By Alan Pergament
With the snow and cold delivering a captive audience to local television stations, it isn't surprising that the ratings for Monday night's newscasts were the highest they've been in years.
At 6 p.m. Monday, Channel 4 won with a 19.3 rating to Channel 2's 16.8 rating. Channel 7 had a 9.4 rating. The collective rating of 45.5 means is a Super Bowl-like figure that means 45.5 percent of area households were tuned in to the news.
One local researcher said he couldn't recall those kind of numbers delivered in years.
At 11 p.m., Channel 2 won with a 13.8 rating to Channel 4's 13.0 and Channel 7's 6.4. The combined rating was 33.2, meaning about one-third of area households were tuned in.
It also was a good night for Channel 4 to premiere its new, expanded hour-long 10 p.m. news on sister station WNLO-TV. The first half-hour had a 10.5 rating and the second half hour at 10:30 p.m. had a 6.7 rating.
And Channel 2 scored with a half-hour special at 7:30 p.m. It had an 11.7. However, even all the snow couldn't help Channel 2 beat Channel 4's "Jeopardy." It had a 17.3 rating on Channel 4 opposite Channel 2's special.
"Downton" Wins Sunday: The fourth season premiere of "Downton Abbey" was the highest-rated prime time show here with a 7.4 rating on WNED-TV, the local PBS affiliate. It decisively beat an original episode of CBS' "The Good Wife," which averaged only a 4.0 on Channel 4. NBC's Jimmy Fallon clips show was second here with a 5.3 rating on Channel 2.
Hardly Championship Rating: Florida State's last-minute win over Auburn for the national football championship only had a 10.5 rating locally on ESPN. I say "only" because you would have expected it to be higher considering so many people were home looking for something good to watch.
During a break in action, I turned over to WNLO-TV in time to see Channel 4 sports anchors Steve Vesey and Lauren Brill debate whether Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel was the long-term answer for the NFL team during a new 10 p.m. recorded opinion segment called "Overtime." Vesey said the success of redshirt freshman Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston with essentially the same players that Manuel played with a year earlier was concerning to him. The timing of that statement was unfortunate for Vesey since before the game-winning drive the Heisman Trophy winner might have had his worst game of the season and didn't exactly look NFL ready when it came to facing pressure.
Brill was even more critical of Manuel, concluding he wasn't the answer. She might end up being right but I'm pretty sure the Bills, Manuel and most Bills fans really aren't worried about her opinion even if it was entertaining to see her express one. In addition, Manuel certainly had a better rookie season than Brill did.
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