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"Saturday Night Live" Isn't Next

Someone at Channel 2 should tell weekend anchor Ron Plants that "Saturday Night Live" has taken a holiday during NBC's coverage of the Vancouver Olympics.

On two Saturdays in a row, Plants has closed the late Saturday night newscast by saying "'Saturday Night Live'  is next.

Then Channel 2 has switched to NBC's late-night Olympics coverage.

The repeated mistake has almost been as funny as anything on "SNL" this year.

-- Alan Pergament  

Channel 2 has "Daybreak" Change on Sunday

Channel 2's "Daybreak" will have a different look Sunday morning.

Marissa Bailey, who had been the anchor, is becoming a nightside reporter on weekdays. She also is   co-anchoring with Scott Levin on the late news this week while Maryalice Demler has a few weeks off.

Jodi Johnston is co-anchoring the 6 p.m. news and Pete Gallivan is anchoring at 5:30 p.m. while Demler is off.

Bailey's replacement on Sunday is Josh Boose, who also is a nightside reporter

Jim Toellner, Channel 2's general manager, said that Boose requested an anchor opportunity and that Bailey's "first love is reporting."

-- Alan Pergament 

Tiger Gets Very Good Instant Reviews

When Tiger Woods talks, he gets the presidential treatment from networks.

Channel 2, Channel 4 and Channel 7 -- the three network affiliates -- all carried his apology statement today along with several cable channels.

While some people questioned why Woods couldn't have used all the time he had on his hands to memorize his statement rather than read it, the first reviews from analysts were pretty positive.

ABC's George Stephanopoulos called Woods' statement "one of the most remarkable public apologies ever by a public figure."

"He left nothing on the table," he added.

"He went much further than people thought he would," added ABC's Robin Roberts.

On ESPN, Rick Reilly was even more positive.

"I thought it was excellent," said Reilly. "It was from the heart. It sounded like he didn't have a lot of help and almost sounded like he wrote a lot of it. It was a Tiger I've never seen before. Really well done... He really accomplished something today... He seems very sincere about changing his life."

On CBS, golf analyst David Feherty said it was the first time that Woods has made himself vulnerable.

"Maybe he'll come back and we'll know Tiger Woods better," said Feherty.

Lauren Bloom, the author of "The Art of the Apology," also was impressed and gave Woods a grade of A minus.

"I thought he did a really good job," she said on one of the ESPN channels. "I believe him. I think he was sincere."

Bloom added that she would have given Woods an A plus if he hadn't angrily criticized the media at one point.

It makes you wonder if many members of the criticized media will grade Woods' performance as well as the TV analysts did today.

-- Alan Pergament

American Olympians Top Would-Be Idols

NBC Olympic host Bob Costas called Wednesday night's six-medal performance by the American Olympic team a "historic night."

The gold medal wins by skiier Lindsey Vonn, snowboarder Shaun White and speedskater Shani Davis propelled local NBC affiliate Channel 2 to its highest-ratings since the Vancouver opening ceremonies.

The silver medal won by skier Julia Mancuso and the bronze medals won by speedskater Chad Hedrick and snowboarder Scotty Lago also helped Channel 2 average a 17.3 rating (NBC had a 19.3 in the 55 metered markets nationally).

Channel 2 had the same 17.3 rating opposite the hour in which Fox's "American Idol" announced the rest of the final field of 24. "Idol" averaged an 11.7 on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, slightly below the 12.3 that "Idol" had in the metered markets. (NBC had a 19.8 rating in the metered markets for the hour opposite "Idol").

The 17.3 rating and the win over "Idol" -- which beat the Olympics the night before -- is impressive. But it is only what Channel 2 estimated it would average in prime time throughout the games.

It also could be as good as it gets for Channel 2 since it will be difficult to get another night as historic as Wednesday.

Still, Wednesday's performance could give NBC some much-needed momentum going into tonight's men's figure skating final, which features American Evan Lysacek.

-- Alan Pergament


Canadian TV Is Skiers' Paradise

Ah, Canadian television, glorious and free to local viewers with a strong antenna.

This afternoon, CFTO, the CTV affiliate in Toronto, carried the men's downhill race live.

