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This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Wed., April 29)

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Swine flu blues: FWISD shutdown leads newscasts. Photos: Fox4

The surprise, swine flu-fueled shutdown of Fort Worth's public school district rightly led Wednesday's late night newscasts on the four major providers.

Fox4, with a one-hour jump on competitors, paid the most attention during its 9 p.m. edition. WFAA8 paid the least. Here's a breakdown.

Reporter Brandon Todd, stationed in outdoor Fort Worth with umbrella in hand, began Fox4's coverage of what he termed a "monumental decision" to close schools until May 11th. He had the night's only live interview with Tarrant County Public Health Director Sandra Parker, a less than dynamic presence on camera.

Fox4's James Rose, also in the Fort Worth dark, then got very revved up about "a huge story that no one saw coming."

"I mean, we got some really raw reaction," he told anchor Heather Hays. Some people that really didn't even believe us. They were just stunned that an entire school district the size of Fort Worth could shut down. Take a listen to some of this raw reaction that we got first-hand."

It wasn't that raw at first. A male parent said calmly, "It's sort of scary. I've got two kids myself, so I mean, (we're) very, very alarmed about the situation."

But it got rawer.

"You're kidding," said another student's mother. "That's what she's telling me. Oh my god, why? It's that bad? Is there something they're not telling us?"

And rawer still.

"Yay," said a giggling middle school girl.

"Yay?" her mother rejoined off-camera.

Kid: "Yes, I'm happy."

Mom: "That's serious. People are dying."

Kid: "No, I'm talkin' about no school."

Rose again noted that parents were "shocked and stunned" before Hays wondered how working parents would deal with a situation in which students are being told not to gather in large groups anywhere. So who's going to take care of them?

Many disbelieving parents were waiting for confirmation of the closure on Fox4 before making plans, Rose said. That's because "they were just shocked and stunned."

OK, got it.

Fox4 reporter Sophia Reza, who's notably improved since joining the station last July, added to the swine flu coverage with a report on scheduled school athletic events also being canceled until at least May 11th.

Fort Worth-based NBC5 had "team coverage" from Scott Gordon, Omar Villafranca, Ellen Goldberg and Randy McIlwaine.

Gordon's piece, which led the newscast, included video of a male middle school student enthusing, "The hallway was filled with kids, and you just hear screams, like, 'School's out! School's out!' "

Or to put it another way, Spring Break II after a lone case of swine flu was diagnosed at Tarrant County's McLean Middle School.

Gordon was the only TV reporter to note that Fort Worth's annual Mayfest could be canceled due to swine flu fear. On Thursday he turned out to be right. The cancellation has attracted a hail of comments on the station's nbcdfw.com Web site.

Villafranca covered extra precautions by the Dallas Catholic Diocese, which has asked churches to cease serving communal wine for now during services. McIlwain had a story on the less than enthusiastic reaction by Celina High School baseball players and their coach, whose playoff season could be waylaid.

"It seems to be a very drastic action for all that we know right now," said the coach.

Goldberg submitted viewers' swine flu questions to so-called experts during a later "Swine Flu: Fact or Fiction" segment.

One viewer asked, "Is the media making too big a deal out of this?"

No, it's not, said Dallas County health director Zachary Thompson.

Well, OK then.

CBS11 had reporter Katherine Blake in Fort Worth for its top-of-the-newscast swine flu story. The station's Carol Cavazos then had the best story of the night on the very real problems many parents will face this week and next.

"Parents are now scrambling to find relatives or friends to watch their kids, or probably stay home themselves," Cavazos said.

WFAA8 also led its 10 p.m. edition with the school shutdown. But its only reporter-driven story in the news portion of the program came from Chris Hawes live in Fort Worth. The closing sports segment then included a story on the postponement of high school athletic events.

WFAA8 instead broke relatively quickly from swine flu to cover late-breaking flooding conditions in Gainesville, with Steve Stoler reporting live on a mess that rival stations basically ignored.

"The situation took a dramatic turn for the worse" 90 minutes earlier, Stoler told viewers. So much so that police called for an evacuation as water began flowing down Main Street from nearby Pecan Creek. Vivid pictures of rushing water underscored the urgency.

"With more rain in the forecast and with the creeks rising, the situation here in Gainesville is expected to get worse," Stoler concluded.

Missing from any of Wednesday's late night coverage was perspective on why Fort Worth is closing its school system with just one confirmed case of swine flu while the Dallas Independent School District hasn't taken such measures despite three confirmed cases to date. Is the FWISD over-reacting? Is the DISD under-reacting? Those questions need to be addressed in depth during upcoming coverage.

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WFAA8 investigator Brett Shipp and NBC5's all-purpose Brian Curtis

GOTCHA! -- No one puts the clamps on wrongdoers better than WFAA8 gumshoe Brett Shipp

On Wednesday night he trained his howitzer on get-rich-quick real estate huckster Cliff Robertson, who allegedly has bilked a number of his ongoing radio show's listeners. One of them is retired high school football coach William Hunt, who was trying to ensure long-term security for himself and his disabled son. Hunt turned over most of his $70,000 in life savings to Robertson. All he has to show for it are two basically worthless dilapidated houses that Shipp's story pictured.

Shipp said that Robertson initially said he was eager to talk to WFAA8, but then repeatedly reneged. Shipp caught him on camera anyway.

"There's a lot more to it," Robertson said while getting into his car.

"Here's your opportunity to explain that," Shipp told him to no avail.

It could be argued that Robertson's alleged victims stupidly turned over their money to him, and in a way got what they deserved. But a crook is a crook, and the FBI plans to go after Robertson after one agent termed him a "one-man wrecking crew" who must be brought to justice.

KID CARE -- CBS11's Cavazos did double duty Wednesday night. Besides her swine flu reporting, she had an interesting story on a loophole that exempts fitness centers from child care licensing requirements. The state says this is because parents on site and their children usually are watched for under two hours.

One aggrieved mother told Cavazos that her two-year-old son was allowed into a bathroom by himself and emerged soaking wet, possibly from falling into the toilet. The fitness center, whose managers wouldn't talk to Cavazos, supposedly joked about the matter.

CHEEKY ASIDE -- Fox4's nightly "News Edge" segment is supposed to have a little bite to it. Anchor Hays made sure of that Wednesday after a brief on how FEMA had yanked a kids coloring book -- A Scary Thing Happened -- with pictures of the 9/11 attacks, other burning buildings and "torrential" flooding.

"Can you say Katrina?" Hays jabbed. "Kinda clears up why the whole agency is messed up."

DELIVER US FROM DEPRESSION -- CBS11 has its "Survive in 09" segments, WFAA8 has a "Job of the Day" feature and now NBC5 has a new "Ready For Recovery" series launched Wednesday.

Its point man is anchor/reporter Brian Curtis, who initially focused on the very upbeat and still jobless Coretta Turner.

While unemployed, Turner is volunteering. And in Curtis' rather overblown view, "By helping others, Coretta Turner sends a clear message to the world and herself."

Added Turner, "I'm not my job. So the job goes away, and I'm still here."

Curtis then told viewers that he's looking for "hiring information, money saving secrets, inspirational people, whatever you have."

Colleague Brendan Higgins, whose primary post is NBC5's early morning show, followed with a "Deals or Discounts" segment on Peacock Alley, where designer linens can be had at 75 percent off their original and no doubt inflated prices.

"This isn't one of those bait-and-switch warehouse sales," Higgins assured before bending down and intentionally mispronouncing the Alexandra Matelasse collection.

"Mat-el-leh-say," some employees said in unison as Higgins was hit with a designer towel thrown from off-camera.

"Exactly," he said. Bah-da-bing-bam-boink.

Fifteen nights to go.

This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Tues., April 28)

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WFAA8's longrunning Brad Watson messed with City Hall Tuesday.

D-FW's late night local newscasts found themselves in the cross-hairs of the competing Mavericks-Spurs playoff game Tuesday.

That's not a good position to be in, as detailed further in our companion "Local Nielsen Ratings Snapshot." Here's some of what you missed:

HALL MONITOR -- Reporter Brad Watson, still jaunty in his 31st year with WFAA8, had a semi-cheeky but effective story on questionable city government outlays during times of budget cutbacks.

Titled "Frivolous Funding?", it noted that Dallas city officials had approved $19,750 to clean up the bronze steers near the convention center; $3,025 for a neighborhood arts program called "Speaking with Bees;" and $24,900 to fund a survey of how "engaged" city employees are while performing their jobs.

Watson deployed his usual semi-deadpan delivery during these proceedings. He never sounds bored but knows how to sell a story without impersonating infomercial kingpin Billy Mays. The spending highlights/lowlights were intercut with comments from city manager Mary Suhm, who calmly defended them.

Watson then threw a little brushback pitch at story's end after noting that the city employee survey is "just finishing up."

"And that's a good thing," he told viewers, "since their attitudes may be changing. Job cuts are among the ways the city may need to reduce spending. A recession can break a city budget. But spending habits? Sometimes as hard to break as a bronze steer."

FINALLY FEELING ABLE TO TALK -- NBC5 and CBS11 both led their 10 p.m. newscasts with one-on-one interviews of Dallas police lieutenant Regina Smith, whose husband, Sr. Cpl. Norman Smith, was shot and killed on January 6th while serving an arrest warrant.

Smith had spoken earlier in the day at a public event before NBC5's Ellen Goldberg and CBS11's J.D. Miles sat down with her.

