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"Mad Men," "Draft Day" are wise selections

By Alan Pergament

Sometimes I am asked more about why I chose not to write about things rather than what I have written about.

Take the case of Sunday's seventh season premiere of "Mad Men."

I tweeted that I had seen it before it aired, which had some people wondering why I didn't review it.

There were a couple of reasons why. It had been a pretty busy week. Something newsy came up every day I planned to review it.

In addition, I was a little concerned about accidentally violating the ground rules that AMC gave critics who were allowed to preview the episode.

Continue reading ""Mad Men," "Draft Day" are wise selections " »

Robitaille really isn't retiring, plans to continue on radio

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo Sabres analyst Mike Robitaille said a tearful goodbye at the end of his final MSG post-game show Sunday night.

But the 66-year-old Robitaille really isn't retiring in the traditional sense.

He might even be on his regular WGR talk show hour, "Roby Radio," at 8 Wednesday morning.

His tears Sunday night seemed to surprise him, though in retrospect they were totally understandable.

"I was signed by the New York Rangers when I was 14," said Robitaille. "When your whole life is hockey, it is not an easy thing to give up."

His tears might have confused some viewers into thinking Robitaille was giving up all his media ventures instead of just his regular MSG role.

In a telephone interview Monday night, Robitaille said he expects to do his WGR show for four or five Wednesdays during the National Hockey League playoffs, plans to be back on WGR at least for his hour show in the fall and might also appear on MSG next season on an emergency fill-in basis.

"This is a semi-retirement," said Robitaille. "I'll just have enough to do on TV to have a parking pass."

Continue reading "Robitaille really isn't retiring, plans to continue on radio" »

A semi-serious attempt to honor BEMA winners

By Alan Pergament

For some reason, I didn't get a release over the weekend about the winners of the Third Annual Buffalo Excellence in Media Awards (BEMAs) that were presented Friday night.

That could be because I've likened the awards to both the People's Choice Awards and to youth athletics when just about everyone gets a trophy just for participating.

Or it could be because my email is just about always full and the release couldn't make it to my mail box.

In any event, I was still able to see who won via Twitter, where all the winners were congratulated or tweeting about their wins. I hear everyone had a very good time.

And I'll try to write about the BEMAs seriously without taking too many cracks, but it is really, really hard to do.

Continue reading "A semi-serious attempt to honor BEMA winners" »

Clearing up the Buffalo roots of "Idol" finalist

By Alan Pergament

I received the nicest correction I've ever gotten Thursday.

It came from an aunt of "American Idol" finalist Jena Irene Asciutto.

She wasn't correcting me as much as she was correcting a relative.

Linda Asciutto, who was born and raised in South Detroit, thanked me for "the nice article" Wednesday on her 17-year-old niece from Detroit.

However, she added she wanted to clear up some things about Jena's Buffalo roots given to me by a Western New York relative who she knew "means very well and is very proud of Jena's accomplishments."

Here's what Linda Asciutto wrote:

"Jena's grandfather (my father) was not Andrew, rather was Gandolf (named after his grandfather Gandolfo). My grandfather was indeed Andrea, who did hail from Buffalo. However, my dad (Jena's   grandfather) was born and raised in Detroit, not Buffalo, and my mother was in fact, Irene. Jena's       middle name was given in honor of my mother. In addition to many of the original Asciutto descendants in Buffalo, offspring are aplenty in the Detroit area as well.

"We appreciate our cousins and other relatives from Buffalo; think highly of our Buffalo roots and the time you took to write your article. No need to make any correction publicly; I just wanted to let you know."


Linda Asciutto

I emailed her back that it was my duty as a journalist to make the corrections.

I'm sure all the Asciuttos in Detroit and in Buffalo were rooting for Jena Irene Thursday night on the Fox results show when she learned her magical "Idol" ride will continue.

She now is one of the seven remaining finalists.


Was that really "Sharknado 2" filming here?

By Alan Pergament

I ran into the filming of a movie on Lafayette Square Sunday morning that I was told had the tentative title of "Alligator Apocalypse" and was produced by the same company behind last summer's campy Syfy channel and social media hit "Sharknado." 

