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Bills don't get Monday Night Football game

By Alan Pergament

A website glitch by the National Football League briefly gave Buffalo Bills fans an early look at the 2014 schedule and there are no Monday Night Football games on it.

The only prime time appearance for the Bills is a Thursday night game at Miami on Nov. 13 on The NFL Network and the local broadcast channel that wins the bid to simulcast it.

The Green Bay game, which had been rumored to be on MNF, wil be played at 1 p.m. Dec 14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

All the Bills games except the Thursday night game and two road games on the West Coast will be played at 1 p.m.

The schedule was taken off and other NFL team websites shortly after it was discovered but not before it was available for fans to see.

The Bills open the season at Chicago on Sept. 7 and return for their home opener against Miami on Sept. 14. They also have a Sept. 21 home date with San Diego.

The rumored Thanksgiving game at Detroit also didn't materialize. The Bills visit Detroit on Oct.5.

The schedule was returned to the website as originally scheduled at 8 p.m.

Fans might be confused by a new aspect of the TV schedule. Bills road games at Chicago and Detroit would be on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate, in years past. They are on Fox this season as part of a new feature called "crossover games." Fox is carrying some games featuring AFC teams on the road and CBS is carrying some games featuring NFC teams on the road. 

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Miller-Kane series helps keep Buffalo at top of NHL ratings

By Alan Pergament

Inquiring minds want to know: How much is Western New York rooting for Ryan Miller now that he is in goal for the St. Louis Blues in the playoffs against South Buffalo’s Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks?

The primary evidence -- television ratings -- indicates WNYers are more interested in the Blues-Blackhawks series than any other Stanley Cup first-round series.

But we're not talking huge numbers for the best market in the country for televised hockey outside of a few playoff cities.

Here's the results through Monday' night's games: According to NBC, the Buffalo market is No. 1 for cable coverage on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and CNBC with a 1.7 household rating average for first-round games blacked out in the participating teams' home markets. Thanks largely to the Miller-Kane series, that's 42 percent higher than Buffalo averaged for the same period in 2013.

"Sharknado 2" update is as funny as the first movie

By Alan Pergament

Here's an update on whether the scenes filmed almost two weeks ago at Lafayette Square with extras wielding chain saws, shovels and axes were for "Sharknado 2:" The Second Coming."

A spokesperson for The Aslyum, the production company that shot the original campy success and is shooting the sequel, said Thursday that even the company doesn't know the answer yet for sure.

"It could be for Sharknado 2, it might not be," she explained from Los Angeles, where the original was set.

However, she confirmed one thing: As some of the extras in the scenes suspected, the director of the scenes shot in downtown Buffalo and at the Lockport Cave Attraction definitely was Anthony Ferrante, who directed "Sharknado" and is directing the sequel. According to a source, he was here incognito as "Carl." Ferrnate's involvement led to speculation from extras here that they were filming "Sharknado 2." In addition, Buffalo was a stand-in for New York City, where "Sharknado 2" is set.

However, the spokesperson said that Ferrante is involved in several projects for The Asylum. In addition, the company has done other programs involving sharks, including "Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octupus." (I kid you not.) And there there is the classic "Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark." (I'm not making this up.)

She added that the footage here could be what are referred to "as plates of scenes" that can be inserted into multiple movies in post-production. "They create a lbrary of stock shots," she said. 

"Sharknado 2" currently is in post-production so it won't be long before The Asylum decides if any scenes shot here will make the film that premieres July 30 on Syfy.

"I don't think they even know the answer yet," the spokesperson concluded.

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End of "Parenthood" would be a crying shame

By Alan Pergament

In the age of the DVR and On Demand, NBC's "Parenthood" is one of only three series that I watch live and don't time shift.

That's why the first thing I did this morning was to see if NBC announced that the episode at 10 tonight on Channel 2 is the season finale or the series finale.

There was no news about the ratings-challenged series and that's good news.

NBC has been promoting the episode only as the "finale," which made me concerned that the story of the Bravermans was going to end after five seasons.

It would be a crying shame.

