By Alan Pergament
This is what I’m thinking:
When it comes to network news ratings, Western New York is an unusual TV market.
As I wrote Thursday, “CBS This Morning” on Channel 4 was closing in on second place ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Channel 7 in the national morning news wars during the February sweeps.
NBC’s “Today” show, which has fallen into second place nationally behind “GMA,” remains No.1 on Channel 2 here.
Now comes word this week that the CBS morning show co-anchored by Charlie Rose, Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King has overtaken “GMA” locally since the sweeps ended. That’s an incredible local achievement since CBS has historically been a poor third on Channel 4 through countless anchor and
programming changes over decades.
It is a similar story in the evening. While “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” is closing in on “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” nationally, locally Sawyer’s newscast on Channel 7 is in third place here behind first place NBC on Channel 2 and “The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley" on Channel 4.
The key element in the local downfall of “GMA” and “WNT” is the weakness of Channel 7, the ABC affiliate that gives both network news programs weak lead-ins. As hard as it may be for some to believe with the clicker so handy, lead-ins still matter.
I don’t know what this says about WNY, but “The Walking Dead” decisively destroyed “The Bible” locally on cable last Sunday. Actually, both did very well here. “Dead” on AMC” was the highest-rated scripted series here Sunday. And “The Bible” on The History Channel had a rating in the neighborhood of “The Good Wife” on CBS and ABC's “Revenge.”
The relatively new way CBS and the Turner Networks present the NCAA men’s basketball tournament sure was a bonus Thursday night when Syracuse’s 81-34 rout of Montana was being carried at the same time as 14th-seeded Harvard’s 68-62 upset of third-seeded New Mexico. When CBS exclusively carried the tournament, WNYers would have been forced to watch the entire Syracuse game because we live in an area of local interest. OK, maybe forced is the wrong word. I enjoyed every minute of it. But since the games were on different channels, local viewers were able to bolt a Syracuse game that was decided in the first half and watch Harvard’s upset. I call that a win-win.
Speaking of Syracuse’s 47-point victory, you may recall that I wrote about the prediction of CBS Sports analyst Seth Davis Sunday that Montana would upset the Orange. He was only wrong by a minimum of 48 points. It is hard to find a better job that being off that badly and collecting a paycheck. And, no, I am not going to make a Pope Don Paul joke about what a great job TV weathermen have because they don’t always have to be right.
WNYers apparently don’t see another Carrie Underwood (who comes to First Niagara Center on Tuesday) coming out of this year’s “American Idol.” The performance show Wednesday only had a 7.0 rating here on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. Thursday’s results show had a 7.4 Thursday locally. “The
Walking Dead” had a higher rating here Sunday.
It was easy to ridicule and it arrived weeks after Terrell Owens appeared on a similar Fox show, but ABC’s celebrity diving show “Splash” made a minor splash here with a decent 5.1 rating on Channel 7. I expected a belly flop.
Finally, an answer to the trivia question posed Thursday to name the female co-anchors that Channel 7 co-anchor Keith Radford was paired with over his 25 years at the station before being teamed with his present co-anchor, Joanna Pasceri. The answer: Susan Banks, Ann Edwards, Kathleen Leighton, Maria Genero, and, for a short time, Mary McCombs.