Extras were supposedly battling imaginary alligators last weekend at the corner of Clinton and Washington Streets with chain saws, axes, pitchforks and shovels as Buffalo stood in for New York City, where the film is set.

But was that title purposely misleading by The Asylum, which is the film's production company?

Some suspicious extras believe they were really involved in the sequel, "Sharknado 2: The Second Coming," that is set in New York City.

Continue reading "Was that really "Sharknado 2" filming here?" »

Choice of Colbert to succeed Letterman makes perfect sense

By Alan Pergament

After further review, CBS' announcement this afternoon that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on "The Late Show" makes perfect sense.

It certainly makes more sense than Colbert's fictional conservative talk show host on "The Colbert Report" often makes.

When Letterman announced a week ago that he planned to retire in about a year, my instant pick to replace him was Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" -- if he wanted the job.

I would like to know if Stewart wanted it or was ever offered it, but I doubt we'll find out any time soon.

CBS is going with Colbert, whose Comedy Central talk show "The Colbert Report" is a spinoff of "The Daily Show" and revolves around a fictional conservative talk show host who started on Stewart's show.

There are several reasons why naming Colbert as Letterman's successor makes sense.

* I don't think age is one of them. He turns 50 next month, so he is only slightly younger than Stewart, who turns 52 in November. He will be competing with NBC's 39-year-old Jimmy Fallon or ABC's 46-year-old Jimmy Kimmel.

* Colbert's hiring is less of a risk than if CBS had gone with Neil Patrick Harris, who has considerable variety skills but was unknown as an interviewer.

* Colbert wanted the job so badly that the Bill Carter, an excellent New York Times reporter, said Colbert even had his Comedy Central contracts timed to run out when Letterman's contracts with CBS ended. You got the sense from Carter's reports that Colbert would have ended changed his name to Jimmy just to get the job.

* He is comfortable doing sketches, something that Fallon and Kimmel have gotten praise for and that attract younger viewers when they land on YouTube and social networks. Colbert's Christmas special on Comedy Central a while ago illustrated his sketch skills. 

* And although his fictional conservative talk show actually pokes fun at conservatives, Colbert isn't as in-your-face liberal as Stewart frequently can be. I doubt CBS would want to deal again with more loud claims about how biased it is.

While Stewart directly debates Fox's Bill O'Reilly and other conservatives in different ways than the way he just skewers them on his show, Colbert generally makes fun of them through his character and that might seem less offensive to sensitive conservatives. They key words are "might seem."

It is hard to say how Colbert's move to "The Late Show " will play in Western New York.

Neither "The Daily Show" or "The Colbert Report" does very well playing opposite the 11 p.m. news and the 11:35 p.m. late night network shows here. I'm told that, on a good night, Stewart's show gets a 1 rating and Colbert's show slightly less than that.

However, Comedy Central plays them three other times the next day, and the shows are also available On Demand, so it's difficult to tell how well they do here overall.

I initially assumed that Colbert planned to continue to play a fake conservative host when he takes over "The Late Show." However, Carter has reported that Colbert plans to be himself.

It is hard to know how that will play. However, the fake conservative host is an acquired taste and it might have taken some time for new viewers to acquire it.

Buffalo viewers got a hint about what the "real" Colbert would be like six years ago when he spoke at the University at Buffalo.

Carter's report lead me to refer to a 2008 interview that I did with Colbert before he came to UB. Here's what I wrote back then:

Of course, the big question is which Stephen Colbert will be here -- the calm one on the telephone or the loud, animated, playful conservative character he plays on basic cable?

"[I'll be] pretty much like I'm talking to you right now," he said. "The weird thing about my character, even on the show, is sometimes I say what I mean. It doesn't matter to me that the audience doesn't know when that is.

"When I do a show live, it is far less of the character... It is an odd mix. People who invite me to speak ... my name is Stephen Colbert and the character's name is Stephen Colbert and sometimes I'm not really sure who they've invited. So I do a little bit of both."

My initial thought is Colbert is clever enough to make it work no matter who he is. 

