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Leno takes his leave

Jay Leno ended his 17-year Tonight Show reign Friday with a nice touch at the end. Our full report/review is here.
Ed Bark

Rangers will swing into view on Friday nights under new deal with TXA21

The Texas Rangers will play ball Friday nights on TXA21 under a new five-year deal fittingly announced Friday.

Beginning in 2010, TXA21 plans to telecast 25 regular season Friday night games per season, plus "select" spring training matchups. The station also is planning "extensive" pre- and post-game shows for what it's billing as the "Texas Rangers Game of the Week."

MY27, the Rangers' current over-the-air home, has 24 games scheduled on various nights this season. The great majority of 2009's games are on Fox Sports Southwest, including every matchup on the Rangers' July and August schedule.

"We're proud to be the new over-the-air home of the Texas Rangers," CBS11/TXA21 president and general manager Steve Mauldin said in a statement. "This is an exciting time to begin a new chapter -- and a new tradition -- for TXA21 and Rangers fans."

TXA21 already telecasts Dallas Mavericks games, which also share time on Fox Sports Southwest. Rangers team president Nolan Ryan said it's "important for us to maintain an over-the-air television presence for our games, and TXA21 will be a great partner in accomplishing this."

There's no word yet on whether Josh Lewin and Tom Grieve will be part of the TXA21 announcing team, as they are on MY27.

More in store

Our inside pages include reviews of Lifetime's Maneater miniseries and HBO's Into the Storm dramatization of Winston Churchill's World War II grit. Also, see NBC5 reporter Omar Villafranca being dive-bombed by mockingbirds and find out whether ABC's live telecast of the Scripps National Spelling Bee stung any competing programs in Thursday's D-FW Nielsen ratings.
Ed Bark

Shocking discovery: Ryan Seacrest's 5th cousin resides in Bark abode

Ryan Seacrest, tombstone of Frederick Zullinger and Madeline Bark

Calling Access Hollywood. My mother-in-law, Janice Roden, who's also an ace genealogist, has uncovered a common grandfather for American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and Dallas nurse Madeline Bark, who's also the wife of commoner Ed Bark.

Frederick Zullinger, who lived from 1789 to 1863, is Ryan's great great great great grandfather. He died in Franklin County, Pennsylvania.

Zullinger also is Madeline's great great great great great grandfather. That makes them fifth cousins once removed, which means that Ryan, 34, is a generation younger than Madeline, 51. Although of course she doesn't look it, her husband hastily adds.

Ryan's mother, Constance Marie Zullinger, was born in Franklin County, PA on May 10, 1948. She had Ryan on Christmas Eve, 1974, in Dunwoody, Georgia.

Madeline's mother, originally Janice Areta Zullinger, was born in Dallas on Jan. 28, 1935. She had Madeline on Oct. 5, 1957.

Janice also notes that Ryan's and Madeline's shared grandfather, Frederick Zullinger, has two Revolutionary War patriots in his lineage -- Nicholas and Jakob Zullinger. Nicholas was Frederick's father, and Jakob was Nicholas' father.

Madeline hasn't gone Hollywood yet. But of course she found this connection amusing and probably a little thrilling as well. Meanwhile, her husband, a k a Uncle Barky, continues to swim in his small, nondescript pond while bragging that he once met Joe Piscopo.

Here's the genealogy chart. Be sure to send flowers, Ryan:

Inside pages

As Conan O'Brien prepares to assume the Tonight Show position, we rerun your friendly content provider's review of his 1993 Late Night debut in place of David Letterman. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsens are big country for George Strait. And our latest TV Bulletin Board has some munch-able new developments.
Ed Bark

New inside -- and a radio appearance, too

Austinite Mike Judge's animated followup to King of the Hill is ABC's The Good Family, which premieres Wednesday night. But how good or bad is it? Get our review here. Also, Tuesday's rain-delayed Rangers win over the Yankees gave the home team some nice late night numbers. See the box score on our latest "Local Nielsen Ratings Snapshot." And your friendly content provider will be waxing ineloquently on Wednesday's BAD radio show on "The Ticket." Check it out around 12:50 p.m.
Ed Bark

