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II Super Bowl XLIII posts

A guest star-infused episode of The Office will be Sunday's post-Super Bowl dessert. Check out our stat sheet on what it'll have to beat to set an all-time record. Plus other Supie odds & ends. Also, PETA's making my vegetables hard with its banned but already widely seen Super Bowl ad. Click on over to our new Web Browser page to see both the spot and why NBC saw it as way too sexy.
Ed Bark

Blart's not art, but . . .

Former King of Queens star Kevin James is the latest TV toiler to score with an out-of-nowhere hit movie. But where does Paul Blart: Mall Cop rank on our all-time list of surprise hits that made their onetime TV stars bankable at the box office? Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings show what Idol can do for the Fox show that follows it. Which isn't particularly good news for Lost.
Ed Bark

Goodbye to Good Day?

Her latest contract is almost up, leaving Good Day co-anchor Megan Henderson in the mood to make a move -- or not. Get the latest here.
Ed Bark

And here I thought NBC5 was just givin' me the finger


Yeah, I wondered what the hell this was, too.

NBC5's remodeled web site, nbcdfw.com, gets a lot of old-school, on-air promotion during both day and night. A new feature, the so-called "Golden Local," lately has been making the rounds. It's described as "14 inches of gold-colored spinning status," even though its cowboy-hatted likeness (above) appears to be telling viewers to stick it.

There's currently a less than raging "Golden Local" competition for "Best Barbecue," which as of this early Wednesday afternoon is being led by Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse over Railhead Smokehouse.

Both eateries' logos and links to their Web sites are included, and they're the only barbecue pits you can vote for. So if you smell a pair of paid ads, well, these are tough times.

Meanwhile, the new NBC5 site is stripped of what used to be a wealth of anchor/reporter blogs. The old nbc5i.com had a league leading 17 of 'em, including this classic dispatch from anchor Jane McGarry. We're also being deprived of anchor Mike Snyder's weight loss updates, which had just gotten started.

Now they're all gone. And all we get in return is a stinkin' fool's gold statue givin' us the finger.

D-FW slide show

Fox4 survived a major power outage while its foot soldiers and those from rival stations hit the streets skidding Tuesday night. Our up-close look at the frozen chosen is here.
Ed Bark

Re-stocking the shelves

An upcoming visit from Mr. Freeze finds Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast on fire in Monday night's D-FW ratings. Plus, a new TV Bulletin Board serves more nuggets of semi-nutritious info., including the current whereabouts of former Fox4 anchor/reporter Natasha Curry.
Ed Bark

WFAA8 goes to cornbelt for new early riser

This just in: WFAA8 has hired a new Daybreak co-anchor -- from Des Moines. Get our complete story here.
Ed Bark

Inside pages

Publishing problems earlier Monday kept unclebarky.com steaming behind the scenes. But all's well -- finally -- so take a look at our posts on the first Dallas edition of Antiques Roadshow, an absorbing American Experience film on the father of the atomic bomb and the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings. Also, look out below on this page for Terrell Owens' new reality series.
Ed Bark

Just what this team needed: T.O. goes into OT with new series for VH1

terrell_owens Terrell-Owens-Photograph-C12396267

The man knows how to pick his networks.

VH1, already home to Rock of Love, Flavor of Love, Celebrity Rehab and I Want to Work For Diddy, is welcoming Terrell Owens to its fold in a new, still untitled series set to premiere this summer.

Owens' "best friends and publicists," Kita Williams and Monique Jackson, will get busy and "battle the two sides of his large personality," VH1 understates in a publicity release.

And ya know what? VH1 says viewers are gonna "discover that behind all the braggadocio, emotional histrionics, and sculpted physique that is the outspoken media magnet known to the world as 'T.O.' -- there is also a quiet, sensitive, mild-mannered guy from Alexander City, Alabama . . that's Terrell."

His Cowboys teammates are still waiting to meet any reasonable facsimile of a "mild-mannered" T.O. But according to VH1, "Terrell is ready to re-examine his personal life and finally put a plan into action."

Not without Kita and Monique, though. "They will function as matchmakers and therapists and also put their marketing expertise to use and help him make his life off of the field as successful as his life on it!" VH1 exults.

