monday's local news derby results:

WFAA8 won a downsized three-way race at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 ran the table at both 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. firsts went to CBS11 in total viewers while the Peacock capped a big day with a 6 p.m. win in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Wolf Delkus and a disheveled Dale


WFAA8's Pete Delkus showed up as a bearded laddie on Monday. Photos; Ed Bark

As you may have read in these spaces, some form of local comedy news is coming later this fall when CW33 reboots its 9 p.m. presentation.

But as also previously noted, laugh-in elements have long been firmly in the mix at WFAA8.

The Pete 'n' Dale show, starring weathercaster Pete Delkus and sports anchor Dale Hansen, resumed in earnest Monday on the 6 p.m. edition. Fresh from his latest Montana vacation, Delkus showed up in a notably gray beard after news anchor John McCaa told viewers, "You will be interested in seeing what's coming up in weather. Not Grizzly Adams. Not Jeremiah Johnson."

Co-anchor Shelly Slater joined in, dubbing Delkus "The Most Interesting Man in the World" when he emerged as a bearded laddie.

Delkus, who pledged to shave in time for Monday's 10 p.m. edition, said his wife had told him he should show up on the air with facial hair as a way to up the comedy ante during his almost daily exchanges with Hansen.

"There is a Dale element to this," he promised before viewers were treated to a shot of Hansen in which he appeared to be showing the after-effects of a bender. (See below.)

Hansen later told Delkus, "There's a man outside on the Plaza out there with a pumpkin on his head who looks better than you."

And he closed the newscast in Delkus' absence by telling McCaa and Slater, "He kind of looked like a homeless person with a tie on."

Hansen certainly knows how to tie one on -- as he's noted from time to time. So we'll leave you with this enduring image of low comedy on the part of a station that otherwise regularly has its nose in the air in dismissing rival D-FW stations as hopeless inferiors when it comes to "serious" news.


Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Oct. 19-21) -- Cowboys fall below one mil mark

The Dallas Cowboys' less than electrifying 19-14 road win at Carolina Sunday took the team to a ratings depth it hasn't seen since Halloween afternoon, 2010.

Cowboys-Panthers, which ran until 3:08 p.m., averaged 950,020 D-FW viewers on Fox. That's the first regular season game to fall below the one million mark since Dallas lost to Jacksonville on Oct. 31, 2010 in what amounted to a warmup for that night's Game 4 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants.

Cowboys-Jaguars had 907,276 viewers, the only 2010 game to average fewer than one million viewers. All of the 2008 and 2009 games drew in excess of one million. Dallas finished 6-10 in 2010 under head coach Jason Garrett, who replaced Wade Phillips after a 1-7 start.

The peak audience for Sunday's Cowboys-Panthers game was 1,135,893 viewers for its closing minutes. But the noon to 2 p.m. portion averaged just 867,409 viewers.

The Cowboys' next game, a pivotal 3:25 p.m. home matchup against the Giants, should put the team well above the one million mark again. Fox will have that one, too.

The Dallas-Carolina game still obliterated CBS' competing Houston Texans rout of Baltimore, which averaged a measly 75,726 viewers. Things then perked up considerably for CBS, which drew 481,894 viewers for the Patriots' overtime win against the Jets.

NBC's Sunday Night Football matchup between the Steelers and Bengals led all prime-time programming with 406,168 viewers.

Football also dominated Sunday night among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. But AMC's second Season 3 episode of The Walking Dead was prime-time's second most-watched prime-time program in this key demographic. TWD easily dominated everything except football in the 8 p.m. hour. Its 156,281 viewers in the 18-to-49 age range was a killer percentage of its overall 247,831 viewers.

Saturday's Texas-Baylor score-athon in prime-time on ABC ranked as that day's biggest overall attraction with an average of 268,484 total viewers. But Texas Tech's preceding OT win over TCU had Saturday's biggest peak audience, with 351,094 viewers on ABC between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m.

CBS as usual paced Friday's prime-time ratings in total viewers with a lineup of a Hawaii Five-0 rerun and new episodes of CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. The latter crime show again was Friday's overall biggest draw with 302,905 viewers.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, the 7 to 10 p.m. winners were ABC's Shark Tank, NBC's Grimm and Blue Bloods.

Here are Friday's local news derby results:

CBS11 rolled at 10 p.m. in total viewers but WFAA8 ran first among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 and NBC5 tied for the total viewers top spot at 6 a.m., with the Peacock winning outright among 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 and CBS11 shared the 6 p.m. lead in total viewers; WFAA8 had the rest of the spoils, winning at 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic and running the table at 5 p.m.

The very public burning of Big Tex


Big Tex is solemnly removed from the Texas State Fair. wfaa.com photo

The sudden and shocking demise of Big Tex, who went up in flames late Friday morning, is very big news in these parts and around the globe for that matter.

One wonders, though, about the treatment he's receiving from one particular D-FW television station.

An afternoon tweet from @wfaachannel8, retweeted by the station's news director, Carolyn Mungo, trumpeted the State Fair icon's last gasp as though it were a public execution.

"NEW VIDEO," it said. "Watch #BigTex burn from start to finish, smoke to ashes."

Well, there's some restraint for ya.

CBS11 sports anchor/reporter Gina Miller tried to bring people back down to earth in an earlier tweet: "OK, is this #idiocracy," she wondered. "There are flowers and a huge "RIP Big Tex" wreath on Big Tex circle at the Fair. I loved him, too, but really?"

WFAA8's Cynthia "Izzy" Izaguirre remained more than a little over the top about the giant-sized galoot. "I think we should fly the Texas flag at half staff in honor of Big Tex!" she tweeted. Easy now.

Live-wire NBC5 sports anchor/reporter Matt Barrie likes to screw with people's heads when possible. So I hope he wasn't serious when he tweeted, "In honor of today: 'Big Tex Friday' all flags at HS football games should fly at half staff, and a moment of silence."

Big Tex of course already has his own mock twitter feed -- @TheReal_Big_Tex. And he's taking his death pretty lightly. "I'm the newest fried item at the state fair!" he joshed several hours ago. And earlier, "I still look good even when I'm on fire."

NBC5's Ellen Goldberg and CW33's Amanda Salinas are among the local TV journos retweeting some of the mock Big Tex's musings. That's the spirit. Because when you get right down to it. it wasn't a person who died Friday. It was a man-made mega-Cowboy who talked kinda funny and had a very oddly contorted left arm.