Miles said it was her "first lengthy" interview, which it wasn't as far as Goldberg is concerned. Smith told both reporters that she'd always wear her deceased husband's wedding ring, and that they had impulsively kissed at their workplace on the morning before his death.

BADGERING MOTORISTS -- Fox4 reporter James Rose's weekly "Street Squad" segment was on a Plano speed trap designed to catch teenagers but netting adults instead.

Rose got in the face of some speeders after they were pulled over and cited. One man put his hand over the camera while asking, "Who are you?" Another drove off after Rose asked, "You got anything to say?"

"Nothin' to say," the reporter said, shrugging theatrically.

Rose was working with the Plano police on this segment. Still, he had no business playing a cop. Imagine what his reaction might be were he a motorist on the receiving end. It's bad enough getting a ticket. You shouldn't also have to deal with, in these cases, a grandstanding reporter.

OBVIOUSLY HE'S NO ROCKET SCIENTIST -- Fox4 anchor Steve Eagar noted that the man who authorized that embarrassing and alarming New York City flyover is a "former A.H. Belo board member." That would be Louis E. Caldera, who left Belo in January to become an assistant to President Obama and director of the White House Military Office.

Caldera has taken full responsibility for the fiasco. Dallas-based Belo owns WFAA8 and The Dallas Morning News among its many media properties.

PIGGYBACKING -- Both Fox4 and NBC5 were a day late in reporting a "Fake Police Officer" story that WFAA8's Rebecca Lopez broke on Monday's 10 p.m. newscast. But the Peacock's Scott Gordon was the only one to report Tuesday on an ex-con who pretended to be with the Air Force while cashing checks after stealing thousands of bank account numbers.

"He looked like a regular G.I. Joe kind of guy," Euless police officer John Williams told Gordon.

HANSEN UNPLUGGED -- Still feeling his oats after vacationing in St. Thomas, voluble WFAA8 sports anchor Dale Hansen twitted a Dallas Mavericks "watch party" in progress inside the American Airlines Center.

"Why watch a game at home when you can pay $21 for a beer and hot dog to watch it there?" he wondered.

Actually, Hansen could and probably should have originated his sports segment from the watch party, located just a block or so from WFAA8's Victory Park Studios. That would have added a little extra electricity to the proceedings.

Instead he was around at newscast's end to comment on a "Spicy Sermon" filler about an area pastor who's urging married church members to have sex at least 100 times a year.

"I've been married 26 years," Hansen rejoined. "And I don't think we're at 100 yet."

Another chuckle-fest kicked in before anchor John McCaa signed off by saying "Be fruitful and multiply."

Sixteen nights to go. Until the next time, here's a link to Watson's "Frivolous Funding?" story. (Note: WFAA8 doesn't yet allow Web site embedding of its stories, so sorry for the extra work.)

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., April 28) -- Mavs punch out Spurs and all competing programming (updated to reflect revised TNT numbers)

Consider the bandwagon fully loaded.

The Dallas Mavericks' big win in San Antonio Tuesday night toasted all competing programming and gave TXA21 its biggest audience in years. TNT also chipped in, leaving 10 p.m. local newscasts with mostly leftovers.

The game started late at 8:44 p.m. and ended at 11:08 p.m., so we'll reflect that actual running time in our ratings calculations for TXA21. TNT didn't pick up the game until 9:15 p.m. due to a preceding overtime matchup between the Celtics and Bulls. That said, here's how many D-FW viewers watched the Mavs close out the Spurs in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series:

TXA21 -- 425,152
TNT -- 139,503

That's a grand total of 564,655 viewers, easily the biggest audience for the Mavericks-Spurs series.

TXA21's viewership peaked between 11 and 11:15 p.m. (Nielsen measures audiences in 15-minute increments), when 551,369 viewers had the game on their home screens. TNT's ratings also were highest in the game's closing minutes, when 159,432 viewers tuned in.

Mavs-Spurs didn't have to compete directly against Fox's American Idol performance show, which had 451,724 viewers in easily winning the 7 to 8 p.m. slot.

ABC's Dancing with the Stars results show had 312,221 viewers in the 8 p.m. hour, losing to a competing new episode of CBS' The Mentalist (338,793 viewers).

After that it was all Mavs. So much so that the 10 to 10:30 p.m. audience on TXA21 alone (438,438 viewers) more than doubled the tally for WFAA8's 10 p.m. newscast, which had 205,933 viewers in beating its rivals on Fox4, NBC5 and CBS11.

CBS11 anchor Doug Dunbar knew how the bread was buttered. He plugged the Mavs and Spurs -- "You can see that game on TXA21" -- just after Babe Laufenberg completed his sports segment.

"Right after our newscast," anchor Karen Borta cautioned to no avail. TXA21 is CBS11's sister station, so Dunbar wasn't committing treason or anything.

In other local news derby results, WFAA8 also ran first at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. (First, that is, among the four competing newscasts only.)

NBC5 swept the 6 a.m. competition, again prevailing over runnerup Fox4.

WFAA8 won in total viewers at 6 p.m. and finished in a three-way tie for first at 5 p.m. with Fox4 and NBC5.

Fox4 took the 5 and 6 p.m. golds among 25-to-54-year-olds, in each case by unusually comfortable margins.

This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Mon., April 27)

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D-FW television newsies Jack Fink, Steve Eagar and Ginger Allen

Wow, where do we start?

WFAA8 basically pitched a circus tent two-thirds of the way through Monday's 10 p.m. newscast, with much more to come next week.

CBS11's Ginger Allen unfurled her curls while having her hair treated with Formaldehyde. And colleague Jack Fink laid into DFW Airport officials, picking up where the station's Bennett Cunningham left off last September.

All of this and swine flu, too, although only one station ramped up the fear factor.

Thankfully, Fox4 cleansed the palate -- for this dogged viewer at least -- with a 9 p.m. newscast that proved to be a model of efficiency and useful information. That left NBC5 to make little impression, save for Gov. Rick Perry calling one of the station's reporters "brutha."

Let's begin with Fox4, which did an overall terrific job of covering the swine flu situation in a calm and reasoned manner, beginning with a report by Sophia Reza.

She was stationed outside of Canyon Creek Elementary School in Richardson, which is being closed for the rest of the week and disinfected after a seven-year-old student came down with the flu.

"I'm not alarmed, but I'm glad they're doing something," said parent David Suess.

Reporter James Rose and anchor Steve Eagar also took their feet off the swine flu gas pedal rather than raise any specter of an impending pandemic.

WFAA8 likewise offered a low key presentation, with Steve Stoler reporting from Canyon Creek Elementary before anchor Gloria Campos told viewers, "Now let's put this into perspective. There is no need to panic, just a need to be informed."

NBC5's swine flu "team coverage" began with veteran Night Ranger Scott Gordon cautioning viewers to stay away from emergency rooms and clinics unless they're really sick. Otherwise hospitals could be unnecessarily overrun, he said.

Reporter Ellen Goldberg offered the seemingly obligatory, "It's frightening, it's frightening" sound bite from a concerned parent. But she otherwise pretty much kept a lid on things.

CBS11 easily took the most alarmist tone, particularly during its coverage of the Canyon Creek closing. Stationed outside the school, reporter Nerissa Knight said of parents, "Many are scared, and some are concerned and angered because they say the handling of this wasn't done correctly."

Parent Fernando Munos said, "I feel a little upset." Another parent groused, "We get better notification when there's head lice."

The reports on Fox4, NBC5 and WFAA8 contrastingly depicted a sea of calm at Canyon Creek.

President Obama, in remarks Monday, emphasized there's "no cause for alarm." Unlike its rivals, CBS11 basically ignored that part of the president's remarks. Anchor Doug Dunbar instead told viewers that the administration is "acting as if the outbreak will spread into a full pandemic."

Back to Fox4, whose newscast later featured anchor Eagar's report on a young man's extended battle with a rare form of heart cancer. It was a touching, well-told story from start to finish.

The station also had another solid contribution from consumer advocate Saul Garza, whose "What's Buggin' You?" segments invariably get things done. This time he came to the aid of an elderly Pleasant Grove woman who was being threatened with foreclosure on her home of 33 years by a mortgage company that turned out to be in the wrong and later apologized. The woman's gratitude spoke volumes.

Shaun Rabb also had an informative, well-told story on the demise of the storied Pontiac brand.

FLYER ON THE FRYER -- CBS11's Fink went long with an extended piece on what he portrayed as the over-inflated salary of DFW Airport CEO Jeff Fegan, whose $400,000 yearly income makes him the highest paid such official in the country. Meanwhile, DFW airport revenues are decreasing in tough economic times, Fink said.

"I think DFW Airport has always had a history of compensating for talent," Fegan told Fink, who was unmoved.

Perception tends to rule in these cases, and it's hard to go wrong with a story chiding the six figure salaries of high level officials. Cunningham played the same game on Thursday's opening night of the May "sweeps" with an accusatory look at the big salaries for some presidents of publicly funded North Texas universities.

Interestingly, though, the cbs11tv.com Web site print version of Fink's DFW Airport story has appreciably more information and quotes in defense of Fegan. They hit the cutting room floor for his TV report.

OH, MY ACHING HAIR -- CBS11's Allen, who otherwise co-anchors the station's early morning newscasts, used herself as a prop in a piece on a new hair-straightening product that uses the embalming fluid Formaldehyde. Until now, only her stylist and perhaps some of Allen's colleagues knew that she suffers from curly hair "that I must flatten every morning."

