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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., 29) -- extended World Series/Barack Obama edition (updated Oct. 30th with new DMN presidential endorsement info)


Big pitches from the World Series-winning Philadelphia Phillies and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made for a one-of-a-kind ratings scorecard Wednesday night.

First to the climactic resumption of the Series' Game 5 on Fox, which counted out the Tampa Rays by a 4-3 score and gave the time-tested Phillies (the team first began playing in the late 1890s) just its second World Championship and first since 1980.

For the very many who still couldn't bring themselves to watch, the longest rain-delayed game in modern baseball history resumed a few minutes after 7:30 p.m., with Philadelphia batting in the bottom of the sixth inning and the score tied 2-2.

It ended just two minutes shy of 9 p.m., with Phillies reliever reliever Brad Lidge striking out pinch-hitter Eric Hinske with a Rays runner at second base. Final score: Phillies 4, Rays 3. Bedlam in Philadelphia at large and Citizens Bank Park in particular.

In decidedly baseball unfriendly D-FW, Game 5 at last almost managed to outdraw all competing programming -- save for one. Overall, Game 5 averaged 177,799 total homes, peaking at 219,920 in its closing 15 minutes.

Here's the Nielsen ratings breakdown:

7:30 to 8 p.m.

World Series (Fox)-- 155,878 homes
The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS) -- 112,038 homes
Second half-hour of Pushing Daisies (ABC) -- 94,988 homes
First half-hour of 90-minute Deal or No Deal (NBC) -- 82,810 homes

8 to 9 p.m.

Criminal Minds (CBS) -- 233,818 homes
World Series (Fox) -- 189,977 homes
Concluding hour of Deal or No Deal (NBC) -- 165,621 homes
Private Practice (ABC) -- 102,295 homes

For the record, the Series also beat all competing programming -- except Criminal Minds -- among advertiser-favored 18-to-49-year-olds. It was tighter than the plate umpire's strike zone, though. Criminal Minds had 151,363 viewers in this key demographic; Game 5 slid in with 148,210 in its final hour.

Fox's 9 to 9:30 p.m. World Series post-game show terrifically captured the sights and sounds of a very celebratory Phillies' team.

It of course was nothing to get excited about in D-FW. For the record, the post-game show drew 148,572 homes locally, losing lopsidedly to the first half-hour of CBS' CSI: NY (253,302 homes), but edging the first half-hour of ABC's Dirty Sexy Money (133,958 homes). NBC's Lipstick Jungle, being exiled to Fridays next week after Thursday's episode, as always ran fourth with 97,424 homes for its first half-hour.

The order of finish was the same among 18-to-49-year-olds.

Closing Comment -- Yes, I remain a big sports fan. And yeah, the Texas Rangers have been playing mostly lousy baseball since my arrival here in late 1979 from Badgerland. Can you say Milwaukee Brewers?

The Rangers are still blessed with a beautiful ballpark but an understandably shrinking core group of fans who still dream of even one World Series appearance. That's something the previously bottom-dwelling Rays achieved in just their 11th season.

That said, does D-FW even deserve a World Series if Wednesday night's high-drama closing game (which lasted less than 90 minutes) can't even outdraw a CBS crime show that will be repeated at some point later in the season? I think not. But you're free to comment on this site. And as always, only your name and "name" will appear. Not that much response is expected.

Wait 'til next year.


Whether or not you're voting for him, the Democratic nominee had a national audience to himself Wednesday during the 7 p.m. (central) slot. His half-hour pitch, which included a closing three-minute live shot from an Obama rally in Fort Lauderdale, FL, aired on CBS, Fox, NBC, MSNBC, the Spanish language network Univision, BET and TV One. As previously detailed on this site, one major broadcast network and two cable news networks declined to take Obama's money. One wasn't asked in the first place.

Here's the D-FW Nielsen ratings breakdown. (Note that local ratings for BET and TV One, both of which target African-American viewers, were not immediately available. If anyone wants to send them now or later, please do. By now you know the email address.)


CBS -- 112,038 homes
Fox -- 85,246 homes
NBC and Univision -- 80,375 homes apiece
MSNBC -- 26,792 homes

Grand Total -- 304,451 D-FW homes. Wednesday's most-watched program on a single network, CBS' CSI:NY
We'll also look at the D-FW ratings for 18-to-34-year-olds. Turning out a much larger percentage of younger voters than in previous presidential elections is a key part of the Obama campaign's overall strategy:


Univision (KUVN/Ch. 23) -- 48,195
Fox (Fox4) -- 28,917
NBC (NBC5) -- 24,098
CBS (CBS11) -- 16,065
MSNBC -- "hashmarks" (no measurable audience)

Grand Total -- 117,275 viewers

Closing Comment
Compelling and very well-produced, Obama's half-hour commercial effectively distilled his message and basic campaign promises to those who don't already know them by heart. Whether it inspired any still allegedly "undecided" voters is another matter. But as pure political theater, this is
as good as it gets. Bravo.

