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Political Candor on "60 Minutes"

"60 Minutes," which has been on somewhat of a ratings roll, has a must-see installment for political junkies this Sunday.

According to a CBS release, the revelations from the book about the 2008 presidential election, "Game Change," by political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's will be addressed by the authors and Steve Schmidt, John McCain's former chief campaign advisor. Anderson Cooper does the interviews.

Among the details in the CBS release, President-elect Obama had to convince Hillary Clinton to become secretary of state despite her fears that taking the job could become a "circus" because of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

Schmidt, meanwhile, tells "60 Minutes" that he was told by a campaign staffer that Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin was doing so poorly in her preparations for a debate with Democratic candidate Joe Biden, that "the debate was going to be a debacle of historic and epic proportions."

Amusingly, the McCain camp hatched a plan to stop Palin from her tendency to refer to Biden as "O'Biden." They advised here to say, "Can I call you Joe?"

Of course, she did that during a memorable debate moment. However, she also threw in one O'Biden. However, Schmidt added she "more than held her own" in the debate.

It has long been my theory that Palin's popularity with her base might even suffer once insiders like Schmidt start telling campaign stories. This will be one of the early tests of that theory.

-- Alan Pergament 

Will NBC Stubbornly Stick to Late Night Game Plan?

An emailer asked recently when is NBC going to come to its senses and put Jay Leno back at 11:30 p.m. and end the"Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" disaster.

It is hard to say. NBC affiliates, like Channel 2 in Buffalo, are hurting because Leno's nightly 10 p.m. program has been a ratings disaster leading into the 11 p.m. news. And the local news ratings in turn hurt O'Brien's ratings.

According to ABC, "Nightline" actually finished in second place in the fourth quarter behind CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman." A release said ratings for "Nightline" grew by 1 percent in total viewers from a year ago, while "Tonight" slipped 49 percent and posted its lowest total viewer and adult 25-54 deliveries in at least 17 years.

Ouch.

The low ratings for Leno and O'Brien have prompted speculation that NBC has considered moving Leno from 10 p.m. to late night after its Vancouver Olympics coverage in February.

However, it is only speculation. And network executives said before the fall season began that Leno's show was going to get a full season before any decision was made about whether it would return.

Network executives don't like to admit mistakes so there is no telling what NBC is going to do. But it would be an Olympic-sized mistake to do nothing come fall.

-- Alan Pergament

Time Warner Raising Rates

Another year, another cable rate increase.

But you probably figured that was coming after reading about all the negotiations Time Warner Cable has been involved in with its program suppliers.

Still, you practically need to be an accountant to know how much your TWC bill is going to rise on Feb. 1.

The cable company announced its rate increase via a glossy mailing to subscribers that also highlighted the advances in its services in 2009.

The amount your bill will increase depends on the services you have.

But here's a sampling of the monthly increases in Amherst (the rates vary by location): The broadcast tier goes up $1; the cable tier is up $4.36; the standard cable tier is $5.36; Road Runner Lite goes up $3; HBO is up $1 and the DVR is up $2

The packages that TWC offers can lead to some savings but most of the rates are going up. The All the Best package, which combines many services. is going up $8.67 a month.

A few things have rate decreases. The cost of a digital converter goes down nine cents and the Surf N Call package goes down $1.

I suspect most subscribers won't be able to figure out how much their bills are rising until they get the first new one in the February billing statement.

-- 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.

@StillTalkinTV | apergament@buffnews.com

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