While a salon worker applied the "riskier" but more effective Formaldehyde to her locks, Allen said, "I've been hiding this from the public for years. How frightening. Now they know."

More frightening: doing this story in the first place.

COSMETIC FACE-OFF -- Longtime WFAA8 medical reporter Janet St. James hit the Botox beat again with a story on how bargain basement versions of the stuff could result in "eyebrows with an exaggerated arch, or a droop."

A smoothed-over, middle-aged blonde woman who clearly has money to burn told St. James she's sworn off any Brand X Botox. Overall, the story was about as relatable as a Big Mac at a vegan restaurant.

PERRY AND THRUST -- NBC5 anchor Jane McGarry let it be known that reporter Omar Villafranca will be the station's point man in covering the Texas governor's race all the way to election day.

For one of his first assignments, he watched incumbent Rick Perry address a rally in Garland.

"Governor, you're very popular among the anti-Washington crowd right now," Villafranca told Perry offstage.

"That's a large crowd in Texas, brutha," he informed him. It's hardly coincidental that he's expected to face a challenge in the Republican primary from longtime Washingtonian Kay Bailey Hutchison, the state's senior senator.

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NEW NOWHERE LAND FOR NEWS PURISTS -- Fresh from lazing on the beach in St. Thomas, sports anchor Dale Hansen returned to work Monday night after skipping the first two weekdays of the May sweeps.

"Don Ho has returned," jabbed weathercaster Pete Delkus, referring to Hansen's transitional Hawaiian shirt attire (see above).

News anchor Gloria Campos, herself freshly back in the studio after a cruise to Cozumel, received an eyesore necklace and matching earrings from Hansen. He first presumably joked that her great, great, great grandfather, Jorge Campos, had gifted St. Thomas with the invention of the banana daquiri.

"If you drink nine of them, you buy really cheap, ugly trinkets for thousands of dollars," Hansen told her.

Ah yes, there's nothing like visions of well-paid anchors soaking up rays in lush surroundings while your friendly content provider and most Americans dip rye crisps into their cream of boiled water soup. Oh, but we exaggerate.

Meanwhile, Delkus broke the news that he and Hansen will be staging the "Rumble in the Plaza" all next week, with portions airing on 10 p.m. newscasts, beginning May 4th.

"It's all for charity," Pete noted, with competitions ranging from putting to ping-pong. Those who donate $20 or more to either side will get a commemorative T-shirt. Charities benefiting are the YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas and Children's Medical Center.

Viewers will be allowed to pick the climactic Friday competition between the two outsized personalities. I'm suggesting a hot dog eating contest, because, well . . .

After all this, Hansen was asked if he wore a thong while on vacation.

"I wear a Speedo that over the years has become very, very slow," Hansen said to uniform cackles. "I have no idea what that means."

They closed down Monday's newscast/midway with Campos telling viewers, "Take a good look at this necklace Hansen gave me. 'Cause you're never gonna see it again."

Instead the circus is coming to town, beginning with next Monday's 10 p.m. edition. We'll see which way the ratings fall. Because if this works, then it's probably only the beginning.

Seventeen nights to go. Until the next time, here's Saul Garza's latest Good Samaritan housecall:

This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Fri., April 24)

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D-FW reporters Jonathan Betz, Emily Lopez and J. D. Miles

There's no easy cure for a slow news daze.

It afflicted all of D-FW's major TV news providers Friday night, none more so than Fox4.

The station topped its 9 p.m. newscast with a story that might have been a chest-thumper in Lint, Nebraska. But in the country's fifth-largest TV market, should any attention at all have been paid to the so-called "religious beliefs" of a squeaky wheel mother in Irving?

"An Irving mother wants her daughter to dress by the book -- the Good Book," anchor Heather Hays teased for openers.

Emily Lopez then reported on a school board vote that allows a second-grader at Thomas Haley Elementary to wear her uniform blouse hanging out instead of tucked in. That's because her mother contended that complying with the school's dress code would "attract attention to her daughter's backside."

School principal Jerry Christian confirmed the exemption in deference to the mother's faith-based demands. Lopez helped prompt his answers as to why Haley has the tucked-in rule. "Not to look sloppy," she said off-camera before Christian parroted her.

"God is good. Thank you, Jesus," the mother said at story's end. Frankly, she sounded more than a little possessed.

Moral of the story: You, too, can be the lead story on a local newscast. Just put your head up your behind. As of this writing, though, rivals NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 have resisted this particular temptation.

NBC5 instead led its Friday 10 p.m. newscast with tried-and-true audience catnip -- an upcoming change in the weather. Not that anything was imminent. Anchor Mike Snyder passed the baton to meteorologist David Finfrock, who said it would be windy over the weekend but probably wouldn't rain until Monday. Which in fact it did. Guess we needed to know that right up top.

CBS11 began its newscast by diving into the swine flu scare story that NBC5 had led with on Thursday night. This obviously is nothing to trifle with, and viewers should be kept apprised of the possibilities that the sometimes deadly flu could spread. But reporter J.D.Miles made it seem as though scurrying to take cover is already a clear and present option. His props were an elderly couple.

"Juaniza Cross and her husband were out and about in Dallas Friday evening, refusing to let North Texas' latest health scare keep them inside," Miles told viewers.

How dare they! Plucky Juaniza also vowed, "We're not going to panic, wear masks or anything like that."

Miles is usually a solid reporter. But he seemed overly intent on stoking "North Texas' latest health scare" in this dispatch.

WFAA8 topped its newscast with reporter Jonathan Betz's story on an Allen neighborhood whose residents suddenly have been told they're living in a flood plain and now have to buy costly flood insurance. This easily was the best lead story of the bunch, but likely of little interest to the viewership at large. It would have been better slotted somewhere in the middle of the newscast. But when a slow news daze strikes . . .

THAT HAIR, THOSE EYES -- Friday is the night for Fox4's extended "Viewers' Voice" segment. Some of the voices at the other end sounded as though they'd had a few, but that's just a judgment call.

One of the callers wanted to know why reporter Lopez said "I don't care" on-camera during a recent nighttime live shot. Anchor Steve Eagar explained that a photographer had told Lopez that the wind was making her hair stick up in back. To which she said, "I don't care."

Eagar also noted that several callers have been telling him he stinks -- a reference to his on-air delivery not otherwise, he added. But a Fort Worth gentleman caller dissented. "Everyone's sittin' there dissin' on you," he counseled Eagar. "Just do your thing. And you do have beautiful eyes. Peace out, homey."

No, you CANNOT make this stuff up.

MAKING THE CUT: SCANTILY CLAD WOMEN -- Fox4 and CBS11 couldn't resist showing "mini-camp" tryouts in Grand Prairie, where half-dressed babes who hope to represent the Dallas Desire are trying out for spots in the Lingerie Football League.

"They will be in full pads, by the way, when the season starts," Fox4 sports anchor Max Morgan quipped.

CBS11 anchor Karen Borta seemed less than bemused by the visuals, noting that all of the news studio's men had their eyes "glued to the monitors."

"I wonder if I should say anything at all," Borta said before weathercaster Larry Mowry noted that "Karen's eyes rolled" off-camera while the footage rolled.

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John McCaa lately can't stop tweeting -- even during newscasts.

GOOD WORK -- Fox4's Brandon Todd had an interesting story on Fort Worth's continued population spike and the attendant increased demands on city services. FW is growing faster than any other North Texas city, he said.

***NBC5's Kristi Nelson's "Deals and Discounts" segment provided some good information on affordable theater tickets at venues including the Dallas Theater Center and Fort Worth's Jubilee Theatre.

***CBS11's Nerissa Knight had her two young kids in tow while shopping for healthy cereals at an area grocery store. Her son looked a bit disconsolate after an accompanying nutritionist took away his box of super-sugared Reese's Puffs. "Another mistake is one I often make with my little ones -- letting the kids do the shopping," Knight noted.

***WFAA's Byron Harris continued with Part 2 of his eye-opening investigation of aircraft mechanics whose licenses may be fraudulent.

LEMME FINISH THIS TWEET AND I'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH YOU, FOLKS -- WFAA8 anchor John McCaa lately has become a tweeting maniac. Take it from weatherman Pete Delkus, who asked Friday night, "Were you tweeting during my forecast?"

"Of course," the usually staid McCaa replied.

A check of WFAA8's Web site shows that McCaa tweeted four times during Friday's newscast. Here are his verbatim communiques with "followers," misspellings and lack of punctuation included:

Rods57 -- next time in grandbury eat at neister's. great german food. smoked and packed on site.
McCaa -- I definitely will do that thanks

EbD_emoting4you -- little unnerving for cabin and cockpit crew plus the flying public...
McCaa -- You're not kiddin

Charlie81 -- good broadcast tonight. Enjoy your weekend
McCaa -- Thanks have a good night!!!!!!!!!!!!

FriscoCliff -- what are some of your fav places to eat? I love Cantina Laredo!
McCaa -- ohmygoodness...too many to mention...

Well, that was time well-spent.

Eighteen nights to go. Until the next time, here's a look at the Emily Lopez story with which we began:

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., April 24-26) -- Mavs rule on TXA21/TNT

The Dallas Mavericks continued their ratings roll Saturday afternoon/evening, amassing a bigger audience by far than any other weekend program. And that doesn't even include sports bar audiences.

