05/11/15 05:21 PMLong-planned trips sometimes get in the way of best-laid plans. So your friendly content provider will be missing a few things -- including the Mad Men and David Letterman finales -- while away from this grindstone. Some of the networks’ new season announcements, which continue this week, also will have to wait until after Memorial Day. As will the results of the May “sweeps” D-FW newscast wars.But hey, I’ve left plenty behind, including reviews of the following (with links).Wayward Pines (Fox) -- Thursday, May 14th.Bessie (HBO) -- Saturday, May 16th.Texas Rising (History network) -- Monday, May 25th.Grace and Frankie (Netflix) -- newly streaming.You also can find our compendium of vintage David Letterman articles on the Back Channels page. Individual links were posted earlier on Above the Fold.See you soon and thanks for your continued readership! Ed Bark
Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sun., May 8-10) -- NBC5's split-screen golf/weather coverage infuriates some but still delivers the numbers05/11/15 12:16 PMMy Twitter feed became awash Sunday with people complaining about NBC5 offering split-screen coverage of the final holes of a gripping Players Championship golf tournament and a live rescue of two guys standing on a flood water-engulfed pickup truck.NBC’s golf coverage got the silent treatment and a much smaller on-screen picture. Still, it was visible to viewers, although certainly not in an optimum way. The D-FW Nielsen ratings nonetheless show that NBC5 remained the runaway station of choice in the early evening opposite more conventional storm coverage on rival stations.The ratings peaked between 6:30 and 6:45 p.m., when NBC5 drew 439,362 viewers. The station ended up easily winning every 15-minute increment from 6:15 to 7:45 p.m.Regular network programming kicked back in on all four major TV news providers by 8 p.m., although commercial breaks often were filled by weather updates. CBS’ The Good Wife had the most total viewers in the 8 p.m. hour with 251,064. Fox4’s local 9 p.m. newscast then took over in a big way, dominating its hour with 362,648 viewers. Fox4’s news also crushed the opposition among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds.On ABC, the 9 p.m. series finale of Revenge ran third in its time slot with 111,584 total viewers and moved up to a very distant second place with 18-to-49-year-olds.Friday’s prime-time top draws were CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 in total viewers (181,324) and CBS’ The Amazing Race in the 18-to-49 demographic (72,537).
Here are Friday’s local news derby results for the 12th weekday of the May “sweeps,” which end on May 20th.
Gannett8 edged CBS11 for the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but NBC5 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).
Fox4 again swept the 6 a.m. competitions, added a doubleheader win at 5 p.m. and had the most 25-to-54-year-olds at 6 p.m. CBS11 won in total viewers at 6 p.m.
05/08/15 09:26 AMHeavy rain, hail and winds in some areas made another mess of network prime-time lineups Thursday.NBC5 and Gannett8 for the most part stayed with regularly scheduled programming while filling commercial breaks with weather updates. Fox4 and CBS11 punched out a good deal of their 7 to 9 p.m. network fare.The overall big winner was Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast, which rode the inclement weather to one of its biggest ratings ever. A total of 425,414 D-FW viewers tuned in, with 179,767 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic. The most-watched competing program at that hour, CBS’ Elementary, drew 188,298 total viewers while ABC’s American Crime (just renewed for a second season) was the runner-up among 18-to-49-year-olds with 63,076.In late night, CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman got an unprecedented twofer. CBS11 initially routed it to sister station TXA21 in favor of continued weather coverage. The mothership station later picked up Letterman in progress while keeping it on TXA21 as well. The combined 125,532 total viewers were enough to pull Late Show into a first-place tie with ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live among the three after-hours talkers. But Kimmel won with 18-to-49-year-olds while Dave again drooped to a distant third.On Wednesday night, Fox’s 7 to 9 p.m. edition of American Idol won those two hours in total viewers with 258,038. Fox4’s local news then ran first in the 9 p.m. hour with 251,064 viewers. The news and Idol’s last half-hour also took the top spots with 18-to-49-year-olds. But CBS’ Survivor paced that key demographic from 7 to 8 p.m. And ABC’s Modern Family had the most 18-to-49-year-olds from 8 to 8:30 p.m.Here are the Wednesday-Thursday local news derby results for the 10th and 11th weekdays of the May “sweeps” ratings period, which ends on May 20th.Wednesday -- Gannett8 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 nipped the ABC affiliate to take first place among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).Fox4 as usual swept the 6 a.m. competitions and added twin wins at 5 p.m. Both of the 6 p.m. golds went to NBC5.Thursday -- Fox4 topped the weather-spiked 10 p.m. competitions in both ratings measurements. The runner-ups were CBS11 in total viewers and NBC5 among 25-to-54-year-olds.
