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Ch.7 plans show from Judge Judy as news lead-in for Now

By Alan Pergament

One of the big reasons for the decline of Channel 7's news is the lousy lead-in it gets at 4 p.m. weekdays.

That isn't expected to change much this fall when it plans to carry a new judge show, "Hot Bench," produced by CBS and Judge Judy opposite Channel 2's powerhouse "Ellen" and Channel 4's "Dr. Oz."

The talk show from Queen Latifah moves back an hour to 3 p.m.  in place of the canceled show from Katie Couric.

Down the horizon, Channel 7 may have to run a new program being produced by its new owner, E.W. Scripps.

Called "The Now," Scripps premiered it on its stations in Kansas City and Denver this week at 4 p.m.

Scripps executive Brian Lawlor said in a Scripps release that the program will have a heavy emphasis on what is trending on social media.

"I believe The NOW will set the pace for the type of programming that audiences on multiple platforms crave," Lawler is quoted as saying in the Scripps release. "The audiences want to know what's happening right now, give their own take on those events, and share their thoughts with their own social media networks." 

The release said the program will expand to six more stations in the months ahead, including at the  Detroit station Scripps purchased at the same time as Channel 7.

But the expansion of "The Now"  won't include Buffalo's Channel 7 -- at least for now.

"We are not slated to be part of the initial rollout of The Now," wrote Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse in a text response. "It requires a dedicated crew locally for that show alone and the feeling was there were too many other priorities initially."

"We are excited about the various programming opportunities from Scripps and are closely following the rollout of 'The Now' as it reflects a different and topical approach to early fringe's 4 p.m. programming and a fresh alternative to syndicated talk."

Of course, another significant reason for Channel 7's decline is the cutback in its news staff. It is expected to rectify that with announcements of new hires shortly.

The celebration of New York Yankee great Derek Jeter during Fox's telecast of the All-Star game Tuesday gave the game a significant local ratings boost from a year ago when Yankee great Mariano Rivera was honored.

But it was no World Cup final by a longshot.

The American League victory averaged a 5.7 rating on WUTV from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. and fell after that. A year ago, the All-Star game averaged a 4.6 rating here. Germany's World Cup victory over Argentina Sunday -- which obviously was more important to soccer than the All-Star game  is to baseball -- had a 10.4 rating locally during game time.

The Nike advertisement in which a variety of sports stars -- including Michael Jordan at the end -- first responders and ordinary people tip their cap in Re2pect to Jeter (who wears No.2) ran during the game. It is an instant commercial classic.  

WNED repeats beautifully-designed Olmsted production tonight

By Alan Pergament

If you enjoyed this beautiful weekend in one of the three original Olmsted Parks in Buffalo, you might want to know more about the landscape architect who designed them and many of the parks across the country with another parks expert.

You're in luck because at 8 tonight, WNED-TV is repeating its co-production that premiered Friday night, "Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America."

I wasn't able to note Channel 17's plans to repeat the special tonight when I initially posted my review Friday, but added it later.

It is a special well worth watching -- if you get home from the parks in time to see it tonight.

Here is my Friday review.  

A WNED mystery is solved; U.S. Open ratings sink like short putt

By Alan Pergament

Inquiring minds want to know: What happened locally to "The Escape Artist," the "Masterpiece Mystery!" series starring David Tennant of "Dr. Who" fame as a London lawyer?

It made its debut Sunday on PBS stations across the country.

I can clear up the mystery about the series that co-stars Tony winner Sophie Okonedo ("A Raisin in the Sun") with the help of Ron Santora, the station manager of WNED-TV.

Santora explained Monday afternoon that the second week of the local PBS station's fund drive has delayed the WNED airing of the first part of "Escape" until July 27. The second and final part of the three-hour series airs a week later on Aug.3.

Why such a lengthy delay?

That's so WNED can carry the second season of the  "Endeavour" at the same time as PBS stations across the country. Shaun Evans stars as Rookie Detective Endeavour Morse in the series.

Continue reading "A WNED mystery is solved; U.S. Open ratings sink like short putt" »

Things to brag and not brag about on local TV

By Alan Pergament

It isn't much to brag about, but at least the ratings for WBBZ's new game show "Bragging Rights!" are consistent and decent by standards of the local shows it carries.

The program hosted by John DiSciullo averaged a .7 rating for its first week on the air, which represents about 4,400 households.