Conan ready for the big plunge; Fox's Mental kind of thinks it's House

Less than a week before his Tonight Show debut, Conan O'Brien gabbed with TV critics Tuesday. Get all the details and his complete first week's guest list here. Also, the new Fox hospital drama Mental is at home with many of House's touches. Except that the lead doctor has a polar opposite personality. Our review is here. And the Memorial Day weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings are in the house.
Ed Bark

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everybody (meanwhile we've thrown three new posts on the grill)

"The 33's" remodeled news Web site is being awfully generous to rival TV news operations. Check out what they're doing as content-sharing continues to run amuck. Also, we have sharp, clear video of a full weathercast from legendary D-FW meteorologist Harold Taft. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show whether Fox's So You Think You Can Dance has picked up where ABC's Dancing with the Stars left off.

We'll otherwise take some time off over the next three days. Have a safe and pleasant Memorial Day weekend.
Ed Bark

More ratings results -- for Idol and 4th and Long

How did American Idol's Season finale do nationally compared to its other closers. We've got all the details here. Also, the first episode of Michael Irvin's 4th and Long hit a ratings bullseye with the network's young male target audience. Get its national and D-FW Nielsen numbers here.
Ed Bark

The Peacock crows loudest in May "sweeps" D-FW newscast battles

NBC5 trounced its early morning rivals in the just-concluded May "sweeps" while Fox4 made a first-time breakthrough and CBS11 took more baby steps in its battle to be first at 10 p.m. and escape last place at 6 a.m. Meanwhile, WFAA8 remained on top at 10 p.m., but suffered another wave of year-to-year audience losses. Our complete ratings breakdown is here. Also, how high did American Idol go in Wednesday night's D-FW Nielsen ratings? And The CW will be adding three shows but subtracting one-and-half nights this fall.
Ed Bark

Last call for Idol

American Idol again will dominate the airwaves tonight with its eighth season finale. We pick a winner and offer a season-long critique of prime-time's runaway top moneymaker.
Ed Bark

CBS announces new fall lineup; WFAA8 pulls a quickie with Dancing

Two notable old faves will be missing in action on CBS next season, but the network also saved a rival network's canceled series from the reaper. Our complete report is here. Also, Dallas-based WFAA8 deployed a little ratings sweeps gamesmanship Tuesday night as Shawn Johnson celebrated her Dancing with the Stars win. And the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings prove to be a downer for Fox's heavily hyped Glee.
ED Bark

Up-close and objective ends a bit early

Note to readers: Because of the heavy load of new network season announcements and other programming premieres/finales, we're going to end our "Up-close and objective" feature a bit before the May sweeps wind up on Wednesday.

I did watch all of Monday's D-FW late-nighters, and frankly there wasn't much to report anyway.

As usual, though, we'll have the complete local newscast ratings results on Thursday. And there'll be lots of other interesting content, too, on D-FW's only homegrown, independent national and local TV Web site. Thank ya.
Ed Bark

NBC adds dates, times, Chuck

NBC unveiled Part 2 of its fall and midseason plans Tuesday. Get our detailed report here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are ready to reveal themselves.
Ed Bark

ABC turns back toward star-powered sitcoms

ABC's new fall lineup, announced Tuesday, will try to make comedy king again with four newcomers starring the likes of . . . Get our complete details here.
Ed Bark

Fox's Glee finally takes stage after long buildup

Glee makes a one-night stand -- until the fall -- with Tuesday night's post-American Idol "Special Preview" on Fox. Gotta sing, gotta dance, gotta review -- right here.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (Night 17 of the May sweeps)

With just three weekdays remaining in the May sweeps, here's a look at how D-FW's late night newscasts behaved on Friday, May 15th. Can your friendly content provider stagger to the finish line? We'll see.
Ed Bark

Brothers -- can you spare a few minutes?

The new Fox fall sitcom Brothers isn't a huge stretch for former New York Giants defender Michael Strahan, who's co-starring as a recently retired NFL star.

