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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.

Oscar rating up 10 percent in WNY

By Alan Pergament

Despite waiting until the last 30 minutes to give out most of the meaningful awards and despite the disappointing performance of host Ellen DeGeneres, the local rating for Sunday night's Oscar telecast was a huge ratings hit locally.

The three and a half-hour live program had a 27.2 rating on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate. That is about 10 percent higher than the 24.6 rating the 2013 Oscar program hosted by Seth MacFarlane had here.

To put the rating in further perspective, the Grammy Awards last month had a 19.5 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate.

The only programs that had  higher ratings than the Academy Awards this year so far were the Super Bowl and some of the earlier NFL playoff games. Ratings for Buffalo Bills telecasts next season also are most likely to be higher than the Oscar telecast. Bills games generally have ratings in the high 20s or low and mid-30s.

My deadline for today's review of the program was too early to weigh in on the speeches of Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett after they won the top acting awards.

They both gave strong speeches, which wasn't surprising since they had a lot of time to practice because their awards were the closest thing to being guaranteed.

The predictability of almost all the awards made for a program loaded with scripted speeches rather than spontaneous, emotional ones.

An extremely excited director Steve McQueen fumbled through reading his speech after "12 Years a Slave" was named best picture, but he made up for it with a spontaneous celebratory dance after he was finished.


Surprise, surprise, WNY was watching hockey Saturday night

By Alan Pergament

While the rumors surrounding the departure of now former Buffalo Sabres president of hockey operations Pat LaFontaine and other front office intrigue were swirling Saturday night, Western New Yorkers were watching hockey in big numbers.

Buffalo was the No.3 market in the country for NBC's coverage of Chicago's 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh in the NHL Stadium Series.

Not surprisingly, the two participating teams were No.1 and No.2. Chicago had a 14.9 rating and Pittsburgh a 13.3. WNY is often the highest-rated market outside the participating teams for NHL games and was the top-rated market for many games during the Sochi Olympics.

Channel 2 had a 6.8 rating for Saturday's game, which was twice as high as the fourth place city, Milwaukee, with a 3.2. The game had a national overnight rating of 2.1, which NBC said was the highest overnight rating ever on NBC for a non-Winter Classic NHL regular season game.


Ch.2 back on top in morning, tightens race at 10 p.m.

By Alan Pergament

Forgive me, it is that time of year when I spend more time with numbers than NFL executives at the NFL Combine. Here are some of the big stories of the just-concluded February sweeps:

*Channel 2 News is back on top in the morning and gaining ground at 10 p.m.

* Its 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. newscasts have experienced about 15 percent drops from a year ago but it still remains well ahead of second place Channel 4.

* Channel 4 is within shouting distance of Channel 2 at 6 p.m. but the first sweeps results for its hour-long news are nothing to shout about.

* Channel 7 is buried in third place in all time periods that the three stations compete and lost about 20 percent of its meager 5 p.m. audience from a year ago. That certainly gives its next owner, E.W. Scripps Company, a good look at what is facing once it takes over.

Local TV news departments ignore 10 million reasons for TWC increase

By Alan Pergament

I watched the local TV news departments report Tuesday on Time Warner Cable's 6.4 percent rate increase.

I didn't see any of the stations mention that a good deal of that rate hike was being used to pay them.

TWC certainly wanted subscribers to know that $2.25 per month was for the right to transmit the signals of the local network affiliates even though they are available in most homes for free with antennas.

That's why TWC separated the fee from the other rate hikes for its cable, internet and equipment packages.

Sochi Olympics, Syracuse hoops, "Downton" winners here

By Alan Pergament

It may have seemed like I was reporting every day during the Sochi Olympics about how high the ratings were on cable's NBC Sports Network and Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

I got tired of writing about the local success, and judging by my blog hits you got tired of reading about how the ratings in Western New York were No. 1 for the U.S. women's loss in the hockey finals to Canada and for the U.S. men's hockey loss in the semifinals to Canada.

I never got around to tell you that the U.S. men's hockey 5-0 loss in the bronze medal game to Finland also was No.1 nationally.

However, many WNYers seemed to lose as much interest as the NHL players did in that game. The rating of 6.0 for the loss to Finland Saturday on the NBCSN was about half of what it was here for the USA loss to Canada Friday afternoon.

TWC increase was predictable but higher than expected

By Alan Pergament

I hate to be one of those people, but I told you eight months ago that you should root for Time Warner Cable in its national retransmission dispute with LIN Media, the owner of Channel 4 and Channel 23.

On May 23, 2013, I wrote: "TWC is about as popular as Tom Brady here, but this is one case in which cable subscribers should root for it to hold the line and keep future cable rate increases down to a minimum."

"It is TWC's position that refusing to pay LIN's demands will benefit subscribers because the increased cost is likely to be passed down to the consumer."

Meyers' "Late Night" premiere is nothing special

By Alan Pergament

When jokes in his "Tonight Show" monologue bombed, the late Johnny Carson used to try and salvage them by cracking that you are in trouble when you have to explain them.

This came to mind a few times during the premiere edition of NBC's "Late Night with Seth Meyers" early this morning.

Meyers had to spell out a few jokes in his monologue, which got the show off to a very slow start that it never really recovered from.

Let me explain something. I really wanted to love Meyers' premiere.

He's been one of my favorite co-anchors on the "Weekend Update" portion of "Saturday Night Live," delivering his dry lines with exquisite timing.

A Syracuse grad crosses Duke game at Cameron off bucket list

By Alan Pergament

This isn't exactly a story about television, but it does have elements of the old series "Mission Impossible."

About a month ago, I asked a friend with deep basketball connections if he would help me take one item off my bucket list.

Since I almost kicked the bucket a few years ago, I thought it was about time I went to the top of the list and tried to see a basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium where Duke University plays and I have wanted to go since my childhood when Long Island legend Art Heyman played for the Blue Devils.

Since I graduated from Syracuse University, I asked if he could get me two tickets for the SU-Duke game on Saturday night, Feb.22 that was going to be televised on ESPN.

Talk about "Mission Impossible."

My friend asked several of his connections and was greeted with laughter.

Buffalo is top-rated market for USA semifinal loss to Canada

By Alan Pergament

In news that probably won't be talked about as much as Justin Timberlake's funny apology to Buffalo on "The Tonight Show" Friday night, Buffalo was the top-rated market for Team USA's 1-0 loss to Canada Friday in the semifinals of the men's hockey tournament at the Sochi Olympics.

The rating in the Buffalo market for the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) telecast was a 12.1, about 40 percent higher than the 8.5 rating for second place  Minneapolis-St. Paul. Boston was third with a 7.5, Pittsburgh fourth with a 7.1 and Providence fifth a 6.9.

As impressive as the local viewership for the game was here, it doesn't count the viewership on CBC out of Toronto or at all the WNY restaurants and bars that carried the game during lunch time.

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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 |