At this writing with the Top 30 skiers having raced, United States skier Bode Miller was in bronze medal position behind a Swiss skier, Didier Defago, and a Norwegian skier, Aksel Lund Svindal.

NBC, carried locally by Channel 2, was airing a 10K women's cross country race and some features and undoubtedly saving the downhill race for prime time when more American viewers are available to see it.

So if you're home in the afternoon -- and Monday was a holiday -- CTV clearly is the choice for skiers to watch.

-- Alan Pergament 

Channel 2 News Picture Will Be Changing

Next week during the Olympics, Channel 2 News will be presented in a picture that will be of high definition quality even if the cameras it is using aren't in HD.

The process -- which saves the considerable expense of having HD cameras -- is referred to as  "upconverted HD."

A 4x3 picture is transferred to 16x9, which is the ratio for HD, explained Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner.

"People with HD sets can get the best picture available and utilize their entire screen," added Toellner. "We wanted to get it on during the Olympics."

YNN -- Time Warner's 24-hour news channel -- is also scheduled to have its newscasts up-converted shortly.

On another matter, Toellner said Lydia Dominick -- the former "CW 23 girl" -- will be doing traffic in the morning on "Daybreak" while regular traffic anchor Thea Tio recovers from a knee injury suffered while skiing.

Dominick may continue at Channel 2 in another part-time, on-air role after Tio returns, Toellner said.

-- Alan Pergament 

The Thrill at the Edge of the Abyss

The Grammies weren't just bad on Sunday night, they were thrillingly bad. It's been years since I've been so exhilirated by a TV show so awful and in such an exemplary way. Three entirely miscellaneous thoughts on the grandeur of the Grammy awfulness.
1. Phil Spector may be suffering behind bars in the joint for murdering Lana Clarkson but his triumph over televised American popular music in the year 2010 has been total. The personal "wall of sound" he concocted out of the sounds in his head has now become a corporate battlement keeping out almost everything individually virtuosic.  Almost everything we heard was over-produced visually and sonically to the point of absurdity. Except for Pink's hilariously wackoTrapeze show, it was the ultimate in corporate music --busy, busy, busy eclecticism by armies of singers, musicians, dancers and technicians laboring to create musical brands without "authors," not even producers, songwriters or singers.
2. The show was the most useful demagogic tool I've seen in years for those of a spiritual bent. Here's why: Any Sunday school teacher or member of the clergy or even simple schoolteacher is going to run up against an insurmountable problem trying to prove the existence of the human soul. It's an abstraction infinitely useful as metaphor but utterly without concrete illustration.
Unless, that is, you watched the Grammies. Anyone watching all three and a half hours had a perfect, concrete marathon illustration of what total soullessness looks like. Ergo, the human soul would be everything that was the opposite of what we saw on Sunday night.
3. What my learned colleague Jeff Miers termed the "mashups" in the evening's musical presentation would make a terrific parlor game i.e. think of the most surreally inane numbers to be announced at future Grammy shows.
For instance: "And now Paris Hilton and Yo-Yo Ma perform 'You'll Never Walk Alone.'
"Here's Regis Philbin to sing 'Mr. Tambourine Man' with Jack DeJohnette playing tambourine."
It's a game, so help me, anyone can play. Enjoy.
--Jeff Simon 

Grammys Hit High Note Here

Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift led the Grammy Awards on CBS Sunday to a huge local ratings increase from the 2009 show despite airing opposite the Pro Bowl on ESPN.

The Grammys had a 15.8 rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate. That is about 25 percent higher than the 12.0 rating the program averaged a year ago locally. 

The AFC's 41-34 victory over the NFC in the Pro Bowl had an 8.1 local rating on cable's ESPN. It was the first time the game was played before the Super Bowl. In 2009, the Pro Bowl averaged a 9.6 rating on NBC. But it is difficult to make fair comparisons since NBC is a broadcast network and the Pro Bowl was played Feb. 8, 2009 after the Super Bowl.

And nationally, the story was different. The Pro Bowl had a 7.1 rating and 12.3 million viewers, up 40 percent from a year ago. It was the most-watched All-Star game in cable history and the highest-rated and most-watched Pro Bowl since the 1999-2000 game carried by ABC, a broadcast network. 

-- Alan Pergament


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 |