The 6 a.m. golds again went to Fox4 while NBC5 ran the table at 5 p.m. The Peacock also had the most total viewers at 6 p.m., with Fox4 a narrow No. 1 with 25-to-54-year-olds.
Of note: Nine weekdays still remain to be counted. But it’s now going to take a major rally for Gannett8 to get out of the basement in the 6 a.m. battle for 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 which has never finished better than last at 6 a.m. in either ratings measurement, drew more than twice as many 25-to-54-year-olds as Gannett8 on Wednesday morning and ran third by a comfy margin in Thursday’s face-off.
CBS11’s 25-to-54 demographics still mostly stink at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. But the key 6 to 7 a.m. portion of its early morning show -- when the biggest viewing pool is available -- is flush with momentum. On Wednesday, CBS11’s 6 a.m. edition had more 25-to-54-year-olds than the station’s 5 or 6 p.m. newscasts.
Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., May 5) -- three networks split spoils while ABC comes up empty05/06/15 12:07 PMNBC’s The Voice emerged as Tuesday’s only two-pronged, prime-time winner in the battle for total viewers and advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.The 7 to 8 p.m. results show had 362,648 D-FW viewers and 107,229 in the 18-to-49 demographic to lead all programming in both measurements.CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans won the 8 p.m. hour in total viewers with 313,830, but Fox’s season finale of New Girl won from 8 to 8:30 p.m. among 18-to-49-year-olds (81,999) before NCIS: NO took the 8:30 to 9 p.m. slot in that measurement (56,768 viewers) while Fox’s soon to be canceled fell to 34,692.The 9 p.m. firsts went to CBS’ Person of Interest in total viewers (195,272) and Fox4’s local newscast in the 18-to-49 realm (69,384).NBC’s special live, hour-long episode of Undateable ran third at 8 p.m in total viewers and fourth overall with 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC’s best showing was second place showing among 18-to-49-year-olds for its 8 p.m episode of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..On Fox Sports Southwest, the Texas Rangers put together their first two-game winning streak of the season by beating the Houston Astros at their place. The game averaged 69,740 total viewers and 47,307 in the 18-to-49 motherlode.Here are the local news derby results for the ninth weekday of the ongoing May “sweeps” ratings competition, which ends on May 20th.The 10 p.m. firsts were split between Gannett8 in total viewers and Fox4 in the 25-to-54 demographic (main advertiser target audience for news programming).Fox4 edged NBC5 for the top spot at 6 a.m. in total viewers but won by a comfortable margin with 25-to-54-year-olds.The Peacock had the most total viewers at 6 p.m. while Fox4 reigned among 25-to-54-year-olds.NBC5 also won in total viewers at 5 p.m. and tied Fox4 for the most 25-to-54-year-olds.
Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., May 4) -- The Voice again paces prime-time while Letterman special is up/down05/05/15 12:28 PMCBS’ 90-minute clip show tribute to David Letterman, whose last Late Show will be on May 20th, took a demographic tumble in D-FW Monday night while faring OK in the total viewers universe.David Letterman: A Life on Television, airing from 8:30 to 10 p.m., ran second in that slot with 167,376 total viewers but fell to fourth place with advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds (40,999).His subsequent Late Show, with President Obama as the featured guest, also took the silver medal in total viewers opposite frontrunner Jimmy Fallon and the trailing Jimmy Kimmel. Among 18-to-49-year-olds, Letterman and Kimmel tied for second but Fallon had more than twice as many viewers.NBC’s The Voice swept the 7 to 9 p.m. slot with 320,804 total viewers and 104,075 in the 18-to-49 realm. Fox’s 7 p.m. season finale of Gotham lagged badly with fourth place finishes in both total viewers (97,636) and 18-to-49-year-olds (34,692).Here are the local news derby results for the eighth weekday of the May “sweeps” ratings period.Gannett8 topped the 10 p.m. competitions by comfy margins in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).Fox4 ran the table at both 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. while NBC5 had twin wins at 5 p.m. Gannett8 remained on a potential highway to hell at 6 a.m. with its third straight fourth place finish among 25-to-54-year-olds. CBS11 has never finished out of the basement at 6 a.m. in either ratings measurement. Now the station is making another strong bid to outdraw Gannett8 after falling slightly short in the February sweeps. But 12 weekdays remain to be counted in this latest ratings war, so nothing’s set in stone yet.
