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Bills, Sabres ratings dive; Criqui on CBS for one exciting Sunday


By Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking:

I doubt anyone is surprised that the Buffalo Bills’ 27-6 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday was their lowest-rated game of the NFL season. It had a 26.6 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. The games have been getting ratings in the mid 30s for most of the season.

However, even the 26.6 rating for the Bills game is about 50 percent higher than any prime time network program typically gets here and Sunday's game will be the highest-rated program of the week in Western New York.

Undoubtedly, many Bills fans headed over to WUTV, the local Fox affiliate to watch Philadelphia's 34-20 victory over Detroit in the Snow Bowl. The game had an 8.7 rating on WUTV, which is about twice as high as most Fox games get when they play opposite Bills games. However, the Philadelphia rating still was only about one-third as high as the rating for the Bills loss.

It also isn't surprising that TV ratings for the Buffalo Sabres are now back to the low levels before the hiring of Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan. The Sabres’ 3-2 loss to Montreal Saturday had a 5.2 rating on MSG.

To put that in perspective, Auburn's 59-42 college football victory over Missouri for the SEC title Saturday had a 7.9 rating on Channel 4.

In other words, we are now at the point that college football games are more interesting to Western New Yorkers than Sabres games.

It was nice to hear that Kenmore native Don Criqui was back on CBS this past Sunday calling the New England Patriots’ improbable last-minute win over the Cleveland Browns, 27-26.

Criqui wasn't expected to do any CBS games this season, but he was brought in to do the game after play-by-play man Bill Macatee couldn’t do his assignment alongside Steve Tasker because weather problems prevented him from getting out of Dallas to do the game.

Criqui is a quick study and he knows the Pats pretty well anyway because he had done their preseason games for years until being replaced for the 2013 preseason.

Inquiring minds want to know: Does WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, have to carry New York Giants games even when there are better NFC games available on Sunday afternoons?

"No, but they tend to send us those games," said Mike Bullen, the program coordinator for the station.

He added that WUTV requested the San Francisco-Seattle game this past Sunday instead of the Giants game with San Diego but the request was denied by Fox.

But since the Giants fell far behind in a 37-14 loss to the Chargers, Fox at least eventually switched local viewers to San Francisco’s last-minute win over Seattle, 19-17.

And what about this week, you may ask?

WUTV is carrying the 1 p.m. Giants game but at least it is with Seattle and is arguably the best early game available. WUTV also will carry the Green Bay-Dallas game at 4 p.m because it is a Fox doubleheader week and the Bills are on the road.

NBC still hasn't officially announced that "The Celebrity Apprentice" with Donald Trump is going to return for another season but it is expected to be back next spring or summer.

The idea of Trump possibly running to become the governor of New York State has made me much happier than I am about the Time Warner Cable channel changes. I'm all for anything that can permanently kill "The Celebrity Apprentice," which appears to have nine lives.

But I figure the chance that Trump will actually run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo is equal to the chance that President Obama was born in Kenya. But Trump certainly does know how to get attention.

Here's another possible factor in Channel 4's quick ratings turnaround in the morning after co-anchor Teresa Weakley and meteorologist Todd Santos arrived: The oddities of Nielsen.

For the first few days after the November sweeps ended, Channel 2 had a huge ratings advantage in the morning and Channel 4's ratings dropped like a rock. It made no sense and a few days later things were pretty much back to the new normal.


Celebrity News | Sports | 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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