CHANNEL 5: RATINGS WHORES SCORE RATINGS

Last night Channel 5 gave me the hopping fantods. Mike Snyder, Jane McGarry, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Here’s why:

I’m watching The Medium with My Fair Lady, when Jane delivers the 10 o’clock tease: “Coming up, the shocking e-mail about a woman attacked in Garland and stabbed with a needle. We have the real story. Stay tuned.” Or, you know, words to that effect.

I’m teased. I’m staying tuned (as much as I’d like to switch over and watch me some football).

The newscast starts. Their lead story is a “shopping alert”–that’s what they call it, a “shopping alert”–about a horrible crime that every shopper needs to know about. Jane says in her best level-purple-alert voice, “Thieves need only a moment to steal everything you hold dear.” EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR. And they NEED ONLY A MOMENT to do it. I’m so panicked that I’m about to wet my pants. I’m frothing at the mouth. I’m double-checking the locks on the doors and getting the baseball bat.

The story is about a purse that was stolen at a local store. They have security camera video of the crime. That’s it.

Four million people live in North Texas. We’re the seventh-largest media market in the country. Important things happen here. Channel 5’s lead story is about a stolen purse.

(As an aside: I bet Jane McGarry makes $700,000 a year.)

Okay, but I’ve got to know about the woman who was attacked in Garland with a needle. THAT’S important. I wait through several other stories about grass fires. Jane teases to the needle-attack story again before a commercial break.

We’re back. Finally, time for the story. I’ve been waiting now nearly 20 minutes, since way back during The Medium (good episode last night, by the way). A voiceover delivers a dramatic reading of an e-mail that has been circulating, accompanied by ominous music. A woman was shopping at a Wal-Mart in Garland. In the parking lot, she was attacked by a man with a needle. She collapsed. And here’s what you need to know: the e-mail is erroneous.

That’s it. Bogus e-mail. Cops say it ain’t true. No attack. So the big tease was literally about nothing.

Liars! Pettifoggers! Flimflammers! RATINGS WHORES! “Coming up at 10, I will break my wedding vows with Newy Scruggs and give my soul to Satan. I’ll do anything. Just promise to watch.”

Ugh. I felt so cheated.

But it looks like whoring works. This sweeps period ends tomorrow. Channel 5 figures to take it. Just as interesting, though, Channel 8 is a distant third. Note to John McCaa and Gloria Campos: time to get on your knees, guys.

–Last night’s 10 p.m. ratings–
Channel 4: 5.5
Channel 5: 12.7
Channel 8: 16.4 (but that’s football, not news)
Channel 11: 10.1

–Rolling average for sweeps period–
Channel 4: 4.4
Channel 5: 9.8
Channel 8: 7.1
Channel 11: 9.2

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