Whether he can act a lick is another thing entirely. But his opinionated, controlling momma is being played by the estimable CCH Pounder, who matched Michael Chiklis scene for scene in FX's The Shield.

Carl (Rocky) Weathers is also in the mix. And Daryl "Chill" Mitchell has been cast as, wouldn't ya know it, a restaurant owner named Chill. He's in a wheelchair and Strahan, as his brother, Mike, has returned home after being bilked by his business manager.

It's all set in Houston. And other than the CW, no broadcast network has put on a new, so-called "urban" comedy in quite a while. Then again, Brothers is perilously scheduled on Friday nights, where Fox hasn't rung up any real ratings since The X-Files relocated to Sundays after the 1995-96 season.

Anyway, here's a highlight clip provided by Fox.
Ed Bark

Fox flies fall colors

Fox's new fall schedule, announced Monday, brings African-American personalities to the forefront. There's something of a surprise renewal, too. Get our full rundown here. Also, the weekend D-FW Nielsen ratings are up and running.
Ed Bark

NBC5's Mike Snyder faces 10 p.m. demotion; former Cowboy Michael Irvin gets his 4th and Long series in motion

Reliable sources say that veteran NBC5 anchor Mike Snyder has been given two options, neither of which would keep him on the Fort Worth-based station's 10 p.m. newscasts. Also, Michael Irvin's new Spike TV series, 4th and Long, isn't for the faint of stomach. Our 1st and 10 is here.
Ed Bark

Down to the wire in May sweeps newscast ratings races

Two D-FW television newsrooms hope to make ratings history for themselves as the May sweeps near the finish lines. Get the information you won't find anywhere else right here. Also, wfaa.com at least temporarily is suspending all reader comments. Is that a good idea? Get the details here.
Ed Bark

Layoffs confirmed at NBC5, but management won't talk about names or numbers (updated)

Reporter Melissa Newton included in layoffs

Fort Worth-based NBC5 became the latest D-FW station to reduce its newsroom work force Friday. Management is not giving out any names or numbers, although early information indicates that at least nine people have been affected, the majority of them photographers.

"There's not much to say. Jobs were impacted," a station spokesman said early Friday evening. "We did have a layoff today. They're difficult decisions. We don't take them lightly. This is about managing our business as effectively as possible in today's current economic climate."

Asked about specifics, the spokesman said, "I respect your asking, but we're just not going to talk about that."

Reporter Melissa Newton, who joined NBC5 in December 2007 as a morning reporter, is among those laid off, it later was independently confirmed. The Texas Tech graduate previously had worked as a reporter and anchor for two Oklahoma City stations, KOKH-TV and KOCO-TV.

Another prevalent rumor was that veteran anchor Mike Snyder might have been reassigned or dropped entirely.

"Today didn't involve that at all," the spokesman said. "There's no news on that."

As previously reported on unclebarky.com, NBC5 recently signed a content sharing agreement with two competing D-FW stations, Fox4 and KDAF-TV ("The 33"). It's supposed to enhance and consolidate news-gathering operations. But as demonstrated Friday, it also can lead to further downsizing.

Up-close and objective (Night 16 of the May sweeps)

All four major local TV news providers, plus Uncle Barky himself, partook of Thursday night's Michael Irvin party/fundraiser. The onetime controversial Cowboy emerged with the most glowing coverage of his career. All this and much more in our daily compendium of D-FW's late night newscasts.
Ed Bark

"The 33" has 5:30 p.m. local newscast in the works

Reliable sources close to the station report that Dallas-based KDAF-TV ("The 33") plans to launch a 5:30 p.m. local newscast in September or earlier.

It would compete against the three network evening newscasts and Fox4's local edition, which in the March "sweeps" ratings period ran third at 5:30 behind ABC's World News and the NBC Nightly News, which tied for first.

As previously reported on unclebarky.com, The 33 recently bolstered its news staff by hiring two "backpack journalists" who were laid off in April by The Dallas Morning News. The newcomers, Holly Yan and Dan X. McGraw, started on Thursday according to a staff memo from news director David Duitch.