The State Fair ends Sunday, so Big Tex just about made it to the finish line. He'll be re-built and be back in his rightful place next fall. And then we can all start making fun of him again.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Oct. 18) -- CBS/ABC split prime-time spoils

CBS topped Thursday's prime-time ratings from start to finish in total viewers while ABC had the overall edge among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

CBS' pace-setter, The Big Bang Theory, also was the night's overall top D-FW draw with 419,936 viewers. The network's Two and a Half Men, Person of Interest and Elementary all won their time slots, too.

The two CBS sitcoms prevailed among 18-to-49-year-olds before ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Scandal were tops from 8 to 10 p.m. in this key demographic.

ABC's fourth episode of the generally praised Last Resort took the silver in total viewers at 7 p.m. but fell to fourth in its time slot with 18-to-49-year-olds.

On the sports programming front, the NFL Network's 49ers-Seahawks game averaged 137,684 total viewers while Fox's prime-time Game 4 of the NLCS between the Cards and Giants pulled in 130,800. Over on Fox Sports Southwest, the SMU Mustangs set an all-time school scoring record with their 72-42 home win against Houston's Cougars. D-FW barely noticed, with a sub-scant 13,768 viewers tuning in.

Here are Thursday's local news derby results:

CBS11 ran first at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 swept the 6 a.m. competitions and Fox4 did likewise at 5 p.m. The 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 17) -- rain-delayed baseball rubs X Factor wrong way

Fox's daytime NLCS game between the Cardinals and Giants was supposed to be over and out of the way by the time The X Factor kicked in at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

But a three-and-half-hour rain delay pushed baseball into prime-time hours and made a mess of Simon Cowell's big-ticket talent competition. So much so that he tweeted, "It was a total f-up. Have no idea what is happening to the schedule tonight."

The Cards and Giants resumed play at approximately 8:40 p.m. after portions of X Factor had aired. This knocked X Factor off the air in the midst of judge Demi Lovato's detailing of who she'd be sending to live auditions next week. Fox now plans to air the two-hour installment in its entirety on Tuesday of next week.

X Factor had a peak audience of 247,831 D-FW viewers between 8 and 8:15 p.m. But when baseball resumed, those numbers dropped to 89,495 viewers between 8:45 and 9 p.m.

CBS happily romped to a prime-time sweep in total viewers, with Survivor: Philippines, Criminal Minds and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation all winning their time slots. The second episode of ABC's much-acclaimed Nashville took the silver at 9 p.m., trailing CSI by a score of 282,252 viewers to 185,873.

The CW's second episode of Arrow had 130,800 viewers -- an unusually high number for that network -- from 7 to 8 p.m.

Survivor also won the 7 p.m. hour with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, but Arrow ranked a close second.

ABC's Modern Family had the most 18-to-49-year-olds from 8 to 8:30 p.m. before the second half of Criminal Minds prevailed from 8:30 to 9 p.m.

FX then scored big with its 9 p.m. premiere of American Horror Story: Asylum, which beat all of the Big Four broadcast attractions in the key 18-to-49 demographic. AHS ran third at that hour in total viewers, behind CSI and Nashville.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, CBS11 took first place in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 swept the 6 a.m. Nielsens, with paper-thin wins over Fox4 in total viewers and NBC5 in the 25-to-54 age group.

WFAA8 ran the table by comfier margins at 6 p.m.; NBC5 scored twin wins at 5 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 16) -- a big-drawing Round 2


Debate referee, er, moderator Candy Crowley sometimes had her hands full separating combatants Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Photo: Ed Bark

Tuesday night's at times jaw-to-jaw second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney easily out-pointed their first encounter in the D-FW Nielsens.

ABC had the biggest crowd among broadcast networks while Fox News Channel again paced the cable news network ratings. Here's the 10-network breakdown in total viewers:

ABC -- 323,557
NBC/Fox News Channel -- 227,179 each
Fox/Univision -- 213,410 each
CBS -- 192,758
MSNBC -- 89,495
CNN -- 75,726
PBS -- 41,305
CNBC -- 27,537

That's a grand total of 1,631,556 viewers, a significantly bigger crowd than the 1,445,681 who watched the first Obama-Romney debate. Last week's veep-fest between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan had 1,342,417 viewers on these same 10 networks.

NBC and ABC had the advantage of big debate warmup acts from 7 to 8 p.m. NBC's The Voice won that hour with 364,863 viewers while Dancing with the Stars (goodbye Bristol Palin) had 296,021 viewers.

The premiere of The CW's Emily Owens, M.D., which aired opposite the debate from 8 to 9 p.m., had a teeny-sized 20,653 viewers.

In Tuesday's local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 had the most viewers at 6 a.m. while tying WFAA8 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds.

The two stations also tied for first at 6 p.m. in the 25-to-54 demographic, but WFAA8 narrowly had first place to itself in total viewers.

Fox4 and CBS11 shared the first place gold at 5 p.m. in total viewers, with WFAA8 the 25-to-54 winner.

The new CW33 news: "You would be the most visible person in the circus that is our 9 p.m. show every night"

CW33_discount_Diva4 Big_Top_titles

Well, at least they're hiring -- but only after all that firing.

Dallas-based CW33's drastically revamped 9 p.m. whatchamacallit, tentatively set to launch on Nov. 1st, has put out descriptions of 11 full-time positions on careerbuilder.com among other venues.

We've detailed the bloodletting in previous posts, which also have mentioned some of the new opportunities available. But the chapter-and-verse detailing of some positions is rather striking.

"Host/Comedic Writer" for instance. Applicants are informed that "you would be the most visible person in the circus that is our 9 p.m. show every night. We need you to be funny, but not in the 'my mom thinks I'm funny' kind of way. You have formal improvisational and/or comedy training and experience. You know what it feels like to have a joke fail on stage or on screen. Your dream job would be to host a combination of The Daily Show, Conan & News Night 2.0 . . . Must exude personality, have strong opinions, the ability to host solo when necessary, and an understanding of the local market."

CW33 also expects "fanatical passion" from whoever gets to be ringmaster.

The "Host/News Reader" apparently would be at least a bit more sober-minded: Or to quote from the job description, "Authenticity and integrity: these are the key traits we need in our news reader/host. We need you to take the news seriously, but yourself less so. We need an anchor to deliver the 'Need to Know' stories, but can still laugh at themselves. You're not a plastic-haired news-reading robot, so here's your chance to be yourself on-air while still delivering the news. The right candidate must exude personality and have the ability to solo when necessary."