The traditional in-home D-FW Nielsen numbers looked like this for a Game 4 that ran until 5:53 p.m.:

TXA21 -- 212,576 viewers
TNT -- 139,503 viewers

That's a total of 352,079 viewers, which matches the audience for Game 1 of the series but oddly enough falls short of the combined 405,223 viewers for Game 2 in San Antonio, in which the Mavs were blown out for their only loss to the Spurs so far. Nighttime hours help.

Game 5 of the series is set for 8:30 p.m. Tuesday on TXA21 and TNT. For the pre- and post-game shows on TXA21, it might be time to initiate the Derek Harper drinking game. Have a slug every time the former Maverick says "No doubt about it" in response to co-host Gina Miller. But definitely don't do it in a bar -- or you'll never make it home. And in-home players might want to advise their bosses they'll be late to work on Wednesday.

In Friday's local news derby results, WFAA8 remained strong at 10 p.m. with wins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the preferred advertiser target audience for news programming.

NBC5 likewise swept the 6 a.m. competitions and WFAA8 ran the table at 5 p.m.

The Peacock took the 6 p.m. gold in total viewers and tied for first with WFAA8 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

This just in: A night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Thurs., April 23)

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Reporters Byron Harris, Bennett Cunningham and Rebecca Lopez

Back by popular demand -- or maybe not -- it's the ratings "sweeps" series that every D-FW anchor, reporter and news director loves, loathes or yawns at.

For 20 weeknights we'll again be chronicling the true-life adventures on local late night newscasts. Under the microscope are the 10 p.m. editions on NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11, plus the featured 9 p.m. presentation on Fox4.

The May "sweeps" officially started Thursday, with WFAA8 and CBS11 both showcasing lengthy investigative pieces while NBC led its newscast with a swine flu scare story.

Also, WFAA8 touted a Rebecca Lopez "exclusive" that ended up failing that test. And Fox4, well, there's not much to say about its comparatively uneventful opening night.

CBS11's Bennett Cunningham specializes in stories about public officials squandering taxpayer dollars. On Thursday night he laid into the presidents of the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of North Texas for allegedly lavishing creature comforts on themselves while students struggle with higher tuition costs and what the reporter termed a "horrendous job market."

UT-Dallas head David E. Daniel requested and received nearly $4,000 in memberships at the Park City Club and the Crescent Club and Spa, Cunningham told viewers. UNT's Dr. Gretchen Bataille has a $10,000 a year car allowance (although she drives a donated Lexus) and gets $50,000 a year for housekeeping and gardening expenses.

To his credit, Cunningham interviewed both officials on camera, during which they defended their perks. Not so good was his disdain-dripping shot at UT Board of Regents chairman James Huffines, whose "spokesman said his schedule was too busy," Cunningham said. The sneering tone in his voice only serves to undermine stories such as these. If you've got the goods, just lay 'em out there and let viewers make their own judgments.

Investigations tied to seemingly indulgent spending of taxpayer money of course resonate all the more in tough economic times. And Cunningham for the most part does a solid job of documenting his findings and then giving officials a chance to talk about them. Still, high-level public officials shouldn't be expected to hitchhike to work carrying their lunches in kerchiefs attached to a stick. You get what you pay for in the end. And some perks might look worse on paper than they are in real life.

On WFAA8, longtime investigator Byron Harris told viewers of "diploma mills" that grant improper licenses to unqualified aircraft mechanics in return for cash under the table.

His piece focused on a Chalk's Ocean Airways plane crash and the son of one of its victims. Twenty passengers were killed four years ago after one of the small aircraft's wings came off. One of the mechanics who worked on the plane got his certification from the fraudulent St. George Aviation Testing Center near Orlando, Fla. Thirty-three graduates of St. George, two of whose instructors were jailed, might still be working in Texas due to lax FAA oversight, Harris said.

A San Antonio testing center lately is under investigation. All told more than 2,000 questionable mechanics nationwide "may be working on the planes you fly," Harris said.

Worst case scenarios are the mother's milk of many investigative reporters, and Harris may have been guilty of at least a little of that. But it only takes one unqualified mechanic to bring down an entire plane. And that's a deadly serious fact.

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Love match for Delta and the Dallas Zoo's Timbo the gorilla

DELTA DAWNING -- WFAA8 led its 10 p.m. newscast with Lopez's supposedly "exclusive" report on Delta airlines resuming limited flights out of Love Field for the first time since 2003.

Lopez quoted unnamed sources, but The Fort Worth Star-Telegram posted the Delta story earlier Thursday on its web site, complete with quotes from Love Field and Delta officials. Worse yet for WFAA8, arch rival CBS11 credited the Star-Telegram with the report during a brief in-studio reader by co-anchor Karen Borta.

"We did not know the Star-T had it," WFAA8 news director Michael Valentine said in a telephone interview Friday. "We thought we were the only ones with it, and we were wrong. The Star-T had it, and hats off to them. That's our screw-up. At the end of the day, it's my responsibility to make sure these things don't happen."

WHEN PIGS FLY -- NBC5 anchor Mike Snyder braced North Texas for the worst -- as only he can -- with a top-of-the-newscast tease.

"North Texas hospitals are on the alert for the sw-i-i-ine flu tonight," he told viewers.

Reporter Ellen Goldberg, her hair blowing in her face during an in-the-dark live shot, said that five Californians and two San Antonians have been diagnosed with swine flu. One of them, a student in San Diego, recently visited his North Texas home.

"The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) says there is no need to panic," Goldberg said helpfully before amping things up again by noting that area hospitals are on "high alert."

Dr. Edward Goodman of Texas Health Services, who seems like a reasonable man, said, "Our hope is that this will blow over."

WFAA8 also touched on the swine flu possibilities, but in a comparatively dismissive brief read by co-anchor Shelly Slater, subbing for Gloria Campos. Fox4 and CBS11 didn't bother with it.

ALSO OF NOTE -- NBC5's Meredith Land had a nice little heartwarmer on Timbo the gorilla, a 47-year-old Dallas Zoo resident who recently underwent successful cataract surgery.

"She was a good patient," said the gorilla's doctor.

***The Peacock's Brian Curtis also piqued interest with a piece on those Redbox kiosks offering movies for just $1 a night. An extra benefit is free movies for those who punch in a Redbox code. And the company doesn't care if you "borrow" a friend's or passerby's number, Curtis said, prompting one customer to chirp, "It's good to know that I can cheat then." Yeah, that's the spirit.

***WFAA8 reporter Jason Whitely had an exclusive -- and this time it really was -- on a woman employee of Dallas Fire Rescue who claims she was vilely harrassed on the job.

"We caution you. Some of the details are very graphic," anchor John McCaa warned before the employee, in silhouette, said, "It was semen."

Specifically, the woman's workdesk keyboard, a photo of her daughter and her coffee cup were smeared with semen, Whitely reported. Lawsuits are in progress, and rightly so.

***Fox4 investigator Becky Oliver had a followup to last year's very worthy story on T and T Home Health Agency, which she exposed for fraudulently billing Medicare for millions of dollars. The state is now yanking T and T's operating license.

DRILL BABY, DRILL -- WFAA8 was without sports anchor Dale Hansen Thursday night. But weatherman Pete Delkus, who forms the other half of their occasional comedy act, wasn't going to let that stop his standup.

Co-anchor Slater jump-started the festivities after medical reporter Janet St. James' story on a new breakthrough in dental office numbing -- and reverse-numbing.

"My dad is a retired dentist, you know," Slater volunteered. "People get in the chair and they start cringing. But they're good, nice people. Give the dentists a break!"

This prompted Pete's childhood tale of frontier dentistry. In the small town where he grew up, a retired prison dentist was the Delkus family's tooth doctor of choice. And he never used Novocaine, according to Delkus.

"I sit down in a dentist's chair, oh, I freak out when I think of that," he said while McCaa covered his eyes with a piece of news copy.

Someone later made a drilling sound off-camera while Delkus competed his weathercast. Sports anchor Joe Trahan then made it worse by saying, "The Mavs had the Spurs in jail all night (during Game 3 of their playoff series). And it was like pulling teeth for the Spurs."

Nineteen nights to go. Until the next time, here's Timbo's story:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., April 23) -- Mavs power up; May sweeps start

The Dallas Mavericks' home court blowout of San Antonio Thursday night also whipped all competing prime-time programming, including new episodes of Grey's Anatomy and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

That made it a ratings windfall for TXA21, which for the first time pretty much had the game to itself. That's because the still obscure NBA TV secured Thursday's cable/dish rights, compared to ESPN for Game 1 and TNT for Game 2 of the Mavs-Spurs playoff series.

Game 3, which ended at 9:44 p.m., averaged a robust 312,221 D-FW viewers, peaking at 458,367 between 9:30 and 9:45 p.m. Ratings for NBA TV weren't available, but it's safe to say they amounted to little if anything.

From 8 to 9 p.m., CBS' CSI (259,077 viewers) and ABC's Grey's Anatomy (245,791 viewers) both fell short of the Mavs' 272,363 viewers. The game also beat all competing programming among advertiser-coveteted 18-to-49-year-olds.

The Texas Rangers' latest loss, on MY27, drew 66,430 long-suffering viewers.

Thursday also marked the start of the four-week May "sweeps" ratings period, with D-FW's four major TV news providers all jockeying for position.

