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This just in: a night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Tues., Feb. 14)

Fox4 co-anchor Steve Eagar and Dallas police chief David Brown after their live interview on Tuesday's 9 p.m. newscast. Photos: Ed Bark

Like a finely tuned Indy 500 car, Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast ran strong and steady from start to finish Tuesday.

Its three 10 p.m. rivals all developed varying engine failures.

All four stations had followup stories on the ambush shooting of Dallas police officer Ronald Workman, who escaped death when a bullet ricocheted off his lapel microphone while he was still in his squad car. Fox4 had a better idea, though. During a live studio interview at the top of the newscast, top cop David Brown walked co-anchor Steve Eagar through an escalation of such incidents, both locally and nationally.

It was a revealing one-on-one, with the chief impressively conversant while also demonstrating how officers are taught to "take a much wider angle to 'blind spots' " when responding to scenes in which a shooter may be at large. In this case, the man who opened fire also made the 911 call that brought police to the scene at a far North Dallas apartment complex. He was looking to kill a cop, Brown said, before then killing himself.

Fox4 involves its two anchors in live studio interviews almost every night. Some work better than others, but this one played great.

Later in the newscast, co-anchor Heather Hays also made good use of in-studio time by interviewing 15-year-old Laura Diosdado and her sister, Diana. Laura has Cystic Fibrosis, for which there's still no cure. But during her remaining time, she's intent on putting out the word and selling her homemade bracelets to raise both funds and awareness.

Reporter Natalie Solis ably set the stage with a story on Laura, whose one-year-old brother and six-year-old nephew also have CS. She's one of 12 children living with their mother in what Solis described as a "tiny rented house."

Laura also would like to meet singer-actress Selena Gomez, who's a Grand Prairie native. Such celebrity requests can be cringe-worthy, but in this case definitely not.

Fox4 also had the only interview with the grieving mother of a 19-year-old son who died when he was pushed into the path of a DART train. One of the culprits, a 14-year-old, was given a 30-year sentence that would make him eligible for parole when he turns 18. Or he could be sent to an adult prison at that point.

There was one mis-fire Tuesday night. Reporter Melissa Cutler's piece on the rescue of a two-month baby after a car plowed through the front of their residential home was billed by Eagar as "a story you'll see only on Fox4."

Whoops, WFAA8 and reporter Rebecca Lopez led the station's 10 p.m. newscast with that same story. Lopez stationed herself live outside the DeSoto home, but videotaped footage and interviews showed that the station also had been on the scene earlier in the day.

Normally sure-tongued co-anchor John McCaa later stumbled at the start of the DART story, telling viewers that a "teenager has been sentenced to death." He quickly amended that to "30 years, rather."

WFAA8's most heavily promoted story, dubbed "A Valentine's Miracle," ended up without a payoff. Reporter Steve Stoler told of a widow whose husband died on Valentine's Day 2007 of both cancer and heart disease. Strapped for funds, she had pawned her wedding ring in order to buy him the medications he needed. She now desperately wants the ring back, but the owner of McKinney Jewelry & Loan said her chances of recovering it after he sold it are "slim and none. And Slim left town on a spotted pony."

So that's that for now. Viewers expecting yet another local TV news "miracle" were left with Stoler's story ending open-ended. Maybe the publicity from it will help the widow in her quest. But WFAA8 had primed viewers for a happy ending that for now has gone thataway -- along with Slim.

CBS11 saw fit to lead its 10 p.m. edition with Arezow Doost's story on a Mansfield child who said she had been followed by a man in a pickup truck. A "safety alert" such as this is valid. But it's not really a newscast topper. NBC5 showed better judgment by placing the alert in the middle of its newscast.

In the night's "Only on CBS11" contribution, reporter Jason Allen talked with ancient TV faith healer Dr. James Robison, who's been administering to Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton after his latest bout with alcohol.

"I think this will be the new improved version of Josh Hamilton," Robison said, predicting a "very legitimate transformation." Robison is scheduled to interview Hamilton Wednesday on Glenn Beck's online GBTV network, which requires a paid subscription.