The "host solo when necessary" clause, also included in the "Host/Comedic Writer" job description, seems to be a pretty big thing at the new CW33. Because even the "Host/Weather Anchor" must have the "ability to host solo when necessary."

Not that the weather is more than a sidelight anymore. "Are you a meteorologist who is desperate to pipe in about more than just the weather?" CW33 asks. "You've got the personality to do more, if someone would just give you the air time. The right candidate is one awkward 'anchor cross-talk' away from quitting the TV business altogether. The unique position means you will prepare your forecast before the show, but also write and deliver topical and informational stories throughout the show as well . . . Must exude personality, have strong opinions," etc. And by the way, says CW33, "a meteorology degree is preferred but not required."

There also are "Live Story-Teller" and "Preditor" positions available. And the overall look and demeanor of the new 9 p.m. show likely will be in step with the early morning comedy-infused Eye Opener program, which is produced out of CW33 studios and syndicated to several other Tribune-owned stations.

Applicants aren't directly told they'll have to be able to take a pie in the face with aplomb. That might be just a bit off-putting -- or maybe not. And in truth, comedy news isn't exactly in short supply around here anyway. Watch the early morning shows on the big boy stations -- Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8, CBS11. Or thrill to the sight of D-FW's own Abbott and Costello -- WFAA8 weathercaster Pete Delkus and sports anchor Dale Hansen -- figuratively pulling down each others' trousers on most nights.

Abbott and Costello is a dated reference, of course. For the purposes of The CW network's much younger target audience, let's amend that to Key and Peele. Or Conan and Andy. Or Craig Ferguson and his Robot sidekick (but not a "plastic-haired" one. Nuh uh).

Just remember, though, you absolutely must be able to "EXUDE PERSONALITY." Credibility? "Preferred but not required."

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 15) -- NBC's Voice again drowns out ABC's DWTS

NBC's The Voice again took the measure of ABC's competing Dancing with the Stars Monday, edging it in total viewers and crushing it among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Voice amassed 351,094 D-FW viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. while DWTS had 323,557. CBS' quartet of sitcoms ranked third in that slot and Fox's Game 2 of the NLCS between the Giants and Cardinals ran a distant last with an overall average of 82,610 viewers. ESPN's Monday Night Football faceoff between the Broncos and collapsing Chargers drew 309,789 viewers.

In the 18-to-49 demographic, Voice was Monday's biggest overall with 175,417 while Monday Night Football placed a close second with 165,849. DWTS had 95,682, good enough to beat baseball and all of the CBS sitcoms except How I Met Your Mother.

At 9 p.m. among the Big Four broadcast networks, ABC's Castle beat NBC's Revolution in total viewers by a score of 296,021 to 220,294. But Revolution had a slight edge with 18-to-49-year-olds while CBS' Hawaii Five-0 ran third in both audience measurements.

On KTXD-TV (Ch. 47), The Texas Daily began Week 3 with its biggest total viewers audience to date. It drew 6,884 in the 8 a.m. hour; that's still a very small crowd, but it beats the program's previous steady diet of "hashmarks" (no measurable audience).

Here are Monday's four-way local news derby numbers:

WFAA8 swept the 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 won in total viewers and 6 a.m. but Fox4 had the most 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. and the Peacock did likewise at 5 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Oct. 12-14) -- Cowboys again surpass one mil mark; Packers blast baseball

Finding yet another novel way to lose, the Dallas Cowboys as usual lit up the D-FW ratings Sunday.

The blood-draining 31-29 road killer at Baltimore averaged 1,101,472 viewers on Fox, up from the season low of 1,018,862 who watched Dallas get mauled by the Bears almost two weeks earlier on Monday Night Football.

Fox continued to prosper with its late afternoon/early evening Giants-49ers game, which averaged 557,620 viewers in crunching CBS' competing Seattle Seahawks-New England Patriots faceoff (103,263 viewers).

Then it was baseball in prime-time -- and also time for most viewers to switch to the Green Bay Packers' thrashing of the formerly undefeated Houston Texans on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Packers-Texans drew 536,968 viewers while Fox's Game 1 of the NLCS between the Cardinals and Giants deflated to 103,263. It's not a lotta fun in these parts watching the two National League teams that punched out the Texas Rangers in the last two World Series.

Baseball also was beaten by the ABC and CBS prime-time lineups, although by much smaller margins. Even ABC's struggling 666 Park Avenue managed to outdraw the Cards and Giants during Sunday's 9 p.m. hour. But from 8 to 9 p.m., the Season 3 premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead beat everything but football, with 206,526 viewers and a very impressive 159,470 of them within the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Saturday's Nielsens were paced by Oklahoma's pasting of Texas on ABC. The annual Cotton Bowl/State Fair throwdown averaged 371,747 viewers on ABC. The network's followup college game -- Texas Tech's demolition of previously undefeated West Virginia -- was Saturday's second most-watched attraction with 254,715 viewers.

On Friday, CBS led from start to finish in prime-time with its NCIS rerun and new episodes of CSI: NY and Blue Bloods. Advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds narrowly preferred ABC's competing lineup of Shark Tank, What Would You Do? and 20/20.

Friday's four-way local news derby numbers went like this:

CBS11 romped at 10 p.m. in total viewers but went from first to worst among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. WFAA8 again led that parade, nipping Fox4.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions. At 6 p.m., the golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and WFAA8 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Fox4 and WFAA8 tied for first at 5 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 notched a stand alone win with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Oct. 11) -- Foxes run atop vp debate numbers

D-FW viewers flocked to Fox News Channel and Fox for Thursday night's veep debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan.

The two networks were atop the Nielsen scorecard for the 8 to 9:30 p.m. sit-down with moderator Martha Raddatz. Here's the scorecard in total viewers:

Fox News Channel -- 254,715
Fox -- 192,758
CBS/Univision -- 185,873 apiece
ABC -- 178,989
NBC -- 137,684
CNN -- 96,379
PBS/MSNBC -- 48,189 apiece
CNBC -- 13,768

That's a 10-network total of 1,342,417 viewers. Last week's first presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had 1,445,681 D-FW viewers on these same 10 networks. So pretty close, huh?

CBS' comedy combo of The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men led the 7 to 8 p.m. debate warmups with 406,168 and 337,326 viewers respectively. That was enough to roll over Fox's The X Factor (268,484 viewers) while ABC's third episode of Last Resort made a decent third place showing with 185,873 viewers.

The CBS sitcoms also won the 7 p.m. hour among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. Last Resort fell to fourth place, a bit behind NBC's 30 Rock and Up All Night.

