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Canadian Alternative for CBS Shows Is Over

If you're one of the few Time Warner Cable subscribers who discovered some CBS prime time series like "CSI: Miami" were being carried on cable through a Canadian affiliate, I hope you enjoyed it.

That's because the practice -- which allowed local cable viewers to watch CBS shows despite the feud between TWC and Channel 4's owner, LIN TV, -- has ended.

TWC spokesman Robin Wolfgang and Channel 4 General Manager Chris Musial confirmed that the cable company has to blackout the Canadian station to comply with non-duplication regulations even though CBS affillate WIVB-TV is not carried on TWC.

A Channel 4 researcher said today that not enough viewers watched "CSI: Miami" Monday on CFTO-TV in Toronto via cable to register a rating.

-- Alan Pergament


WIVB-TV Takes a Rating Hit on Bills Game, News

How much did the dispute between Time Warner Cable and LIN TV hurt viewership for the Buffalo Bills 41-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate?

The game averaged about a 20.4 rating Sunday, which is most likely slightly more than half of what it would have gotten if it had been carried on cable and not just over-the-air, on satellite, via antennas and on Verizon's new FiOS service.

The drop was predictable since TWC services more than 50 percent of area households.

Of course, Nielsen doesn't count viewerships in bars. And all the additional people watching at the houses of friends with alternative ways of getting the game didn't count, either.

Channel 4's local news -- which normally is No. 1 -- took a big hit Friday night, too. Its 6 p.m. news averaged a 4.8 rating, placing it a poor third to first place Channel 2 (10.5) and second place Channel 7 (6.9).

At 11 p.m. Channel 4 also finished a weak third, averaging a 4.1 to Channel 2's 8.9 and Channel 7's 7.3.

CBS' prime time programming took on similar hits, though "Ghost Whisperer" managed to win its 8 p.m. Friday time period with a 4.7 rating.

One thing is clear. The longer this goes on, the more likely that Channel 4's top-rated newscast will be damaged.

-- Alan Pergament

Time Warner vs. Channel 4's LIN Television

Viewers have been paying for cable television service for decades, to get a better picture, more stations, premium channels and, more recently, live-time recording, high definition and shows on demand.

The question is, is now also the time for our longtime major networks and local channels to join the ranks of premium content?

LIN television,  owner locally of CBS affiliate Channel 4 and Channel 23, along with other stations around the country, wants Time Warner to start paying for the privilege of carrying its signal to its thousands of customers.

Time Warner contends that the signal should be free for its customers, as it is for anyone who doesn't have cable.

Caught in the middle: Viewers who enjoy the CBS lineup of cops, crime and reality shows, and Western New York's legions of Buffalo Bills fans who at long last have a season to shout about  and who might not be able to see this week's game against the Arizona Cardinals.

It's hard to find a winner here.

Ifill Fulfills Her Mission in Debate

And the clear winner in Thursday' night's vice presidential debate was -- Gwen Ifill, the moderator.

Ifill was barely mentioned in the post-mortems of the debate between Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

And when you're the moderator, there can't be much better praise than that.

Ifill, who has said she spent her "formulative years" through the fourth grade in Buffalo (her father was a minister here), made irrelevant all the pre-debate speculation from conservatives about whether she could be impartial because she is writing a book that will include material on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Much of the post-debate analysis pretty much went to form Thursday. Republican strategists -- notably CNN's Ed Rollins -- were thrilled about Gov. Palin's ability to exceed expectations. Rollins predicted that Gov. Palin would win the debate and gave her such high marks during CNN's point system that it almost became laughable. Rollins' scorecard gave Gov. Palin 48 points to 22 for Sen. Biden. He was the only one on six CNN scorecards to have her ahead on points and he gave her at least 24 points more than anyone else did.

Predictably, CNN's Democratic strategists praised Sen. Biden's performance and gave him a significant point victory, though the highest-point total he received was 37.

There was much praise for Gov. Palin from analysts on all the networks. But the first polls gave Sen. Biden a significant advantage. A CNN poll of viewers watching the debate scored it 51 percent to 36 percent for Sen. Biden. A CBS poll of uncommitted voters scored it 46 percent to 21 percent for Sen. Biden, with 33 percent calling it a tie.

-- Alan Pergament   


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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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