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County executive has future as TV critic; "Golden Globes" scores

By Alan Pergament

Today's blog is written in the spirit of political equal time.

I am following my Sunday report on Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw's misguided view of local TV news viewership with a report on County Executive Mark Poloncarz's prime time TV viewing habits as revealed by his Twitter account.

It is only fair since Mychajliw is a Republican and Poloncarz is a Democrat. And this blog always tries to be fair. Opinionated but fair.

I actually enjoy Poloncarz's occasional tweets about the Buffalo Sabres and prime time and local TV.

 After he's out of office, he could consider becoming a TV critic. But recent evidence suggests he shouldn't be a network TV executive.

 I was amazed that Poloncarz had time to tweet about a new broadcast network series last week considering how busy he was during The Blizzard of '14. The reviews for his on-the-job performance were very good. However, his prediction of what could become must-see TV wasn’t that good.

Here’s what Poloncarz wrote on Facebook about the new ABC series "The Assets" based on the life of CIA spy Aldrich Ames: "I was flipping through the channels and found 'The Assets.' As someone who voraciously read anything on U.S.-Soviet foreign policy and studied the Cold War back in college when it was still going on, I can say I am hooked on the series even though I know the result. Anybody else watching it?"

I can say it is a good thing that the county executive knows the result. That's because not many people were watching it locally or nationally and that means viewers won't see the finish.

ABC canceled the eight-part series after two episodes. The 10 p.m. Thursday time slot this week will be filled by "Shark Tank."

 "The Assets" bombed big time nationally, especially among viewers in the important 18-49 demographic.

Locally, the premiere on Jan.2 had an anemic 1.7 household rating on Channel 7, the ABC affiliate. The second episode had a 1.2 rating. Those numbers might be good for WBBZ but they're deadly for an ABC affiliate.

ABC deserves some of the blame for premiering the series on Jan.2 when viewers weren't in their regular viewing routines after the New Year. But with numbers like that even political competitors Poloncarz and Mychajliw probably would agree that "The Assets" had to go.

The blizzard drove viewers to the premiere week of Channel 4's expanded 10 p.m. news on sister station WNLO-TV.

The first half hour last week at 10 p.m. averaged a 6.7 rating. The second half hour dropped to a 4.3 but that was still twice as high as the syndicated program "TMZ" usued to receive in that time slot.

It is unclear if the hour-long news damaged the audience for the 11 p.m. news on Channel 4 because it was such an unusual week with the blizzard driving viewership. Channel 4 had a higher rating than normal at 11 p.m. with a 10.9. But second-place Channel 2 was closer than usual to Channel 4 with a 10.0. It could be awhile before we can see if the expanded hour news on WNLO has a negative impact on Channel 4's 11 p.m. news.

Naturally, the four NFL playoff games over the weekend did very well on WUTV (Channel 29) and WIVB (Channel 4), the local Fox and CBS affiliates.

Denver's win over San Diego Sunday had a 27.5 rating on Channel 4 and San Francisco's win over Carolina a 26.1 rating on Channel 29. New England's win over Indianapolis and Seattle's win over New Orleans Saturday had identical 22.3 rating on the same stations. The four games will be the four highest-rated local programs of the week.

To put the NFL ratings in further prospective, the top-rated prime time program locally Sunday was NBC's coverage of "The Golden Globes," which had a 13.2 rating on Channel 2.

The Globes took a bite out of the second episode of the "Downton Abbey" season. It averaged a 5.8 rating on WNED-TV, down from a 7.2 for the season premiere on the PBS affiliate.      


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.

@StillTalkinTV |