Shaking my head over Fallon, MNF here

By Alan Pergament

Several months ago, I got a message on social media that someone was SMH over a remark I either made or quoted.

I was shaking my head over what the acronym stood for and asked some equally clueless members of the faculty at a local college about it when a student walked by and said it means "shaking my head."

It is used to underscore how surprising, stupid or silly things are.

I've been SMH over a few things in TV locally lately.

I can't understand what's going on in late night here.

Continue reading "Shaking my head over Fallon, MNF here" »

Bills unaware of rumored MNF home game with Packers

By Alan Pergament

The local TV stations gave good play to the Fox Sports report out of Wisconsin Tuesday in which a source was cited as saying the Green Bay Packers' visit to The Ralph to play the Buffalo Bills this season will be carried on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

I suppose the stations had to deal with it because in these days of social media, speculation and rumor often is presented as fact.

A Bills executive told me this morning that the team hasn't been given any information on the 2014 regular season schedule. Therefore, the team isn't aware if the Bills will get a MNF game against the Packers or anyone else. National Football League teams usually get the schedule hours before it is usually announced in mid-to-late April.

The MNF game might happen. But from years dealing with the NFL schedule, I know scheduling changes occur right up until the last minute. That's one reason I certainly wouldn't be comfortable being the source of the speculation on the schedule a week or two before the announcement.

Additionally, this year’s schedule could be even more complicated for the league to finish now that CBS is going to carry Thursday Night Football games and is expected to get a strong schedule. 

An ESPN source told me this afternoon that the cable sports network doesn't get the schedule until close to when everyone else receives it and it is announced. He added that the NFL's network partners -- CBS, Fox, NBC , ESPN and The NFL Network -- ask for certain games but it doesn't mean they will get them. In addition, there may be drafts of schedules but things can change.

"Anyone who thinks that they know, doesn't know," said the ESPN source of the Bills-Packers game being on MNF.

If the Wisconsin report turns out to be accurate, it could be a blow to WUTV, the local Fox affiliate.

WUTV only gets to carry two Bills home games a year when National Conference teams like the Pack visit here and the game is a sell-out. The station certainly wouldn't want to lose a game with the Packers. ESPN's sells the broadcast rights to MNF games in local markets so WUTV could keep the game with a winning bid.

"American Idol" finalist has roots here; "Voice" tour to hit the Falls

By Alan Pergament

When the Elite Eight finalists on Fox’s "American Idol" start singing songs from the '80s at 8 tonight, there will be several relatives in Western New York rooting for 17-year-old Jena Irene Asciutto.

 Yes, there always seems to be a Buffalo angle.

 One of those relatives, Laurie Galbo of Wheatfield, alerted me to Jena Irene's (that's what she is called on "Idol") roots.

Here's an edited portion of the email Jena's relative sent me: "Jena is 17 and from the Detroit area. Her roots are in Buffalo! Her grandfather, Andrew, was born and raised in Buffalo and moved to Michigan after military service. He met his wife, Irene, there and settled down. His brother also moved to Detroit. But the Asciutto family came from Isnello, Sicily and settled in Buffalo. The rest of the Asciutto clan is still in Buffalo!

Continue reading ""American Idol" finalist has roots here; "Voice" tour to hit the Falls" »

Ch.4's embarrassing "exclusive"; Busey ad is a winner

By Alan Pergament

Over the years, local TV news viewers have learned that stations toss around the word "exclusive" far more easily than Donald Trump congratulates himself.

But Channel 4 made an "exclusive" claim Monday night that deserved a "Saturday Night Live" parody.

On an early newscast, the station proclaimed that it had an "exclusive" interview with Buffalo Bills legend Jim Kelly about his battle with cancer.

The claim was a head-scratcher since Kelly and his family have been available to all the local stations and any regular viewer of local news had to be aware of the coverage elsewhere.

Channel 2 anchor Scott Levin went to New York City over the weekend to interview Kelly from his hospital room. Channel 7 anchor Keith Radford was there over the weekend to interview Kelly.

Continue reading "Ch.4's embarrassing "exclusive"; Busey ad is a winner" »

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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 |