WFAA8 opened strong at 10 p.m., winning in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. But the ABC station had problems elsewhere.

At 6 a.m., Fox4 edged NBC5 for first place in total viewers, with WFAA8 and CBS11 tying for third. The Peacock had the gold with 25-to-54-year-olds, knocking Fox4 to second while WFAA8 had third place to itself.

NBC5 won at 5 p.m. in both ratings measurements, ending a modest winning streak for WFAA's recently retooled newscast.

The spoils were split at 6 p.m., with NBC5 first in total viewers and Fox4 on top among 25-to-54-year-olds. WFAA8, usually strong in this time period, dipped to third place across the board.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., April 22) -- tight fight in the early mornings on eve of May "sweeps"

The 6 a.m. local news ratings race is close to being an unprecedented four-way affair as stations try to gather momentum for Thursday's start of the month-long May "sweeps."

Let's spotlight Wednesday's results in both total D-FW viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It's close enough in some cases to be measured all the way down to hundredths rather than tenths of rating points.


Fox4 -- 96,324
WFAA8 -- 94,995
NBC5 -- 90,345
CBS11 -- 79,716


NBC5 -- 63,741
Fox4 -- 58,278
WFAA8 -- 56,760
CBS11 -- 49,779

It should be noted that CBS11 isn't likely to win either of these races. That would be a gargantuan upset. But the perennial early morning doormat has never been this consistently close -- and not just on Wednesday -- to its three rivals. It's not a force to be reckoned with just yet, but at least CBS11 has become a player in a time period where it's been way out of the money for years.

In other local news derby results, CBS11 took the 10 p.m. gold in total viewers while NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 6 p.m. spoils also were split, with the Peacock on top in total viewers and WFAA8 running first in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 again ran the table at 5 p.m., where it's returned to the top of late after incorporating live interview segments into the newscast.

The prime-time ratings again were dominated by Fox's American Idol, with 445,081 D-FW viewers watching the double eviction of Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai. Idol also easily won the 8 p.m. hour among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds, the favored target audience for entertainment programming.

Fox's Lie to Me scored twin wins at 7 p.m., as did a new episode of CBS' Criminal Minds at 9 p.m. But CM had almost twice as many total viewers (358,722) as Lie to Me (186,004).

Good Day's Fiona Gorostiza gets burned during coal-walking expedition

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Fox4 is making light of a second degree foot burn suffered by roving Good Day reporter Fiona Gorostiza during Tuesday's program.

In a myfoxdfw.com account headlined "Good Day's Firewalking Fiasco," the station says that Gorostiza felt a coal sizzling on the bottom of her bare foot while walking across hot coals during an outdoor segment at Fair Park conducted by the Firewalking Institute of Research and Education.

"By noon, she had a pretty unattractive blister which she covered with a bandage," the Fox4 account says. "Later on, Fiona went to a doctor, and discovered she had suffered a second-degree burn."

The Dallas-based station even has a link to a picture of Gorostiza's blistered foot, but warns, "It's a little gross!"

Gorostiza, who joined Fox4 in December from KMIR-TV in Palm Springs, Calif., was egged on by Good Day co-anchor Tim Ryan, who jeered, "C'mon, you weenie" from the safety of the station's downtown studio.

He later urged, "Again! Again!", but Gorostiza declined before plugging the Firewalking Institute's $350 seminar Wednesday in Flower Mound.

"I wouldn't walk across that if you paid me $350," Ryan jabbed.

Gorostiza, who also does weather segments for Fox4, shouldn't have to risk injury in the line of such ludicrous duty. Good Day tends to be fun and games during the latter stages of its daily 5 to 9 a.m. presentation. Still, the new kid on Good Day's block doesn't have to be treated as though she's going through an ongoing fraternity hazing. It's time to grow up a bit and be a little more concerned about her safety.

In retrospect, here's the not so high-larious video from Fox4's Web site:

Live at Five: WFAA tries to pep up its newscast with in-studio interviews, roaming anchors


Peeps show: WFAA8's John McCaa and Gloria Campos welcomed three baby hawks to Tuesday's 5 p.m. newscast. Photos: Ed Bark

WFAA8 lately has turned to an old, oft-reliable TV staple -- the homey, in-studio interview -- to help boost ratings for its weekday 5 p.m. newscast.

Viewers couldn't help but notice a marked difference in Tuesday's program. Midway through it, anchors John McCaa and Gloria Campos moved away from their Victory Park anchor desk to the studio's windowed area. Awaiting them were three peeping baby red-tail hawks and Kathy Rogers of the Hutchins, TX-based Rogers Wildlife Rehabilitation, Inc.

There indeed was a news angle. The federally protected hatchlings had been existing atop a cracked light pole at South Lake Carroll's Dragon Stadium. The unsafe pole had to come down, but workers first rescued the three hawks, two girls and a boy.

Rogers had some extra tidbits during her live in-studio interview. The birds are fed filet of rat and won't be able to fend for themselves or be freed for four to six months. Keeping them healthy until then will cost about $3,000, all of it donated, she said. And when they finally fly away, "it's like a sunrise in your heart."


Campos talks to 14-year-old comic book writer Jake Tinsley.

Monday's 5 p.m. newscast had two live interviews, one of which didn't go too well.

Early on, Campos hooked up live with 14-year-old comic book writer Jake Tinsley. His latest effort, Amber Hagerman Deserves Justice, is tied to Amber Hagerman, whose abduction and murder in 1996 led to the national "Amber Alert" system. The nine-year-old's murderer has never been found, but there are ongoing efforts to solve the 13-year-old "cold case."

Tinsley fidgeted with his earpiece, had trouble hearing Campos and was clearly nervous about being on live TV. You win some, you lose some. Both parties seemed glad for it to be over.

McCaa later strayed from the anchor desk to meet with seven SMU engineering students whose senior year project was designing better modes of transportation for the disabled. On display were a wheelchair with what amounted to an extra arm and a very impressive looking "all-terrain hand cycle."

So is any of this working? Coincidentally or not, WFAA8's 5 p.m. newscasts have finished first for the past four weekdays in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. In the one-time-only March ratings "sweeps," WFAA8 was outdrawn at 5 p.m. for the first time in at least 22 years. And the station had been slumping for several months after winning the November sweeps in both ratings measurements.

The in-studio interviews run the risk of looking like a morning TV incursion into what had been a straight-ahead, standard newscast. Some viewers also might see them as a little small-timey for the country's No. 5 TV market. And it might be tough to come up with a new and reasonably newsworthy show-and-tell segment each and every day. At all costs, the anchors have to stay away from interviewing people who merely have something to sell. There's enough of that already on WFAA8's Good Morning Texas.

So far, so good, though. Early evening local newscasts increasingly are being perceived as expendable in many TV markets. The audience is older -- particularly in a central time zone such as D-FW -- and the growth curve is anemic at best when many potential viewers are still at work.

WFAA8's efforts to "open up" the 5 p.m. show look fairly promising in these early stages. At least the station isn't sitting on its hands and waiting to take another ratings pounding when the May sweeps begin on Thursday. Instead they're trying something new while also giving the anchors and producers a little change of pace and maybe even a bounce in their steps.

Please, though, no cooking segments.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., April 20) -- punchless Mavs roll up big ratings anyway

Audiences tailed off as the butt-whipping continued deep into the night. But Game 2 of the Mavericks-Spurs playoff series was still a big ratings winner Monday night.

The Mavs' 105-84 road loss to San Antonio, squaring the series at 1-1, tipped off about 20 minutes past its appointed 8:30 p.m. start time and ran until 11:20 p.m. Calculations based on those actual start and stop times show the game averaging 245,791 D-FW viewers on TXA21, plus another 159,432 for the TNT presentation.

That's a TXA21/TNT total of 405,223 viewers, putting the Mavs-Spurs in an exact tie with Monday's 90-minute Dancing with the Stars performance show on ABC, which ran from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

On TXA21 alone, the game beat all competing prime-time programming between 8:50 and 10 p.m. Its closest competitor was ABC's new Castle crime series, which had 232,505 viewers from 9 to 10 p.m. opposite the game's 292,292 viewers.

WFAA8's 10 p.m. newscast then broke though to win at that hour, drawing 312,221 viewers opposite TXA21's 10 to 10:30 portion of Mavs-Spurs (232,505 viewers). Had the game been competitive, it likely would have been no contest, with the Mavs towering over all four late night newscasts.

WFAA8 also ran first at 10 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It had Monday's biggest haul in this key demographic (173,012 viewers), even outdrawing Dancing with the Stars (163,906 viewers in this age range).

In other local news derby results, Fox4 nipped NBC5 at 6 a.m. in total viewers, with the Peacock in turn edging Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds.

The 6 p.m. golds were split between WFAA8 in total viewers and NBC5 in the 25-to-54 demographic.

WFAA8 continued its recent resurgence at 5 p.m. by running the table. The improved performance so far coincides with a revamped format in which the station's anchors lately have been doing one or more live "newsmaker" interviews within the telecast. We'll have more on this later.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., April 17-19) -- Mavs at last a hit

There's nothing like a gutty, come-from-behind win in Game 1 of the playoffs to cure the Dallas Mavericks' regular season ratings blues.

Saturday night's victory over arch rival San Antonio even beat a competing NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Fox. The game drew 199,290 D-FW viewers on TXA21 and added another 152,789 for ESPN's coverage. NASCAR had 126,217 viewers, with Saturday night's other pro sports attraction, the Rangers' loss to Kansas City, drawing 39,858 viewers on MY27.