The CW's premiere of Beauty and the Beast drew 48,189 total viewers from 8 to 9 p.m., with 28,705 hitting the 18-to-49 motherlode.

Here are Thursday's four-way local news derby results:

WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

WFAA8 rode into first place in both measurements at 6 a.m. while Fox4 likewise swept the 5 p.m. competitions.

The 6 p.m. trophies went to WFAA8 in total viewers and Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Reporter Melissa Newton leaving CBS11 to join husband meteorologist in OKC

newton_melissa-webpic DAMON-LANE-jpg

CBS11's Melissa Newton and husband Damon Lane of KOCO-TV.

CBS11 reporter Melissa Newton, who joined the D-FW station in June 2009, will be leaving soon to join her husband, Damon Lane, in Oklahoma City. They were married earlier this year.

Lane, the early morning weatherman for KOCO-TV, has been promoted to chief meteorologist in place of Rick Mitchell, who left the station in August to join Fort Worth-based NBC5 as that station's eventual chief meteorologist. He has been at KOCO since August 2009.

CBS11 director of communications Lori Conrad confirmed Thursday that Newton "is leaving in late November to join her new husband." CBS11 hired her after Newton was laid off in March of 2009 by NBC5.

Newton, who has been working the early morning shift at CBS11, previously worked as an anchor-reporter at both KOCO and KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City. Sources say Newton is being wooed by two stations in that market to be a full-time anchor. She's a native of Roswell, New Mexico and a 2003 Texas Tech journalism graduate.

Lane, whose birth surname is Smuzynski, married Newton under that name on Sept. 22nd in McKinney.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 10) -- so-so start for Nashville

Touted as fall's best new series by a wide variety of TV critics (including this one), ABC's Nashville was a bit slow on the drawl in Wednesday's prime-time Nielsens.

It drew 213,410 D-FW viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, losing that slot to a competing new episode of CBS' grizzled CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (289,136 viewers). But Nashville did beat the premiere of NBC's new 9 p.m. offering, Chicago Fire (123,316 viewers).

Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, CSI inched past Nashville by a count of 86,114 viewers to 82,924. Chicago Fire fell to fourth behind Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast.

The night's other drama series premiere, The CW's Arrow, had 68,842 total viewers at 7 p.m. in running behind the competing shows on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. It also ran fifth with 18-to-49-year-olds and the CW's principal target audience, 18-to-34-year-olds.

Fox's The X Factor won its 7 p.m. opening hour in both total viewers and 18-to-49-year-olds. But it was beaten in total viewers from 8 to 9 p.m. by both CBS' Criminal Minds and ABC's two new episodes of Modern Family. MF topped the 18-to-49 field, with X Factor moving up to second.

In Wednesday's local news derby results, CBS11 finished first at 10 p.m. in total viewers while WFAA8 had the edge among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept both the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions, and added a 6 p.m. gold in the 25-to-54 demographic. NBC5 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers. with both WFAA8 and CBS11 just small steps behind.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 9) -- crime keeps paying for CBS

CBS retained its firm grip on Tuesdays -- in total viewers at least -- with another crime-time/prime-time sweep.

Its lead-off hitter, NCIS, as usual was the day's most-watched TV attraction with 419,936 D-FW viewers. NCIS: Los Angeles (406,168 viewers) and Vegas (289,136 viewers) also won their time slots.

NBC's heaviest hitter, its 7 p.m. results edition of The Voice, ran a strong second at that hour with 364,863 viewers. ABC's Dancing with the Stars results hour (goodnight to both Drew Lachey and Helio Castroneves) was the 8 p.m. runner-up with 289,136 viewers.

NCIS faded to a distant second among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though. The Voice lured 191,364 viewers in this age range while NCIS had just 79,735.

The Peacock's Go On sitcom won from 8 to 8:30 p.m. with 18-to-49-year-olds, edging Fox's usually first-place New Girl by a score of 98,871 to 95,682. The second half of NCIS: Los Angeles prevailed from 8:30 to 9 p.m. before ABC's Private Practice edged NBC's Parenthood in the 9 p.m. hour.

DTWS continued to skew increasingly old, with its live 8 p.m. vote-off ranking an out-of-the-money fourth with 18-to-49-year-olds.

In Tuesday's local news derby results, CBS11 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while WFAA8 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 swept the 6 a.m. competitions, with CBS11 crashing back to earth with a pair of distant fourth place finishes after popping up to third in Monday's Nielsens.

WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. and Fox4 did likewise at 5 p.m.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 8) -- Texans-infused MNF is day's top draw

ABC's and NBC's heaviest hitting "reality competition" shows couldn't outdraw the NFL's ongoing real-life drama.

Helped by the presence of the still undefeated Houston Texans, ESPN's Monday Night Football averaged 426,820 D-FW viewers for their road win over the Jets. The game also ruled with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, drawing 236,016 viewers in this age range.

NBC's 7 to 9 p.m. edition of The Voice was No. 2 on both scorecards, with 385,515 viewers and 178,606 of them in the 18-to-49 demographic.

ABC's competing Dancing with the Stars drew 302,905 total viewers but sagged badly with 18-to-49-year-olds. It had just 54,220 viewers of this persuasion, beating only Fox's combo of Bones and The Mob Doctor. The latter freshman series was the night's lowest prime-scorer with 18-to-49-year-olds among the Big Four broadcast networks.

At 9 p.m., the non-football attractions were led by NBC's Revolution in both total viewers (247,831) and 18-to-49-year-olds (105,250).

KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) Monday edition of the 8 a.m. Texas Daily achieved its first measurable Nielsen rating after drawing blanks in Week 1. It wasn't much, but the locally produced "news conversation" hour is officially on the radar with 2,754 total viewers.

Here are the results of the four-way local news derby competitions:

WFAA8 ran the table at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 finished first in total viewers at 6 a.m. while Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds. Of note: CBS11's long-struggling waker-upper ran third in both measurements, dumping WFAA8 into last place.

WFAA8 remained strong at 6 p.m. with twin wins. NBC5 took the 5 p.m. gold in total viewers while Fox4 and CBS11 tied for first place in the 25-to-54 demographic.

CBS11 revs up early a.m. promo campaign, urges viewers to "Get your morning rollin' with Drolen"

CBS11 has been inching up ever so slightly in the 6 a.m. waker-upper hour. The station remains in fourth place, but not by the big gulp gaps of recent months. At least not lately.

