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Jeanneret to reduce schedule; Fairbanks confirms schedule shift

 By Alan Pergament

 This is what I’m thinking:

 The Buffalo Sabres are expected to announce late this week or early next week how many games in the 2013-14 season play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret will work.

 According to sources, Jeanneret will work a significantly reduced schedule that may require the team to give him a regular backup.

The 71-year-old Jeanneret, who worked 44 of 48 games in the shortened 2013 season, has asked for a reduction in his work schedule.

My sources expect that he will definitely work more than half the games and perhaps as many as three quarters of the 82 games. A reasonable guess is that he will work in the range of about 55-65 games.

 The delay in announcing how many games he will work may be because the team hasn't decided who will do play-by-play on the games that Jeanneret will miss.

 Of course, many Sabre fans might consider having the Hall of Famer miss one game next season to be significant and one too many. He only missed the first four games last season because of illness.

 I haven't been able to reach Channel 4 anchor Diana Fairbanks for more than a week since speculation arose that Youngstown, Ohio anchor Teresa Weakley would take her place on "Wake Up!" once she arrived at WIVB-TV from WKBN.

With Channel 4 confirming Weakley's hiring Monday, Fairbanks went to her Facebook page and confirmed her return to her former anchor positions at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 4 and at 10 p.m. on WNLO-TV.

Here’s what Fairbanks wrote on Facebook: "More changes are coming to News 4! When my girl heads back to school, I'll head back to nights with Don & Jacquie! It was great to meet so many early risers while I was helping out with mornings, you can find me back at 5:30 & 10 Sept.3.”

Fairbanks' return to the anchor posts she held before her shift to mornings is good news for co-anchors Don Postles and Jacquie Walker, who will be down one newscast from their busy daily schedules. But I don't imagine it was ideal for Fairbanks, who will have to readjust her body clock for the second time in nine months.

Meanwhile, News Director Joe Schlaerth sent out an email Monday saying that new meteorologist Todd Santos will go on the air Aug. 26, a week before Weakley begins. The arrival of Santos, who will work mornings, means the end of "Wake Up!" duties for Mike Cejka, who has been there since Amelia Segal left in March.

Schlaerth praised Fairbanks and Cejka for doing “terrific work the past several months on Wake Up!”

Channel 4’s release Monday came too late to use quotes from Schlaerth and General Manager Rene LaSpina. But then again, I don't normally run self-serving, promotional quotes in the newspaper.

 But my blog has unlimited space, so here are their quotes: LaSpina: "Teresa has been a key player in WKBN's growth over the past few years. Her strong skills as a reporter, and ability to connect with viewers have made Weakley respected and popular with Youngstown audiences. We expect Western New Yorkers will be just as enthusiastic once they get to know Teresa."

Schlaerth: "Teresa joins Jordan Williams and meteorologist Todd Santos and some terrific producers to make up one of the strongest news teams I’ve seen. We’re really excited to get them on the air."

Now you know why I don't run quotes like that in the newspaper.


Sports on the radio | Sports on TV | Television | TV news
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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.

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