The Mavs also held serve among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds. Here's the sports scorecard in this key demographic:

Mavs-Spurs (TXA21) --- 97,236
Mavs-Spurs (ESPN) -- 77,789
Sprint Cup (Fox) -- 87,512
Rangers-Royals (MY27) -- 19,447

In Sunday night results, the 7:30 premiere of Fox's animated Sit Down, Shut Up drew a respectable crowd of 159,432 total viewers to finish a close third in its time slot behind the closing half-hours of NBC's Miss USA pageant (172,718 viewers) and ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (166,075 viewers). But Fox's 7 to 9 p.m. "Animation Domination" block, including SD,SU, routed all competition in the 18-to-49 universe.

Friday's local news derby saw NBC5 make a rare appearance in the 10 p.m. winner's circle, where it edged WFAA8 in total viewers. The Peacock slipped to third, though, among 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming), with WFAA8 and CBS11 finishing one-two.

NBC5 ran the table at 6 a.m., where it hasn't been beaten since Tuesday. And WFAA8 continued to perk up in the early evening hours, sweeping the 5 and 6 p.m. news competitions for the second time in the last four weekdays.

"Better tomorrows" -- Former WFAA8 anchor Bob Gooding dies of cancer (updated)


Former WFAA-TV (Channel 8) anchor Bob Gooding, one of the station's signature newsmen for most of the 1960s and '70s, died over the weekend after a lengthy battle with cancer.

Gooding, who was 76, anchored WFAA newscasts from 1961-'79 after beginning his career in radio, according to the station's obituary. His trademark signoff was "Better tomorrows." He teamed with Murphy Martin, who died last July, during part of that period.

Gooding's son, also named Bob, said in March that his father was in the most extreme stage of the sarcomatoid carcinoma strain of cancer. He had decided to forego further treatments and tests.

"Dad said that since his dad had died at 68 and he is now 76, he feels as if he's on borrowed time anyway," Gooding's son wrote in a letter forwarded by former WFAA anchor Tracy Rowlett. "He said there's a difference between life and living. Instead of trying to prolong his life for an extra month or two, he was ready to live the rest of his life."

Rowlett joined WFAA in 1974, and eventually replaced Gooding as the station's signature anchor under a widespread revamping of the newsroom by the late news director, Marty Haag.

Gooding "was a decent and friendly man who always had a smile and enjoyed a good conversation," Rowlett said via email Monday. "I liked him and am saddened to get this word of his passing."

It's WFAA8's 1991 noon news, featuring Quin Mathews, Scott Sams and Princess Leia(?)

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Recent pictures of Quin Mathews, Lisa McRee and Scott Sams

Return with us now to WFAA8's noon newscast, circa 1991, co-anchored by Quin Mathews and Lisa McRee, with Scott Sams at the weather maps.

Except that McRee seems to have channeled Princess Leia with a 'do that now looks like a don't but probably will be back in style by 2025.

Before checking the video, here's where they are now:

***Mathews, who also anchored at KDFW-TV (Ch. 4) and KDAF-TV (Ch. 33), formed Dallas-based Quin Mathews Films in the 1990s. He also is co-founder of WRR radio's (101.1 FM) "Arts Matters" series, which dates to 1988.

***McRee most recently hosted and reported for California Connected, which aired on the state's PBS radio stations from 2004-'07, when lack of funding ended the program. She also co-hosted ABC's Good Morning America from 1997-99 after Joan Lunden left.

***Sams of course is co-anchoring CBS11's early morning newscast with Ginger Allen. He joined the D-FW station in April 2007 after a sojurn at Sherman-Denison's KTEN-TV.

Here's the way they were 18 years ago at WFAA8:

Former WFAA anchor Macie Jepson still in town, hoping to rebound

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Macie Jepson in new, post-WFAA8 photos sent Tuesday.

Former WFAA8 anchor Macie Jepson, laid off last August by the Dallas-based ABC station, is regularly mentioned by readers of unclebarky.com who wonder what's become of her.

She responded via email Tuesday, and also sent a fresh pair of pictures.

"There aren't many (TV) jobs out there to consider," Jepson says. "I hope WFAA didn't seal my coffin in this economy. I tell people all the time that what's happening right now is not only a reflection of the economy, but a reflection of the industry. I'll bounce back, but where I'll land is anyone's guess."

Meanwhile, Jepson says she's "doing some consulting" for the new Clements Clinic in Plano, and also "doing more charity work than I ever thought possible. I was like fresh meat on the philanthropy front. Now I find myself very busy. Most importantly I'm enjoying time with my family. I'm trying to 'be still,' listen to my heart, oh . . . and I'm praying for a job, too."

There's at least one big one out there, assuming that Dallas-based Fox4 is interested in hiring a new Good Day anchor from outside the station. As recently detailed, in-house anchor-reporters Dan Godwin, Natalie Solis and Krystle Gutierrez have been joining incumbent Tim Ryan on the early morning show since Megan Henderson left in late February for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

"Wouldn't that job be a coup?" Jepson says. "I did that gig in Cleveland (at WJW-TV) for many years and had a blast. In fact that job was the most fun I ever had in my career. It takes a certain personality to pull off that time slot."

At WFAA8, Jepson primarily co-anchored the 5 p.m. newscast with Jeff Brady, who recently left the station to form his own company, Brady Media Group.

In the one-time only March "sweeps" ratings period, WFAA8 lost the 5 p.m. newscast ratings battle for the first time in at least 22 years.

Fox4's Good Day -- vacancy or no vacancy?

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Begging a question: Krystle Gutierrez, Dan Godwin, Natalie Solis.

It's been six weeks since Megan Henderson left Fox4's Good Day for KTLA-TV in Los Angeles.

Henderson's Feb. 27th departure, via a four-hour "Mega Megan Celebration," underscored her importance to the station's biggest moneymaker. But in a continuing dismal economy, is Fox4 content to pair incumbent anchor Tim Ryan with a rotating trio of in-house replacements? Or is the station just marking time before bringing in a newcomer and launching a companion promotional campaign?

Fox4 management has a firm "no comment" policy on personnel matters. And so far nothing has leaked out. The on-air evidence otherwise is readily available. Station veteran Dan Godwin again sat next to Ryan on Monday, as he did on the first Monday after Henderson's exit. Fox4 staffers Natalie Solis and Krystle Gutierrez also have pulled Good Day co-anchor duty.

But has Fox4 paid much of a price in the early morning Nielsen ratings? Yes and no.

In the one-time only March "sweeps," the 7 to 9 a.m. portion of Good Day again beat the three network morning shows in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. It also did so in the November sweeps ratings period.

From 6 to 7 a.m. in March, Fox4 and an onrushing NBC5 tied for first in the total viewer Nielsens. But the Peacock knocked Good Day into second place among 25-to-54-year-olds. In the November sweeps, Fox4 comfortably took the gold in both measurements.

NBC5's rally started earlier this year, though, predating Henderson's departure. So it's an open question whether Fox4 would have stayed on top in March with Ryan-Henderson still at the Good Day throttle.

Can Fox4 keep rotating its co-anchors though? Is the basic content and format of Good Day enough to carry the day, no matter who's sitting next to Ryan? Is he the real glue, and the others just post-its? And if Fox4 decided on Godwin as a permanent replacement, could it get away with four white males comprising Good Day's A-Team?

NBC5 still seems to be in best early morning position with a veteran, likable anchor duo of Brendan Higgins and Deborah Ferguson.

Third-place WFAA8 is hoping viewers eventually will warm to its latest new male anchor, Chris Flanagan. And perennial doormat CBS11 has been slowly moving closer to third place with a Scott Sams/Ginger Allen anchor tandem that now ranks second in early morning seniority.

What Fox4 does -- or doesn't do -- remains the biggest unanswered question. Can the merry-go-round anchor system work in the long term? Are either Godwin, Solis or Gutierrez strong enough to step in permanently? Or do Ryan and Good Day need another new pretty face sitting next to him?

I'd still bet on the latter. But in these times maybe there's no real hurry.

"Nothin' but chaos going on here inside the newsroom"

CBS11 anchor Doug Dunbar

CBS11's newsroom reverted to the stone age at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday when all of the computers went dead while wildfires were sweeping through Montague County.

"All of a sudden we had nothin'," anchor Doug Dunbar says in a video blog on the D-FW-based station's web site.

Three old-school typewriters were dug up and brought to the newsroom until the computers returned to life in time for the 6 p.m. newscast. Dunbar says that he and co-anchor Tracy Kornet did a one-hour 4 p.m. newscast that was "completely ad lib."

Technology-wise, "Thursday was about as bad as it can get," Dunbar says. He also praises staffers for putting together a newscast that looked none the worse for wear despite all the behind-the-scenes "chaos" on what turned out to be a big breaking news day.

Matt Quinn: a one of a kind reporter for WFAA8 (updated)

Matt Quinn in photo from WFAA8 web site

Former WFAA8 reporter Matt Quinn and his wife, Cathy, a television producer, were killed Thursday by wildfires that decimated their home in rural Montague County.

Quinn, who joined the Dallas-based station in 1980 from ABC News, excelled as an off-the-beaten path reporter who didn't much like being on camera himself.