Up-close and objective (Night 15 of the May sweeps)

We've got another one in the books, this time with a special emphasis on Fox4 reporter Lari Barager's ability to strike first on a human interest story that had rival stations tardily following in her footsteps.
Ed Bark

WFAA8's Good Morning Texas quickly reverts back to a twosome

Easy come, easy go.

Kristin Mitchell, who joined Dallas-based WFAA8's Good Morning Texas in early March as a replacement for Brenda Teele, is no longer in the picture.

"She decided to leave the show, and her last day was a week ago," the program's executive producer, Dave Muscari, confirmed in an email Thursday. "We wish her well."

That leaves Gary Cogill and Amy Vanderoef as a duo again. There are no immediate plans to add a third host.

"For now we will stay with current staff," Muscari said.

Mitchell arrived from KMOV-TV in St. Louis, where she was a morning news co-anchor and also had co-hosted the weekly At the Zoo program. Both WFAA8 and KMOV are owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp.

GMT airs at 9 a.m. weekdays. Teele left the show last December to spend more time at her husband's Dallas-based law firm.

Jay talking: Leno reveals his last Tonight Show guests, renews vows to never take a vacation

Jay Leno, who's bequeathing the Tonight Show to Conan O'Brien after the May 29th telecast, had lots to say Thursday during a teleconference with TV critics. Our account is here. Also, The Dallas Mavericks died with their boots on -- and their ratings up -- Wednesday night in Denver. Check out our latest "Local Nielsen ratings snapshot" for more details.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (Night 14 of the May sweeps)

The Mark Cuban-Kenyon Martin feud made the cut on all four D-FW late night newscasts. But which sports anchor came out swinging? And no, this time it wasn't Dale Hansen.
Ed Bark

Two Dallas Morning News evictees rebound as "backpack journalists" at Dallas-based KDAF-TV

Bounced by The Dallas Morning News during April's layoffs, two seasoned metro reporters are joining "The 33" news team as "backpack journalists" at Dallas-based KDAF-TV. Get the details here. Also, it's a runaway in the early morning D-FW news race, as the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (Night 13 of the May sweeps)

Included on Monday's late night local newscast menu -- "Beer babes" and WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen's latest rip of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show how Monday's late-running Mavs thriller fared opposite 10 p.m. newscasts and CBS' CSI: Miami.
Ed Bark

One helluva freakin' win: Dallas finally does Denver

The TNT graphic says it all. And he wasn't done yet. Photo: Ed Bark

TNT knows drama, especially when the Mavs and Nuggets play like they did Monday night.

A super-pulsating Game 4, in which Dallas staved off a sweep with a 119-117 win, doesn't come close to achieving the seemingly impossible dream of coming back from a 3-0 hole. But it did prove two things:

Dirk Nowitzki is a lion when wounded and a true gamer when all seemed lost. And the oft-injured and maligned Josh Howard showed grit and guts by toughing it out on two bad legs. Exhilarating. Even Charles Barkley could speak no ill of Nowitzki after again branding him a softie earlier in the series.

"The game came down to Dirk refusing to let Dallas lose," Barkley said on the post-game show.

Nowitzki's 19-point 4th quarter -- and 44 points for the game -- goes down as an all-timer in Dallas pro sports history. And now he'll likely have to do it all over again if the Mavs are to have even a ghost of a chance on the Nuggets' home floor Wednesday night.

"We're gonna go up to Denver and let it all hang out again," he promised in TNT's post-game interview.

For now let's take his word for it. Enjoy the afterglow.

Nightly News anchor plays music man in new net-centric briTunes

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams tries to keep his cool with indie artists in the new Web-only briTunes. The first one features Deer Tick, a major player at Austin's latest South By Southwest music festival. Get a look and a review on our Web Browser page.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective (Night 12 of the May sweeps)

Friday wasn't much of a news night on D-FW's four major TV providers. But NBC5's underwear follies provided no small amount of cringe-worthy entertainment value. We also have the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings, including Saturday's Mavs-Nuggets horror show.
Ed Bark

