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Up-close and objective: Night 1 of the May sweeps

Your friendly content provider probably should slap himself alongside the coconut for doing this again. But if you're gonna be a critic, you have to take some good hard looks at what those on the receiving end actually do. Specifically, I'm talking about the late night local newscasts on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11, which began their tri-annual "sweeps" warfare Thursday night.

For as long as stamina and sanity hold out, we'll take a detailed look at what they're offering on the 20 weeknights that comprise the sweeps. And for starters, here's a possibly shocking development: NBC5's 10 p.m. newscasts actually seem to be aiming a little higher and getting a little better. See what we're getting at here.

Also, D-FW's Night 1 May sweeps Nielsen ratings are in.
Ed Bark

Mostly Roddy-less -- and rudderless from the bench -- Mavs again call it an early night

The Dallas Mavericks made another inglorious exit from the NBA playoffs Thursday night, losing in San Antonio to take a first round knockout punch. We assess the damage and duly rip coach Rick Carlisle for waiting too long to play a certain Frenchman before re-benching him at crunch time. What was his crime? He sparked the team. We can't have that.
Ed Bark

Content-sharing among CBS stations a boon for marketer of latest miracle hair product

A number of CBS stations, including D-FW's CBS11, bit on a story about an alleged gray hair remover in pill form. How'd that happen? Get our one-of-a-kind report here. Also, check out the last D-FW Nielsen ratings before Thursday's start of the May "sweeps." And at my home away from home, locatetv.com, get the latest news and views on the gift that keeps on giving -- TV movies and miniseries about the Kennedys.
Ed Bark

Her way: CBS11 reinvesting in investigations under new news director Adrienne Roark

News director Adrienne Roark in CBS11 studios. Photo: Ed Bark

Starting her second month on the job and girding for Thursday's start of the May "sweeps" ratings period, CBS11's latest news director explains herself in an interview with unclebarky.com. Read all about Adrienne Roark on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.

Plus, Tuesday's D-FW Nielsen ratings chart the crowd for Game 5 of the Mavericks-Spurs playoff series. And we've got a new and tantalizing TV Bulletin Board.
Ed Bark

A sad commentary on ABC's much-hyped Happy Town

ABC's latest answer to Twin Peaks -- this one dubbed Happy Town -- takes viewers to the fictional burg of Haplin, Minnesota. A mysterious abductor/killer is at large, but otherwise enjoy the annual Thawfest. Our review is here. And judging from the above headline, we didn't like this one all that much.
Ed Bark

Back in play after a brief sojurn

Daughter Liz, in black, with fellow cast members from The House of Yes. And yes, the bandage is all part of her part. Photo: Dad

We're back in business here at unclebarky.com after your friendly content provider's whirlwind trip to Chicago to see daughter Liz in The House of Yes. It's still running through this weekend at Artistic Home in case you're in the vicinity.

This is quite a grown-up part, to say the least. But daddy's little girl in real life is a genuine sweetie, of which I kept reminding myself while she . . .

Anyway, we've caught up with the weekend and Monday's D-FW Nielsen ratings. There's also news about one of CW33's newcasts, which is being canceled.
Ed Bark

Easy to be inspired by HDNet's Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries

Former Dallas Maverick Ray Johnston was felled by leukemia, got up and reinvented himself. His amazing recoveries from adversity, and his improbably brief stint as a Mav, are recounted in the HDNet series, Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries. Our review is here. Also, how much do I love HBO? Let me count the ways on my home away from home, locatetv.com.
Ed Bark

Pacino brings "Dr. Death" to life in absorbing HBO movie

Boy, that Al Pacino. Still great. As he proves anew Saturday in HBO's You Don't Know Jack. Our review is here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are mostly a cakewalk for CBS, with frosting for CBS11's late night newser.
Ed Bark

No more Urban renewal: Duncanville's "Teflon Tim" is latest Idol evictee

Last seen smiling, Tim Urban is out of Idol picture. Photo: Ed Bark

Tim Urban, whose unfailing Cheshire Cat smile belied his mostly panned singing performances, finally took a knockout punch at the end of Wednesday night's Idol Gives Back charity extravaganza.

The 20-year-old mop top from Duncanville, added to American Idol's final 24 only after a previous qualifier was declared ineligible, made it all the way to the Fox hit's final seven before judges and viewers finally combined to strike him down. Cuddlier than a koala bear, he remains prime Glee material and also will be a part of this summer's 10-contestant Idol road show.

