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Fox Sports 1 status, "Bad" ratings and a happy anniversary

By Alan Pergament

 This is what I’m thinking:

 Inquiring minds want to know: Is Time Warner Cable going to carry Fox Sports 1, the 24-hour sports cable channel that premieres Saturday and is thought to eventually be strong competition with all the ESPNs?

 A TWC spokesperson replied to my email question Monday by writing "we’re currently in active discussions" with Fox.

Hmm. TWC was in "active discussions" with The NFL Network for years before a national deal was made and it appeared on the Western New York system. However, these deals do tend to be made at or near the last minute.

I would suspect that the discussions will be over how much money Fox Sports 1 is going to get per subscriber, if it is going to be on a sports tier as the CBS Sports Network is here, and what channel it will be on here and elsewhere.

Local subscribers have to hope that Fox Sports 1 won’t get anywhere near the more than $5 monthly per subscriber that ESPN gets. Every TWC subscriber pays it, even if they don’t watch any of the ESPNs.

According to the Sports Business Daily, the two satellite services -- DirecTV and DISH -- also haven't made a deal to carry Fox Sports 1. SBD says that Fox is asking for 80 cents monthly per subscriber now and $1.50 per subscriber in a few years. 

If you have FiOS, there is no uncertainty. A spokesman for FiOS said Monday it will carry Fox Sports 1 and it won’t be on a sports tier.

The Fox Sports 1 lineup will include NASCAR, major league baseball, college basketball and college football, soccer and ultimate fighting.

According to Fox Sports 1, the channel is expected to launch nationally in the location now occupied by SPEED.  

Sunday’s tense season opener of "Breaking Bad" had an impressive national household rating of 4.2 and did especially well in the demographic groups that advertisers love.

 Undoubtedly, the massive amount of publicity for the final season of the drama surrounding the former chemistry teacher turned drug lord played by Bryan Cranston had something to do with the rating on cable’s AMC.

Locally, "Bad" scored a 2.9 rating that is bound to grow as DVR and On Demand viewership over the next seven days is added. To put the local rating in perspective, "Bad" got about 35 percent of the live audience that the CBS’ "Under the Dome" gets here weekly.

When Channel 7 wrote in a release several weeks ago that new morning co-anchors Cole Heath and Tiffany Lundberg had some ties to Western New York, some skeptics speculated that some of their relatives might have lived here a half-century ago or they played golf or skied here some time in the past decade.

But they actually do have ties to WNY.

I was surprised that they didn’t mention those ties in their debut program Monday,

The family of Heath's wife is from the Amherst area and some relatives still live here.

 Lundberg’s boyfriend of four years is from Bemus Point.

 Local TV is attracting so many news personalities with WNY ties that you would think the stations deserve some kind of award from the Chamber of Commerce.

The wife of Channel 4's new meteorologist Todd Santos also is from WNY and he reportedly has been coming here for years. He is scheduled to make his Channel 4 debut on Aug. 26, a week before new "Wake Up!" co-anchor Teresa Weakley makes her debut.

 Happy anniversary, Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner. He celebrated his 10th year anniversary in that role on Sunday. He is believed to be the longest tenured GM in the station's history. Channel 2 had about 25 GMs in its first 49 years before Toellner got the job in 2003. He also is arguably the most successful GM in the station's history, having been in charge when Channel 2 jumped from third place to first place in local news.

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Television | TV news
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