T.O.'s new show comes on the heels of a Michael Irvin project announced last week by Spike TV. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones must be doing heel clicks -- which can be quite a trick when you also have your head up your ass.

New for you

WFAA8 hoists its Gold Baton and hosts Pat Green. Also, TNT premieres its new ad men series, Trust Me, and the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are good news for both CBS and CBS11. Plus, Bob Eubanks is coming to Grapevine and Katie Couric is moving to prime-time for a pair of special editions. TV Bulletin Board has the details.
Ed Bark

Irvin puts Cowboys behind 88 ball in new Spike TV reality series

irvin MichaelIrvin

Maybe they should go ahead and fill the whole damned roster this way.

Spike TV and former Dallas Cowboys star Michael Irvin are teaming on a new, yet to be titled reality series whose winner will get a chance to further prove himself at this summer's Cowboys training camp.

Irvin, the host, will track the progress of six wide receivers and six defensive backs in a show set for a spring premiere.

""There is so much great undiscovered football talent out there," Irvin says in a Spike publicity release. "Guys that may have missed their shot for one reason or another. This is about hope and a shot at greatness."

Hopefuls will be divided into two teams "overseen by notable former Cowboys coaches and players," Spike says. Guest judges will include other ex-players and coaches, plus "media personalities" and of course, team owner Jerry Jones.

The show is from 3 Ball Productions, whose previous efforts include The Biggest Loser, Beauty & the Geek, Breaking Bonaduce, The Pickup Artist and Scott Baio is 45 and Single.

Irvin, who hosts a daily radio show on 103.3 FM ESPN, can be both seen and heard this Sunday on ABC's answer to the Super Bowl halftime show. It's called Wipeout Superball Sunday -- Cheerleaders Vs. Couch Potatoes -- The Wildest Wipeout Ever. Old No. 88 will be the "special guest sideline reporter."

Layoffs and Lost

We have updated information and quotes on WFAA8's new round of layoffs, which were first reported on unclebarky.com. Also, see how Lost's Season 5 return fared in the D-FW Nielsen ratings.
Ed Bark

Inside pages

Fox's new Lie to Me finds truths in the face of -- facial expressions. Also, the latest D-FW ratings track the night and day audiences for Tuesday's inauguration coverage. And a new "Ask Uncle Barky" answers some of your pressing questions, including the status of NBC5 meteorologist James Aydelott, who was supposed to be in Tulsa by now.
Ed Bark

More changes at "The 33" and, of course, on Lost

Reporter Michael Rey has been let go as part of an ongoing shakeup at "The 33," which also has named two new reporters. And Lost returns for a 5th season Wednesday with an opening nod to an old Willie Nelson song.
Ed Bark

Take a look inside

In response to a previous unclebarky.com post, CBS11 news director Scott Diener pledges to give credit where it's due from now on. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings chart the numbers for Gil Grissom's CSI goodbye episode and President Bush's farewell address. And Showtime's decidedly different United States of Tara premieres Sunday, with star Toni Collette playing a foursome.
Ed Bark

New for you

Death-defying Patrick Swayze stars in the new A&E cop series The Beast, which premieres Thursday night. Our review is right here. We also have goodbyes and fitting video for the recently departed Richardo Montalban and Patrick McGoohan. A new "Ask Uncle Barky" has crept into the mix, and the latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are uncommonly bad news for WFAA8's local newscasts. Also, NBC announces that Conan O'Brien's departure from his Late Night show will be sooner rather than later.
Ed Bark

Inside looks

Fox4 reporter Shaun Rabb's exclusive jailhouse interview with an accused cop killer wound up making news on CBS11 as well. Except that the station played fast and loose with crediting it. Also, Tuesday's D-FW ratings are another cakewalk for American Idol, which launched its eighth season. And PBS takes a rare stab at the funny bone in a six-hour history of comedy that begins Wednesday night.
Ed Bark

Aguilar alleges racial discrimination in suit against Fox4 (updated)

Former Fox4 reporter Rebecca Aguilar

Former Fox4 reporter Rebecca Aguilar filed a racial discrimination suit against the station late Monday afternoon, claiming she was suspended and ultimately terminated because of her "documented history of complaining about the treatment of Hispanics and Latinos by her employer."

