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It would be surprising if weather forecasters were celebrated

By Alan Pergament

I spent the "salubrious" day before Wednesday's storm reminiscing with former Channel 7 weather personality Tom Jolls about the Blizzard of '77 and the surprise October storm of 2006.

You can read my column about Jolls' post-retirement life in this Sunday's Buffalo News.

But I can tell you now that I left Jolls' Orchard Park home thinking about how an old slogan for a hotel chain perfectly fits Buffalo weather: "The best surprise is no surprise."

When I cheered the local TV weathercasters for preparing the area for Wednesday's record March 12 snowfall of 13.8 inches, I wasn't surprised that some readers of my blog objected and claimed the storm certainly wasn't as big a deal as forecast. The response  was more predictable than the idea it snows in Buffalo in the winter.

Three cheers for local weather forecasters; Time to catch up on new shows

By Alan Pergament

Three cheers for the local weather forecasters.

I can't believe I actually wrote that sentence.

But let's give credit where credit is due: The TV forecasters have done a much better job than usual warning Western New Yorkers what was coming this horrendous winter.

And as a rule, they have made their predictions of doom without scaring people too much.

Yes, Pope Don Paul you are not reading a misprint. I actually am praising you and your competitors, which may be a sign of the Apocalypse.

I was so confident of the local TV forecasts and the National Weather Service forecast Tuesday night warning of today's potential blizzard that I canceled my college courses several hours before Buffalo State College made the rare decision to shutdown.

Told of my praise this morning, Channel 4's Paul cracked: "I'm glad you warned me."

The Channel 4 meteorologist said he began getting computer models a week ago that suggested the storm would be in the vicinity.

Azar right on the money about Bills raising ticket prices

By Alan Pergament

I received my season ticket renewal information from the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday and immediately reflected on my conversation last week with former Channel 7 Sports Director Rick Azar.

If you missed Sunday's newspaper, Azar reminisced about a commentary he did decades ago when the Bills raised their ticket prices.

"Hey, the Buffalo Bills can charge anything they want," said Azar, "and if you don't want to pay it, nobody is holding a gun to your head to pay it. Don't buy a ticket."

The commentary, which didn't please the Bills public relations staff at the time because of the suggestion fans not buy tickets, certainly has relevance this year as well.

Ranney leaving WBFO, WNED to work for State Sen. Gallivan

By Alan Pergament

WNED-TV will soon be looking to hire someone new to moderate the political debates it carries and to run the news department at sister radio station WBFO-FM.

Jim Ranney, who has spent almost 20 years with the local public broadcaster during two different terms, is leaving on March 28 to become the communications director for State Sen. Patrick Gallivan.

About to turn 48, Ranney said he was approached about the job with Gallivan recently and decided it was time for an "exciting new opportunity."

"Now is the time," said Ranney in a telephone interview. "If I didn't do it now, I probably wouldn't do it."

Buffalo inventor catches "Shark" deal with Cuban


By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

Hey, I got a prediction right.

Buffalo native Tim Talley made a deal with Mark Cuban on Friday's edition of "Shark Tark" to help him sell his multi-color U-Lace Customizing Lacing Systems nationally.

In my Thursday blog, I speculated that the owner of the National Basketball Association Dallas Mavericks would have a special interest in the trendy product for sneakers if  he thought Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki would wear them and this idea is marketable to basketball players as well as people who play any sport.

But Talley needed the help from another shark, Kevin O'Leary, who gave him the first offer, to get Cuban on board.

O'Leary offered to give Talley a $200,000 investment for 50 percent of the company. Talley thought that was too high a price a percentage and was asked to counter.

When his counter was $200,000 for 35 percent of the company, Cuban said "I'll take the deal."

And that was that.

Fallon has strong start here; BEMAs have strange TV finalist

By Alan Pergament

If those internet reports claiming that bookers for "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" are trying to prevent guests from appearing on rival shows are correct, they might want to hold off those tactics.

Fallon's takeover of the "Tonight" franchise has gotten off to a strong ratings start nationally and locally. But it is a marathon and not a sprint so let's slow down before proclaiming the likable host the new late-night king.

Western New York certainly is embracing him.

In his third week, Fallon's program has averaged a 5.2 rating from Monday through Thursday on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate. "The Late Show with David Letterman" has averaged a 3.7 on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. "Jimmy Kimmel Live" has averaged a 1.5 on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate.

However, Letterman defeated Fallon's show narrowly on Thursday when Lindsay Lohan was Fallon's primary guest. Apparently nothing says change the channel like Lindsay Lohan in this town.

Kimmel has done very well nationally in the more than a year since ABC moved his program to 11:30 p.m. But he hasn't had any traction on Channel 7, which is a weak ABC affiliate. To illustrate how badly things are going here for Kimmel, on Thursday night his late-night show was narrowly defeated here by "Arsenio," which airs at 11 p.m. on WNLO-TV, Channel 4's sister station.


Bills fans may lose TV game in Toronto postponement

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

The postponement of the Buffalo Bills series is being cheered in March but will it be applauded in November or December when the additional game at the Ralph might not be televised?

The Toronto game became an annual embarrassment because of the antiseptic climate and all the empty seats there.

But there was one positive for Bills fans.

Every game played north of the border was televised even with all those empty seats visible to TV audiences.

Unless the NFL changes its blackout policy under pressure from the FCC, the formerly guaranteed televised game in Toronto could be off local television here if it isn't sold out when it is played during colder weather months at the Ralph.

Buffalo inventor sneaks on "Shark Tank" Friday

By Alan Pergament

A Buffalo native who has been an inventor and entrepreneur since high school is scheduled to appear on Friday night's episode of the popular ABC reality series "Shark Tank."

Tim Talley, a graduate of Hutch-Tech, will be trying to convince Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary to invest in "modular sneaker laces" that he has been marketing for several years in 28 countries.

The program airs at 9 p.m. Friday on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate.

According to an ABC release, the laces "enable kids and adults to customize their sneaker looks with different styles and colors."

Talley, who founded a company called U-Lace Customizing Lacing Systems in 2009, now lives in Rochester.

DeGeneres, Sabres get ratings bumps

By Alan Pergament

Ellen DeGeneres may have gotten mixed national reviews for her performance as the Oscar host Monday night, but she certainly got a nice ratings bump in Buffalo the day after her performance.

Her daytime talk show, which airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on Channel 2, had a 7.1 rating locally on Monday. That's about 40 percent higher than it averaged here during the February sweeps.

The 7.1 rating also was higher than most prime time entertainment shows here on Monday, with the notable exceptions of "The Voice" (11.7) and "Blacklist" (8.4) on NBC affiliate Channel 2 and "How I Met Your Mother" (8.5) on CBS affiliate Channel 4. "Ellen" beat everything locally on ABC and Fox in prime time Monday.

However, "Ellen" also couldn't beat the Buffalo Sabres.

Ellen, Milbury, ex-Ch.2 reporter all take shots

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

While the local ratings for Sunday night's Academy Awards were up 10 percent from a year ago to a 27.2, there was a noticeable dropoff in the final 15 minutes of the program before "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture.

The rating from 11:45 p.m. to midnight on Channel 7 was 24.9, which made it the lowest 15 minutes of the entire 3 and a half hour program. It was 25.3 from 11:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. when Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett won the big acting awards and that was lower than every 15 minutes except for at the program's start at 8:30 p.m. and at 11:45 p.m.

This confirms my view that the best way to watch the Oscars is to DVR the final hour and watch all the major categories on Monday morning before you go to work so you can join the water cooler talk.

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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 |