Big D, Big Stars, Small Station

Who’s who of Dallas TV biz populates tiny KTXD’s new show

Like Supermodels at a dive bar, Dallas television
royalty of yore is turning up at a modest independent
station in Addison, Texas, to be part of a promising,
if raw, concept on KTXD
Dallas. The Texas Daily, which
debuted Oct. 1, brings together
the boldface names of Dallas
TV history, such as longtime
anchors Troy Dungan and Tracy
Rowlett, for a freewheeling current
events commentary show
aimed at an older audience.

Execution and ratings for
week one leave ample room for
improvement. Dallas TV critic
Ed Bark said the first few shows
were stop-and-start affairs, rife
with technical glitches, that
tallied hash marks—as in, no
measurable ratings—in total
viewers and people 50-plus for the first three days.

Stuart Boslow, The Texas Daily managing editor, advises
patience. “We knew it would take time to get traction,”
he said after three shows had wrapped. “We knew ratings
would not be astronomical out of the box, but we’re not
disappointed by any means.”

London Broadcasting acquired KTXD in January, where
it debuted Me-TV programming a month later. London is
bullish on Texas acquisitions; at the end of September, it
acquired a batch of stations in Abilene and San Angelo and
said the pickup will give it 40% of Texas households.

One of the architects of The Texas Daily is London executive
VP/COO Phil Hurley. A natural promoter, Hurley in 2007
hired a former WWE Smackdown diva to anchor the news at
KYTX Tyler. Hurley said he has not seen this degree of buzz
around a launch before. “The initial excitement is far above
any of the others I’ve been part of,” he said. “I am extremely
pleased with how it’s gone this week.”

Bark, the former Dallas Morning
TV critic who now writes
for, was less impressed
by the first episode. In a
lengthy review, he noted technical
hiccups, awkward talent interaction
and weather and sports
briefs ranging between “annoying”
and “infuriating.”

“This obviously is a fluid work
in progress,” Bark added. “And
there’s ample work to be done.”

Jeff Brady, former WFAA anchor,
hosts the show, which features a revolving
cast of a dozen anchors, a
few appearing each day to discuss
politics and local news. Brady
said he’s “a kid in a candy store” amid the high-wattage talent.

Iola Johnson, a Dallas news icon and WFAA alum, made
her Texas Daily debut Oct. 3. She said it’s a shock to the system
to scrap the objectivity she practiced for decades. “Now
I’m free to give my opinion and state what I think and feel,”
Johnson said. “It’s a freeing feeling.”

Hurley hopes to simulcast the show on the subchannels
of other London stations. While Bark said the ratings, particularly
among viewers 50-plus, have to grow for it to stay
afloat, he at least likes the concept. “If it did catch on, I think
you’d see it replicated in other markets,” Bark said. “Every
market has an abundance of these anchors.”

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