"Mad Men," "Draft Day" are wise selections

By Alan Pergament

Sometimes I am asked more about why I chose not to write about things rather than what I have written about.

Take the case of Sunday's seventh season premiere of "Mad Men."

I tweeted that I had seen it before it aired, which had some people wondering why I didn't review it.

There were a couple of reasons why. It had been a pretty busy week. Something newsy came up every day I planned to review it.

In addition, I was a little concerned about accidentally violating the ground rules that AMC gave critics who were allowed to preview the episode.

Robitaille really isn't retiring, plans to continue on radio

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo Sabres analyst Mike Robitaille said a tearful goodbye at the end of his final MSG post-game show Sunday night.

But the 66-year-old Robitaille really isn't retiring in the traditional sense.

He might even be on his regular WGR talk show hour, "Roby Radio," at 8 Wednesday morning.

His tears Sunday night seemed to surprise him, though in retrospect they were totally understandable.

"I was signed by the New York Rangers when I was 14," said Robitaille. "When your whole life is hockey, it is not an easy thing to give up."

His tears might have confused some viewers into thinking Robitaille was giving up all his media ventures instead of just his regular MSG role.

In a telephone interview Monday night, Robitaille said he expects to do his WGR show for four or five Wednesdays during the National Hockey League playoffs, plans to be back on WGR at least for his hour show in the fall and might also appear on MSG next season on an emergency fill-in basis.

"This is a semi-retirement," said Robitaille. "I'll just have enough to do on TV to have a parking pass."

A semi-serious attempt to honor BEMA winners

By Alan Pergament

For some reason, I didn't get a release over the weekend about the winners of the Third Annual Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards (BEMAs) that were presented Friday night.

That could be because I've likened the awards to both the People's Choice Awards and to youth athletics when just about everyone gets a trophy just for participating.

Or it could be because my email is just about always full and the release couldn't make it to my mail box.

In any event, I was still able to see who won via Twitter, where all the winners were congratulated or tweeting about their wins. I hear everyone had a very good time.

And I'll try to write about the BEMAs seriously without taking too many cracks, but it is really, really hard to do.

Clearing up the Buffalo roots of "Idol" finalist

By Alan Pergament

I received the nicest correction I've ever gotten Thursday.

It came from an aunt of "American Idol" finalist Jena Irene Asciutto.

She wasn't correcting me as much as she was correcting a relative.

Linda Asciutto, who was born and raised in South Detroit, thanked me for "the nice article" Wednesday on her 17-year-old niece from Detroit.

However, she added she wanted to clear up some things about Jena's Buffalo roots given to me by a Western New York relative who she knew "means very well and is very proud of Jena's accomplishments."

Here's what Linda Asciutto wrote:

"Jena's grandfather (my father) was not Andrew, rather was Gandolf (named after his grandfather Gandolfo). My grandfather was indeed Andrea, who did hail from Buffalo. However, my dad (Jena's   grandfather) was born and raised in Detroit, not Buffalo, and my mother was in fact, Irene. Jena's       middle name was given in honor of my mother. In addition to many of the original Asciutto descendants in Buffalo, offspring are aplenty in the Detroit area as well.

"We appreciate our cousins and other relatives from Buffalo; think highly of our Buffalo roots and the time you took to write your article. No need to make any correction publicly; I just wanted to let you know."


Linda Asciutto

I emailed her back that it was my duty as a journalist to make the corrections.

I'm sure all the Asciuttos in Detroit and in Buffalo were rooting for Jena Irene Thursday night on the Fox results show when she learned her magical "Idol" ride will continue.

She now is one of the seven remaining finalists.

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Was that really "Sharknado 2" filming here?

By Alan Pergament

I ran into the filming of a movie on Lafayette Square Sunday morning that I was told had the tentative title of "Alligator Apocalypse" and was produced by the same company behind last summer's campy Syfy channel and social media hit "Sharknado." 

Extras were supposedly battling imaginary alligators last weekend at the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets with chain saws, axes, pitchforks and shovels as Buffalo stood in for New York City, where the film is set.

But was that title purposely misleading by The Asylum, which is the film's production company?

