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Ch.4's Walker hits another career milestone; Sabres No. 1 in ratings

By Alan Pergament

Channel 4 anchor Jacquie Walker is celebrating her 30th anniversary at the CBS affiliate today, a milestone not often achieved by a news anchor at one station in any TV market.

She arrived at Channel 4 on Oct. 3, 1983 from a Rochester station and began her Buffalo career as the noon anchor. She later anchored the Channel 4 noon news alongside co-anchor Kevin O'Connell and the two also launched the 5 p.m. news on the station together.

O'Connell now does weather at Channel 2, but he and Walker have remained close friends.

I'm not sure if Channel 4 has any celebration planned or how many people there now are even aware of her latest achievement.

If my math is correct -- and I started college as a math major -- Walker is the longest-tenured female news anchor in Buffalo television history.

You can read more about Walker and her achievements. professional and personal, in a profile this Sunday in The Buffalo News.

By the way, O'Connell also is celebrating today. It is his birthday. 

Inquiring minds want to know: If the local TV affiliates are carried by Time Warner Cable in high definition on channels under 100, why does it need to carry them on a 700 tier now and on a tier starting with 1200 in December?

It is a complicated, technical issue and I'm no tech wiz, but according to a TWC spokesman the standard channels under 100 are only automatically switched to HD for those with HD sets because they are available on a HD tier. If the channels weren't available in HD now in the 700 tier or in December on the 1200 tier, they wouldn't be in HD on channels under 100.

The Buffalo Sabres' season-opening 2-1 loss to Detroit Wednesday on the NBC Sports Network was the highest-rated program of the night with an 9.8. ABC's "Modern Family" was the only broadcast network series near it with an 8.3. It looks like local viewers are relying more and more on their DVR and On Demand features when live sporting events of interest are being carried.  

ABC is already calling its new Tuesday series "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D"  a national hit, but not so fast in Western New York. Tuesday's second episode (4.1) on Channel 7 experienced a huge live ratings slide from the premiere (7.1) last week and had one quarter of the audience of CBS' "NCIS" (16.5) here. However, the show is getting strong demographics and DVR and On Demand playback. Fox's "Sleepy Hollow" (5.3) out-rated "Agents" here on Monday.

ABC's 10 p.m. Tuesday drama "Lucky 7" didn't hit a 2 rating here, the kind of number that could make it the first unlucky new series canceled.

In Monday's second big 10 p.m. showdown, NBC's "The Blacklist" (7.9) with James Spader soundly defeated CBS' "Hostages" (4.7) here.

I got a frantic text this morning from a confused relative asking me where WNYers can watch tonight's Buffalo Bills game with Cleveland. WBBZ-TV is simulcasting the NFL Network coverage for those who don't have cable, FiOS or a satellite service. The combined WBBZ-NFL Network rating should be somewhere in the high 30s or low 40s tonight here.

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