This new promo, for blonde-alicious traffic anchor Whitney Drolen, is evidence that CBS11 at least is trying to get in the game. The station also has been touting its recently paired anchor team of Brendan Higgins and Adrienne Bankert with comedy-laced spots in the mold of WFAA8's (Ron) "Corning in the Morning" pace-setters.

Drolen, imported from the two CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles, at one point declares, "Sometimes there's detours to the detours." Perhaps she'd be better off just going for it and saying, "Hey motorists, my curves are sharper than any you'll find on the Fort Worth 'Mixmaster.' "

Just a thought. Here's the spot.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Oct. 5-7) -- pro pigskin again rules all

A Cowboy-less Sunday didn't deter other pro teams from total ratings dominance.

With the Texas Rangers dismally out of the way (Friday night's last gasp ratings were posted earlier), CBS and NBC enjoyed the fruits of two marquee NFL matchups.

CBS' mid-afternoon/early evening game between Tom Brady's Patriots and Peyton Manning's Broncos led all TV attractions with an average of 578,273 D-FW viewers. NBC was close behind with its Sunday Night Football face-off between the Charges and Saints, whose Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas' 52-year-old record by passing for a TD in his 48th consecutive game. An average of 516,315 viewers watched history being made.

Fox's Steelers-Eagles game controlled the early afternoon Nielsens with 351,094 viewers opposite CBS' Giants-Browns matchup (227,179 viewers).

Among Sunday's prime-time entertainment offerings, ABC's second episode of 666 Park Avenue deep-sized in the 9 p.m. hour by trailing competing programming on NBC, CBS and Fox in both total viewers and advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Saturday night was dominated by Fox's high-scoring college football circus between victorious West Virginia and Texas. The game averaged 371,746 viewers in crushing Nebraska-Ohio State on ABC (61,958) and Notre Dame-Miami on NBC (27,537).

CBS' 9 p.m. episode of Blue Bloods again drew Friday's biggest prime-time crowd, other than the Rangers on TBS. And the network's new Made in Jersey likewise managed to win its 8 p.m. slot in total viewers despite drawing barely more than half the audience for BB.

But Made in Jersey ran a distant fourth among 18-to-49-year-olds in the Big Four broadcast network universe while BB fell just a notch to second place behind NBC's Dateline.

Friday's 8 a.m. edition of KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) The Texas Daily closed out a dispiriting week ratings-wise with more sets of "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) among both total viewers and the show's target audience of baby boomers past the age of 50. Although it's slowly improving quality-wise , Texas Daily hasn't yet registered on the Nielsen scale with its first five hours.

Here are Friday's four-way local news derby results:

WFAA8 and CBS11 tied for first in total viewers at 10 p.m. The fight for 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) ended in another tie for the top spot between Fox4 and WFAA8.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and added wins at 5 p.m. in total viewers and 6 p.m. with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. while NBC5 topped the 5 p.m. field in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., Oct. 4 plus Friday's final Rangers game)

The Texas Rangers saved their worst for last Friday night while also drawing their biggest TV crowd of the season for the 5-1 banishment by Baltimore.

Playing at home in the American League's first-ever wild card play-in game, the Rangers averaged 571,389 D-FW viewers on out of the way TBS.

That easily eclipsed the previous 2012 season high of 399,672 viewers for Yu Darvish's April 9th Major League debut against the Seattle Mariners on Fox Sports Southwest. Yu again was on the mound Friday night, but his teammates remained in a fog. Still, FSS set at an all-time ratings average high for Rangers games this season. Given the team's down-the-stretch flop, that mark could last for a while.

In Thursday's prime-tiime Nielsens, CBS' 7 p.m. episode of The Big Bang Theory edged Fox's first half-hour of The X Factor by a score of 351,094 viewers to 330,442. The 7:30 to 8 p.m. portion of X Factor (378,631 viewers) then rolled over CBS' runner-up Two and a Half Men (282,252).

CBS' Person of Interest (419,936) and Elementary (302,905) easily won the 8 to 10 p.m. slots in total viewers.

Elementary likewise took the 9 p.m. hour among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds. But X Factor called the tune in this key demographic from 7 to 8 p.m. before ABC's Grey's Anatomy won at 8 p.m.

ABC's second episode of Last Resort ran fourth at 7 p.m. among 18-to-49-year-olds while beating NBC's competing sitcom combo of 30 Rock and Up All Night in total viewers.

Here are Thursday's local news derby numbers:

WFAA8 tied CBS11 for first in total viewers at 10 p.m. before winning outright with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 had a slight edge in total viewers at 6 a.m., with WFAA8 prevailing by a thin margin in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 ran the table at 6 p.m. The 5 p.m. firsts went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4/NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., Oct. 3) -- debate rundown

Wednesday's first of three presidential debates dominated the night's ratings, although Fox's The X Factor was the most-watched program on a single network.

Airing in the hour preceding the face-off between President Obama and Mitt Romney, X Factor drew 302,905 D-FW viewers while also ranking as Wednesday's most-watched single network program among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Here are the D-FW debate numbers in total viewers:

ABC -- 234,063
Fox -- 220,294
Fox News Channel -- 206,526
NBC -- 185,873
CBS -- 158,337
CNN -- 137,684
Univision -- 117,031
PBS -- 103,263
MSNBC -- 75,726
CNBC -- 6,884

That's a grand total of -- ding, ding, ding -- 1,445,681 viewers. And that's enough on 10 networks to edge the Dallas Cowboys' first regular season game against the Giants on NBC. It drew 1,348,046 viewers.

In train wreck TV news, the Texas Rangers' Wednesday afternoon collapse at Oakland averaged 206,526 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest, with a peak crowd of 261,600 between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m. Friday night's single elimination wild card game against the visiting Baltimore Orioles will be on TBS.

Here are the local news derby results:

WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 remained solid among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming) with its second straight win.

Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 tied for first at 6 a.m. in total viewers; Fox4 had a slim edge with 25-to-54-year-olds.

WFAA8 swept the 6 p.m. competitions. At 5 p.m., the Peacock and WFAA8 tied for first in total viewers while Fox4 and WFAA8 shared the 25-to-54 golds.

Anchor Amanda Salinas and meteorologist Rebecca Miller will stay on at CW33 until January expiration of contracts

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Anchor Amanda Salinas & meteorologist Rebecca Miller
"Transitioning" is just about completed at Dallas-based CW33, with the station's remaining two best-known news staffers, anchor Amanda Salinas and meteorologist Rebecca Miller, staying on until January to ride out their contracts.