05/04/15 09:57 AMThe Kentucky Derby, preceded as always by NBC’s interminable buildup, ranked as the weekend’s most-watched TV attraction once the race was finally run.Airing toward the end of the 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. segment Saturday (Nielsen measures in 15-minute increments), American Pharoah’s exciting one-length win over Firing Line drew 383,570 D-FW viewers. The 5:45 to 6 p.m. post-race segment held most of that audience, with 341,726 viewers.NBC began its Derby coverage at 3 p.m., with 90,662 viewers tuned to the first 15-minute segment.Advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds were rather indifferent to the Derby. The 5:30 to 5:45 p.m. segment, during which the race was run and won, had 94,614 viewers in this key demographic. That’s less than one-quarter of the total audience.Saturday’s other big sports attraction, a pulsating Game 7 of the Los Angeles Clippers-San Antonio Spurs playoff series, averaged 125,532 total viewers on TNT, with 66,230 in the 18-to-49 age range.Sunday’s prime-time programming was led in total viewers by Fox4’s 9 p.m. local newscast, almost solely devoted to breaking coverage of the shootout in Garland at a prophet Muhammad cartoon-drawing event. The news pulled in 209,220 total viewers, slightly more than the 202,246 for CBS’ 7 p.m. episode of Madam Secretary.
On Friday night, ABC’s premiere of its Shark Tank sequel, Beyond the Tank, drew 125,532 total viewers to rank second in its 8 p.m. slot behind CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 (195,272). Beyond dropped a notch to third with 18-to-49-year-olds, trailing Five-0 and Fox’s second hour of the feature film Taken.
Friday’s overall most-watched show, CBS’ 9 p.m. hour of Blue Bloods, had 265,012 total viewers.
Here are Friday’s local news derby results for the seventh weekday of the ongoing May “sweeps” ratings period.
CBS11 ran first in total viewers at 10 p.m. while Fox4 dominated among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).
Fox4 also swept the 6 a.m. competitions and Gannett8 did likewise at 5 p.m.
The 6 p.m. golds went to CBS11 in total viewers and Gannett8 with 25-to-54-year-olds.
05/03/15 03:20 PMDallas-based Gannett8 has quickly found a successor to weekend morning meteorologist Julie Bologna.He’s Wes Houx, who arrives from Gannett-owned NBC affiliate KCEN-TV, which serves the Temple/Waco area. Houx’s first day was Saturday, May 2nd, Gannett8 news director Carolyn Mungo confirms.The Ohio native joined KCEN in fall 2013 after starting his TV career at WLIO-TV in Lima, Ohio.As previously posted, Bologna left Gannett8 in mid-April after a three-year stay, saying she wanted to devote more time to her real estate business and family.This brings us to a 1979 promo for former KDFW-TV (now known as Fox4) meteorologist Gary Bazner. On the night of Feb. 5th -- during the 10 p.m. newscast and in a ratings “sweeps” period no less -- he actually had the temerity to cold-shoulder the chances of a North Texas snowstorm. A resultant 30-second spot began like this: “We hate to say we told you so, but we think Channel 4’s Gary Bazner deserves a pat on the back.”Bazner died in 1996 of a heart attack. He was just 49.Here’s the long-ago spot on his behalf, which now seems more dated than a Christmas season fruitcake factory.
