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NBC: Trump will be on "Celebrity Apprentice"

By Alan Pergament

A spokesperson for NBC confirmed this morning that Donald Trump will be on his reality show "Celebrity Apprentice" when it goes into production next month.

I'm no political expert, but it would seem to be awfully difficult to be on a reality series and also run for governor of New York State, as many Western New York Republican leaders have urged Trump to do.

It would also seem to make it difficult for NBC to run the series next fall if Trump is running against Gov. Andrew Cuomo because of the equal time provision of the 1934 Communications Act that "if any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford equal opportunies to all other such candidates for that office in the use of such broadcasting station."

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Final week of Leno 'Tonight Show' era scores locally

By Alan Pergament

The Jay Leno era of NBC's "The Tonight Show" has its finale at 11:35 tonight when the host spends most of the time with his good friend Billy Crystal.

The ratings for the final week locally have gotten a decent boost and it wouldn't be surprising if tonight's program hit a double-digit rating, a rarity for late-night shows these days.

The semi-final episode Wednesday had a 7.8 rating on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate, which is about 60 percent higher than the show averaged in January.

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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.

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WNED delays PBS celebration of Hamlisch until New Year's Eve

By Alan Pergament

Many local fans of Marvin Hamlisch have been waiting for the American Masters tribute to the late  principal pops conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra scheduled nationally for this Friday night.

They'll have to wait longer here to see the 90-minute celebration, "Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love."

WNED-TV, the local PBS affiliate that is known for occasionally and annoyingly playing programs at a different time than the national schedule, is delaying the Hamlisch special for four nights.

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The Donald responds to "Celebrity" sarcasm

By Alan Pergament

I get a good number of emails. Some are critical, some are informational and some actually are positive.

And then there are those that make me wonder if the writer understood what I had written or that I can be a little sarcastic at times.

This brings me to an email I recently received from the office of Donald J. Trump.

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Demler Olympic promo is another winner; Russo signs for 3 years

By Alan Pergament

Some quick thoughts a week before Christmas:

A voice in my head suggested I get in the holiday spirit and “say something nice about Channel 2 anchor Maryalice Demler.”

So I'll give it a whirl.

The latest Channel 2 promo for the Sochi Olympics features Demler walking down a station hallway before it is revealed she is wearing skates. When Demler gets to the end of the hallway, she does a little skater's twirl.

She is quite an actress. It is an adorable, understated, well-performed promo.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner reports that the idea for all the clever Olympic promos came from Colleeen Nossavage, the station’s community relations and programming coordinator.

She suggested the station continue the station's weather promo theme that has the slogan, "winter is coming, we're ready, are you?"

"Then Dan Meyers and the marketing team conceived and executed the specific spots," added Toellner.

As I've written before, it is a terrific, clever campaign.

Congratulations are in order for Channel 7 Sports Director Jeff Russo.

Mike Nurse, Channel 7's general manager, reports that Russo has been renewed for three years starting on Jan.1. Russo is a solid sports anchor who would be in the class of Channel 2's Adam Benigni if he would just be more opinionated.

The worst-kept secret in television might be that Katie Couric's syndicated talk show isn't going to be renewed after its second season ends in May and she concentrates on her new job with Yahoo.

Nurse said he hasn't been approached by the syndicator about renewing the program, which has been a big ratings disappointment for Channel 7.

The local TV ratings for the season finale of "Homeland" certainly suggest that critics write too much about Showtime's Emmy-winning series and that includes me. While Sunday's season finale was the highest-rated episode ever nationally, the live rating in Western New York was a .4. That’s four-tenths of a point or about 2,600 households. Of course, many Showtime subscribers watch the Claire Danes series On Demand or on their DVRs so the rating should go over a 1. The semifinal episode had a .6 and two episodes before that had a .9 when DVR playback was added.   

I don't know if this will make Channel 2 anchor Scott Levin come back to work sooner than expected but the station's ratings at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. last week without him were higher than normal. Channel 2 averaged an 11.7 at 5 p.m. and a 14.1 at 6 p.m. for the week, dominating both time periods. Pete Gallivan filled in for Levin alongside Maryalice Demler on several of those newscasts.  Of course, the winter weather undoubtedly also had something to do with the large viewership.

Want to know how to block those offensive synopses in the channel guide for programs on the Adult tier of Time Warner Cable? TWC Cable spokesman Scott Pryzwansky explained that "information in the Guide can easily be parentally controlled with Title block, just like the channels and content themselves… Just go to Settings – Parental Control (must be turned on) - Title Block." To those who asked, you’re welcome.

Channel 4 appears to have added Anthony Congi's replacement. Elysia Rodriguez made her reporting debut on Monday. She previously worked at another LIN Media station in the Springfield/Holyoke, Mass. market.

Bills, Sabres ratings dive; Criqui on CBS for one exciting Sunday


By Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking:

I doubt anyone is surprised that the Buffalo Bills’ 27-6 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday was their lowest-rated game of the NFL season. It had a 26.6 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. The games have been getting ratings in the mid 30s for most of the season.

However, even the 26.6 rating for the Bills game is about 50 percent higher than any prime time network program typically gets here and Sunday's game will be the highest-rated program of the week in Western New York.

Undoubtedly, many Bills fans headed over to WUTV, the local Fox affiliate to watch Philadelphia's 34-20 victory over Detroit in the Snow Bowl. The game had an 8.7 rating on WUTV, which is about twice as high as most Fox games get when they play opposite Bills games. However, the Philadelphia rating still was only about one-third as high as the rating for the Bills loss.

It also isn't surprising that TV ratings for the Buffalo Sabres are now back to the low levels before the hiring of Pat LaFontaine and Ted Nolan. The Sabres’ 3-2 loss to Montreal Saturday had a 5.2 rating on MSG.

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Fresh from UB appearance, Gladwell is on "60 Minutes"

By Alan Pergament

If you're a fan of best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and missed his recent appearance at the University at Buffalo, you should tune in Sunday to CBS' "60 Minutes" at 7 p.m. Sunday.

And if you heard him at UB on Nov.13, you might want to tune in anyway to the profile of Gladwell by Anderson Cooper on the news magazine show.

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Nets get baby bump from the summer of George

By Alan Pergament

I finally got a laugh this morning over all the national news coverage of the royal birth of George Alexander Louis.

Reporting on "Today" this morning, Michelle Kosinski speculated that some people believe his parents, Kate and William, were "Seinfeld" fans. Then "Today" ran a clip from that sitcom that proclaimed this "the summer of George" with Kosinski adding "as in George Costanza, Jason Alexander," before showing a photo of "Seinfeld" co-star Julia Louis- Dreyfus and emphasizing "Louis." “We assume a coincidence," concluded Kosinski of the three "Seinfeld"-related names.

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Bouncing around a variety of TV topics

By Alan Pergament

If you read my story in Sunday’s Buffalo News about all the cable channels I didn't realize existed, you may be saying to yourself, why doesn't Time Warner Cable carry Bounce TV, the new sub-channel carried by Channel 4?

After all, it can't be less important than some of the unusual channels it does carry.

Good question.

One might have expected that LIN TV would have made the carriage of the sub-channel part of the recent retransmission deal it made with TWC to carry Channel 4 and Channel 23 here.

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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 |