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This just in: a night in the lives of D-FW's late night newscasts (Mon., Feb. 11)

Fox4's Paul Adrian got a ton of time for "Cop and the Call Girl."

It stretched to epic proportions, at least when compared to standard news story lengths.

Fox4 investigator Paul Adrian's "The Cop and the Call Girl" ate up a super jumbo-sized 10 minutes and 34 seconds of the station's Monday 9 p.m. newscast -- and in two parts no less. A typical reporter-generated story on NBC5, which has no investigative unit, runs no more than 90 seconds.

But was Adrian's expose worth your time and Fox4's investment? It was well-told from a narrative standpoint and suitably salacious for a ratings "sweeps" period. But in the end, it also came off as way too much time spent with a prostitute/nursing student whose face was blurred and whose Fox4 cover name was "Chloe."

Busted for prostitution in 2004 by former Dallas vice cop Charles Avery, she allegedly continued to provide him with "a little somethin', somethin' " in her words. Often he came calling during on-duty hours. In return Avery supposedly sat on evidence that could have had her prosecuted. Their assignations lasted for three years, and Chloe taped the two's phone conversations as protection. Avery eventually resigned from the force in January, before an internal investigation had been completed.

Adrian duly interviewed Dallas police chief David Kunkle, who told him on-camera, "Whether you argue there was special consideration given to her or she was a victim of official oppression, either part of this situation is obviously unacceptable." That's police-speak for, "This smells bad."

Two other cops, one with the Carrollton force, the other with Irving's, also allegedly were involved with Chloe, who supposedly taped them, too. They've likewise handed in their badges under duress, although the latter officer continues to work for the Argyle, Texas police department. None would talk to Fox4.

Adrian noted, almost in passing, that Chloe's audio tapes haven't been "tested for accuracy." Maybe they should have been beforehand?

They did sound realistic, though, and were sometimes plenty juicy. As when Chloe spoke of "blushing" in Avery's presence.

"Well, you got undressed pretty quick," the man on the tape responded.

"You've seen me naked before, so why not?" she said.

"Not that much up-close."

Adrian didn't have to wipe any drool from his mouth when narrating this story. Whatever the material, he can be relied on to present it without histrionics or over-the-top voice inflections.

This arguably was overkill, though. Cheap crime novels can be fun to read, but news stories of this length should serve a greater good. Adrian did just that during the November sweeps with his painstaking reports on questionable use of "red light cameras" at some intersections.

Chloe now lives out of state, but will be returning at some point to face unrelated charges involving a fight over alleged mistreatment of her dog at a grooming clinic.

"And by the way, Adrian concluded, "she says her days working as a prostitute are all long behind her."

Not that she still isn't very much a drama queen.

And In Other News . . .
CBS11 led Monday's 10 p.m. newscast with reporter J.D. Miles' exclusive interview with the widow of Dallas firefighter Charles Whitaker. He died of gunshot wounds received outside a bar in a Phoenix suburb after watching Super Bowl XLII with fellow city firefighter Reginald Cuington, who was wounded.

Ericka Whitaker contends that Arizona police are looking for an "easy solution" to the shootings by implying they could be linked to the two firefighters' earlier bust for allegedly selling counterfeit NFL jerseys for $100 apiece. Police reported confiscating 175 of them while also charging two other men with possession of marijuana. All four supposedly were working together at the time.

"They were replica jerseys, but they were not counterfeit," Mrs. Whitaker told Miles. She later declared, "I'm not going to allow anybody to slander his name."

Miles never asked about the other two men accompanying the firefighters, one of whom has a previous criminal record. And in fact, Arizona police publicly haven't made any links between the still at-large shooters and the attempted jersey sales. One certainly can sympathize with Mrs. Whitaker, whose husband is scheduled to be buried on Friday. But reflexively blaming the police without having been there isn't serving his memory well.

WFAA8 briefly reported on Whitaker's funeral arrangements Monday night. But it's still the only D-FW station that's yet to make any mention -- at least on late night newscasts -- of his earlier brush with Phoenix police.

***WFAA8's Monday newscast was uncharacteristically non-descript. Stuffed with a variety of anchor-recited briefs, it came and went with no standout, reporter-driven stories. Shelly Slater's "Mommy Mixer" dispatch, in which prospective babysitters are gathered for a $100 fee, fell short of being even a thumb-sucker.

***NBC5's Brian Curtis, co-anchoring in place of Mike Snyder, also presided over a heavily promoted "Dry Cleaning Disasters" story. Actually it was mostly just one, with a young woman "sharing" a less-than-poignant "dry cleaning horror story" that left some of her husband's golf shirts in semi-disrepair.

"You give your clothes to somebody and you're trusting them to take care of them for you," said the aggrieved customer.

Oh shaddup.

***CBS11's Jack Fink is the best transportation reporter in local TV. On Monday he had another interesting piece, this one on the proposed high-speed train that would rocket passengers from D-FW to San Antonio, with a few stops in between.

The station's Chris Salcedo also had a worthwhile report on Web sites such as myspace.com, and the wealth of personal information detailed by some of their young patrons. It can make them easy prey for predators, as Salcedo showed with help from a Tarrant County assistant D.A. They visited some parents to prove that point.

***Fox4 co-anchor Steve Eagar had a nice 'n' snarky aside during a "News Edge" dollop on the extremely poor box office for Paris Hilton's just-released The Hottie and the Nottie feature film.

"Now you know where to go to find some solitude," he said of the near-empty theaters.

***Earlier, reporter Jeff Crilley told Fox4 viewers about a new Fobes magazine survey that says Dallas is the top city in the country for unmarried couples who want to live together. Or as Crilley later put it in his typically dulcet tones, "It ranks Dallas as the best city for shacking up."

Imagine how NBC5's Snyder might have articulated that. But as previously noted, he was a no-show Monday. Damn.