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Morning news race becomes more interesting; Levin gets new deal

By Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking;

It is very early and Western New Yorkers are still sampling shows, but it looks like the morning news race between Channel 2 and Channel 4 may have tightened.

In the first full week since Teresa Weakley made her debut as the new "Wake Up!" co-anchor alongside Jordan Williams, Channel 4 defeated Channel 2’s normally first place "Daybreak" with John Beard and Melissa Holmes at 6 a.m.

Channel 4's first week win was aided by a big advantage it had for viewership of Weakley’s premiere.  It also should be noted that Channel 2 was back on top at 6 a.m. this past Monday and by a bigger margin Tuesday. The first week's numbers also didn’t measure demographics, which are key to advertisers.

But it clearly looks like Channel 4's additions of Weakley and meteorologist Todd Santos have at least given local viewers another reason to at least sample "Wake Up!"

On the other hand, Channel 7’s revamped "Good Morning" with the young team of Tiffany Lundberg and Cole Heath remains deep in third place with much less than half of the ratings its rivals are averaging.

Channel 2 evening co-anchor Scott Levin has told his Facebook fans -- on his 50th birthday this week no less -- that he has a new long-term contract. At 50, Levin is a relative youngster as an anchor in this market.

Speaking of Facebook, Channel 4 meteorologist Don Paul went to the social network to complain Monday about CBS carrying the U.S. Open men's final Monday during normal local news time and forcing Channel 4's early evening news block to go to sister station WNLO-TV.

Channel 4's news on CW 23 still actually out-rated Rafael Nadal's four-set win over Novak Djokovic. The tennis match averaged a 2 rating here for most of the match, which went more than three hours.

Channel 4 was right to be upset that it was forced by the syndicator to carry Arsenio Hall's new talk show at 11 p.m. on CW 23 instead of at 10:30 p.m. immediately after its popular 10 O’Clock News.

For the premiere Monday, Hall's show had a 2.1 local rating, which is impressive by local CW standards. It also improved the lead-in of 1.9 it received from TMZ. But I would imagine Hall would have done much better if his show followed the newscast, which had a 4.7 rating. Nationally, Hall's show reportedly did very well in key demographics.

I watched the first 15 minutes of Hall's show to see him appear in some painfully unfunny sketches, including one in which supposedly went to “Downton Abbey” and had a door shut on him when he knocked. Then it was time for me to go back to a NFL game.

Speaking of NFL games, the Bills game Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium against Carolina reportedly was about 2,500 tickets from being a sellout on Tuesday and it needs to be sold out by 1 p.m. Thursday to be televised locally by WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. If seasons past are a guide, that figure would appear to be in range of what is acceptable by someone or some organization to be purchased without breaking their bank. WUTV certainly would look for someone to help the game become a sell-out because local TV stations generally make more than $100,000 every time they telecast a Bills game.

To those who have asked: After 20 years, Buffalo News sports columnist Jerry Sullivan no longer does radio appearances on WGR radio.

"There's only one Jerry. We're glad we don't have to share him anymore," said Buffalo News managing editor Brian J. Connolly.

The new TV show that Sullivan is doing with News columnist Bucky Gleason on WBBZ -- "The Bucky & Sully Show" -- is a Buffalo News production in co-operation with the local channel.  

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