By Alan Pergament
Channel 2 anchor Scott Levin will be off the air until at least January after having "back/spine surgery" about two weeks ago.
Levin has been off the air since the November sweeps ended on Thanksgiving, which led many readers to inquire about his whereabouts the last two weeks.
In an exchange of Facebook messages late Sunday night, Levin confirmed that he had "back/spine surgery." His note illustrated that he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
"Making progress each day, but now that I'm AARP eligible (over 50), stamina is taking longer to return than I thought," wrote Levin. "I plan to be back at work after New Year's when I get clearance from my doctor. Looking forward to getting back to work!"
Levin turned 50 in September, when he signed a new long-term deal with Channel 2. He remains the youngest lead male news anchor in the market.
In a telephone interview after a doctor's appointment this morning, Levin said he suffered an herniated disc after a car accident on Halloween, which was the first night of the November sweeps.
"I decided I'll take one for the Gipper," said Levin in explaining why he delayed surgery until after the sweeps ended. "I don't know how I got through November. It's a blur to me."
Levin added that he was given a shot to reduce the swelling and relieve some of the pain in order to get through the sweeps, but still experienced pain standing and sitting.
His target date for his return is Monday, Jan. 6. His doctor told him today not to rush things.
"He told me I had a whopper of a herniation," said Levin. "He said, 'you really have got to take it easy.'"
Levin might not be recognizable today to some of Channel 2's viewers.
"I grew a beard and I haven't had to use hair gel," he cracked.
During Levin's absence, Pete Gallivan and Michael Wooten have replaced him on the 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts alongside Maryalice Demler.
Until he returns, Levin will only be seen on Channel 2 in the station's happy holiday promo that is currently running and features many of its staffers.
For the second straight week, the rating for a Buffalo Bills game was under 30. The Bills' 27-20 win over Jacksonville Sunday had a 28.3 rating on Channel 4. That was up from the 26.6 rating for the Tampa Bay loss a week earlier, but you might have expected the cold and the snow would have kept more armchair fans home watching the game. Still, the Bills game will easily be the top-rated television program of the week locally.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston of Florida State was very flattering Sunday on CBS' pregame show talking about Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel, who played quarterback at FSU in 2012 when Winston red-shirted as a freshman. "EJ prepared me for this situation," said Winston. "He didn't just say, 'I am one of the older guys. Sit back and watch me.' He said, 'Jameis take your notes.' I sat by him every day in the meetings. He would say, 'Jameis prepare yourself for this situation. I'm going to be the first quarterback taken.' He had his doubters... We still talk today. I love that guy.... I feel like EJ is one of the best quarterbacks that I've seen because he has so much potential. When EJ gets comfortable and when EJ gets in his zone, it's hard to stop that guy."
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