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Javad, Brown, Richert win State Emmys; CBS report on Kelly powerful

By Alan Pergament

Catching up on the headlines after a week away:

A while back, I told you that Channel 2 sports reporter Jonah Javad, who I initially criticized for trying too hard to be clever, is growing on me a little bit.

I also foolishly spelled his name wrong once, which led to him tweeting me the proper spelling.

Well, Javad is making a name for himself statewide now.

On Sunday night, he was one of three local winners at the State Emmy Awards in New York City, a competition dominated by the big network affiliates downstate and the sports channels there.

Jovad won in the category of "Sports: News Single Story" for a Feb.25 " story called "Rising Son" about the triumph over extreme adversity by Buffalo State College basketball star Jake Simmons. (The photographer on the story was Ben Read.)

Continue reading "Javad, Brown, Richert win State Emmys; CBS report on Kelly powerful" »

TV, social network reflections highlight Wilson coverage

By Alan Pergament

ST. MARTIN - Traditionally when I go away big news happens.

I can not imagine any bigger than the news I got via text from my older son as I sat on a beach in the Caribbean: "Ralph Wilson died." I headed to the Internet on my phone and saw that the Buffalo Bills confirmed it.

It was time to reflect on Wilson's well-lived 95 years and all the things that have changed in pro football and in life over that time.

The text I received on my iPhone was one small example. I am also writing this on an iPad. I immediately wished I could see the local television coverage of Wilson's legacy and life in what will be one of the biggest stories of the year in WNY. And then I remembered I could because all the local TV stations stream their newscasts and I have WiFi at my hotel.

I was able to watch Channel 4 anchor Don Postles tell viewers that the news was not unexpected because of Wilson's age but it was still a bit of a shock.

A short time later, Channel 4 was carrying a live news conference in which former Bill Steve Tasker told a wonderful, moving story about how Wilson welcomed him to the team and wished him well before his second game. Tasker thought it was a nice gesture and didn't realize he was talking to the owner.

Tasker appeared ready to tell another moving story when Channel 4 inexplicably cut to comments made by County Executive Mark Poloncarz. Bad move. A little later, I saw Channel 2 sports anchor Adam Benigni's report on Wilson's death that was aided by file footage from an exceptional special on the owner that at the time seemed preparation for an obituary. Good stuff.

I also headed to Facebook to see a post by Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon that told a sweet story about Wilson joining her for a meal and trying to make her feel comfortable in her role as a reporter back then.

There were several sweet Facebook posts that illustrated how much many Western New Yorkers appreciated Wilson and his kind gestures. But I couldn't help but think that people who aren't Buffalo natives appreciate what Wilson has done for the community more than those who have lived here all their lives.

I am one of them. I came here when I was 21 and 20 years later watched my first Bills Super Bowl not knowing if I would root for the Bills or the team I grew up with -- the New York Giants. (At kickoff, I learned I was a Bills fan.)

Since I am not a Buffalo native, I think I understand how fortunate the area has been to have had Wilson as an owner more than natives.

The world has dramatically changed since Wilson bought the team in 1960. At the time, Buffalo might have been a top 30 TV market or close to it. Now it is outside the top 50.

The community has lost population and Wilson hasn't been able to charge as much for tickets as owners in bigger markets. I have a friend who is a Giants season ticket-holder who pays three times as much as I do for a Bills game and he also has to pay a license fee. I couldn't afford to go to one Giants game a season, even if I could get ahold of a ticket.

The disparity in ticket prices and market sizes is one of the reasons I have supported the Bills in their position against lifting the NFL blackout rule. I think lifting the rule could hurt attendance here and attendance is one of the ways this area can show it belongs in the NFL despite its market size.

Some people have criticized Wilson for a variety of things, including unfairly suggesting he didn't spend enough money on players. There were few such complaints when the Bills made four straight Super Bowls in the 1990s.

The NFL rules have changed and there is no way today a team could afford to keep all the Hall of Famers on the same team. Wilson is a Hall of Famer, too, which would seem to say how big his legacy is in Buffalo.

However, there is some sentiment that his legacy here would be tarnished if the Bills don't stay here forever. To the contrary, Wilson did everything he could to keep the team here in a world changed by TV money, technology and population shifts in the 54 years he's owned the team. If the Bills ever move, it is on WNY, not Ralph Wilson.

HGTV show - possibly 'Rehab Addict' - coming to Buffalo next month

By Alan Pergament

A popular cable television series is expected to be filming on Buffalo's West Side for at least three months starting in mid-April.

According to a source connected to the filming, the series airs on the HGTV channel and local housing activist Bernice Radle is involved.