Some suspicious extras believe they were really involved in the sequel, "Sharknado 2: The Second Coming," that is set in New York City.

Choice of Colbert to succeed Letterman makes perfect sense

By Alan Pergament

After further review, CBS' announcement this afternoon that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on "The Late Show" makes perfect sense.

It certainly makes more sense than Colbert's fictional conservative talk show host on "The Colbert Report" often makes.

When Letterman announced a week ago that he planned to retire in about a year, my instant pick to replace him was Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" -- if he wanted the job.

I would like to know if Stewart wanted it or was ever offered it, but I doubt we'll find out any time soon.

CBS is going with Colbert, whose Comedy Central talk show "The Colbert Report" is a spinoff of "The Daily Show" and revolves around a fictional conservative talk show host who started on Stewart's show.

There are several reasons why naming Colbert as Letterman's successor makes sense.

* I don't think age is one of them. He turns 50 next month, so he is only slightly younger than Stewart, who turns 52 in November. He will be competing with NBC's 39-year-old Jimmy Fallon or ABC's 46-year-old Jimmy Kimmel.

* Colbert's hiring is less of a risk than if CBS had gone with Neil Patrick Harris, who has considerable variety skills but was unknown as an interviewer.

* Colbert wanted the job so badly that the Bill Carter, an excellent New York Times reporter, said Colbert even had his Comedy Central contracts timed to run out when Letterman's contracts with CBS ended. You got the sense from Carter's reports that Colbert would have ended changed his name to Jimmy just to get the job.

* He is comfortable doing sketches, something that Fallon and Kimmel have gotten praise for and that attract younger viewers when they land on YouTube and social networks. Colbert's Christmas special on Comedy Central a while ago illustrated his sketch skills. 

* And although his fictional conservative talk show actually pokes fun at conservatives, Colbert isn't as in-your-face liberal as Stewart frequently can be. I doubt CBS would want to deal again with more loud claims about how biased it is.

While Stewart directly debates Fox's Bill O'Reilly and other conservatives in different ways than the way he just skewers them on his show, Colbert generally makes fun of them through his character and that might seem less offensive to sensitive conservatives. They key words are "might seem."

It is hard to say how Colbert's move to "The Late Show " will play in Western New York.

Neither "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" does very well playing opposite the 11 p.m. news and the 11:35 p.m. late night network shows here. I'm told that, on a good night, Stewart's show gets a 1 rating and Colbert's show slightly less than that.

However, Comedy Central plays them three other times the next day, and the shows are also available On Demand, so it's difficult to tell how well they do here overall.

I initially assumed that Colbert planned to continue to play a fake conservative host when he takes over "The Late Show." However, Carter has reported that Colbert plans to be himself.

It is hard to know how that will play. However, the fake conservative host is an acquired taste and it might have taken some time for new viewers to acquire it.

Buffalo viewers got a hint about what the "real" Colbert would be like six years ago when he spoke at the University at Buffalo.

Carter's report lead me to refer to a 2008 interview that I did with Colbert before he came to UB. Here's what I wrote back then:

Of course, the big question is which Stephen Colbert will be here -- the calm one on the telephone or the loud, animated, playful conservative character he plays on basic cable?

"[I'll be] pretty much like I'm talking to you right now," he said. "The weird thing about my character, even on the show, is sometimes I say what I mean. It doesn't matter to me that the audience doesn't know when that is.

"When I do a show live, it is far less of the character... It is an odd mix. People who invite me to speak ... my name is Stephen Colbert and the character's name is Stephen Colbert and sometimes I'm not really sure who they've invited. So I do a little bit of both."

My initial thought is Colbert is clever enough to make it work no matter who he is.

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Shaking my head over Fallon, MNF here

By Alan Pergament

Several months ago, I got a message on social media that someone was SMH over a remark I either made or quoted.

I was shaking my head over what the acronym stood for and asked some equally clueless members of the faculty at a local college about it when a student walked by and said it means "shaking my head."

It is used to underscore how surprising, stupid or silly things are.

I've been SMH over a few things in TV locally lately.

I can't understand what's going on in late night here.

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