New inside

High-larity reigns, whether it's Leonard Nimoy's Star Trek-themed Top 10 list or Dan Rather sporting a 'fro on The Daily Show. See for yourself here. Also, CBS11 yearns to have you for breakfast in a new spot touting its early morning foursome.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: (Night 11 of the May sweeps)

Dirk Nowitzki's off-court tribulations continued to get heavy play on Thursday's late night D-FW newscasts. But one reporter is still leading the pack. Check out our latest roundup, and also see how Thursday's local Nielsen ratings stacked up.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: (Night 10 of the May sweeps)

Our latest late night newscast roundups are in. Believe it or not, so are the D-FW Nielsen ratings for Monday-Wednesday after a technical meltdown delayed results and frayed the nerves of networks and local stations around the country.
Ed Bark

CBS11 drops Dirk bombshell (updated again)

Dirk Nowitzki and Cristal Taylor in Facebook picture posted on CBS11 Web site. The station's J.D. Miles says her "best friend" has told him the couple are engaged and that she's pregnant.

CBS11 and reporter J.D. Miles are reporting that the woman arrested at Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki's North Dallas home is his pregnant fiancee.

The woman, 37-year-old Cristal Taylor, was jailed Wednesday on a fraud warrant. CBS11 says it also broke that story on its Web site.

On Thursday's Midday newscast, WFAA8 anchor Cynthia Izaguirre told viewers that "sources tell News 8" of the Nowitzki-Taylor relationship and her pregnancy. The CBS11 story says its source is Taylor's "best friend," who insisted on anonymity.

WFAA8's web site posted its story -- "Source: Nowitzki's jailed 'friend' is his fiancee" -- at 12:28 p.m. Thursday. Investigative reporter Brett Shipp has the principal byline, with Rebecca Lopez and Jason Whitely listed as contributors at the bottom of the story.

CBS11 posted Miles' story -- "Nowitzki Reportedly Engaged to Arrested Woman" -- at 11:07 a.m. the same day.

On its Web site, The Dallas Morning News initially credited CBS11 with breaking the story of Taylor's reported pregnancy. Shortly after, however, it removed that credit and any references to the reported pregnancy. The newspaper instead credited CBS11 as the first to report that Nowitzki had hired a professional investigator to check into Taylor's background. (A bit later, the DMN re-inserted the pregnancy allegations and again credited CBS11 with first raising them.)

Also on Thursday WFAA8 obtained and posted home video of Nowitzki and Taylor joking and laughing with one another in his kitchen. CBS11 posted the video as well. Nowitzki declined to discuss his relationship with Taylor after Thursday's practice session in Dallas.

"It's pretty obvious that I'm going through a tough time in my personal life right now," he acknowledged while surrounded by reporters. That video also quickly made its way to the WFAA8 and CBS11 Web sites.

While WFAA8 and CBS11 fought for exclusives, rivals Fox4 and NBC5 seemed content to sit on the sidelines. As of 2 p.m. Thursday, their Web sites had failed to advance the story beyond Taylor's initial arrest.

New inside

Michael J. Fox returns to ABC Thursday night in Adventures of an Incurable Optimist. He still hasn't let Parkinson's Disease get him down, as you'll see in our review. Also, the Nielsen ratings are trickling in after a major technical meltdown deprived local stations and networks of their daily fixes. Sunday's D-FW numbers have just been released, allowing a belated look at the Dallas Mavericks' big score in the ratings despite their lopsided loss to Denver.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: (Night 9 of the May sweeps)

NBC5 doesn't much let content get in the way of commercials down the homestretches of its 10 p.m. newscasts. But does the station pay a price for this? Our latest compendium of D-FW's late nighters has all this and more.
Note to readers: Continuing problems at Nielsen Media Research mean further delays in nightly ratings reports. They've still only gotten as far as Saturday's results. We'll catch up whenever they do.
Ed Bark

Five Big Texes in latest Bachelorette hunt

"Love," TV style: Jake, Bachelorette Jillian Harris and Tanner P.

ABC's upcoming fifth edition of The Bachelorette will be lousy with Texans, including two now living in the D-FW area.

No last names are given because that's how this reality series rolls. But maybe some readers will recognize Jake and Tanner P. from their above official ABC pictures.

