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YNN Celebrates First Anniversary

YNN, Time Warner's 24-hour news channel, celebrates its first anniversary today.

Jim Aroune, the executive editor, has been happy with how things have gone since the channel premiered on March 25, 2009.

"It has gone well," he said. "In some ways, we've exceeded expectations in our ability to deliver a service that people have come to build into their habit."

Aroune has no ratings evidence to support that theory, but he said he and his staffers have received positive feedback from viewers in person and in emails.

A few of the channel's staffers have left during the first year, including anchor Jason Torreano of Lockport and reporter Katie Bogey of Jamestown.

YNN soon will be adding Channel 7 reporter Kevin Jolly to its staff. Jolly will be a weekend anchor and reporter. Bill Ransom, Channel 7's general manager, confirmed Jolly's departure to YNN.

"It was his choice," said Ransom. "He will be missed."

Ransom also confirmed the station has hired a new multi-media journalist or MMJ, Kendra Eaglin, who arrived from a station in Montana.

-- Alan Pergament

"Community" News From Channel 2

Channel 2 preempted an original episode of the NBC comedy "Community" tonight to carry a special that is important to the Western New York community.

The station ran a special on prostate cancer that is sponsored by Roswell Park. However, it plans to run "Community" at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Jim Toellner, Channel 2's general manager, said the station made the decision to run the special tonight when NBC had planned to run a repeat of "Community." The network changed its mind and decided to run an original episode. The move hasn't prompted community outrage, but Toellner said the NBC affiliate has received some calls from fans of "Community." One of the stars of the series, Ken Jeong, even called Channel 2's programming department after he got a tweet from a fan about the station's plans.

"It will be interesting to see if  'Community' does a better rating on Saturday because of the controversy," said Toellner.

NBC already has announced that "Community" will return for a second season.

-- Alan Pergament 

Elmore Sees Big East Run in Tournament

I was just about to fill in my brackets for the NCAA men's basketball tournament Wednesday night when CBS analyst Len Elmore called.

First, he did something that happens even less often than a Western New York team makes the tournament: He apologized for being unable to call before my deadline for a story in today's paper.

Then Elmore, who will be working all four games Friday at the HSBC Arena alongside play-by-play man Gus Johnson, told an entertaining story about his "competition" with that noted basketball expert, President Obama.

It seems that Elmore was doing a favor for the owner of a local establishment in Manhattan, the Blue Donkey, and going through his brackets when the President was on ESPN giving his picks. Patrons decided to turn the TV set off to hear Elmore.

"I said, 'you might have it wrong,'" cracked Elmore, who thought that the President's picks might be more worth listening to than his own.

"Last year, he got a lot right," noted Elmore.

In any event, the analyst expects some interesting games at the HSBC, with the Florida State-Gonzaga matchup especially "intriguing."

He believes it will come down to whether Gonzaga can cut down on its turnovers against "one of the top five defensive teams in the country"  and whether the offensively-challenged Florida State "can put the ball in the basket."

Elmore, who worked ACC and Big East during the season, thinks Syracuse fans concerned about meeting Vermont should relax a little bit and not be that worried that the 2005 upset by the Catamounts can be repeated.

"I don't think so," said Elmore. "The difference in talent is so vast between the two teams. I don't think Vermont has the athletes or the size."

The analyst is big on the Big East and sees five teams making it to the Sweet 16 -- Syracuse, West Virginia, Louisville, Georgetown and Villanova and all but Louisville making it to the Elite Eight.

And which Big East team does he expect to make it to the Final Four in Indianapolis?

"Believe it or not, the team most people have forgotten about is Villanova," said Elmore. "They have the experience and those guys play with intensity that is hard to match."

Believe it or not, President Obama hasn't forgotten the Wildcats. He also picked Villanova to make the Final Four.

-- Alan Pergament

Oscar Show Scores Here

Sunday night's telecast of the 82nd annual Academy Awards show was a local ratings success on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate. But many viewers went to bed rather than wait for the big awards to be given out.

The program averaged a 26.3 rating -- representing 26.3 percent of area households -- from 8:30 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. The rating dipped to a 24.0 from 11:30 p.m. to midnight, when all the big awards were given out and "The Hurt Locker" was named best picture. The Buffalo rating was in line with the 26.5 average overnight rating for 65 metered markets. 

