By Alan Pergament
Channel 2 made two right calls Tuesday concerning the departure of reporter-anchor Pete Gallivan for a job in the communications department of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
First, it immediately told Gallivan that Tuesday had to be his last day because he was taking a political job.
“The appearance of conflict of interest is just as bad as a conflict of interest,” explained Channel 2 News Director Jeff Woodard in an email. “You can’t work for a newsroom and for government at the same time (even if you haven’t officially started yet”).
Gallivan doesn’t officially start working for Gov. Cuomo until March 25.
Channel 2’s decision to drop Gallivan immediately after he gave notice stood in contrast to what Channel 4 did when reporter Lorey Schultz left in September of 2011 to work in Mayor Brown’s administration after 17 years at the CBS affiliate. She stayed on the air after giving her two weeks’ notice, which seemed inappropriate.
The second right call that Channel 2 made was allowing Gallivan to appear on the 5 p.m. newscast Tuesday with anchor Scott Levin to say goodbye to viewers after 17 years at the station.
That decision also made it clear to viewers that the station wasn’t punishing Gallivan by telling him he had to leave immediately after he gave his two weeks’ notice.
“In the business of TV, reporters and anchors come and go,” said Levin in introducing Gallivan. “The really good ones, they last and they become family. One of these good ones is our own very own Pete Gallivan.”
Gallivan proceeded to say it was “a tough decision” to leave Channel 2, explained his role in the governor’s communication office and introduced some of the stories that he covered over the years.
He ended by showing a picture of himself when he joined the station in 1996 and pointing to his face now. “I started out as this guy,” said Gallivan, pointing to the old picture when he was about 30. “This one came in and this one (pointing to himself) is going out.”
Actually, it doesn’t look like he aged all that much.
Levin concluded the interview by telling Gallivan “and we’re going to be asking you the tough questions” (now that he works in government).
Gallivan is at least the third Channel 2 reporter in recent years who has left for a government job after being on the other side living Channel 2's motto of "asking the tough questions." He joins Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw and Erie County Legislator Lynne M. Dixon as former Channel 2 reporters who are now working in government.
There is a perception among some that Gallivan might be leaving because of unhappiness over being replaced by John Beard as the co-anchor of Channel 2’s “Daybreak” in September, 2009.
Gallivan said Tuesday that he was happy in his new role as a reporter and fill-in anchor and has three prestigious awards – a regional Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Associated Press Award and a New York State Emmy – to prove it. I believe him because he pretty much told me that when I wrote a feature
about him years ago that included questions about losing the morning job.
Like many reporters and anchors in Gallivan’s demographic – he is 47 – he looked at the future of broadcasting and his own future and decided it was time to make a change. It looks like the right call from here.
Can Buffalo native Jesse L. Martin save NBC’s “Smash”? I doubt it. Martin appeared in the final few minutes of Tuesday night’s episode as a guy interested in work-shopping a new musical being written by the troubled but talented songwriter played by Jeremy Jordan of “Newsies.”
The March 5 episode hit a weak 2.5 rating in Buffalo on Channel 2 and also bombed nationally. The episode Tuesday rose to a 3.1 on Channel 2 but it still finished a poor fourth in the time period. Those are the kind of numbers that get shows canceled. The continuing plot line in which Sean Hayes of “Will & Grace” plays an over-the-top actor with the star power to make ridiculous choices in putting on a musical is just as ridiculous as his character. In fact, most of the plot lines this season have been painful to watch. Derek Wills, the director played by Jack Davenport, pretty much spoke for me midway through Tuesday’s episode when he said “I quit.” And I love musicals. So if "Smash" loses me, it is pretty much finished.
After watching Channel 2’s new anchor Kelly Dudzik (pictured right) a few times in the past few days, I’ve been bothered by who she looks like. Am I the only who thinks she looks a little like Genie Francis, best known as Laura on “General Hospital”? (Yes, I used to watch “GH.” I got paid to watch).
Dudzik is getting some time to settle in before she is put on the anchor desk. The station could put her on at 5 p.m. weekdays with Scott Levin or have her anchor solo at 10 p.m. on the low-rated newscast on WNYO-TV that used to be anchored by Melissa Holmes. If Dudzik gets the 10, it would be
an ideal time for the station to drop its foolish "10 at 10" presentation that runs stories in reverse order of their importance.
Channel 2’s Maryalice Demler is searching out local angles during her coverage of the papal election in Rome. On Monday, she found some WNYers in Rome who were excited they might be there when the new pope was elected. On Tuesday, she interviewed a former Channel 2 intern who is a tour
guide in Rome, lives the “La Dolce Vita” (the sweet life or the good life) there with an Italian boyfriend, and loves Buffalo. When I saw the feature the first time on an early evening newscast, I thought, "now there’s a stretch." When I saw it the second time on the 11 p.m. news, I thought I'd rather watch “Smash” over again than watch that story again.