Revisiting the now impossible dream of a D-FW weathercaster being praised by his station for not being alarmist05/01/15 12:35 PMImagine a local TV weatherman being promoted and praised by his station for using restraint rather than joining in the reindeer games of predicting a snowstorm. Right. It seems impossible. In today’s environment, that same forecaster would be sharply reprimanded the next morning for prompting viewers to look elsewhere for their weather Armageddon fix. News director to temperature taker: “Don’t worry about getting it right, dummy. Strip down to your shirtsleeves and sound the alarm just like everyone else. Shit, even my wife turned the channel. Why? Because she was bored! Try this again and you’re going to be doing the weather in Waxahachie. From a #%$&* street corner!!!”This brings us to a 1979 promo for former KDFW-TV (now known as Fox4) meteorologist Gary Basner. On the night of Feb. 5th -- during the 10 p.m. newscast and in a ratings “sweeps” period no less -- he actually had the temerity to cold-shoulder the chances of a North Texas snowstorm. A resultant 30-second spot began like this: “We hate to say we told you so, but we think Channel 4’s Gary Basner deserves a pat on the back.”Why? Because he “stood alone” while “everyone else in town was predicting an overnight snowstorm.” As evidence, the promo showed a newspaper clipping with the headline, “A Flaky Forecast” of one to three inches of snow. That didn’t happen.In contrast, “Gary knew we were in for some lousy weather. But his facts didn’t agree with the forecast others were passing on to the public. It’s nice to be right, especially when it’s something as important as the weather.”Here’s the long-ago spot, which now seems more dated than a Christmas season fruitcake factory.05/01/15 09:42 AMRound 1 of the NFL draft went the distance Thursday night.That meant three-and-a-half hours of breathless, beef-on-the-hoof coverage from ESPN and the NFL Network. Many viewers somehow resisted.Airing from 7 to 10: 30 p.m., the draft averaged 181,324 D-FW viewers on ESPN while NFL Net tacked on another 48,818. In the advertiser-prized 18-to-49 demographic, ESPN had 91,460 viewers and NFL Net, 34,692.The Dallas Cowboys’ pick, No. 27, came at 10 p.m. ESPN’s total viewers coverage peaked from 9:30 to 10 p.m., with 223,168. NFL Net’s high point came from 8:15 to 8:30 p.m., when 69,740 viewers tuned in.The draft fell far short of the audience for CBS’ 7 p.m. episode of The Big Bang Theory, which drew 453,310 total viewers and 173,459 in the 18-to-49 motherlode.ABC’s extended 7 to 9 p.m. episode of Grey’s Anatomy also outdrew that two-hour portion of the draft with 258,038 total viewers while tying the NFL with 116,691 in the 18-to-49 age range. The draft held the top spot among all TV attractions from 9 to 10:30 p.m.Here are Thursday’s local news derby numbers for the sixth weekday of the May “sweeps” ratings period.NBC5 had the most total viewers at 10 p.m., but Fox4 won among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).Fox4 swept both the 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. competitions.At 6 p.m., CBS11 had the most total viewers while Fox4, NBC5 and Gannett8 tied for first among 25-to-54-year-olds.YOU CAN SOON CALL HIM DR. JOHN -- After many years of studious work, veteran Gannett8 anchor John McCaa has earned his PhD. His “doctoral hooding” ceremony will be on May 13th at the University of Texas at Dallas. McCaa’s field of study is Humanities: History of Ideas.“What a grind, but happy I did it,” McCaa said in a message to unclebarky.com Thursday night. Bravo for him.
04/30/15 10:47 AMAmerican Idol’s ratings took a turn for the worse and nothing else really stood out either on a lukewarm night for TV watching during the first full week of the May “sweeps.”Airing in its usual 7 to 9 p.m. slot, the fading Fox singing competition averaged 223,168 D-FW viewers and 56,768 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Both are season-low marks in this viewing area.Idol was beaten from 8 to 8:30 p.m. in both ratings measurements by ABC’s Modern Family, which had Wednesday’s biggest haul of 18-to-49-year-olds. CBS’ 8 to 9 p.m. hour of Criminal Minds also outdrew Idol across the board.Idol won the 7 p.m. hour in total viewers while tying CBS’ competing Survivor among 18-to-49-year-olds. NBC’s Law & Order: SVU was the 9 p.m. winner in both ratings barometers.Here are the four-way local news derby results for the fifth weekday of the May sweeps.CBS11 nipped Gannett8 for the most total viewers at 10 p.m. but again fell to a distant fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming). Fox4 ran a comfortable first in that key measurement.NBC5 won at 6 a.m. in total viewers while the usual pacesetter, Fox4, fell to a third-place tie with CBS11. Fox4 rebounded by edging Gannett8 for the top spot with 25-to-54-year-olds. The other two stations ran close behind.CBS11 placed first in total viewers at 6 p.m. and tied NBC5 for the 25-to-54-year-old gold. The Peacock and Fox4 shared first place in total viewers at 5 p.m., with NBC5 alone atop the 25-to-54 heap.