Tanner P., 30, is a Dallas-based financial analyst who grew up in Brownfield, TX. ABC press materials say that he's "secretly obsessed" with the feet of Canadian-born Bachelorette Jillian Harris, 29.

Jake, a 31-year-old commercial pilot, was born in Denton and now lives in nearby Lantana, TX. There's no report yet on any fetishes he might have.

Also among Harris' record-breaking 30 suitors are:

***Wes, 32, a musician from Austin whose hometown is Huntsville
***Robby, 25, a Houston bartender originally from Spring.
***Sasha, 27, an oil and gas consultant currently living in Tiki Island, TX after growing up in Houston.

It all fires up on Monday, May 18th with a two-hour premiere.

Ride 'em, Cowboy

Michael Irvin's new reality competition series for Spike TV now has a name, a premiere date and an array of announced guest stars. They'll be presiding over 12 contestants, with the winner getting a spot on the Dallas Cowboys training camp roster. Get all the details on our Network News & Reviews page.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: (Night 8 of the May sweeps)

The collapse of the Dallas Cowboys' practice facility continued to be a major player on Monday's late night D-FW newscasts. WFAA8's Pete 'n' Dale played around, too. Meanwhile, Saturday's local Nielsen ratings show a big bump for CBS11 during the time it dominated breaking coverage of the Valley Ranch disaster.
Ed Bark

Note to readers: weekend ratings delayed

Complete local weekend ratings from Nielsen Media Research -- which include both Sunday's Dallas Mavericks game and coverage of Saturday's disaster at Cowboys training camp -- have been delayed and probably won't be available until Tuesday. Sorry for the inconvenience, but we'll regroup then.
Ed Bark

Fringe gets seconds

Fox made it official Monday, giving Fringe a Season 2.

Its first-season finale is on Tuesday, May 12th, with guest star Leonard Nimoy dropping in as a "pivotal person of interest," says Fox.
Ed Bark

Up-close and objective: (Night 7 of the May sweeps)

Our serrated summation of Friday's late night D-FW newscast activities is ready to share. Also, NBC half-announces its 2009-10 prime-time schedule, promising Part 2 on May 19th. And Fox4, NBC5 and "The 33" sign off on content-sharing for their local newscasts.
Ed Bark

CBS11 excels in breaking coverage of Cowboys' "practice bubble" collapse

CBS11 dominated the early television coverage of Saturday afternoon's Cowboys practice field disaster. Photos: Ed Bark

CBS11 excelled in its breaking coverage Saturday afternoon of the Dallas Cowboys' rookie camp disaster, and virtually had the story to itself in the first half-hour.

Leading the station's vivid on-the-scene reporting were photojournalist Bret Kelly and sports reporter Steve Dennis. Kelly was inside the team's air-supported practice bubble when it collapsed during inclement weather around 3:30 p.m. His jarring pictures were quickly put into play while Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 stayed with scheduled programming.

"It looks like one big, crumpled kite with aluminum," said CBS11anchor Nerissa Knight, who helmed the coverage back at the station's Fort Worth studios with meteorologist Larry Mowry.

CBS11 cut away from its network's coverage of the PGA's Quail Hollow Championship to bring North Texas viewers the first news of the tragedy, in which several people reportedly were seriously injured. Practice was in progress when the structure collapsed.

Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 all stuck with regularly scheduled programming in the early going. Fox4 had the Mets-Phillies baseball game, NBC5 stayed with preliminary Kentucky Derby coverage and WFAA8 aired a St. Jude's Hospital infomercial followed by the ABC reality competition Wipeout.

WFAA8 was woefully slow off the mark, relying on still pictures from viewers while CBS11 had both live helicopter shots and "raw video" from inside the practice facility after it collapsed. Even "The 33" broke in with a brief mention of the tragedy before WFAA8 finally gathered itself.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, attending the Kentucky Derby, reacted to the news back at Valley Ranch in a live interview with NBC's Bob Costas.

"They did not get good warning there, and the structure did collapse," Jones said. CBS11 meteorologist Mowry noted that the National Weather Service in fact had issued a severe weather warning Saturday afternoon.

