By Alan Pergament
A couple of strange things happened Thursday night in local TV.
First, Channel 2 preempted a critical darling, Amy Poehler's "Parks and Recreation," to carry a paid programming for Roswell Park at 8 p.m. That doesn't happen often since there are network limits on the number of prime time preemptions that affiliates are allowed to do.
I wasn't terribly surprised since "P and R" has never had much of a following on the local NBC affiliate and I've never shared the love my colleagues in the critical fraternity have for this show.
Nor was I upset since the paid programming that replaced it was for an extremely important cause. Besides, Channel 2 carried "P and R" at 3:30 a.m., where fans could DVR it, and it also is On Demand.
Then the second strange thing happened.
The rating for the first part of a three-part Roswell Park paid programing series (part 2 airs at 8 p.m. Saturday) actually was higher on Channel 2 than what "P and R" received for the previous few episodes. Of course, the ratings for the Roswell Park program may have been helped initially by those those tuning in and expecting to see Poehler's show. The paid program also had a higher rating than the little-watched new NBC program, "Welcome to the Family," which followed it.
On Thursday, I tweeted that I would have preempted "Welcome to the Family" instead of "P and R," but I understood that NBC probably would prefer giving the new series another chance.
Thursday turned out to be the last chance for "Family." The comedy about two sets of parents accepting an unplanned teenage pregnancy was canceled on Friday after Thursday’s national rating came in. There won't be too many tears for “Family” here. The premiere just got above a 1 live rating on Channel 2, making it one of the lowest-rated regular series here.
NBC also announced Friday that "Parks and Recreation" is immediately being pulled from the schedule. However, four episodes of the series will air over two weeks in November before Poehler's show moves to the "Welcome" time slot at 8:30 on Jan.9, a week after "Community" returns.
Until January, the time slots of "Parks and Rec" and "Welcome" will be replaced with a “Saturday Night Live" Halloween special, a special edition of "The Voice," a live production of "The Sound of Music" starring Carrie Underwood and the reality music series "The Sing-Off."
The network also has dropped "Ironside" from its Wednesday lineup because the series starring Blair Underwood had low national ratings and the viewers it had were old. It did relatively well here, with the premiere finishing a strong second to "CSI" and soundly defeating "Nashville" in the 10 p.m. time slot. Of course, Buffalo is an older market, which may explain why Underwood's series did well here.
"Chicago P.D.," a "Chicago Fire" spin-off, will get the "Ironside" time slot on Jan.8.
Until January, old "Ironside" will be replaced by original episodes of "Dateline," "SNL" holiday-themed specials and music specials featuring Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble. Since there are so many
Buble fans here, circle Dec. 18. That’s when his special is scheduled to air on Channel 2.
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