Channel 4: It's Foxy!

On his recently launched blog, former Dallas Morning News TV critic Ed Bark takes "an up-close look at a largely unreported ratings phenomenon in D/FW," which is how, on an almost daily basis, KDFW-Channel 4's Good Day "whips" in the ratings the national networks' morning shows. So, take that Today, Good Morning America and The Early Show. And this is from the ratings period dating back to before Fox4 changed the Good Day set on September 21; guess Dallas just loves it some Megan Henderson and Tim Ryan--even though The Early Show on CBS still has some local ties, with former Channel 4 and Channel 8 anchor Rene Syler still there exactly four years after her network promotion. Writes Uncle Barky:

"Friday's numbers were typical, with Good Day again winning handily in both total homes and the key newscast target audience of 25-to-54-year-olds. Note that each Nielsen rating point equals 23,800 homes and 28,270 viewers aged 25-to-54. And from now on, we're going to do the math for you. Here's a snapshot:

Homes Good Day -- 97,580 Good Morning America (ABC) -- 85,680 Today (NBC) -- 69,020 The Early Show (CBS) -- 35,700"

And you had better enjoy Good Day now if you got Time Warner Cable. The cable giant that swallowed Comcast is threatening pull KDFW, its high-definition counterpart and KDFI-Channel 27 from its roster of local stations over a contract dispute. According to Gary Underwood, director of communications for Time Warner Cable's North Texas Division, "We're negotiating a new agreement with all of those Fox owned-and-operated stations," meaning affiliates the mothership actually controls. "We have to notify customers if something were to happen and it were to be removed." Indeed, the Federal Communications Commission says that cable companies have to give viewers a 30-day heads-up if there's even a remote chance a channel goes adios; hence, the warning crawl airing on such channels as The Weather Channel. Still, Underwood says, "We don't anticipate the channel going away."

This has nothing to do with the fact Fox Broadcasting Company is looking to renegotiate its deals with some of the major cable companies; there was an Associated Press story last week in which it was reported that Fox News Channel wants the cable carriers to pay it $1 per subscriber, even though CNN only costs carriers 50 cents. As Underwood says, there's no chance of that happening locally, as Time Warner has a long-term agreement with Fox's cable operations, which are entirely separate from the affiliates and O&Os. And an e-mail circulating through KDFW-Channel 4 tells staffers there, "We don't expect that in the end, the stations will be dropped." Stay tuned, if you can. Meanwhile, I do love my DirecTV. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky