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Bills have fantastic finish -- in TV ratings anyway

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

The Buffalo Bills remain the area's most-watched TV show by a huge margin and naturally their 23-21 loss to the New England Patriots in the final seconds Sunday had Western New Yorkers on the edge of their seats.

The game had a 33.6 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affililate. It hit a peak of 40.9 during the Pats' final drive and had a 70 share at that point.

Those figures mean 40.9 percent of area households were tuned in and that 70 percent of people watching some TV programming at the end were tuned into the game.

Super Bowls around here generally get in the 40 to 50 ratings range so you can see how fantastic the finish was at least in terms of ratings. The most popular prime time entertainment programs in Western New York get ratings in the high teens.

The 33.6 rating for Sunday's game was about 16 percent higher than the 29.0 rating for the visiting Bills' one-sided loss to the New York Jets in the 2012 season opener.

Fox affiliate WUTV also received at strong 14.2 rating for San Francisco's win over Green Bay that was carried on Channel 29 after the Bills game. And Channel 2 had a 16.2 rating for Dallas' win over the New York Giants on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner said this morning that the station will make a decision this week whether to continue to carry the political debate show "2 Sides" up until the November election. He added that the program featuring politically-active, co-host Kristy Mazurek isn't scheduled to air this Sunday anyway. You know what my vote would be: Drop it at least until the election is over because it has become a public relations headache.

I bet Channel 4 isn't the only CBS affiliate upset that its local news will be bounced by today's men's final of the U.S. Tennis Open. That means Channel 4's early evening newscasts are moving to sister station WNLO-TV, more commonly referred to as CW 23.

By the way, Arsenio Hall's new talk show premieres tonight on CW 23 at 11 p.m. and not at 10:30 p.m. as listed on my cable guide.

WUTV has to be hoping that the Bills' competitive performance Sunday will drive ticket sales and allow the Fox affiliate to carry Sunday's game with NFC opponent Carolina. Since I just received an email offer this morning for a discount on the game, my guess is it isn't close to a sellout yet. It needs to be sold-out 72 hours in advance to be carried on local TV. Of course, the NFL has been extending deadlines lately. And there always is a chance that some organization will step up if it is close to a sellout and buy the final tickets to get the game televised.

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