CBS11's stellar coverage came just a day after the station laid off several employees, including meteorologist Kristine Kahanek and assistant news director Sarah Garza. The station's coverage obviously didn't suffer Saturday. CBS11 reacted quickly and authoritatively, dominating its competitors and owning the story when it counted the most. Fox4 had the second-best coverage, but it geared up only after CBS11 had firmly taken charge.

Here are some other CBS11 pictures from the scene:

On the scene from the start: CBS11's Bret Kelly and Steve Dennis.

Meteorologist Kristine Kahanek caps seven-year career at CBS11

Taking the cake: CBS11's Kristine Kahanek signs off. Photo: Ed Bark

CBS11 meteorologist Kristine Kahanek officially signed off at the end of Friday's 4 p.m. newscast, ending a seven-year career with the station.

Kahanek told viewers that her contract didn't expire until September, "but I've chosen to go ahead and leave early."

It was clear to her, however, that she didn't figure in the station's long-term future plans. (See story below).

Kahanek was the only on-air personality to depart the station Friday amid a round of layoffs that also claimed assistant news director Sarah Garza.

"Be blessed and I'll miss all of you. And thanks for watching," she said before a goodbye sheet cake was slid onto the anchor desk at newscast's end.

Up-close and objective: (Night 6 of the May sweeps)

One of D-FW's four major TV news providers is notably downplaying the swine flu situation. Read all about it here. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in the house.
Ed Bark

Layoffs in progress at CBS11; weathercaster Kahanek out (updated again -- and again)

Kristine Kahanek out at CBS11

Sources confirm that CBS11 meteorologist Kristine Kahanek, who joined the station in 2002 as the station's chief temperature taker, has been dropped as part of Friday's layoffs at the D-FW-based station.

Technically she exercised an option to leave early. Friday is her last day at the CBS-owned station. Another CBS television property, Chicago-based WBBM-TV, also has been downsizing this week.

Kahanek, who previously worked at WFAA8 for four years, had gradually seen her duties diminished. In August of last year, she was relocated to the station's 4 p.m. newscasts while also serving as new chief meteorologist Larry Mowry's main backup.

Kahanek, a Texas A&M graduate, had just published a new children's book at the time, titled Katie and the Magic Umbrella. News director Scott Diener said then that Kahanek's decreased workload would "allow her to spend more time at much-requested public and school appearances and to work on publicizing a project dear to her heart."

Kahanek, in a lengthy goodbye on her independent Web site, says that her removal from CBS11's 10 p.m. newscast "was a blow and unexpected. But their decision came at a time when I was already searching for something else more meaningful and significant to do with my life. Not doing the 10 p.m. show gave me the opportunity to have dinner with my family most nights, read to my children before bedtime and get myself to bed before midnight."

She also hopes to chart a new path that "feeds my soul," Kahanek writes. "I feel like it's been running on empty for quite awhile. I want to make a difference in people's lives, and while I may have done a bit of that while on television, I've only scratched the surface."

Besides Mowry, CBS11 and its sister station, TXA21, still have meteorologists Jeff Jamison, Mike Burger and Garry Seith.

Friday's layoffs also so far have claimed assistant news director Sarah Garza and three assignment desk personnel, according to sources.

Garza, who joined the station late in 2007 from WFAA8, had her position "eliminated," sources say.

The station also is shutting down its Dallas-based news assignment desk and consolidating operations in its main Fort Worth building located off I-30.

Pete 'n' Dale get a bigger playhouse

Coming soon to a home screen near you -- Dallas-based WFAA8's Rumble in the Plaza starring Dale Hansen and Pete Delkus. We break it down here. Also, check out Jimmy Fallon as a kid impressionist in his very first standup appearance.

Also, you may have noticed it's a new month, which means that April posts on unclebarky.com gradually will be moving to the appropriate archive (located along the right-hand border). And many thanks to those who bought something on amazon.com last month by first clicking through this Web site. Every penny is appreciated, and a couple of people made purchases that made the 4% commission actually amount to a little something. It all helps. Thanks again.
Ed Bark