Back in January, we reported on The Texas Daily , KTXD/Channel 47’s talk show featuring veteran DFW broadcasters chatting about current events, letting them be themselves instead of putting on “anchor” personas.
The story led off with an anecdote about Troy Dungan, “"This is fun!" said Dungan, best-known for his more than three decades as WFAA/Channel 8’s chief weather anchor. "This is much more fun than the real job used to be."
It was also relaxed, informal and old-school -- the rare TV program that aims for an audience older than the 25-54 demographic, using a rotating crew of more than a dozen DFW TV vets, including Tracy Rowlett, arguably thce show’s most familiar face, having worked at Channel 8 from 1974 to 1999, when he made a highly publicized switch to KTVT/Channel 11, where he stayed till 2008.
“"This whole idea that people over 50 are forgotten is a truth in this business," Rowlett said in the original stoiry. "I had a news director tell me once, 'I just don't give a damn about people over 50. We're not shooting for that audience.' And that's not the point of view from this place."
But all things have their limits, and Rowlett told local-TV blogger Ed Bark this week that he has left the show, unable to come to terms with London Broadcasting over money issues: Rowlett wanted more, especially in light of London Broadcasting’s decision to syndicate the 6 p.m. weeknight show in a half-dozen other Texas markets, and didn’t get it, he told Bark. His last day on-air was Tuesday.
The show hasn’t moved the ratings meter much since its debut last fall, and Rowlett said London cited that as a reason that it couldn’t pay him more. “London executive vice president and chief operating officer Phil Hurley said he had no comment on Rowlett’s decision other than a ‘thanks to Tracy and he can come back and join us anytime’,” Bark wrote. Rowlett added that the parting, which took place the day his letter of agreement expired, was amicable.
Later, Dungan -- a longtime friend of Rowlett’s who initially told Bark he hadn’t made up his mind about leaving -- made up his mind and left, for reasons similar to Rowlett’s. His last day was also Tuesday. At this writing, there mini-bios are still listed among the contributors on the Texas Daily website.
In our January story, Rowlett and Dungan, both in their 70s, said they had initially been reluctant to return to TV after several years of retirement. It was their friendship the led them to join the show.
“I told 'em 'no' three times," Rowlett said of London’s attempts to woo him for the show. "Frankly, it wasn't till Troy and I had dinner one night and got to talking about it, and we saw the fun in the two of us being able to come back, because we're very close friends and always have been and we share a similar sense of humor and we've always been able to play off each other.”
Rowlett -- who broke the news of President Kennedy’s assassination to people in the Middle East when he worked for Armed Forces Radio and Television at Wheelus Air Base in Tripoli, Libya -- is still scheduled to host KTXD’s coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination on Nov. 22, Bark reports, with John Sparks (another longtime friend and Texas Daily contributor) producing. Hurley told Bark he is working on some additions to the show, which is scheduled to go into syndication Oct. 7 along with KTXD’s female-oriented show The Broadcast.