Urban's departure leaves Fort Worth's Casey James, 27, as the lone North Texan standing among Idol's last six. But after cruising through previous elimination rounds, James is suddenly very vulnerable. He stood next to Urban Wednesday night after landing in the dreaded Bottom Two for the first time.

Once seemingly a lock for at least the Final Four, James now will have to regain momentum and restore himself as a judges' favorite. Two straight weeks of uncommonly bad reviews have left the golden-haired adonis on the ropes. But a comeback could still be in the cards if he can re-summon the passion and artistry that made his performance of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" a show-stopper just two weeks back.

Cowboys' 2010 TV schedule again gives Fox/Fox4 the creeps

Almost half of the Dallas Cowboys' 12 NFC conference games again will be on places other than Fox/Fox4 in the upcoming season. That's life in a TV world where NBC's Sunday Night Football cherry picks while ESPN and NFL Network also get their licks in. Get our assessment here.
Also, we conduct another little seminar on how size still matters when it comes to network 9 p.m. lead-in programming propping up local 10 p.m. newscasts. And our latest North Texas-flavored American Idol update is also in unclebarky.com's house.
Ed Bark

New lives for Curb, Parenthood

Larry David has agreed to curmudgeon his way through an eighth season of Curb Your Enthusiasm while NBC says it's a go for Parenthood next fall. Get all the details here.
Ed Bark

Castle's newfound ratings kingdom makes Mondays a pivotal D-FW joust

No longer dominant at 9 p.m., CBS' CSI: Miami lately has lost its D-FW crown to ABC's competing Castle. As the May sweeps near, this is of no small import in the tight 10 p.m. ratings fight between WFAA8 and CBS11. See what we mean here.
Also, there's a bit of a bone to pick with PBS' Milk Bone-sponsored Through A Dog's Eyes, which premieres Wednesday night locally on KERA13. Plus, Comedy Central extends the contracts of its two major players while girding for a 10 p.m. war with Conan O'Brien this November.
Ed Bark

Mavs roll up Sunday night score in D-FW Nielsens with opening playoff win

The Dallas Mavericks' hard-fought win over San Antonio lit up Sunday night's ratings on two channels, making a funeral dirge of CBS' competing country music awards. Surprisingly, though, TNT's numbers were more dy-no-mite than the homegrown telecast on TXA21. Also, the broadcast network season and series finale dates next month are all conveniently located at my home away from home, locatetv.com.

Plus, there'll be no review of ABC's new Romantically Challenged sitcom because the network very belatedly switched out Monday's premiere episode for another one -- and didn't make it available for preview. That's both a no-no and a bad sign.
Ed Bark

Battle of the bandwidths

Fox4's Good Daze band, partially composed of Good Day staffers, returned to the show's stage Friday for a performance of "Everywhere." Which led us to remember that this used to be the theme song for a rival D-FW news operation. See what we mean and compare and contrast on the Dallas-Fort Worth TV page.
Ed Bark

Explorer retracks 25 years in a terrific special while The Onion stomps former D-FW sports columnist Skip Bayless in a brilliant parody

Explorer, which first broke ground in 1985, commemorates a quarter-century of singular adventures in a really-should-see Monday night special. Our review is here. Also, contrarian-by-trade Skip Bayless, formerly of these parts, gets beautifully mugged by The Onion. Meanwhile, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings again give WFAA8 a headache.
Ed Bark

NBC special takes a fourth time travel with Saturday Night Live

Entertaining but lacking the nutrients of the first three two-hour films, NBC's Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again premieres Thursday, April 15th. Our review is here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings aren't particularly good news for WFAA8's newscasts. Plus, Starz's Spartacus: Blood and Sand has its first season finale Friday. It's graphic, gruesome and great guilty pleasure viewing in this view. Take a closer look at Sparty via my home away from home, locatetv.com.
Ed Bark

Hansen unplugged -- off-camera as well

WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen is still sorting through email responses to his unbridled, "Unplugged" commentary Tuesday night. We interview him on how it all came about, with additional comments from CBS11 sports anchor Babe Laufenberg on why his station didn't air the secretly recorded Jerry Jones video.
Ed Bark

Glee returns to big numbers, Hansen's barbed commentary provides no notable spike in WFAA8's late night news ratings

Fox's Glee returned triumphantly from a long recess to roll up big Nielsen numbers in D-FW. But contrary to what some apparently think, WFAA8's decision to let sports anchor Dale Hansen shred station management was no ratings ploy or palooza. Get all the details in our daily local ratings "snapshot."

Also, our weekly review of American Idol's two remaining North Texans continues to rock along.
Ed Bark

Mr. Grant: NBC5 makes it permanent with former freelancing meteorologist

Grant Johnston, a weekend freelancer in recent weeks for NBC5, has officially joined the station's meteorologist team.

