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Good Move for Conan

At first glance, Conan O'Brien's move to cable's TBS instead of the long-rumored deal with Fox looks like a demotion for the very brief host of NBC's "The Tonight Show."

But it's a good move because it reduces the pressure on O'Brien and sends him to a channel that appeals to the younger viewers that appreciate his brand of humor more than Jay Leno's.

Clearly, it probably wouldn't have happened if some of Fox's affiliates hadn't been reluctant to give up the late-night hour and the revenue that comes with it so the network could hire O'Brien and put him on at 11 p.m. nightly.

However, cable has been very kind to comedians and satirists like Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and George Lopez and the standard of success is much lower than it is on network TV.

O'Brien joked about that in the statement that came with the TBS announcement that his 11 p.m. show is expected to debut in November before the Lopez show, which is moving to midnight.

"In three months, I've gone from network television to Twitter to performing live in theaters, and now I'm headed to basic cable," said O'Brien. "My plan is working perfectly."

Sure, it wasn't O'Brien's plan to land on TBS. But in the long run, it could be a good career move.

-- Alan Pergament

   


  

MTV's 'Real World' Looking for Roomies Here

MTV's popular reality series "The Real World" is looking for roommates in Buffalo.

According to a publicist for the long-running show, casting directors from Bunim/Murray Productions will be looking for "its newest roommates in Buffalo" from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at an open call at Pure Nightclub at 75 West Chippewa St.

Would-be reality TV stars between the ages of 18 and 24 should bring a recent picture of themselves (which won't be returned) and photo ID. Applications also are being accepted online at bunim-murray.com.


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--Alan Pergament

Time Warner Navigates the Future

Starting Monday, many local Time Warner Cable subscribers will get a new, navigator guide that may confuse them a little at the beginning but eventually make it easier to find and record programs and block programs that they don't want their children to see.

The new technology eventually also will enable Time Warner to offer new features, including allowing subscribers to watch programs on DVRs on other sets in the house and program DVRs from outside the home.

I got a preview Thursday of the on-screen navigation guide, which is available on the same remote that subscribers currently have.

The graphics are clearer. But not everything else is clearer.

I suspect many subscribers wish they had someone walk through all the features with a TWC representative as I did Thursday.

Time Warner is sending a pamphlet to explain how to use the new guide and one of its channels, 997, also will illustrate how it is done.

Many people resist change, but once subscribers get the hang of it I suspect they will embrace the new guide and its features.

The navigator guide is rolling out in some areas next week, but it may take until mid-May to be available to all subscribers.

--Alan Pergament

How to See Tiger Live Today

The back nine of the second-round performance of Tiger Woods at the Masters today will be available on CBSSports.com and Masters.com.

According to CBS, Woods, who was two behind leader Fred Couples at four under par after Thursday's first round, K.J. Choi (5-under) and Matt Kurchar (2-under) will be the first featured group on the Masters Live, a CBSSports.com production.

The featured group channel airs live video of selected pairings playing Hole Nos. 10-18 from Augusta National Golf Club.

According to CBS, absent weather issues, Woods' threesome should reach Hole No. 10 sometime between noon and 1 p.m. and Masters Live will show every shot of his pairing as the three golfers play the final nine holes.

Grant Boone and Billy Kratzert will be the the CBS commentators on the featured group coverage.

Television coverage doesn't begin until 4 p.m. on ESPN.

--Alan Pergament

Channel 4 Scores with Title Game

Butler helped do it, even if it lost to Duke Monday night.

By "it," I mean Butler's participation in the NCAA title game helped CBS and Channel 4 get their highest-ratings for a title game in five years.

Locally, Duke's 61-59 win had a 12.9 rating on Channel 4, which more than 50 percent higher than the 8.4 for North Carolina's 2009 title win over Michigan State. It was the highest-rated title game locally since North Carolina defeated Illinois in 2005.

Nationally, CBS had a 16.0 overnight rating in the big markets, the same rating it had for the North-Carolina-Illinois game in 2005.

The tightness of the Duke-Butler game undoubtedly helped.

After a last-second shot by Butler's Gordon Hayward just missed from near half-court, CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz instantly told the audience "we just watched one of the great championship games ever played."

It would have been the greatest if Hayward's shot had gone in and given Butler a 62-61 win.

Curiously, Clark Kellogg -- whose analysis was more annoying that memorable on several occasions -- didn't note what would have happened if Hayward's shot had gone in: Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who added to his legend with this title, would have been skewered because Blue Devil Brian Zoubek intentionally missed a free throw that would given Duke a three-point lead to give Butler less time for a final shot.

-- 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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