The lawsuit was first publicized Tuesday by Courthouse News Service, which quotes Aguilar's attorney, Steve Kardell as saying, "Fox4 wanted my client to advocate change in the community through her reports, but to keep silent in improving working conditions in the newsroom."

Aguilar's repeated proposals that Fox4 "consider interviewing Latino and Hispanic candidates for management positions" resulted in "strained relations with her employer," the lawsuit alleges.

The seven-page suit charges that Fox4 retaliated by taking Aguilar off the air after "pretextual and fabricated criticism about a particular story." That's a reference to her controversial Oct. 15, 2007 interview with an elderly West Dallas salvage business owner who had shot and killed two alleged burglars within three weeks time. The story and Aguilar's paid suspension attracted national attention and pointed debate on whether she had "ambushed" her interview subject or was just doing her job.

Aguilar was suspended on the day after the story aired and remained off the air until being terminated in early March of 2008. It ended her 14-year career at the station.

Fox4 news director Maria Barrs, who is named in the suit, could not immediately be reached for a response. Stations generally do not comment on pending personnel matters. But in response to an earlier "Charge of Discrimination" complaint filed by Aguilar through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Barrs told unclebarky.com that "Fox4 looks forward to defending our decision in the appropriate forum."

Aguilar's lawsuit claims that she was suspended and terminated "based upon her race."

"This has caused Aguilar to sustain damages, including, but not limited to, loss of salary, benefits, promotions, past and future income opportunities, emotional pain, suffering, mental distress and anguish," the suit says.

Fox4's decision to retaliate against her "was intentional and performed with malice and/or with reckless indifference to Aguilar's protected rights," according to the lawsuit.

Aguilar is seeking lost wages and benefits from March 2008 to the present, plus punitive damages and payment of her attorney's fees and costs.

In her first comments on the lawsuit Tuesday, Aguilar said she expects criticism "for bringing up discrimination against me."

"But they didn't walk in my shoes for 14 years at Fox4," she said in a telephone interview. "I just don't want this to happen again to another reporter, especially a Latino. That's what counts. That's why I'm doing this . . . Fox hurt my reputation. I had just become the Hispanic broadcaster of the year (as judged by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists). And with one unfair decision, they took me out. So I'm just saying that inside the newsroom, everything is not as 'Fair and Balanced' as Fox always touts."

Aguilar, who remains in Dallas, said she'll "always love television news. And yeah, sure, if I could get back into it, I would. But I haven't seen anyone knocking my door down. I think that has a lot to do with what Fox did to me."

Golden Globes and Gold Baton

NBC's Golden Globes telecast as usual brought out the best and worst of recipients and presenters Sunday night. Check out our fun rundown and also see how they fared against 24 and other stuff in the D-FW Nielsens. Also, WFAA8 will be the first local TV station ever to win a Gold Baton when the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia awards are handed out later this month. And hear Will Ferrell's fake George W. promise to "tear Dallas a new party hole" on our new Web Browser page. Thank ya.
Ed Bark

Inside looks

All hell once again breaks loose as 24 restarts for a seventh season that might make president-elect Barack Obama feel a bit blessed about the relatively minor problems he's about to inherit. Also, the latest D-FW Nielsens are in, with an up-close look at local audiences for last night's college football championship game.
Ed Bark

Nita Wiggins out as Fox4 sports reporter

An ongoing epidemic of downsizing in D-FW's television newsrooms has claimed Fox4 sports reporter Nita Wiggins, whose last day was Thursday. We have more details here.
Ed Bark

More new stuff inside

PBS has set the dates for its three Antiques Roadshow hours from Dallas. Also, WFAA8 scores big in the 10 p.m. newscast ratings with help from deposed radio jock Russ Martin. And TNT is readying two more prime-time dramas fronted by familiar TV names. Plus, our new "Web Browser" page puts you in touch with the TV sights and sounds of hulu.com.
Ed Bark

A few tips on using unclebarky.com (it's as easy as UNC)

We try to be easily navigable here at homegrown unclebarky.com. But this might make it a bit easier, especially when a new month kicks in.