However, they will be free to pursue other job opportunities, according to several sources.

As previously reported, Tribune-owned CW33 is re-making its 9 p.m. local newscast in the image of the comedy-infused early morning Eye Opener program, which originates from the station's studios and also is carried by several other TV stations in the Tribune chain. The new program is scheduled to premiere in November, with a working title of Night Cap.

In the interim, Salinas and Miller co-anchored Tuesday's 9 p.m. CW33 newscast, which already is carrying portions of Eye Opener while also promoting it. Come November, they'll likely be "co-hosting" through the end of this year.

Salinas and Miller, NBC5's former longtime early morning meteorologist, were both hired by former CW33 news director David Duitch, who earlier this summer became editor of the dallasnews.com website.

Miller became CW33's chief meteorologist in January 2009. Salinas joined the station in February 2009, when she was teamed with fellow new anchor Walt Maciborski. He since has left CW33 for an anchoring position at WXIN-TV in Indianapolis.

Sources say that two other CW33 staffers also won't be part of the new-look prime-time newscast. Reporter Tommy Noel, who's been doubling as Eye Opener's traffic anchor, and sports anchor/reporter Andy Scholes will be leaving the station. The new CW33 won't have a sports department.

A Monday post on unclebarky.com detailed other casualties at CW33, with most evicted staffers being asked to stay on through Halloween. Former Eye Opener senior producer Larissa Hall is overseeing the prime-time newscast makeover in her new position as CW33's Director of Content.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., Oct. 2) -- lots of winners, even Rangers

The drooping Texas Rangers had plenty of company in their misery Tuesday night, dominating the late night ratings with more dispiriting play in Oakland.

The 3-1 loss, moving the A's into a first-place tie for the Western division lead, averaged 261,600 D-FW viewers from 9 p.m. to midnight on Fox Sports Southwest. The game won all three hours against competing programming while also ranking as the top attraction in that time slot among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.

Earlier in prime-time, CBS NCIS/NCIS: Los Angeles combo again drew the most total viewers from 7 to 9 p.m. NCIS had the biggest audience of all Tuesday programming, with 419,936 viewers.

CBS typically couldn't hold serve with 18-to-49-year-olds, though. NBC's The Voice won the 7 to 8 p.m. hour in that key demographic before Fox's New Girl took over from 8 to 8:30 p.m. NBC's The New Normal drew the most 18-to-49-year-olds at 8:30 p.m.

The second episodes of three new broadcast network series had mixed results. CBS' 9 p.m. attraction, Vegas, beat everything on ABC, NBC and Fox, but fell to third among 18-to-49-year-olds behind ABC's Private Practice and Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast.

Fox's Ben and Kate beat only WFAA8's second half-hour of a nasty senatorial debate from 7:30 to 8 p.m. in both total viewers and 18-to-49-year-olds. Fox's 8:30 p.m. episode of The Mindy Project fell to fourth place in both ratings measurements.

Overall, the Belo debate had 61,958 total viewers from 7 to 8 p.m., with 9,568 in the 18-to-49 range.

KTXD-TV's (Ch. 47) second 8 a.m. edition of The Texas Daily again pulled "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in both total viewers and among its target baby boomer demographic of viewers 50 years of age and older.

Here are Tuesday's four-way local news derby results:

CBS11 won comfortably at 10 p.m. in total viewers but Fox4 dominated among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 and NBC5 shared the total viewers lead at 6 a.m., with Fox4 again controlling the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 swept the 6 p.m. competitions and NBC5 likewise ran the table at 5 p.m.


A few comments on "Comments"

Regular readers of unclebarky.com likely have noticed that the "Comments" option at the end of posts has vanished.

There are two reasons for this.

Number one, the "widget" I've been using has been discontinued, effective on midnight on Oct. 1st. And secondly, after lots of thought, I've decided to drop this option.

The great majority of commenters over the years have for the most part been responsible. And they've been greatly appreciated, too. Increasingly, though, petty personal attacks have been seeping in. And they've become just too much trouble to police in addition to all the writing that's done for this site by its sole content provider.

I think the point of possibly no return came when the potential Fox4 hire of Laura Moss was reported. She came under some pretty vile attacks from a handful of anonymous snipers whose comments were deleted after I discovered them. But it took a while, and Moss didn't deserve to be hung out there in the interim. She hasn't complained. Not a bit. But I felt like an enabler for those who called her various names and made allegations that simply couldn't be substantiated.

All comments used to come through my email, which made it far easier to promptly monitor them. But in the dying months of the "Comment" mechanism, many of them simply popped up on various pages of unclebarky.com. And when posts go into the monthly archives -- many of them years old -- the cheap attacks are much harder to keep track of.

Ending comments will reduce the number of repeat visitors -- some of them knuckle-draggers who delight in hit-and-run insults. But this site has never made any real money from advertisers, so a reduction in overall "traffic" is not a concern anymore. I trust that those who enjoy the reviews and information -- from both a local and national perspective -- will still be regular readers of unclebarky.com. That's the primary reason this site exists.

Those who may have been reluctant to be interviewed by me -- for fear that they'd then be beaten up in the comments section -- can now rest easier. And I'm also free to occasionally tackle touchy issues of race and politics without hesitation.

Those who want to react to future posts are free to do so via email. My address will now be included at the end of each post. And don't worry, I'm not going to "out" anybody. Protecting the confidences of readers and sources has always been standard operating procedure here.

I'll have the leeway to occasionally post reactions to stories. But I'll also get to pick and choose which comments are used. It's not a perfect way to deal with this situation, but I hope readers will know that my principal objective from the start has been to provide you with information on D-FW and national television that isn't readily available elsewhere.

The many intelligent and thoughtful commenters know who they are. And I'll miss your input. The stealth bombers also know who they are. And I won't miss you at all.

Here's my email address. Please feel to use it when the spirit moves.

unclebarky@verizon.net (Ed Bark)

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Oct. 1) -- Cowboys mauled by Bears while viewers turn away

Thrashed by the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys logged their smallest regular season audience to date on an ESPN/TXA21 combo.

ESPN's presentation averaged 557,620 viewers while the TXA21 simulcast pulled in 461,241. That's a grand total of 1,018,862 viewers for a game that ran from 7:40 to 10:39 p.m. The previous lows were 1,110,952 viewers apiece for both the Game 2 loss at Seattle and the Game 3 home win vs. Tampa Bay. The Cowboys' opening night road win against the New York Giants remains comfortably on top with 1,348,046 viewers for NBC's Wednesday night telecast to kick off the NFL season.