"Matt was so good at many things, but he did not like doing live shots," recalls WFAA8 photographer Tim Auman, who collaborated with Quinn on many of his distinctive pieces. "That was one thing he did not do particularly well. Matt did not want to be in the story."

Quinn, 80, remained with WFAA8 until 1992, and had been retired for several years. He didn't enjoy the constant comings and goings tied to being a reporter at the network level, and quit ABC News after just two years to join WFAA8 under legendary news director Marty Haag.

In a 1989 interview with this writer, Quinn remembered returning from a network assignment in Topeka, Kansas without any recollection of why he was there. Years later he still couldn't remember.

"That was really scary," Quinn said. "I suppose it's dumb to go to a network and then not like the travel, but I simply hadn't realized that my reaction to it would be that negative."

Quinn, who wore a beard throughout his TV career, said he also grew weary of having his ABC News stories edited from afar and in many cases ruined, in his view.

"They were not unhappy to see me go," Quinn said in the 1989 interview. "I was a bigmouth. You can be a bigmouth at Channel 8 with Marty Haag. He doesn't rise from his chair in a puff of smoke and strike you dead."

Former WFAA8 reporter Bill Brown, who was laid off at the station in 2004 after 25 years, praised Quinn as "an all-around great reporter, one of the best that Dallas has ever seen."

"At ABC News, he reported on a lot of big stories, Brown said. "When he came to WFAA he really wanted to do the little stories, the human stories. In TV we live by pictures. But Matt was a wordsmith. He valued them and used them almost poetically. But it wasn't cornball and it wasn't maudlin. He just had that kind of unique ability to reach into people and get them to talk to him and almost pour their hearts out. People still talk about Matt Quinn stories."

Brown vividly remembers two of them. One was Quinn's bus ride with prisoners being transfered from the Dallas County jail to Huntsville state prison. "From beginning to end it was a human journey we had never seen before."

The other was Quinn's April 15th story on tax filers. He didn't want to do it, and thought it was a cliche, Brown recalls. "So on camera he told viewers, 'I don't think this is a story, but they're making me do it anyway.' I had never seen a reporter take that standard tax story and make it interesting and so much fun. There were some knockdown-dragout fights in our newsroom between Matt and some of the producers. Because they wanted him to bow to their will, and he wouldn't do it."

Veteran WFAA8 reporter Gary Reaves, who left the station for CBS News in the 1980s before returning to Dallas in 1991, says that Quinn "just had a real knack for getting into the essence of a story and making you feel as if you were there. He was an incredible writer. It's because of Matt and a small select number of people like him that Channel 8 became a newsroom where people wanted to come work. They set the tone that it doesn't have to be like everybody else does it."

Many of Quinn's pieces ran under the Matt Quinn's Chronicles banner. Reaves recalled a story titled "In the Company of Men," in which Quinn focused on "a bunch of old black men hanging out at a pool hall. In three-and-a-half minutes you learned a whole lot about a part of America that you never see. Matt had the ability to make you know and care about people that otherwise would have been ignored."

Photographer Auman, who's been with WFAA8 since 1976, says Quinn was "kind of a gruff guy, but I just loved working with him. Matt and I were just able to do off-the-wall creative pieces that we wouldn't be allowed to do now."

Auman remembers traveling with Quinn to Tolar, Texas to do a story on six-man football. They ended up revisiting Tolar time and again, following a class all the way through high school in a series of reports on "what life was like in a small Texas town."

The two also followed the Dallas Police Department's Class 182 from day one until graduation. "He had a knack of telling these stories in a poetic way," Auman says.

Quinn had a stroke in the mid-1980s. This time he decided to put himself at the center of the story, so that viewers could get an up-close look at a surgical procedure. Auman recalls shooting Quinn talking to the camera before the anesthesia knocked him out. The photographer then picked up the narration while continuing to shoot. "Then when Matt came out of the anesthesia, he started talking again." The American Heart Association named it the medical story of the year.

Auman remembers talking to Quinn after he and his wife moved to Montague County, located on the Oklahoma border northwest of Fort Worth.

"He was kind of a city guy, and when he was in Dallas, he lived downtown. But when he moved to the country, he said, 'Tim, I love walking through these trees out here.' In the end that's probably what caused his death -- the burning trees."

WFAA8's Shelly Slater still waiting for 5 p.m. call-up


WFAA8's Shelly Slater continues to anchor on weekends. Photo: Ed Bark

She's competent, confident and, dare it be said, cute.

And by all accounts, WFAA8's Shelly Slater also is very eager to move up the anchor food chain at a station where vacancies exist.

Still, she remains on weekends while the Dallas-based ABC affiliate's ratings-challenged 5 p.m. weekday newscast is still without a permanent anchor team or even a designated solo pilot.

It's been that way since Macie Jepson was laid off last August and Jeff Brady left WFAA8 in March to start his own media company. Before that he pinch-hit for a few months on the station's early morning Daybreak program.

WFAA8 suffered a blow to its pride and its pocketbook in the just-concluded, one-time-only March "sweeps," where it lost at 5 p.m. for the first time in at least 22 years. Part of the reason is declining ratings for The Oprah Winfrey Show, a onetime juggernaut that now is being narrowly beaten by Fox4's syndicated Judge Judy and almost beaten by NBC5's 1st at Four local newscast.

Still, you can't lay it all on Oprah. Viewers simply aren't responding to WFAA8's 5 p.m. newscast the way they had for years. And a revolving door of substitute anchors probably doesn't help matters, even if more often than not it's 6 and 10 p.m. anchors John McCaa and Gloria Campos pulling extra duty.

WFAA8 management has no immediate plans to hire any new anchors. A horrid economy has seen to that. And there's no comment on whether someone in-house might get the 5 p.m. anchoring post on a permanent basis. So that brings us back to Slater, who joined WFAA8 in October 2006 from Fox-owned WDAF-TV in Kansas City.

I initially predicted that Slater would be a full-time weekday anchor within roughly a year's time, but obviously that hasn't happened. Is anyone else surprised about that?

Now in her third year with WFAA8, Slater has been a polarizing figure in these spaces. People seem to love her/loathe her, with little wiggle room. Posts on other D-FW women anchors have a way of detouring toward Slater in the comments sections. Viewers definitely have noticed her.

WFAA8 research may show some of this as well. You don't want an anchor who actively turns too many viewers off. On the other hand, bland usually doesn't work either.

My feeling on Slater is that she remains a very strong talent -- and knows it. There's still a bit of "all that" to her, but that can be tempered in time. For now she continues to anchor on weekends while the 5 p.m. weekday newscast's diminished numbers are starting to hurt the 6 p.m. turnout as well. Could she make a difference at 5 p.m., either as a solo act or with a permanent male sidekick?

Stations didn't use to let this stuff go. In the not so distant past, WFAA8 already would have launched a promotional campaign touting its "new" 5 p.m. newscast. But Jepson and Brady are gone, and Slater still waits in the wings. It might someday reach the point of using her or losing her. For now at least, WFAA8 continues to let it slide.

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., April 6) -- hoops/hardball edition

Monday's sunny Texas Rangers home opener on Fox4 had the most viewers during daytime hours before CBS' NCAA basketball championship game finished reasonably strong despite North Carolina's lopsided dominance of Michigan State.

The Rangers' 9-1 win over Cleveland, the only time they're scheduled this season on Fox4, averaged 93,002 D-FW viewers in outscoring a competing mix of soap operas, game shows and talkers. ABC's General Hospital came closest to the home team, drawing 79,716 viewers between 2 and 3 p.m. The Rangers also prevailed among advertiser-favored 18-to-49-year-olds.

North Carolina-Michigan State averaged 305,578 total viewers for a game that didn't start until 8:24 p.m. before stretching to 10:46 p.m. A peak audience of 405,223 watched the closing minutes.

Basketball outdrew all competing attractions except ABC's Castle and the premiere of the network's Surviving Suburbia sitcom.

In the 9 to 10 p.m. hour, Castle had 305,578 viewers to edge the NCAA's 292,292 viewers. Part of the audience fall-off was due to halftime. From 8:30 to 9 p.m., Surviving Suburbia fed off its Dancing with the Stars lead-in to draw 345,436 viewers opposite 305,578 viewers for the opening stages of hoops. Basketball beat everything in its path, however, in the 18-to-49 demographic.

Dancing with the Stars topped the 7 to 8:30 p.m. time slot with Monday's largest audience, 431,795 viewers. Fox's House ran second with 239,148 viewers. The episode included the suicide death of Dr. Lawrence Kutner, a regular cast character played by actor Kal Penn. In a rather bizarre touch, Fox has set up a Web site memorial for the character, who was 33 years old and died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Moving on to the local news derby, where WFAA8 swept the downsized three-way 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers (358,722) and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming.

Fox4 did likewise at 6 a.m., where it's been trading first place finishes with NBC5.

The 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5 in total viewers and Fox4 with 25-to-54-year-olds.

It also was a split decision at 5 p.m., where the Peacock again had the most total viewers but WFAA8 was tops with 25-to-54-year-olds.

NBC5's Scruggs/Barrie get their Geico on



NBC5 has winning takeoff on Geico airport commercial. Photos: Ed Bark

This one's genius -- or at least it's in the neighborhood.

Riffing off Geico's caveman double-take on an automated airport walkway, NBC5 has a new 30-second spot in which relative newcomer Matt Barrie encounters his bossman's over-sized advertisement for himself.