1. Previous months are automatically archived at the start of each new month. So if you want to see recent posts that suddenly are invisible, just click on the appropriate month in our Archives list, located in the bottom right-hand margin of each UB page.

2. Our free search engine seems to work quite well. So if you're looking for a particular review or the whereabouts of a certain D-FW news person, just type in the appropriate name and then click "Find." The "powered by FreeFind" box is at the top right hand margin of each UB page.

3. UB is free and always will be. But of course it helps if you make it a point to make any Amazon purchases by first clicking on one of the ads appearing on unclebarky.com. We get a small percentage of sales, and it takes a pretty big purchase to add up to much. But every penny counts, and we greatly appreciate each and every buy.

4. Purchases via the Netflix and itunes ads on unclebarky.com also put a bit of cash in the UB mini-bank. Checking out our "AdBrite" sponsors helps, too. So feel free to at least see what they have to offer.

5.The "Advertise on Uncle Barky" tag -- in red in right-hand margins -- lets you build your own ad and then pay in advance electronically . It's always fun -- for me at least -- to see these ads magically pop up. And our rates are really cheap. Honest.

6. Most of all, enjoy the site. I'm doing as much as I can to keep you up to date on local and national TV developments of note. And if it mostly has to be a labor of love, then so be it. My pleasure.

Ed Bark

Inside pages

FX's excellent Damages returns for a second season Wednesday night. Meanwhile, The CW offers excrement in the form of its new 13 -- Fear Is Real. The latest D-FW Nielsen ratings are in, too.
Ed Bark

It's a go for Miller as The 33's new weeknight weathercaster

Former NBC5 early morning meteorologist Rebecca Miller is officially the featured forecaster at The 33, with previous occupant Bob Goosmann still on board for now. (Updated twice Tuesday with quotes from Miller and Goosmann) Also, ABC premieres Homeland Security USA while welcoming Scrubs for the first time as part of a revamped Tuesday lineup.
Ed Bark

All the news that's fit to print -- plus an ad

CBS lands inaugural page 1 ad in NYT.

Sign of the apocalypse or just another sign of the times?

The New York Times and CBS partnered Monday (Jan. 5th) for the first front page display ad in the newspaper's 157-year history.

CBS, currently the No. 1 network in overall prime-time viewership, uses the two-and-a-half-inch, across-the-bottom-of-the-page space to laud its success story "at a time when there are more media choices than ever." Pictured are the network's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Two and a Half Men, The Mentalist, 60 Minutes and NFL telecasts.

"America's most watched network will clearly have one of the most read ads -- and we value this new means of prominently showcasing our valuable media properties," CBS Marketing Group president George Schweitzer said in a statement sent to TV critics.

The Times was a bit less jubilant in the lead paragraph of its story on the change in policy by reporter Richard Perez-Pena.

"In its latest concession to the worst revenue slide since the Depression, The New York Times has begun selling display advertising on its front page, a step that has become increasingly common across the newspaper industry," he wrote rather glumly.

All such ads will appear below the fold, says the Times, which won't say how much they cost. Consider it the cost of doing business in continuing troubled times for media companies of all stripes.

Still, a front page color ad in the Times? That seems a bit like monkey poop on a Rembrandt, but it beats turning the lights out in times when the Times' revenue from continuing operations fell 13.9 percent from November '07 to November '08, according to the newspaper.

Maybe they'll draw the line, though, on accepting an ad touting VH1's new January lineup of Sober House, Rock of Love Bus, Tool Academy (it has nothing to do with work benches) and Confessions of a Teen Idol. Guess we'll see.

Flights out for Sky 4, Chopper 5 and Chopper 11

Sky 4, Chopper 5, Chopper 11 and their attendant pilot/reporters are history in D-FW. All three stations instead have turned to a Garland-based company for smaller, cheaper flights. Also, WFAA8 closed out 2008 on a ratings high with its Big D NYE special, which drew almost as many viewers as the Rose Bowl. And ABC's new True Beauty reality series has a former Dallas pageant queen in its group of 10 duped posers. We've also got the D-FW ratings for the Cotton Bowl and the past weekend's other college and pro football attractions.
Ed Bark