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Writers' strike -- what you can see anyway

The networks won't be entering the New Year with all their guns blazing, but they still have ample ammunition. Go here for answers to your questions about the ongoing stalemate between writers and producers.

Also, a happy New Year to one and all. And a reminder that the next Uncle Barky Show, with guest anchor icon Tracy Rowlett, will be on Saturday, Jan. 19th, 4 p.m. at Stratos. Much more on this later, but please mark your calendars to help both unclebarky.com and Tracy's favorite charity, which will receive a $500 donation in his name. Now let's play out 2007 with a combination of Leon Redbone, Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin.
Ed Bark

D'oh ho ho: it's break time

Merry Christmas to all from unclebarky.com central and Homer.

We'll be taking a few days off before returning on Dec. 27th with more end-of-the-year wrapups. In the meantime, enjoy the holidays and thanks so much for your continued support of both unclebarky.com and our advertisers. See you again soon!
Ed Bark

Jessica Simpson's special Tony Romo-inspired Christmas countdown to Saturday's Cowboys game (finale)

Here you can hear Jessica sing "Let It Snow" while protecting herself from fake falling flakes with a red umbrella. But this one's pretty fetching, and even danceable. In fact it's a damned fine Christmas tune. There, I said it.

By the way, the game's on MY27 in the D-FW viewing area for the many fans without cable's NFL Network.
Ed Bark

HD around the corner at Fox4?

Mum's the word, literally, as Fox4 experiments with soundless widescreen telecasts on its local HD channel (804 on Verizon Fios). Thursday's 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts both got the silent treatment but the pictures looked sharper.

Fox4 is D-FW's only major local newscast provider without HD capabilities. Belo8 trail-blazed last February, with NBC5 and CBS11 going high-def. in September. The Peacock's local field reports aren't in HD, though. So in reality, they're still only halfway there.

Asked in early October about her station's HD plans Fox4 vice president and general manager Kathy Saunders told unclebarky.com, "When we do it, we'll do it right."

Presumably they'll promote the big makeover before it actually happens. But so far, nothing.
Ed Bark

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio -- or for that matter, Natasha Curry?

It's been a busy year of departures at D-FW television stations. Check out unclebarky.com's first annual list of where they were -- and what they're doing now.
Ed Bark

Jessica Simpson's special Tony Romo-inspired Christmas countdown to Saturday's Cowboys game: Video 2

Here you can hear Jessica and sister Ashlee sing "The Little Drummer Boy." A barrage of ba rum bum bum bums is sugared with cute kid pictures from the Simpson family vault. A nice little snow job.
Ed Bark

2007 -- a storied year in North Texas TV

We've made a list -- and checked it more than twice. Presenting a top 10, illustrated countdown of the year in D-FW television.
Ed Bark

Jessica Simpson's special Tony Romo-inspired Christmas countdown to Saturday's Cowboys game: Video 1

Here you'll hear Jessica and Ozzy Osbourne duet on a thrilling version of "Winter Wonderland." It's not quite as odd a pairing as Bing Crosby and David Bowie, but definitely in the neighborhood. Bonus: Watch what Ozzy does with a carrot and a snowman.
Ed Bark

Full of life

Fox4 anchor Heather Hays is happy to report that . . . Read all about it here.
Ed Bark

Performance anxiety? Rom(e)o goes limp with Jess in house

Mamas, don't let your Cowboys grow up to date bimbos.

OK, maybe a supposedly sore throwing thumb had more to do with Tony Romo's lousy play against the Eagles Sunday. But that doesn't make for much of a story, as Fox well knows.

The network wasn't shy about showing Jessica Simpson in a pink No. 9 jersey during the Cowboy's play-dead 10-6 loss to Philadelphia. Romo's latest trinket sat in a VIP box at Texas Stadium, where he entertained her with three interceptions and just 13 completed passes in 36 attempts. His quarterback rating for the game -- 22.2 -- was his lowest ever.

"Proving it's never easy to play in front of your girlfriend," announcer Joe Buck noted moments after Romo completed his second pass to the Eagles near the end of the first half.

Buck also wondered whether Romo would have had "a shot" at Simpson during his not-so-long ago days as an obscure Cowboys backup. His booth buddy, Troy Aikman, agreed that it's much easier to score off-field when you're throwing touchdown passes for America's Team.

