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Thurman, Kelly part of Declaration of Independence reading on Fox

By Alan Pergament

Retired Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas once again will be a dual threat on Super Bowl Sunday.

Thomas, who was known for getting yards rushing as well as by catching passes in his Hall of Fame career, will first be on CBS' "Sunday Morning" eating chicken wings with Mo Rocca.

Several hours later, Thomas will join fellow Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly on the Fox Super Bowl pregame show right before the player introductions at around 6:20 p.m. Sunday. The Bills Hall of Fame teammates will be among more than 20 present and former National Football League players and owners reading excerpts from the Declaration of Independence.

Tim Clark, the film commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, said his office coordinated the shoot that was filmed by a Fox crew from Southern California in Buffalo City Hall's Council Chambers on Jan.2 when there was a raging snowstorm.

The list of readers includes former Bill London Fletcher and members of the Boston Police Department and the Houston Fire Company.

Video: CBS posts clip of Thurman showing Rocca how to eat a wing

By Alan Pergament

Two days before Mo Rocca's piece on "CBS Sunday Morning," the network has posted a four-minute preview clip of former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas demonstrating how to eat a chicken wing.

Before showing Rocca the one-hand method of eating a wing, Thomas gives the CBS correspondent one key about preparing wings.

Continue reading "Video: CBS posts clip of Thurman showing Rocca how to eat a wing" »

Nasty weather bumps news ratings; WNED isn't airing Seeger special

By Alan Pergament

If anyone is happy about the nasty, brutal, ridiculously cold weather this January, it has to be staffers in the local TV news departments.

Ratings are up in almost every news time period this January compared to January of 2013, illustrating the importance of weather in attracting news viewership.

Viewers are especially tuning in earlier to see if their children have to go school.

Continue reading "Nasty weather bumps news ratings; WNED isn't airing Seeger special" »

Rocca's wing feature set to air early "Sunday Morning"

By Alan Pergament

Notes from the cutting room floor:

Nothing is set in wing sauce, but an insider has told me it looks like CBS correspondent Mo Rocca's piece on eating chicken wings with three of the coolest people in Western New York will air in the 9:30 a.m. half-hour of the popular CBS program "Sunday Morning" this Super Bowl Sunday.

Of course, that's a tentative time that is subject to change depending on national and world events.

CBS has sent out a tweet of Rocca eating with former Buffalo Bill Thurman Thomas (see below), who is one of the trio eating wings with the CBS star. Lounge singer Lance Diamond and Buffalo booster Bernice Radle are the other two cool people with Rocca.

Continue reading "Rocca's wing feature set to air early "Sunday Morning" " »

What was behind Channel 2's question that 'someone' asked?

By Alan Pergament

What was that all about?

I’m sure that was the reaction of some viewers about the two-minute explanation that Channel 2 News ran on its 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts Tuesday about how it handles environmental stories done by partner Investigative Post that includes interviews with the daughter of Investigative Post editor and executive director Jim Heaney.

At 6 p.m., anchor Maryalice Demler that since "someone" asked about the situation again, "we thought we'd remind all of you" about the station's policy.

Blame me. I was the "someone" who motivated the story since I had been asking for a few days why the father-daughter relationship isn't explained every time Channel 2 carries an IP report about environmental issues that feature an interview with Erin Heaney. She is executive director of the Clean Air Coalition and Jim Heaney's daughter.

It is the kind of ethical question that Jim Heaney may have asked if it involved people he covers. Heaney, who was a longtime Buffalo News reporter before founding Investigative Post, is sensitive to the kind of issue that pops up time to time with journalists and their relatives who work in fields they cover. In an email to me Sunday, Heaney wrote that he "failed to see how this is a story."

After a thorough investigation finished before Channel 2’s piece ran, I concluded that Heaney and IP's handing of the potential conflict is admirable, if not perfect. Demler conceded it wasn't perfect Tuesday in reading Channel 2's explanation.

While many viewers undoubtedly think of Heaney as being synonymous with Investigative Post, he also has another reporter on board, Dan Telvock.

Telvock specializes on environmental matters and he has done the interviews with Erin Heaney on pieces that have run in a weekly newspaper and air on Channel 2.

Heaney is Telvock’s boss, which would have been a significant conflict if he edited those environmental stories. However, Heaney made an arrangement with Lee Coppola, the highly-respected former dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at St. Bonaventure University who is now the board president of Investigative Post, to edit Telvock’s stories.

Heaney also wrote an IP post in November of 2012 explaining the situation with his daughter because he wanted to be transparent about the matter.

He also added in his email to me that it is Channel 2’s decision whether to note Erin Heaney is his daughter.

In an interview Monday, Coppola didn't think it is necessary for Channel 2 to reveal the relationship when the stories run on the station because Heaney doesn’t have anything to do with the stories. He also surmised that Channel 2 probably agreed with that assessment based on his involvement.