If Radle's name sounds familiar, she joined Lance Diamond and Thurman Thomas eating chicken wings on Mo Rocca's piece on CBS' Sunday morning.

The name of the show being filmed here isn't known but a source says it fits the description of "Rehab Addict," one of HGTV's most popular programs in its fourth season.

it stars Nicole Curtis, a Detroit native who reportedly has been rehabbing homes for years before she starred in the series.

Here's part of the show description: "Nicole takes ramshackle homes from the wrecking ball to their original stunning glory. Whether it's managing her rugged crew or wrangling city officials, this single mom wields her hammer with skill and returns condemned properties to their place as the pride of the neighborhood."

The Buffalo home that will be featured on the HGTV program - whatever it is - is on 19th Street.

Tim Clark, film commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, was not able to confirm any series was coming here. That is his standard practice.

"The film office is working on numerous projects but we are not able to specifically identify shows or projects that are working in the region," Clark said.

'Dateline' to feature Taglianetti murder trial tonight

One of the most shocking homicides to occur in Western New York in recent years is about to get some national attention.

The NBC News program "Dateline" this evening will feature a report on the murder of former Clymer School Superintendent Keith L. Reed Jr., killed in his home in 2012.

Anthony “Rob” Taglianetti II was convicted of second-degree murder last year. Prosecutors said Taglianetti was sent into a jealous rage after discovering one of several email exchanges between Reed and his ex-wife. The former Marine drove 350 miles from his Woodbridge, Va., home and shot Reed once in the chest and twice in the back, authorities said.

Reed’s body was found in a hedgerow near his rural Clymer home, three days after he was last seen by friends and family.

Taglianetti, who did not testify at trial, received the maximum sentence.

From the NBC news release: "As his family struggled to make sense of the horror, investigators looked for answers. Dennis Murphy reports on a story about a small-town murder brewed in cyber-space."

Here’s a link to a video preview of the "Dateline" story.

Dateline airs at 8 p.m. on WGRZ Channel 2.

- Bruce Andriatch

Jolls' puppets searching for Museum; "Walking Dead" revived on WNYO

By Alan Pergament

Cleaning out my notebook before I take a week off.

If I had to do it all over again, I would have spent more time in my Sunday piece on Channel 7 weatherman Tom Jolls talking about his second career launched in 1965 hosting a children's program as Commander Tom.

I've come to that conclusion because since the story ran there have been as many comments about his work as the Commander as there were for his sunny (and not so sunny) forecasts.

I wrote much more about the Commander Tom phase of his life when he retired 15 years ago.

Here are some excerpts from that article:

"After showing some classic television shows, he did segments with puppets between commercials. Jolls wrote the sketches on a program that lasted until 1991... Jolls created a variety of characters: Dustmop, named after a dog he knew growing up; Mattie, an alligator-giraffe combination; Sorcella, a bad witch; Cecily, the witch's good twin sister, and Furryburry, which consisted of a furry head and eyes that juggled atop a pencil body. Furryburry was around to annoy the Commander.”

 "His fame as the Commander is international, as evidenced by a signed photograph in his TV room from hockey great Wayne Gretzky to the Commander. Young Wayne grew up near Toronto watching the program, along with most of Western New York.

"Jolls and his wife made the puppets from scratch and he created all the voices. He believes his experience as an only child helped him develop those characters, as he often had to use his imagination growing up."

Continue reading "Jolls' puppets searching for Museum; "Walking Dead" revived on WNYO" »

Sweet 16 comments about NCAA tourney and announcers

By Alan Pergament

One of the additional reasons I like the invention of On Demand viewing so much is that it enables me to watch so much college basketball.

If a game is on, I always figure I can catch up with "Blacklist" or "Scandal" later On Demand.

That's especially true if Syracuse is playing and driving me crazy. Not that I overrated the Orange this season. Even when Syracuse was 25-0, I told friends and family that "they are not very good."

But I added: "No one else is, either."

Continue reading "Sweet 16 comments about NCAA tourney and announcers " »

Robinson survives under pressure; North Park plays pay-TV movie

By Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking:

I bailed out of watching "Survivor" several seasons ago, but I thought I'd give the CBS reality series a try for 10 minutes last Wednesday because Buffalo basketball legend Cliff Robinson is part of the cast.

I caught the final 10 minutes when Robinson’s basketball skills were put to the test. The former NBA star had to throw little balls into a basket in the water from a reasonable distance to help his team win a challenge that gave them immunity from being ousted.

I can't imagine the pressure that must have been on the former Riverside and University of Connecticut star. If he had lost that competition, he probably would have never heard the end of it from his "Survivor" team or from friends back home.