Earlier in the newscast, co-anchor Doug Dunbar's reader on the DART sentencing ended with a thud when he told viewers that "details of the deal today and the identity of the teen who took the deal have not been released." Except that both Fox4 and WFAA8 had the details of the deal.

CBS11 co-anchor Karen Borta twice teased a story in which "we dish the dirt on Dallas's dirty little secret." But it turned out to be a throwaway little sniglet on the alleged growing popularity of websites that lure married people into having affairs. Dallas is No. 9 on the list of cities that use such sites while San Antonio ranks No. 2 nationally, Borta said.

The oft-glib Dunbar was not remotely amused in this case. "That's going to be a firm 'No comment,' " he said sternly. "We're back in a moment."

Dunbar previously had a "happy talk" ad lib following Tracy Kornet's rather gushy tour of D-FW's "Top Luxury Listings."

"There is something for everyone," a female realtor told her. No there's not. In fact there's nothing for 99 and 99/100ths of CBS11's viewing audience. Or as Dunbar put it, "OK, all together now. We couldn't even afford the gas bill."

NBC5's Lindsay Wilcox presides over surprise live wedding proposal.

CBS11 and NBC5 both offered police dash cam video of country singer Randy Travis' earlier intoxication arrest after police found a partly consumed bottle of wine in his car.

The Peacock led its newscast with reporter Omar Villafranca's recitation of this "Country Confession." Travis both admitted to drinking and twice said "Are you kiddin' me?" when police told him he was going to jail for a spell.

The station's best story of the night, in the No. 2 slot, was veteran Night Ranger Scott Gordon's report on some specific jobs being targeted by American Airlines in its planned layoffs of 13,000 employees. Gordon said that a total of 8,800 of these layoffs would be at the expense of maintenance and ground workers, with some of their tasks being outsourced.

An AA spokesman who's not losing his job said the moves were necessary for the airline's survival.

Things then started to head deep south -- and not in a good way. Co-anchor Meredith Land, for one, is developing a bad habit of reacting off-camera with expressions of concern while stories are unfolding. They can't quite be replicated in print, but basically amount to "Oh dear."

Land also tends to ramp up the gravity, at times comically. Two popular brands of lipstick "contain traces of lead," she said at one point, her voice more suited to an announcement that the U.S. is under nuclear attack. Land is capable of good initiative reporting, including her recent arranging of a group interview with the wives of Jerry Jones, Nolan Ryan and Mark Cuban. This kind of stuff doesn't help her.

Then came the big story of the night, a "surprise" live Valentine's wedding. Newscasts are changing, but is this really necessary?

NBC5's Lindsay Wilcox first helped a seemingly nice guy named Ryan Schuette pick out an engagement ring for Tara Smith, who recently founded the Peace Tree Africa organization. She then was duped by NBC5 into thinking the station was doing a live report on her effort from Dallas' African American museum.

"I'm nervous," Land told Wilcox live. "This is a really big night. And she's going to be surprised, right?"

Hmm, maybe not. Because Wilcox was standing right next to Tara at that point. Ryan then came around a corner with a bouquet of red roses and a ring. Everyone gushed while any remaining purists in the news business (fat chance) may have scrunched themselves into fetal positions and did a Fred Sanford-esque, "Lord, I'm comin' to you. I'm comin' home to Georgia."

At the end of the newscast, co-anchor Brian Curtis noted that the 2012 Westminster Dog Show title had been won Tuesday night by a Pekingese.

"Little dogs always have the big attitudes," he said. Curtis ostensibly was talking about the best in show top dog. But while saying this he looked right past Land and directly at backup sports anchor Matt Barrie, who never said a word this time but is known for his snarky retorts. Including one at the close of Monday's late nighter.

We'll close with another expression of true love between WFAA8 weathercaster Pete Delkus and sports anchor Dale Hansen. The below picture popped up right after Pete's extended forecast. And before Hansen said that his long-suffering wife had given him a Valentine's card, which he signed right back to her.

"I thought about getting her something, and then I quickly dismissed it," said Hansen, noting that people say "it's the thought that counts."

For the record, your friendly content provider got his wife an Adele CD, a bottle of wine and a holiday card while Pete and Dale had a loving dinner together via the miracle of photo-shopping.