In an email Monday, Channel 2 News Director Jeff Woodard wrote: “Since the beginning of our partnership with Investigative Post, we have been transparent about how we deal with stories involving the Clean Air Coalition. It is spelled out in a very well-written article that is on the Investigative Post website, and also on the ‘IP’ page on

“The careful handling of these stories by I.P. reporter Dan Telvock, well-respected journalist, professor, and I.P. Board President Lee Coppola and Channel 2 news management, keep Jim Heaney out of the loop on the reporting, writing and editing of those stories. We have not hidden from this sensitive situation; to the contrary we have been upfront about it."

Heaney and Channel 2 admirably tried to do the right thing.

However, Heaney’s post was written more than a year ago and his site and the IP page on Channel 2's website get a fraction of the attention that IP stories get on the station's newscasts.

Unlike Heaney, the station didn't fail to see how it was a story. A day after Woodard sent me the email defending its policy, Channel 2 ran the story on its air that included Heaney explaining how transparent he and the station have been dealing with the issue.

I give the station credit for doing the story even if it was intended to minimize anything I might write.

My feelings and the post I had prepared before Channel 2 ran its story haven't changed, except to add that Channel 2 addressed the issue on-air.

To be even more transparent, every time Telvock does a Channel 2 story that includes an interview with Erin Heaney, the station should mention briefly that Jim Heaney is her father and he has nothing to do with the story.



Dr. Phil, Ellen bumped to new times during Olympics

By Alan Pergament

Who knew skier Lindsey Vonn was a comedian?

She certainly made me laugh Tuesday morning when she was introduced on "Today" as a new NBC Olympic hire and asked her feelings about being unable to compete at the Sochi Olympics because of her latest knee surgery.

"You guys are running commercials about Sochi every two minutes and it is killing me," said Vonn.

She is not alone there. It does seem like there is a Sochi ad every few minutes.

Continue reading "Dr. Phil, Ellen bumped to new times during Olympics" »

"Ghost Hunters" trip here approved by WNYer at Syfy

By Alan Pergament

When Andrew Whitney heard where the investigative crew of the popular Syfy reality series "Ghost Hunters" was proposing to go last fall he almost fall out of his chair.

The Syfy development executive in charge of giving The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) crew the go-ahead was "thrilled" to say yes to a visit to his hometown to investigate what is going on at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.

Based in Los Angeles, Whitney is the day-to-day creative contact with the show's producers.

"They called and said, 'Andrew we have a great case for you. It takes place in Buffalo,'"recalled Whitney in a telephone interview. "I almost fell out of my chair.”

The TAP team sent him a five-page paper outlining the history and the paranormal claims and why the "client" wanted help from Jason Hawes, Samantha Hawes, Dave Tango, Michelle Tate, Britt Griffith, Adam Berry, Amy Bruni and Steve Gonsalves what techniques the "Ghost Hunters" would use to seek the truth.

Continue reading ""Ghost Hunters" trip here approved by WNYer at Syfy" »

Cerza making wing rounds on Super Bowl week; Grammys dominate Pro Bowl

By Alan Pergament

If it is Tuesday on Super Bowl week, it must be time for Buffalo "Wing King" Drew Cerza to make the talk show rounds in New York City.

Sometime Tuesday during the 10 a.m. hour of "Today" with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Cerza said he will be making Buffalo Wing dip and Honey BBQ sesame wings.

The founder of the annual National Buffalo Wing Festival prepared a few wings sauces Sunday for a segment of "Today in New York," which airs on NBC's New York City affiliate and he is scheduled to appear on a CBS affiliate program in New York on Wednesday.

Cerza told me he usually does a few segments for wings annually during Super Bowl week, when 1.25 billion wings are consumed.

And you thought that might have just been in Western New York.

Continue reading "Cerza making wing rounds on Super Bowl week; Grammys dominate Pro Bowl " »

NBC's Leno heads to CBS show to explain his "Tonight" feelings

By Alan Pergament

If you watched the CBS Sports coverage of undefeated Syracuse’s basketball win over Miami Saturday, you probably saw a promo for SU alum Steve Kroft’s interview with Jay Leno on “60 Minutes” tonight.

The promo asks "how does Jay Leno really feel about leaving 'The Tonight Show' after 22 years?"

All you need to know about how Leno feels about being replaced by Jimmy Fallon next month is revealed by his choice of where to do the interview.

He is going to CBS first tonight and then sitting down with Matt Lauer on “Today" Monday morning with Fallon.

You certainly would have thought that it would have been the other way around since Leno works for NBC even if he has a long interview relationship with Kroft.

Continue reading "NBC's Leno heads to CBS show to explain his "Tonight" feelings " »

Steve Brown, Bruce Smith, Greg Kinnear, Sherlock and more

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

Here's one for the bet-you-didn't know department.

When Channel 2's new investigative reporter Steve Brown first worked at the station two decades ago, his roommate was then Channel 7 reporter Steve Boyd. They were college friends.

Boyd left the business to become a lawyer. The two have remained good friends and Boyd recently looked over Brown's new Channel 2 contract before he signed it.

You can read more about Brown's return to Channel 2 and Buffalo in Sunday's Buffalo News.

Continue reading "Steve Brown, Bruce Smith, Greg Kinnear, Sherlock and more " »

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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.

@StillTalkinTV |