I'm joined in this assessment by conservative WBAP radio (820 AM) host Mark Davis, who also writes a weekly opinion column for The Dallas Morning News, which endorsed Republican John McCain for president.

Davis lauded the Obama film as "absolute genius" during his weekly appearance on Fox4's early morning Good Day program. He also praised it as tightly edited and brilliant in getting its message out during his Good Day chat with co-host Tim Ryan.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Bob Ray Sanders, D-FW's longest standing liberal commentator/colummist, readily agreed with that review during his joint appearance with Davis on Good Day. The Star Telegram has endorsed Obama for president; it's the newspaper's first endorsement of a Democratic candidate for president since Bill Clinton in 1992 (but not for his second term).

On the campaign trail, McCain said of Obama's half-hour ad: "When you're watching this gauzy, feel-good commercial, just remember that it was paid for with broken promises."


We've literally got a task force working on this. But it's beginning to look a lot like "never."

Native Texan Lyndon Johnson, who ran as an incumbent Democratic president in 1964, would seem to be the most likely to have broken the string. But no, the DMN endorsed his conservative Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, in that year.

Editor & Publisher, which has tracked newspaper endorsements since 1940 (the successful third-term campaign of Democratic president Franklin Delano Roosevelt), has no record of The Dallas Morning News ever endorsing a Democrat.

So the search goes on in the year that The Chicago Tribune is endorsing a Democratic presidential candidate -- Obama -- for the first time in its 161-year history.

No one at The Dallas Morning News, which does not list a history of its previous presidential candidate endorsements (on its Web site or anywhere else) seems to be able to say with any certainty whether the newspaper has ever gotten behind a Democratic presidential candidate.

If not, it's a drought dating to the newspaper's 1885 birth. That information, listing George Bannerman Dealey as the newspaper's first publisher (1885-1940), is taken directly from the print product's editorial page masthead.

This just in, from a reader who sent a copy of an article from the The Handbook of Texas. It's published by the Texas State Historical Association.

According to the handbook's brief history of The Dallas Morning News, the paper officially remained neutral in 1964, declining to officially endorse President Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas in his campaign against conservative Republican challenger Barry Goldwater.

Otherwise, from 1952 to the present, the DMN chronologically has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate, beginning with a pair for Dwight D. Eisenhower and moving on to Richard Nixon (three successive times), Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (twice), George H. W. Bush (twice), Bob Dole and George W. Bush (twice).

The article also says, "The paper, which had initially supported Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, found itself disagreeing with Roosevelt's policies as the president's tenure in office stretched to include a fourth term.

However, it backed Roosevelt's foreign policies, including unreserved support of America's participation in World War II after Pearl Harbor."

It's still unclear, however, whether the newspaper ever officially endorsed FDR, whose presidency began in 1932 in the midst of the Great Depression. Since the DMN eventually soured on FDR, it can be assumed that it supported Republican Thomas E. Dewey's campaign to unseat Democrat Harry S.Truman, who had been FDR's vice president and succeeded him after his death.

One more thing. Soon after its Oct. 1, 1885 birth, "The News stood firmly against the agrarian wing of the Democratic party, as represented in the state (of Texas) by James Stephen Hogg and by William Jennings Bryan in national politics," the Handbook of Texas says.

"The paper supported both Grover Cleveland and William McKinley, especially as to hard-money views. Beginning about 1900 it avoided controversy and name-calling in political attack, with the exception of its vehement opposition to the reelection of Joseph Weldon Bailey as senator in 1906."

President Cleveland, first elected in 1884, was a Democrat. McKinley, a Republican, was elected in 1896, succeeding Cleveland.

And that's all I know for now.

On the eve of the four-week November ratings "sweeps" competition (Oct. 30 until the day before Thanksgiving), here's how it went:

In the two time periods where it'll be no contest -- 6 and 10 p.m. -- WFAA8 won as usual in total homes and with 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

In the two time periods where it could go right down to the wire, Fox4 won in both ratings measurements at 6 a.m.; WFAA8 took first in total homes at 5 p.m. and tied for the top spot with NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

As always, stay tuned. And comment on any or all of these topics if you feel the urge.