Aikman mostly didn't play that game during his Hall of Fame career. He dated country singer Lorrie Morgan for a time, but that was about it. Romo already has dallied with Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears and now Simpson in this season alone.

Fox, for its part, trained its cameras on Simpson six different times during the game. Already the network of The Simpsons, it also treated viewers to a second-half excerpt from Jessica's single "B.O.Y." Meanwhile, her boy continued to struggle.

Fox's post-game OT chipped in by replaying two of the Simpson sightings, including the one in which she enthusiastically flaunted her No. 9 in happier times.

The Cowboys' upset loss knocked the team back into a tie with the Green Bay Packers in the battle for guaranteed home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Dallas still has the tiebreaker after beating the Pack, but the Cowboys now have the curse of Jessica Simpson.

Tony the Tiger had better shed her fast and get back to basics. Make every pass count -- but only on the field.

Strike-proof video of the day

All he had to do was sit down to generate the most enthusiastic ovation in the history of Late Show with David Letterman. The late Johnny Carson's last TV appearance, a surprise May 13, 1994 walk-on, remains an event unlike any other.
Ed Bark

Another Carano wears the pads

Gina Carano, as gladiator and civilian, flanks her dad, Glenn Carano.

Dallas native Gina Carano, daughter of former Dallas Cowboys backup QB Glenn Carano, is among the 12 stars of NBC's new version of American Gladiators.

Dubbed "Crush," the 25-year-old mixed martial arts fighter will make her NBC debut on the Jan. 6th, two-hour premiere of the series. Her brief network bio goes like this: "Don't let the winsome smile fool you. Crush earned her well-deserved moniker by smashing opponents into submission. Despite her girl-next-door looks, she's a powerful, fierce opponent who has no problem handling the women competitors, and then going back to breaking men's hearts."

Her dad mostly didn't play for the Cowboys from 1977 to 1983, serving primarily as Danny White's backup. He threw just 57 passes and completed 21. Three went for touchdowns.

Strike-proof video of the day

Here's the ultimate minimalist approach to a network news update. Seven stories in 50 seconds, courtesy of the late Tom Snyder in a 1976 break from NBC programming. Watch how Snyder slides papers with his left hand while pumping out the crisp verbiage. There's even a tongue-in-cheek kicker. Perfect.
Ed Bark

I want to thank . . .

The latest Golden Globe nominations for television and movies are in, and you can see the complete list here. Cable did exceedingly well overall -- excluding the final season of The Sopranos -- while ABC led the broadcast networks. Lamentably, NBC's Friday Night Lights again got nothing. Our closer look is here.
Ed Bark

Do the hulu. You'll be glad you did

Hulu.com seems like kind of a crazy name for a state-of-the-art trove of old and new TV series episodes. But people who name their Web sites unclebarky.com shouldn't throw stones. Check out what hulu's all about and also have a look at the latest Ask Uncle Barky inquisition. There's other new stuff inside, too.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

Effortlessly dreadful, The Star Wars Holiday Special aired once only on CBS in 1978. Long since that time, in a place far, far removed from reality, a certified -- or certifiable -- genius has edited this two-hour spectacle into a five-minute highlight reel. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and various Wookies are all willing participants, along with "special guest stars" Art Carney, Bea Arthur, Diahann Carroll, Harvey Korman and The Jefferson Starship. How could this have happened? No, really. How could this have happened?
Ed Bark

New vistas in homegrown entertainment: The Uncle Barky Show arrives on pegasusnews.com

The premiere episode of The Uncle Barky Show is up and running in six convenient, extended clips on pegasusnews.com. Many, many thanks to Mike Orren, Catherine Cuellar and Teresa Gubbins for all the effort that went into putting this together. And to inaugural guest Gordon Keith for providing a lot of fine material during the Dec. 1st opener. They and the audience also had to endure my show-stopping singing, which is available in the climactic clip for anyone with a strong stomach and tin ear.