For the final full 15-minute segments of Monday's game, ESPN had 454,357 viewers and TXA21, 371,747. The total of 826,104 viewers is well below the magic one million mark. And audiences continued to fall off for the closing 9 minutes of the game. Nielsen Media Research measures in 15-minute increments.

The Texas Rangers' late-starting loss at Oakland, which ran until 12:12 a.m., averaged 240,947 viewers on Fox Sports Southwest.

The Big Four broadcast networks weighed in with some of their heaviest hitters opposite the Cowboys. In that arena, NBC's The Voice edged ABC's Dancing with the Stars from 7 to 9 p.m. by a score of 268,484 viewers to 240,947. But ABC's Castle narrowly beat NBC's new Revolution in the 9 p.m. hour --- by 240,947 viewers to 220,294.

NBC swept ABC among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, though. CBS' 7:30 p.m. episode of its new Partners sitcom was Monday's lowest prime-time scorer in both measurements among Big Four broadcast network attractions. But Fox4's 9 p.m. local newscast had the fewest viewers across the board.

Over on KTXD-TV (Ch. 52), the first 8 a.m. edition of The Texas Daily (with Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan as inaugural guest commentators) had "hashmarks" (no measurable audience) in the total viewer Nielsens. Worse yet, it also had a 0.0 rating among viewers 50 years and older, who constitute the one-hour program's target baby-boomer audience.

In contrast, KTXD's noon episode of Gunsmoke drew 25,724 viewers in the 50+ age group to rank as the station's most-watched program of the day in that demographic. But contrast that with the 195,901 50-plussers who tuned in CBS11's 6:30 p.m. episode of the syndicated Wheel of Fortune. The total audience for Wheel was 247,831 viewers. So 50+ viewers constitute a huge percentage of the haul.

In Monday's local news derby results, WFAA8 won at 10 p.m. in total viewers, but NBC5 ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. Audiences for the four newscasts at that hour were depressed by the depressing Cowboys game.

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. for its only wins of the day. WFAA8 won at 6 p.m. in total viewers while Fox4 and NBC5 shared the 25-to-54 gold. At 5 p.m., CBS11 was tops in total viewers and WFAA8 led in the 25-to-54 demographic.

"Transitioning" at CW33 claims first wave of staffers

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Reporters Charles Bassett and Dawn Tongish

"Transitioning" began in earnest at Dallas-based CW33 Monday, with reporters Dawn Tongish and Charles Bassett notified that they will not be part of the station's drastically revamped prime-time newscast.

The dismissals also included roughly a dozen off-camera personnel.

"For such a bad day, the mood has been generally calm," a source told unclebarky.com. "The most emotional moment for the team was seeing a veteran video editor walk in the newsroom with 'the blue folder.' He's a talented individual with so much experience. Everyone who got a blue folder will not be 'transitioning.' "

Those who have been deemed expendable are being asked to work through Halloween. On Nov. 1st, CW33 plans to launch a 9 p.m. newscast modeled after the station's early morning, comedy-infused Eye Opener program, which also is being carried by several other Tribune-owned stations. Eye Opener originates from CW33 studios.

Reporters Barry Carpenter and Doug Magditch survived Monday's cuts, according to sources. Anchor Amanda Salinas and meteorologist Rebecca Miller are among the CW33 news room staffers who will learn their fates Tuesday during a second round of transitioning.

"The way things look right now, it's safe to assume half the staff will be let go," a source said.

Tongish, who also anchored on weekends, has been with the station since the 1999 launch of its 9 p.m. newscast under former news director Anthony Maisel, who resigned in September 2007 and now is general manager at KTEN-TV in Sherman-Denison.

Bassett joined CW33 in spring 2011.

The "transitioning" is being handled in large part by new director of content Larissa Hall, who was named to that position in August after a senior producer stint with Eye Opener.

Rocky, oft-redundant start for KTXD-TV's Texas Daily


Ex-WFAA8 mainstays Troy Dungan and Tracy Rowlett ventured opinions on Monday morning's premiere of The Texas Daily. At right is host Jeff Brady, also formerly of WFAA8. Photos: Ed Bark

Dallas-based KTXD-TV (Ch. 47) is best known at present for its menu of vintage TV series repeats via an affiliation with ME-TV.

Unfortunately, Monday's 8 a.m. premiere of The Texas Daily ended up being repetitive as well, robbing the one-hour program of any real momentum or substance. Recurring technical problems didn't help either.

Helmed by former WFAA8 newsman Jeff Brady, who's billed as a "host" rather than anchor, Texas Daily's principal selling point is its roster of "pundits' who used to be star players on D-FW newscasts. As previously posted, there are 13 of them in addition to Brady. All except ex-NBC5 sports anchor Scott Murray have ties to WFAA8.

Tracy Rowlett and Troy Dungan, who respectively worked together for a quarter-century as WFAA8's main anchor and weathercaster, were first onboard Monday after yet another onetime WFAA8 personality, former PM Magazine co-host Leeza Gibbons, introduced the program to its opening day audience.

A companion clip showed Suzie Humphries telling Murray with relish, "No, I'm not on Twitter. Does someone have a twit for me?"

But Texas Daily isn't above soliciting viewer response via Twitter or Facebook. Brady did that early in the show after telling viewers, "This is not going to be your typical newscast . . . It's not a newscast necessarily. It's a conversation."

Rowlett and Dungan initially sat right there with him at the host desk, awkwardly reacting very briefly to the chosen headlines of the day in a "Morning Rush" segment that got repeated ad nauseum throughout the program. Brady briefly touched on the weekend's light earthquakes in Irving, the death of a North Texas soldier in Afghanistan and a rainy opening weekend at the State Fair of Texas.

"Of course, this is the longest conflict the U.S. has ever been involved in," he said as the camera panned over to Rowlett and Dungan. "Mmm hmm," said Dungan, apparently caught more than a bit off guard. And that was it.

Brady for some reason also cited "this poll taken in Colorado" that showed President Obama with a 58-34 percent lead over Mitt Romney. Texas Daily made no further identification in the poll, whose gaping margin seemed curious to say the least. In a September 24th Colorado survey by Public Policy Polling, Obama was shown leading Romney by just a 51-45 percent margin, with 4 percent undecided. It's the latest available poll of Colorado voters from politico.com.

Wednesday's first of three presidential debates will originate from Denver. "I'm a lifelong Republican," Dungan said. "I'll vote for Romney, but I'm not crazy about the guy."

