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A Palin, "The Hoff" and a former Super Bowl champion QB who's not Troy Aikman

While American Idol continues to vacillate over judges, Dancing With the Stars kicked up its heels anew with another dozen celebrity hoofers. The live announcement came Monday night amid the august surroundings of -- Bachelor Pad. Our rundown is here. Also, another in our pre-fall season trips to TV THEME SONG-ville is freshly posted. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings again provide nice news for the first place Texas Rangers.
Ed Bark

Fallon-led Emmys offer two-tiered presentation on TV and web

Another Emmy extravaganza is in the books. And this was the first one to offer both a conventional TV presentation and a "Backstage" webcast. We look at the ABCs of NBC's two-tiered coverage while also rating Jimmy Fallon's hosting skills.
Ed Bark

Riding the first-place Rangers with broadcasters Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve

Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve with another Josh. Photo: Ed Bark

Record ratings for Fox Sports Southwest telecasts of Texas Rangers games have put announcers Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve in front of more eyeballs than ever before. We visited them in the booth before Thursday night's game against the Twins. Subjects ranged from "yuck monkeying it up" to Tim McCarver to the latest onslaught of grandma's baked treats. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in and we have another episode in our pre-fall season feature, TV THEME SONG-ville.
Ed Bark

The slow reveal: it used to be one day at a time for TV's climactic extended forecasts

Back before all the on-air graphics kicked in, weathercasters had their hands full with manually operated equipment. Imagine the built-in suspense when extended forecasts were unveiled one after the other. We've got video proof here while also raising the question of whether any of D-FW's major TV news providers might want to consider a "Throwback Week" in which other antiques return. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show the Texas Rangers flexing mightily again. And Episode 6 of our pre-season warmup act -- TV THEME SONG-ville -- reprises the most majestic mood music ever for an HBO movie or miniseries.
Ed Bark

WFAA8 investigator Shipp again shapes the news

Another high school athletic program is in the cross-hairs of veteran WFAA8 gumshoe Brett Shipp, who painted a convincing picture of wrongdoing with Tuesday night's lengthy look at a star Southlake Carroll High School quarterback whose eligibility seemingly is in serious question. We analyze his latest expose here while our Back Channels page rewinds to March 14, 1994 for a look at Shipp as a hotshot investigator for KDFW-TV (Channel 4). He'd been passed over by WFAA8, but his father, Bert, then the station's longtime assignments editor, made sure that wouldn't last much longer.

Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, and we have a fifth episode of our pre-season TV THEME SONG-ville feature.
Ed Bark

Over-promiser: Survivor host Jeff Probst said he'd ( . . . ) if Jimmy Johnson played the game

Celebrities sometimes say the damndest things to unclebarky.com. Survivor host Jeff Probst is the latest to make a promise he likely won't keep after former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson officially joined the cast of this fall's Survivor: Nicaragua. Get the particulars here, plus Probst's latest take on former Survivor stallion Colby Donaldson of Christoval, TX. Also, they're seriously changing some rules next month on the syndicated Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Host Meredith Vieira expounds on my home away from home, locatetv.com.
Ed Bark

Twitting FW-based NBC5 for vacuous "story" on star-struck "Twitteratzi"

News as we used to know it took another knee to the groin Monday night when NBC5 tried to transform a self-described "Twitteratzi" into a newsmaker. Her "story" appeared at the mid-point of the 10 p.m. newscast, with reporter Grant Stinchfield assuming the position. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings return the Rangers to the winner's circle while also pumping up the early morning "Back to School" audiences on Fox4 in particular. And we have another episode in our fall season appetizer, TV THEME SONG-ville.
Ed Bark

Rolling Stone's jarring True Blood cover

The three principal stars of HBO's True Blood are naked, intertwined and quite bloody on the new cover of Rolling Stone. Our thoughts -- and a trio of other famous nude magazine cover "statements" -- are displayed here for your viewing pleasure/displeasure.
Ed Bark

Creative Arts Emmys have a few highlights, too

Brushed off as far as major television exposure goes, the so-called "Creative Arts" Emmys were handed out Saturday night. They also include several acting and best program trophies, and our highlights are here.
Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are well-stocked with weekend Cowboys and Rangers numbers. And we take a third trip to TV THEME SONG-ville as an appetizer for the looming fall season.
Ed Bark

Spike Lee revisits New Orleans in . . . Creek Don't Rise

HBO and Spike Lee re-team for a second post-Katrina -- and now post-BP spill -- look at New Orleans in Monday and Tuesday's If God Is Willing and Da Creek Don't Rise. Our review is here. Also, as a continuing appetizer for the looming fall season, we take a second trip to TV Theme Song-ville.
Ed Bark

Veteran CBS11/TXA21 meteorologist Mike Burger explains why he opted out of two-year contract and chose retirement instead

Thursday's announced retirement of weathercaster Mike Burger finds him leaving CBS11/TXA21 despite 19 months remaining on a two-year contract. He explains why in a telephone interview with unclebarky.com. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings reflect the demographic ups and downs of WFAA8's newscasts.
Ed Bark

D-FW meteorologist Mike Burger forecasts his retirement

Weathercaster Mike Burger, who's spent the last decade at CBS11/TXA21, says he's retiring after 40 years in broadcasting. Get the details here.
Ed Bark