04/29/15 11:49 AMDallas-based Fox4 has added Lori Brown to its reporting staff.She’ll arrive on June 15th from ABC affiliate WFTV-TV of Orlando, FL, where she’s been a general assignments reporter since Oct. 31, 2011.“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to return to my home state and be part of the unofficial fourth branch of government,” Brown said in a publicity release issued Wednesday. “I look forward to joining the great team of reporters at Fox4, and eating some good Texas-style barbecue.”Brown’s WFTV bio says she grew up in Austin, where at age 15 it dawned on her that she wanted to be a reporter. She’s a University of Southern California grad who also has worked at TV stations in Memphis, Santa Maria, CA and Torrance, CA.
Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., April 28) -- down go the Mavs while TNT plays winning hand over TXA2104/29/15 10:41 AMThe Dallas Mavericks drew their biggest playoff audience Tuesday night while at the same time drawing their last gasp against the Houston Rockets.The Rockets’ 103-94 home floor win, airing from 7:11 to 9:51 p.m., ended the first round playoff series in five games.TNT’s national presentation averaged 209,220 D-FW viewers and 116,691 in the advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-old demographic. The homegrown telecast on TXA21 had 146,454 total viewers and 100,922 in the 18-to-49 age range.Both outlets easily drew more than 50 percent of their audience from the 18-to-49 realm. That’s good news for pro basketball and the Mavericks. In contrast, the Dallas Cowboys dwarf all D-FW sports teams in both the total viewer and 18-to-49 measurement. But the Cowboys seldom draw more than half their viewership from the 18-to-49 demographic. Cable networks, whether TNT or ESPN, had more Mavericks playoff series viewers in four of the five games, with TXA21 finishing on top for the team’s lone win in Game 4.Mavs play-by-play announcer Mark Followill has contended in the past that many “casual” basketball fans are unaware that TXA21 is airing the first round games, as the station also did last season. I don’t buy that. But I do think Followill had a very strong announcing game Tuesday night while TNT had the lure of both Marv Albert and the always eventful halftime show with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaq and Kenny Smith. Halftimes are included in the game averages. Then again, TXA21 outdrew TNT for Sunday night’s Game 4 while trailing ESPN for Games 1 and 3. TNT had more viewers than TXA21 for Game 2. OK, enough.In non-Mavericks prime-time results, NBC’s The Voice and CBS’ NCIS had a rousing slugfest from 7 to 8 p.m. in the total viewers measurement. The Voice barely prevailed by a score 397,518 viewers to 369,622 while as usual winning decisively among 18-to-49-year-olds.ABC’s Dancing with the Stars 10th anniversary special came up third in total viewers at 7 p.m. with 202,246 but fell to fourth with 18-to-49-year-olds behind The Voice, NCIS and Fox’s Hell’s KitchenHere are Tuesday’s local news derby results for the fourth weekday of the May ratings “sweeps.”Gannett8 swept the 10 p.m. competitions in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (main advertiser target audience for news programming).Fox4 as usual ran the table at 6 a.m. while Gannett8 found itself at the opposite end of the ratings teeter totter with a pair of fourth place finishes.NBC5 entered the winner’s circle with twin wins at 5 p.m. CBS11 chimed in with the most total viewers at 6 p.m., but Fox4 narrowly ran first with 25-to-54-year-olds.As it turned out, there was no tomorrow either. Dombeck thought her last day would be on Tuesday, April 28th. But after an outpouring of support for her on both Twitter and her Facebook page, Dombeck said CBS11 management contacted her attorney and said there’d be no need for her to come in on that day after all. So that’s that. in March of 2013 before getting appreciably more air time after Drolen left. The station’s early morning team is still a work in progress, with former longtime P.M. co-anchor Karen Borta and meteorologist Scott Padgett the only current “permanent” members.