He'll now be the regular weathercaster on the station's afternoon and evening weekend newscasts while also continuing to pursue a master's degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Johnston left Oklahoma City's KFOR-TV after seven years to enroll at Dallas Theological Seminary after he said he heard a calling from God.

NBC5 chief meteorologist David Finfrock praised Johnston's "years of experience forecasting and storm chasing in the heart of Tornado Alley. He's bringing great depth of experience to our local team. I'm glad he's here."

The newcomer has a degree in Atmospheric Science from the University of Missouri and began his career in meteorology at KMIZ-TV in Columbia, Missouri.

WFAA8's Hansen unloads on his station after dispute over airing secretly recorded Jerry Jones video

An "Unplugged" Dale Hansen almost put his WFAA8 bosses in an electric chair during a searing commentary on Tuesday's 10 p.m. newscast. At issue was his strong opposition to WFAA8's airing of a clandestinely recorded video of a partying and sometimes profane Jerry Jones ripping former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells among others. Get the blow-by-blow account here, including how rival stations handled the matter. You also can see newly posted video of Hansen's commentary at story's end.
Ed Bark

George and Conan (the new Desi and Lucy?)

George Lopez officially embraced Conan O'Brien on Monday's Lopez Tonight, and later interviewed him. Sorta. See the video on our Network News & Reviews page while also reading a racially motivated riff between Lopez and guest Chris Rock. At least they can get away with it.
Ed Bark

Glee's back at last, this time out-glowing Idol

After a long recess, new episodes of Fox's Glee resume Tuesday. Sorry, Idol. But quality-wise, this is now America's No. 1 music performance show. Our review of Glee's return is here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are rockin'.
Ed Bark

Coo-coo-ka-joob: Coco's new job is with TBS

In a surprise announcement Monday, TBS cable said it has landed Conan O'Brien for a new late night comedy show. All the details, as well as the promo airing tonight on TBS, are on our Network News & Reviews page.

Plus, the weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings include the audiences for Sunday morning's live Texas Stadium's implosion specials. They're not going down well at WFAA8, but are a tasty treat for Fox4.
Ed Bark

The implosion of Texas Stadium: An Uncle Barky special report

OK, we're kinda kiddin' with the pretentious colon-in-the-title tease from above. But unclebarky.com did look at the live Texas Stadium implosion specials early Sunday morning on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11. And nowhere else will you find critiques of all four, plus grades. That's largely because no one else is quite insane enough to do something like this. You can find our our big blowout here.
Ed Bark

Super-bad: TV's original The Good Guys starred Bob Denver as an imbecilic cab driver

As recently noted anew, Fox has begun unveiling promos for its action-comedy cop series The Good Guys, which premieres May 19th and is being filmed entirely in the Dallas area. Return with us now to a spot for the urp-worthy 1960s The Good Guys, which was a CBS sitcom. Also, enjoy a new "Ask Uncle Barky" if you would.
Ed Bark

Way down yonder in New Orleans: HBO's new Treme must be seen (and heard)

HBO's latest, and quite possibly one of its greatest series premieres Sunday. Set three months after Katrina hit, Treme makes New Orleans come alive in both chapters and song verses. Our review is here. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in.
Ed Bark

Henry VIII takes his last wives and heads in climactic Season 4 of The Tudors

Showtime's The Tudors starts its fourth and final season Sunday. So what's Henry VIII up to now? Behold our review here. Also, ABC unfurls a big collection of summertime series, all of which are detailed on our TV Bulletin Board page. Plus, a brief look at who Megan Henderson's been hanging out with in Hollywood a year after leaving Dallas-based Fox4's Good Day. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are present and accounted for.
Ed Bark

Fox rolls out first looks at Dallas-made The Good Guys

Fox's The Good Guys, an action-comedy cop series being filmed in the Dallas area, won't have its premiere until May 19th. But it's never too early to get a taste, which viewers of American Idol did last night if they were paying any attention to the commercial breaks. We'll take our own closer look here, and also provide links to your friendly content provider's two previous pieces on the series, which stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks.