The ratings for the five shows ranged from a .6 to a .8, which illustrates its consistency. In addition, the .7 for the week equals the rating that the entertainment program it replaced at 6:30 p.m. weekdays, "Cash Cab" repeats.

Speaking of bragging rights, Western New York earned them again for the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals. NBC said the 9.2 rating on Channel 2 here for the Los Angeles double overtime clincher over the New York Rangers placed the Buffalo market in third place overall, behind only the big markets of the participating teams.

The rating here hit a high of 14.4  at 11:30 p.m., which is about triple what Jimmy Fallon's late-night show gets here. The rating continued in double figures until 12:30 a.m.

Continue reading "Things to brag and not brag about on local TV" »

"Big Bang," "NCIS: Los Angeles" moving this fall

By Alan Pergament

The big news for local viewers coming out of this morning's CBS schedule announcement is "The Big Bang Theory" is moving to 8 p.m. Mondays at the start of the new season in September when the network carries Thursday Night Football.

"Big Bang," which has been airing on Thursdays in recent seasons, and "NCIS" have been by far the most popular prime time programs in Western New York for several seasons.

"Bang" will return to 8 p.m. Thursdays on Oct. 30, a week after CBS' portion of the Thursday Night schedule ends. Then "Two Broke Girls" takes over the 8 p.m. Monday slot. The brief Monday run of "Bang" should provide a boost to "Mom," which is produced by former WNYer Nick Bakay. "Mom" is airing at 8:30 p.m. Monday in the fall after "Bang."  

"Bang'" isn't the only popular series here on the move early this fall.

Continue reading ""Big Bang," "NCIS: Los Angeles" moving this fall " »

"Scandal," "Blacklist" headed for TV showdown in 2015

By Alan Pergament

Olivia Pope or Raymond "Red" Reddington?

That will be your choice in February of 2015 when ABC's "Scandal" with Kerry Washington as Pope and James Spader as Reddington in NBC's "The Blacklist" are scheduled to compete head-to-head at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Two days after NBC announced that it would be moving "The Blacklist" to 9 p.m. Thursdays in February, ABC announced that it is moving "Scandal" to the same time period this fall to give a new series produced by Shonda Rhimes, "How to Get Away with Murder," the 10 p.m. slot that "Scandal" has occupied. "Murder" stars Academy Award nominee Viola Davis as a law professor in a series that features another strong female character, who from clips shown to advertisers, appears to be as confident as Olivia Pope.

There aren't many very popular TV dramas these days, so it's a shame that apparently two will be competing against each other unless one of the networks blinks.

However, the moves take into account the new reality of TV these days -- that about half of the prime time viewership of series is watched by people who watch later via On Demand, DVR or some other secondary device.

In other words, whichever show loses the head-to-head battle is bound to get a high secondary viewership anyway.

That reasoning also might be behind ABC's decision to move the still very popular Rhimes series, "Grey's Anatomy," to 8 p.m. Thursday to lead into "Scandal." It can be difficult to get big audiences for 8 p.m. series, which actually play at 7 p.m. in certain areas of the country.

ABC probably believes any "Anatomy" viewing losses will be made up on secondary viewing.

ABC isn't only moving "Scandal" next season. It also is moving this year's comedy success, "The Goldbergs," to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, where it is sandwiched between the popular "The Middle" at 8 p.m. and "Modern Family" at 9 p.m.

And this year's rookie drama success, "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D," is moving to 9 p.m. Tuesday, the night where ABC is premiering three of its six new fall shows.

The network is opening Tuesday night with two new comedies aimed at young adults, "Selfie," and "Manhattan Love Story." From the brief clips shown to advertisers, "Selfie," a modern-take on "My Fair Lady," looks to be the more promising one. At 10 p.m., ABC is premiering a new drama, "Forever," about a medical examiner who can't die starring Ioan Gruffudd of the "Fantastic Four." Alana DeLa Garza of "Law & Order") co-stars as a detective trying to help the medical examiner learn why he can't die.

ABC's other new fall shows are two family comedies that illustrate its commitment to diversity. "Black-ish," which stars Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne, airs at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday after "Modern Family." As described in Bill Carter's story about new Comedy Central host Larry Wilmore carried in Tuesday's Buffalo News, "Black-ish" is "about a successful African-American dad worried about his kids losing touch with their culture." Wilmore is the showrunner until he leaves to host "The Minority Report" next year when it replaces "The Colbert Report" after "The Daily Show." The other new comedy, "Cristela," stars Cristela Alonzo as a high-energy sixth-year law student and unpaid legal intern from a Mexican-American family. It airs at 8:30 p.m. Friday after Tim Allen's "Last Man Standing."