Robinson missed a couple of shots, but eventually found his stroke to help his team move on to the Big Dance. OK, not exactly. But the team moved on to tonight. I just may watch the final 10 minutes again.

If you are a regular reader, you know I am not a big fan of Channel 4's expansion of the 10 p.m. news to an hour on sister station WNLO-TV.

There just isn't an hour of news here to support the idea.

However, the extra 30 minutes gives Channel 4 more time to sell ads.

Here's further evidence that the move isn't thrilling Western New York.

Last week, reruns of "Two and a Half Men" on WUTV had a higher rating at 10:30 p.m. than Channel 4's  newscast.

It was close -- 3.2.-3.0. But that's still a sad story for Channel 4.

I am thrilled that the North Park Theater has been renovated and actually thought about attending the  movie playing there -- "Better Living Through Chemistry" -- last weekend.

But while searching for an On Demand movie Saturday night, I noticed the film was available if I just stayed home.

In other words, I could pay a fraction of the price I would pay at the North Park to see a movie I could watch in my living room.

I'll eventually go to the North Park to support the theater and its owners but they better schedule a movie I can't watch at home.

The "30 for 30" special, "Requiem for the Big East," that aired Sunday night reminded me why Charles Pierce is such a great sportswriter. He came up with most of the good lines in the special, noting that “capitalism” killed the Big East. Almost every word and metaphor out of his mouth was a gem.

CBS’ renewal of the comedy "Mom" for next season was good news for Buffalo native Nick Bakay, who is the executive producer of the latest show from Chuck Lorre of "Big Bang Theory" fame.  Lorre's success with “Big Bang” and "Two and a Half Men" has given him the power to save his other less popular series, including "Mom." It looks like "Big Bang" may have to move back to Mondays next fall when CBS begins carrying Thursday Night Football games. However, perhaps CBS will convince the National Football League that "Bang" will give those Thursday games a great lead-in if they start playing games at 8:30 p.m. One key for "Mom" next year may be whether it can stay on Monday.

Yankee games moving from WBBZ to WNYO

By Alan Pergament

The New York Yankees are on the move on local television.

The package of 21 non-cable games that had been carried on WBBZ-TV for the past two seasons is moving to Sinclair's WNYO-TV this season.

Nick Magnini, the general manager of WNYO and sister station WUTV, confirmed the deal this afternoon. He said that Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns the local stations, will be carrying the Yankee package in all of its upstate markets -- Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

Magnini said all the exclusive broadcast station telecasts of games that aren't carried on the YES Network cable package will be in prime time and air on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Continue reading "Yankee games moving from WBBZ to WNYO" »

WBBZ bragging about new local game show set for June

By Alan Pergament

WBBZ-TV owner Phil Arno will soon have the bragging rights to producing the area's first new local game show in recent memory.

Starting at 6:30 p.m.on Monday June 9, the independent station will premiere a daily weeknight game show, "Bragging Rights!," hosted by John DiSciullo, who also is the station's production and promotion manager.

It was Arno's idea to do the show and he named the program.

According to the station, "Bragging Rights!" is an interactive, trivia quiz show that fits the format of WBBZ, which relies heavily on classic TV programs carried via the MeTV network.

DiSciullo said taping of the show will begin in mid-May. The plan is to have teams of three players who might have similar jobs compete against each other for prizes supplied by sponsors.

Continue reading "WBBZ bragging about new local game show set for June" »

Ch.2 making strong move at 10 p.m; Talley is Buffalo booster

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

It is time to revisit and update some earlier blogs.

I told you earlier this month that the move of Channel 2's 10 p.m. news from Sinclair Broadcasting's WNYO-TV to its more powerful Fox affiliate WUTV appeared to be paying off in its battle with Channel 4's 10 O'Clock News on sister station WNLO-TV.

Channel 4 used to triple the ratings of Channel 2 at 10 p.m. when WGRZ's newscasts were on WNYO.

During the February sweeps, Channel 4 won by a still sizable but closer margin, 4.6-3.2.

From the looks of last week's ratings, the 10 p.m. race is getting even closer.

From Monday through Friday, Channel 4 averaged a 5.8 rating at 10 p.m. on WNLO-TV.

Channel 2 averaged a 5.0 rating at 10 p.m. on WUTV.

Those figures are higher than normal because of the March storm.

On the night of the big storm Wednesday, Channel 4 won by less than a point, 7.2-6.6.

On the next night, Channel 2 actually defeated Channel 4, 5.7-5.4.

Channel 4 recovered to win Friday decisively, 5.5-3.7.

But you still have to ask what is happening?

I have some theories.

Continue reading "Ch.2 making strong move at 10 p.m; Talley is Buffalo booster" »

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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 |