By comparison, the 2009 telecast -- when "Slumdog Millionaire" was named best picture -- averaged a 20.7 rating locally. In other words, ratings were up about 25 percent locally from a year ago.

The relatively low local and national ratings for the 2009 telecast led to some changes in this year's format, most notably by expanding the number of films nominated as best picture from five to 10.

-- Alan Pergament 


Predictable Oscars Ends with Martin Ad-Lib

At the end of an Oscar program that went 30 minutes longer than scheduled, co-host Steve Martin had one of his best ad-libs.

"The show was so long that 'Avatar' now takes place in the past," cracked Martin.

It took almost three hours before any of the significant awards were handed out on ABC.

And the only thing more predictable than the show going long were the winners in the last 30 minutes -- best actor Jeff Bridges, best actress Sandra Bullock, best director Kathryn Bigelow ("The Hurt Locker") and best film ("The Hurt Locker").

In fact, there wasn't one surprise winner in any of the major categories.

Bridges gave a decent, lengthy speech that combined humor and heartfelt moments when talking about his show business parents. Bullock was funny but couldn't pull off the one thing she said she was determined to do on Barbara Walters' special: She couldn't avoid crying when talking about her mother, who she said didn't like it when award winners cried.

Bigelow, who was the first female to be named best director in Oscar history, gave a strong speech upon winning that award but seemed too overwhelmed after "The Hurt Locker" won best picture to do anything but repeat some of the speech she gave after winning as director.

Martin and co-host Alec Baldwin smartly made Bigelow part of their closing. The co-hosts did a very good job in the opening, but practically disappeared in the late stages of the program. But that was pretty predictable, too, because it happens almost every year to the host.

-- Alan Pergament 

Sabres Shut Out of Olympic Highlights Tonight

The video montage that honors Team USA most valuable player Ryan Miller before the Buffalo Sabres game tonight in HSBC Arena will be missing one thing: Highlights of his play during the Vancouver Olympics.

A Sabres spokesman said NBC owns all Olympic rights and the team is prohibited from airing any of the highlights of Miller's play during the six-games he played in Vancouver.

CBS late-night host David Letterman had some fun at NBC's expense Tuesday night when men's figure skating champion Evan Lysacek appeared. Letterman's show -- which also is prohibited from carrying Olympic footage -- used simple drawings of stick figures to depict Lysacek's performance in the Olympics.

-Alan Pergament  

An Olympic-Sized Boo to MSG

Undoubtedly, there was more interest in the pregame festivities before the Buffalo Sabres game with Pittsburgh Tuesday than there was in the game itself.

But local fans who watched the road game on MSG had to be disappointed that the pregame ovation that Team USA hero and Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller received from Pittsburgh fans wasn't carried live here on the Sabres channel. MSG was carrying a canned show instead until 7:30 p.m., when game coverage began.

Nor did local fans hear the crowd reaction to Team Canada and Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who beat Miller on the gold-medal winning goal in overtime Sunday. Reportedly, some Penguin fans even booed Crosby.

Of course, MSG was just following its usual script of starting Sabres coverage right before the game. But someone should have alerted MSG that this was a special occasion that demanded it carry some of the pregame festivities.

-- Alan Pergament 

NBC Ignores Debate on Winning Goal

You might have thought that NBC's army of hockey analysts would have debated whether Sidney Crosby's gold-medal winning goal Sunday afternoon for Team Canada should have been stopped by Team USA goalie Ryan Miller in the 3-2 overtime loss.

But it ignored the topic, which was respectfully addressed by Buffalo News columnist Bucky Gleason in today's column. "Bad goal?" wrote Gleason."It seems less  so when you consider the source. Crosby is the face of North American hockey..."

NBC emphasized the terrific play of the Buffalo Sabres goaltender in the tournament, which earned him the most valuable player award. Its cameras caught the post-game exchange between Miller and Lindy Ruff, the Sabres coach who was a Team Canada assistant. NBC's Joe Michelleti ended his interview with Miller by telling him "hold your head up. You were spectacular throughout this tournament."

But the question that undoubtedly was on the minds of many hockey fans here and throughout the country wasn't asked.

Maybe the analysts were trying to spare Miller's feelings. But Sabre fans who have heard how classy,  direct and self-critical Miller can be, probably expected some sort of debate on the goal.

-- 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 |