Take an all expenses paid trip to TV THEME SONG-ville

Another new fall TV season looms. As appetizers, unclebarky.com is serving up a collection of memorable TV theme songs, accompanied by their opening videos. For your first trip to TV Theme Song-ville, go here. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in.
Ed Bark

The scoop, the poop, the crap, the glop: Dallas-born Chris Harrison puts a good face on all of it as host of Bachelor and its spinoffs

Chris Harrison, one of the hottest TV hosts in the land, has matriculated from Lake Highlands High School to host of The Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor Pad. He's also got a new production company and some intriguing views on what makes this brand of reality TV tick. His interview with unclebarky.com -- at an ABC "press tour" party out West -- can be found here. Plus, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings put an end to the Texas Rangers' six-game winning streak in television's off-the-field numbers game. The ratings dispatch also includes news of WFAA8's new early morning plans. And at my other port in the storm, locatetv.com, read how Price Is Right host Drew Carey downsized himself.
Ed Bark

WFAA8's women news anchors continue to make off-camera news, too (but it's all good)

Idol's North Texas 4 will take the stage again next week. Pictured are Tim Urban (front row left); Casey James (front row center); Alex Lambert (back row center); Todrick Hall (back row right). Fox photo

Todrick Hall survived another undue burst of bullets from judges while Casey James remained in play despite a clawing from The Cougar.

They join fellow North Texans Alex Lambert and Tim Urban among the final eight males on Fox's American Idol, which in Season 9 is still prime-time's most-watched weekly series.

That's an amazing show of force for a region, let alone a state. It's also a local angle gold mine for Dallas-based Fox4, which may end up having to send its entire late night reporting team to Idol "watch parties" next week.

Hall, 24, is from Arlington, while James, 27, calls Fort Worth home. Lambert, the youngest of the quartet at 19, is from North Richland Hills. Urban, 20, is from Duncanville.

Hall's improvisational song stylings took another lashing on Tuesday night's performance edition while James was found wanting by judge Kara DioGuardi, who had been swooning in his presence. But Thursday night's viewer votes said otherwise. Lambert and Urban, virtually condemned to death by judges in the previous week, received much kinder assessments from an unlikely source -- Simon Cowell.

Two women with Texas ties also are still among Idol's living. Lacey Brown, 24, is from Amarillo and Florida-born Paige Miles, 24, currently lives in Houston.

Voted off Thursday night were John Park, Haeley Vaughn, Jermaine Sellers and Michelle Delamor.

Rangers (and bundt cake updates) dominate weekend D-FW ratings; local news stations of course fixate on Cowboys

The first-place Texas Rangers' big weekend home series against Boston trounced everything in its path on Friday through Sunday. Which of course meant that local news stations brought you more breathless dispatches from Cowboys' training camp in Oxnard, CA before getting around to baseball. Time for a little rant on subjects ranging from bundt cakes to all things Cowboy-centric. You can find it here.

Also, it's a pitched battle of the pawn stars Monday night as two cable networks go head-to-head with "reality" series about family-run barter businesses. Plus we've got some new items on the TV Bulletin Board page.
Ed Bark

Linney's performance cures all in Showtime's The Big C

Showtime dares to treat cancer lightly -- and seriously -- in its superb new series The Big C. Laura Linney excels in the key starring role. Our review is here. Plus, Thursday night's Cowboys pre-season game effortlessly paces the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings.
Ed Bark

The End for miniseries giant David L. Wolper

Producer David L. Wolper, architect of TV miniseries ranging from Roots to The Thorn Birds, has died at age 82. We remember his life and times here. Also, an all-time record crowd for any attraction on Fox Sports Southwest watched in agony Wednesday night as the first-place Texas Rangers blew one to the visiting Yanks. Get the details on our latest local Nielsen ratings "snapshot."
Ed Bark

Rangers set ratings record that might quickly be broken

The Texas Rangers' pulsating win over the Yankees Tuesday night broke a nearly 12-year-old ratings record on Fox Sports Southwest. But Wednesday's concluding game of the series might be an even bigger draw with ace Cliff Lee facing the Bombers. Get the details here. Also, we revisit an evocative 1985 "Spirit of Texas" promo for WFAA8 while wondering what happened to one of its three principals. And on locatetv.com, there's another TV "press tour" dispatch, this one on the latest "re-imaginings" of both Sherlock Holmes and Merlin the medieval sorcerer. The latter is viewed as part Donald Rumsfeld by the actor who's playing him.
Ed Bark

Back in D-FW after another summer network TV "press tour"

"Le pigs en le blanket, monsieur Barky?" Photo: Ed Bark

Breaking up is hard to do -- and catching up is even harder. But your friendly content provider is back with his first love, unclebarky.com, after two weeks of exclusive blogging for locatetv.com.

We've returned with a fine collection of homegrown unclebarky.com pictures from the annual network TV summer "press tour." And you can find them right here. Plus, check out the latest developments in D-FW television -- including a just-confirmed departure from CW33 -- and also get a fresh edition of our local Nielsen ratings "snapshot," which includes the numbers for Sunday's Dallas Cowboys pre-season opener.

And yes, it's great to be back. Honest.
Ed Bark