We'll do it again -- but probably not the singing -- on a date to be announced in January. Our special guest will be CBS11 anchor Tracy Rowlett. Meanwhile, please sample the fine food and drink at Stratos Greek Taverna & Restaurant, official home of The Uncle Barky Show. I'll shut up now.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

Here's a little somethin' from the second season of NBC's Hill Street Blues. Surly Mick Belker (Bruce Weitz) is trying to book crazed Captain Freedom (Dennis Dugan) when his mom calls. A "moment" ensues. And since it's the holiday season, maybe you'll be a bit more receptive.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

It now looks as though the writers' strike will be a reality well into the new year. So here's another rewind to happier, funnier, scripted times. Check out "Meet the Press for Idiots," courtesy of Late Night with Conan O'Brien.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

Hate to say it, but this latest "Speechless" video, starring Woody Allen, is pretty funny without any written words to support it..

The Writers Guild of America is using the videos, now 20 in number, to help rally support to its ongoing strike. In this case, though, just watching Woody proves to be entertaining in its own right.
Ed Bark

Plug in to this Charger

We're rightly cynical about millionaire pro athletes who pledge allegiance to the idea of helping others. But it seems as though you can take it to the bank when former TCU running back LaDainlian Tomlinson says he'd rather be remembered for what he does off the field.

Tomlinson, now a record-breaking running back with the San Diego Chargers, will be profiled by correspondent Bob Simon on this Sunday's 60 Minutes. Here's a feel-good excerpt. Ed Bark

Sing loud enough so Grammy can hear

Nominees for the 50th annual Grammy Awards are in, and quite a few of the artists are over 50.

There also are four American Idol alums this time, but Kelly Clarkson had to sneak in via a duet with Reba McEntire. You can see the entire 110-category list here. Most of the Grammys will be awarded off-camera before CBS presents the prime-time ceremony on Feb. 10th.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

Jimmy Kimmel generously continues to pay the salaries of his laid-off staff as the writers' strike endures. In return we'd like to thank him with this video of his fuzzy "Winter Wonderland" duet with Mike Tyson. It's the gift that keeps on giving, and the lyrics long ago were grandfathered in.
Ed Bark

Strike-proof video of the day

The ongoing writers' strike still has America bereft of new late night entertainment, save for Carson Daly's Last Call, watched by no one with or without writers. We'll try to alleviate some of the pain with this classic David Letterman clip. He may well have pulled this one off entirely on his own.
Ed Bark

Adding, subtracting TCU grads at NBC5

Reporter Omar Villafranca joins NBC5; David Quinlan heads west.

NBC5 has hired San Antonio native and Texas Christian University grad Omar Villafranca as the station's newest reporter. He'll begin work in January after just over three years at CBS affiliate KOTV-TV in Tulsa as an anchor/reporter.

Departing NBC5 is David Quinlan, also a TCU grad. He joined the station in September 2005, and has decided to take a job with a Seattle news station.

No further comment necessary

Here's what it's come to at the alleged News 10 morning show in Sacramento.
Ed Bark

Hire all of them! Immediately!

SMU students of unclebarky.com act happy about it. Photo: Ed Bark

SMU school of journalism teacher Lucy Scott gave her students a daunting if not dispiriting task this semester. As part of her "Current Issues in the News" class, she required them to study the independent coverage of local TV news on unclebarky.com.

As you can see from the above picture, they've emerged as a distinguished group of enlightened scholars. I met them for the first time on Monday morning, and they didn't seem too crestfallen.

Scott, a former reporter for CBS News and Belo8, says her students avidly tackled the subject matter. And there reportedly is now interest in naming a restroom in honor of Uncle Barky. Or if not that, a closet.

It was great to meet this first group of unclebarky.com underclasswomen/men. And it's hoped their parents will understand.
Ed Bark

The Uncle Barky Show has one to grow on

Many thanks to all who attended the first Uncle Barky Show Saturday afternoon. Guest Gordon Keith of "The Ticket" was funny and also surprisingly introspective. I think the audience got a chance to see the real Gordo in addition to the guy they hear on the radio. And that's one of our main objectives in doing this.

Pegasusnews.com filmed the entire program, and plans to post it soon. We'll keep you posted.

Also, thanks to Stratos Greek Taverna, a great venue for the show, and good friend Michael Precker, its chief organizer and cheerleader.

We plan to do the show monthly, with CBS11 anchor Tracy Rowlett our next scheduled guest on a date to be announced in January.

And yes, the banner ad above is dated at this point, but we'll put up a new one as soon as it's sent our way.

(Note: November postings on "Above the Fold" are now in that month's archives. So if you need to catch up, just give it a click.)
Ed Bark