Rowlett did not disclose his voting intentions, but the two of them seemed unanimous in their surprising disdain for the State Fair. Dungan said he hadn't been there in years and had no plans for any future visits. Rowlett agreed: "I try to avoid the Fair where possible."

It's probably safe to say that many in the older baby-boomer audience that Texas Daily is targeting remain avid Fair goers. In that context, Rowlett and Dungan perhaps came off as more than a little elitist, if not downright churlish. But they're entitled to their opinions.

Scott Fossey's weather briefs were two or three too many.

One of the worst aspects of Texas Daily's opening day were the repeated weather and sports briefs from a bespectacled forecaster named Scott Fossey and younger, studlier Eric Sullivan.

There were not one, not two, but five of these apiece. And the content and patter never varied. Fossey kept beginning his segment with "As we kick-start another week together." He also referenced a "little pinwheel of energy" five times. Sullivan unfailingly greeted viewers with "What's up, everybody?"

Repeating such segments makes much more sense in the very early hours of workday mornings, with new viewers constantly waking up and tuning in. But by 8 a.m., it should be assumed that the great majority of viewers are watching a program from start to finish. In that context, the weather and sports segments became annoying at best, infuriating at worst. Two or perhaps three of these would be more than enough. And the content should vary at least a little; instead viewers had to choke down the same seemingly pre-taped bits.

A top-heavy load of commercials didn't help matters. It too often seemed that the content of Texas Daily was interrupting the ads -- not vice-versa. And just about every spot aired at least twice during the hour. Save for the dentures commercial, which mercifully subjected viewers just once to an offer of "just $395 for a full upper or lower."

Brady regularly got cut off by the onset of these commercials, a timing glitch that easily can be fixed. But on Monday, it made the whole enterprise seem all that much more amateurish.

On two occasions, the host, Rowlett and Dungan repaired to an informal living room setting for more extended conversations that still seemed too brief.

One of the segments, on the Obama and Romney campaigns targeting just a handful of "battleground" states, had the potential to be more informative than it was. Instead, Dungan noted his previous reference to himself as a post-WFAA8 commercial endorser with "four clients." He then said, "Now that we're back in television, we need these TV stations to make some money (on campaign ads) so they can pay us those semi-huge bucks." Rowlett laughed uproariously.

Texas Daily otherwise is buttressing Brady's news headline-reading with some taped pieces from CNN. For the most part they were OK, although viewers should have been told that KTXD is using such material because of its affiliation with CNN.

The program also presented the apparently obligatory but completely unneeded "Daily Viral" segment. Rowlett and Dungan seemed to be put off their feed by visuals of a Doberman fighting a little cat. Neither could muster a comment. Texas Daily also could stand to junk a "#Trending on Social Media" filler in which the Top 5 topics mistakenly appeared on-screen in the opposite order that Brady ticked them off.

Brady is a solid choice as host, though. He had a lot of stuff to read during this first Texas Daily. And for the most part he got through it very capably.

If Texas Daily is truly going to be different, though, it needs to accentuate and lengthen the "Daily Viewpoint" segments while losing a lot of the needlessly redundant stuff. This obviously is a fluid work in progress. And there's ample work to be done.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., Sept. 28-30) -- NFL and then everything else

The NFL dominated with two big NFC games Sunday that also marked the return of the "real" refs in their at times stumbling, bumbling glory.

Fox's late afternoon/early evening Packers-Saints game, blemished by a series of glaringly blown calls, averaged 598,925 D-FW viewers to rank as the day's most-watched attraction.

NBC's Sunday Night Football matchup between the Eagles and Giants then controlled the prime-time Nielsens with 543,852 viewers. NBC's late morning/all afternoon Ryder Cup coverage, in which Europe rallied on the final day to stun the U.S. team, averaged 117,031 viewers.

ABC's new 666 Park Avenue, which is supposed to be a chiller, instead had a scary night in the ratings. Its premiere episode drew just 144,568 viewers in the 9 p.m. hour opposite the dominant NFL and CBS' season premiere of its transplanted The Mentalist (302,905 viewers).

666 also ran third among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, but only barely behind The Mentalist in this key measurement.

On Friday night, the launch of CBS' new Made in Jersey won its 8 p.m. slot with 172,105 total viewers. Still, it dug a valley between the new season launches of CBS' preceding CSI: NY (247,831 viewers) and the following Blue Bloods (309,789 viewers).

CBS again came up well short with 18-to-49-year-olds, though. ABC's Shark Tank won at 7 p.m. in this age group before Fox's Fringe and NBC's Dateline respectively took the 8 and 9 p.m. hours.

In Friday's local news derby results, CBS11 won comfortably at 10 p.m. in total viewers but came in second to No. 1 NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 swept the 6 a.m. Nielsens while CBS11 came out of a long hibernation to take the bronze among 25-to-54-year-olds ahead of fourth-place WFAA8.

The Peacock also ran the table at 5 p.m. CBS11 placed first at 6 p.m. in total viewers and Fox4 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

Forecast brighter for former CW33 meteorologist Bob Goosmann (updated Tuesday a.m.

Goosmann, Bob

Former CW33 temperature taker Bob Goosmann, who left the Dallas-based station on the last day of July, is back in the weather game as the new chief meteorologist for KRLD radio (1080 AM).

The appointment was announced Monday by the CBS Radio-owned station, which also is a corporate sister of D-FW's CBS11.

Bruce Gilbert, VP of news/talk/sports programming for CBS Radio Dallas-Fort Worth, said that Goosmann "lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD's commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every 10 minutes."

Goosmann is replacing Krista Villarreal at KRLD, a CBS11 spokesperson confirmed. She also had been freelancing lately on weekends for Fox4's early morning news program.

Goosmann earlier had planned to live and breathe real estate, telling unclebarky.com in mid-summer that "for personal reasons, mainly dealing with my family, I chose not to pursue a full-time meteorologist position outside of the area. Instead I chose to get into the real estate business . . . Business is good, and getting better. I was working seven days a week between the two jobs and that was beginning to take a toll on me."

But Goosmann, who worked at KTVT-TV (Ch. 11) for nine years before it was bought by CBS, also noted that "weather is in my blood and always will be. I hope that I can freelance on occasion at any station in the Metroplex that may need someone on short notice. I'm pretty sure I'm familiar with the area!"

He'll now be doing much more than filling in at KRLD. His new position is "effective immediately," the station said.

Ex-CBS11 early morning anchor Scott Sams also works at KRLD, on the early morning drive shift.