Barrie, who joined the D-FW station during last year's Dallas Cowboys training camp, has been teaming with NBC5's entrenched Newy Scruggs on Sunday night's Out of Bounds sports program. They throw a little smack at each other after taking turns running down the big sports stories of the day and week.

It's the only time that either of them really get to stretch out. NBC5's truncated, two-part 10 p.m. sports segments are wrapped around extended commercial breaks.

Scruggs and Barrie are a better promotional fit than Scruggs and straitlaced NBC5 meteorologist David Finfrock used to be. The station portrayed them as a quintessential odd couple in spots that aired shortly after Scruggs arrived at NBC5 in Spring 2000.

Barrie is super-caffeinated compared to Finfrock. And Scruggs seems to enjoy having the kid around. At least they're trying to do something a little different during their Sunday night time together. And spots like this help to seal the deal. Take a look and then give me your take.

The new big pictures at NBC5


NBC5's Randy McIIwain gets downsized by a big wheel. Photos: Ed Bark

D-FW's NBC5 lately has stretched its in-the-field pictures to fill the entire screen during high-definition newscasts.

It's the last station to do so among the market's four HD news providers. And although they still look kind of blurry and a out-of-register, they beat the old box canyon look. Someone who knows more about the technology than your friendly content provider can use the comments section to expand on whether these are "up-converted" HD facsimiles or anything even close.

The new look enabled NBC5 to make reporter Randy McIlwain (above) look like a Lilliputian on Thursday's 10 p.m. newscast. His Gulliver was the front wheel of an Escalade. In McIlwain's live "Crime Alert" dispatch, he told viewers that tires from General Motors trucks and SUVs lately are being targeted by thieves.

McIlwain used to be NBC5's self-described "Big Man Bloggin' " until the station's newly designed Web site dealt out most of the staff bloggers. Suffice it to say he's very proud of his plus-size. But that Escalade rim made him look more like a toy soldier in a Godzilla movie.


NBC5 later offered a presumably unintended sight gag during anchor Mike Snyder's discourse on a move to make electronic gambling legal at Texas horse and dog racing tracks.

Ever play "Video Poke" before? Or are ya just happy to see me? Snyder remained poker-faced after the graphic was quickly removed. We luvs our NBC5.

Brave new world -- or just getting what you pay for?

sites-med backpack-journalist-solovj_gear-719183

Typical "backpack journalist" -- and the tools of his/her trade.

Reliable sources inform unclebarky.com that David Duitch, news director of "The 33," is off to Columbia, Missouri to interview new college graduates for two vacant "backpack journalist" positions at the Dallas-based CW station.

And since he isn't the first -- or the last -- let's state the obvious. The pathway to a job in local TV news -- provided you're willing to work long hours for minimal pay -- is perhaps easier now than it's ever been for kids out of college with minimal experience but a willingness to learn on the fly.

In prehistoric times, you generally had to work your way up to a market as large as No. 5 Dallas-Fort Worth. You know, spend a few years in Puddle, Idaho before making several more moves toward the top. But Facebook-centric CW stations, and others as well, are now prematurely picking young fruit from the tree rather than waiting for it to ripen.

Pelpina Trip, whose "Pelpina's Tips" are a nightly staple of The 33 news, joined the station earlier this year directly from the University of North Texas. But she's "been a media fanatic since she was born," says her station bio. So that helps.

This isn't meant to rag on Pelpina or any other eager young job-seekers, though. It's not their fault for being hired by news directors with diminishing budgets and edicts to make further cuts.

You can see what's happening around the country in that respect. Longtime anchors with top-heavy salaries are either taking buyouts -- if they can get 'em -- having their salaries cut, or simply being called in and told, "Thanks for the memories" -- but no thanks.

Experienced reporters who have built up their paychecks over the years are wondering when the forearm shiv is gonna come. Forced furloughs without pay and short-term contracts also are in vogue. Why keep Joe Sourcesupthewazoo when you can hire a young, fresh "backpack journalist" for what amounts to dimes on the dollar?

A backpack journalist, by the way, is someone who interviews, reports, shoots, edits and packages stories on their own. It's obviously cheaper that way. And the potential practitioners tend to be straight out of J-school.

Experience, of course, is harder to teach. And there's also little if any evidence to suggest that you'll attract a younger audience by putting on a newscast that ostensibly aims to please them. They're way too deep into the Internet and text-messaging for that.

Look at The 33's year-to-year ratings in both total viewers and 18-to-34-year-olds.

In the just-concluded March "sweeps," which subbed for February this year, The 33's 9 p.m. newscast averaged 33,215 total viewers in a market of more than 6 million people. That's down from the hardly imposing 53,144 viewers for March 2008.

But did The 33 improve its standing among 18-to-34-year-olds? That's the target audience for CW programming and increasingly, the newscast wedged between the 8 to 9 p.m. attraction and Family Guy repeats at 10.

In the March 2009 sweeps, The 33 averaged 10,107 viewers in the 18-to-34 age range. That's down from the previous March, when 15,165 viewers in the 18-to-34 demographic were watching the station's 9 p.m. news. So even fewer young people are tuning in despite or because of "Pelpina's Tips" (on the coolest new web sites) and an abundance of other stories referencing either Facebook or MySpace. In the process, former regular viewers are being alienated. After all, what's in it for them?

Duitch, who became news director last July, is entitled to put his stamp on the station's news department. Instead he's put a stomp on it, dumping most of the anchors and reporters with a little mileage on them.

Other holdovers, mostly notably longtime weathercaster Bob Goosmann, have been demoted and/or given pay cuts. Former NBC5 meteorologist Rebecca Miller is the only new hire familiar to D-FW viewers. She's doing what Goosmann used to do on weekdays while he's relegated to weekends and occasional weekday appearances during severe weather.

Whatever happens to The 33's newscasts likely is of small concern to most viewers. But the same thing, in smaller doses so far, is occurring in most local TV newsrooms. Keeping a staff of experienced/ qualified anchors and reporters is getting to be a luxury that too many stations no longer are willing to afford.

March "sweeps," pinch-hitting for Feb., show 5 p.m. sweep for NBC5, 10 p.m. gains for CBS11, across-the-board losses for WFAA8

Winter's big ratings sweeps month is usually February. But that went by the wayside this year in deference to the scheduled Feb. 17th "digital conversion," which itself has now been delayed until June 12th.

So here we are with Nielsen Media Research's presumably one-time only March "sweeps," which began on March 5th and bled into spring before ending on April Fool's Day.

Otherwise no fooling. WFAA8 fared worst among D-FW's four major local news providers, with significant March-to-March audience losses at 6 a.m. and 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

Worse yet, the ABC station lost at 5 p.m. in a ratings sweeps period for the first time in at least 22 years, with NBC5 finishing first in total viewers and tying for the top spot with Fox4 among 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming. NBC5 also jumped from third to first at 6 a.m. while WFAA8 fell from a close second to a distant third in a year's time.

Meanwhile, CBS11 moved to within striking distance at 10 p.m., finishing just three-tenths of a rating point behind No. 1 WFAA8 in the total viewer Nielsens. Four of CBS11's weekday 10 p.m. newscasts were substantially delayed by NCAA basketball coverage, and aren't counted in the March sweeps mix. But the station might have done even better at 10 p.m. with its usual Thursday and Friday "lead-ins" from CBS' Eleventh Hour and Numb3rs, both of which have been doing better in D-FW than basketball did.

CBS11 also continues to enjoy a significant 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in advantage over its opponents, thanks to the overall dominance of its network's 9 p.m. programming. But the station also has been doing a better job of retaining that lead-in, even though WFAA8's 10 p.m. newscast continues to be the only one to improve on the audience inherited from its network.

Here are the 10 p.m., 6 a.m. and 5 and 6 p.m. Nielsen ratings, with the percentages of year-to-year increases/decreases in parentheses:

10 P.M.

WFAA8 -- 292,292 (-14%)
CBS11 -- 272,363 (+28%)
NBC5 -- 179,361 (-16%)
Fox4 -- 146,146 (-15%)

WFAA8 -- 127,483 (-12%)
CBS11 -- 103,200 (+26%)
Fox4 -- 84,988 (-7%)
NBC5 -- 78,918 (-28%)

6 A.M.

NBC5/Fox4 -- 119,574 each (+29% and +6% respectively)
WFAA8 -- 73,073 (-31%)
CBS11 -- 53,144 (even)

NBC5 -- 84,988 (+33%)
Fox4 -- 75,883 (-4%)
WFAA8 -- 45,530 (-32%)
CBS11 -- 36,424 (+9%)

5 P.M.

NBC5 -- 126,217 (even)
WFAA8 -- 119,574 (-25%)
Fox4 -- 112,931 (-15%)
CBS11 -- 79,716 (-20%)

Fox4/NBC5 -- 57,671 each (respectively +6% and +12%)
WFAA8 -- 48,565 (-27%)
CBS11 -- 27,318 (-10%)

6 P.M.


WFAA8 -- 172,718 (-16%)
NBC5 -- 126,217 (-5%)
CBS11 -- 112,931 (-26%)
Fox4 -- 106,288 (even)

WFAA8 -- 60,706 (-31%)
Fox4/NBC5 -- 54,635 each (respectively even and +6%)
CBS11 -- 33,388 (-15%)

They'll get to do it all over again soon. The May "sweeps" begin on April 23rd and run through May 20th.