While Allen's series survived,the freshman comedy  "Trophy Wife" was among ABC's cancellations. "Resurrection," which has become a Sunday hit, joins "S.H.I.E.L.D" as a drama from the current season getting a second season.

From the clips shown to advertisers, ABC' has several interesting series that will arrive in midseason. Among them is a series from Buffalo-born screenwriter Christopher Markus and Steve McFeely, "Marvel's Agent Carter," that is set in 1946.



Second thoughts on Trump, "Blacklist" and "Mad Men" ties to NBC schedule

By Alan Pergament

Some second thoughts on Sunday's blog after NBC's announcement of its fall schedule:

Theoretically, Donald Trump could own the Buffalo Bills before "Celebrity Apprentice" appears on the network.

NBC announced that Trump's show is returning next TV season, but it hasn't been given a summer air date and isn't on the fall schedule. That means the show, which began filming in mid-March, is likely to be a midseason replacement in 2015 after NBC's Sunday Night Football season ends. And multiple reports suggest that we could know the new owner of the Bills by then.

Speaking of football, NBC appears to be trying to take advantage of CBS' new Thursday Night Football starting this September by scheduling two new comedies, "Bad Judge," and "A to Z," from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. That's where CBS had been running comedies this season.  

NBC certainly needs a comedy hit. The only returning comedy on its fall schedule is "About a Boy," which premiered this spring. "Parks and Recreation," its only other returning comedy, isn't on the schedule until midseason and it will be history after the final 13 episodes air.

Continue reading "Second thoughts on Trump, "Blacklist" and "Mad Men" ties to NBC schedule" »

"Parenthood" to return in NBC's new fall schedule

By Alan Pergament

In a way, it is fittting that NBC announced the renewal of the family drama "Parenthood" on Mother's Day.

It gave the series the same 10 p.m. Thursday time slot this fall, but didn't announce today how many episodes will be carried in the final season.

It has been widely reported that the final season will consist of about 13 episodes and that some members of the cast may not appear in more than nine of them in a cost-cutting measure designed to save the series from cancellation.

"Parenthood" joins "The Blacklist," "Chicago Fire," "Chicago P.D.", "Grimm," "Hannibal, "Law & Order: SVU," "About a Boy" and "Parks and Recreation" as the scripted series that will be returning next season.

Notably absent from the lineup are "Dracula" and "Revolution," which appear to have been canceled. 

Continue reading ""Parenthood" to return in NBC's new fall schedule" »

"24" passes the test of summertime; "Louie" shows times have changed

By Alan Pergament

I suppose the key question concerning the return of Jack Bauer in the Fox series "24" is: Does it pass the test of time?

But it isn't the only question concerning "24: Live Another Day" starring Kiefer Sutherland as the incredibly powerful CIA operative who saved the world for eight seasons and 192 episodes before the series was canceled four years ago.

The two other key questions as the 12-episode season kicks off at 8 tonight on WUTV with back-to-back episodes are: Can you understand what is going on if you missed the first 192 episodes? Are you better off if you haven't seen it before?

First questions first.

I was a huge fan of "24" until the final few seasons, well after the innovations of the multiple screens, the ticking clock and having each episode supposedly representing an hour in real time had worn off.

By the time of its death, the patterns of "24" had been so well-established that it was easy to see where Jack was going and how he was going to get out of impossible predicaments and somehow survive injuries and torture scenes that were as impossible to beat as they were to look at.

And that remains the problem with "Live Another Day."

Continue reading ""24" passes the test of summertime; "Louie" shows times have changed" »

Oliver's bit on Jills, NFL very funny; Ch.2, Ch.4 honored by Murrow Awards

 By Alan Pergament

Notes left from the cutting room floor:

If you missed the Sunday premiere of the new HBO series, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," you missed a very funny bit featuring the Buffalo Jills.

The bit addressed the lawsuit filed by five of the cheerleaders over their low pay and how they were treated.

In a feature entitled "Workplace of the Week," Oliver named the National Football League as the first winner for the way it treats the Jills and the cheerleaders for other teams. Or should I say allegedly mistreats them.

The hysterically-funny bit included some of the absurd rules about weight and hygiene that the Jills are apparently supposed to follow.

Continue reading "Oliver's bit on Jills, NFL very funny; Ch.2, Ch.4 honored by Murrow Awards" »

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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 |