Plus, celebrity twitter pages increasingly are making news or providing some fine sniglets of entertainment. Even if some celebs have let cobwebs grow on their tweets. See what we're chirping about on my home away from home, locatetv.com.
Ed Bark

North Texas Idol duo worshipped (more or less) by judges; topless D-FW club gets more national exposure

It may not help him during Wednesday night's vote-off, but Duncanville's Tim Urban got an unaccustomed heap of praise on Tuesday's American Idol. Meanwhile, Fort Worth's Casey James got his usual raves. Uncle Barky's snarky roundup is here. Also, the Dallas-based gentlemen's club, The Lodge, was visited by a prestigious network news program Tuesday. It's only the latest dose of national exposure. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show more good times for Fox4's Good Day. Could it all possibly be tied to the show's new 4:30 a.m. start time?
Ed Bark

Blowout for a big blow up: Sunday morn's implosion of Texas Stadium will be da bomb on local TV stations

Texas Stadium's last rites, in the early morning this Sunday, will be gang-covered live by all four major D-FW television news providers. Unclebarky.com gives you the blow-by-blow right here. Also, there's a new weekly national ratings champ, and it's not American Idol.
Ed Bark

Fox4's ultra early morning jump start is sunny for starters

Can Fox4 shake up its flat ratings by starting a half-hour earlier than its three competitors? So far, so good -- for Good Day. Our latest D-FW Nielsen ratings snapshot also tallies up the points for ABC's Dancing vs. CBS' climactic "Big Dance." Plus, NBC renews three reality hours for next season, all of them attached to stars much better known for something else.
Ed Bark

Rangers/Woods vie for attention; former WFAA8 reporter recounts the night when a streaker invaded his live shot

"Salty" peppers Blue Jays in season opener on FSS. Photo: Ed Bark

The Texas Rangers and Tiger Woods opened their new seasons simultaneously Monday afternoon, with the hometown nine finally prevailing over Toronto while Woods held his first post-scandal press conference before this week's Masters tournament. We track the odd confluence here.

Also, former WFAA8 reporter Bert Lozano is still less than four years removed from a streaker crossing his path during a late night live shot near Lake Lewisville. The video is getting new life on youtube, so we asked him about his on-air determination to pretend that nothing had happened. Get the blow-by-blow -- and the classic video -- right here. Easter weekend's D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, too.
Ed Bark

Happy Easter to all my peeps -- the sequel

Upon further review, I prefer the above Easter picture to the one below. It's of Good Day co-anchor Lauren Przybyl and traffic reporter Todd Carruth, who had a "Peep-Off" during Friday's edition of the Fox4 waker upper.

This is harmless holiday fun, so your friendly content provider applauds this effort to spotlight the world's foremost sugary confection. That would be Peeps, and I've got a 10-pack of yellow chicks and a 12-pack of purple bunnies ready for slow but steady consumption over the holiday/holy day weekend.

Hey, it's a fat-free candy with 110 calories per 4-bunny serving and 140 calories for each 5 chicks. Ya gotta like those odds. And it's far better to down a pack of Peeps than the upcoming "KFC Double Down Sandwich."
Ed Bark

Happy Easter to all my peeps

A blessed and bountiful Easter to all from unclebarky.com's ramshackle corporate headquarters.

Meanwhile, there's some fresh stuff inside, including the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings and a tale of two true/false CBS publicity releases. Otherwise see ya next week.
Ed Bark

Taking the temperature of D-FW weathercasts; CBS strives for elusive hit hospital drama with Miami Medical

Are all of D-FW's weathercasts pretty much one and the same? When it comes to presenters, no. When it comes to their predictions, yes indeed. We prove it with a volley of frame grabs of their extended forecasts. Also, CBS crime maestro Jerry Bruckheimer checks into a hospital Friday night with Miami Medical. Our review is here. The latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, too.
Ed Bark

Fox4's Good Day getting up even earlier; tweet treats from Conan O'Brien

It's that time of month again. Which for the purposes of unclebarky.com means the archiving of various pages as March melts into April.

Before getting to our featured attractions, here's a friendly reminder as well. If you're buying something on amazon and you'd like to put a few pennies in unclebarky.com's pockets, then please click to amazon via any of the ads on this web site. Last month's proceeds -- a 4 percent commission on most sales -- came to a grand total of $92.67. Doesn't sound like much, but it's considerably higher than most months. And it covers the payment on Uncle Barky's '67 Chevy Coupe. So many thanks to all who took the time to click here first.

OK, on to what's new inside. Fox4's Good Day will be expanding Monday while also adding a new feature involving one of its anchors. Get all the details here. Plus, Conan O'Brien makes his tweets count by usually doing just one a day after starting in late February. Our chronological compendium of his sweetest Tweets (including some of the pics he's also posted) can be found on the Network News & Reviews page. O'Brien's comedy tour makes a stop in Dallas on May 13th at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium, but it's sold out.
Ed Bark