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New wrinkles impact Bills TV schedule

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo Bills fans may have been a little confused by the 2014 TV schedule announced Wednesday night.

The Fox Sports Wisconsin report two weeks ago claiming that the Bills would play Green Bay on Monday Night Football proved to be as accurate as the predictions that Donald Trump really, really was going to run for governor.

The speculation that the Bills had a good shot at playing at Detroit on Thanksgiving turned out to be a fowl ball.

And the long-held idea that all Bills road games would be carried on CBS affiliate Channel 4, the AFC network, even ended up being wrong.

The Bills season opener at Chicago on Sept. 7 and an Oct. 5 game at Detroit both will be carried by Fox affiliate WUTV in something new this year called "crossover games."

CBS is carrying some games involving NFC teams on the road and Fox is carrying some games involving AFC games on the road.

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Bills don't get Monday Night Football game

By Alan Pergament

A website glitch by the National Football League briefly gave Buffalo Bills fans an early look at the 2014 schedule and there are no Monday Night Football games on it.

The only prime time appearance for the Bills is a Thursday night game at Miami on Nov. 13 on The NFL Network and the local broadcast channel that wins the bid to simulcast it.

The Green Bay game, which had been rumored to be on MNF, wil be played at 1 p.m. Dec 14 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

All the Bills games except the Thursday night game and two road games on the West Coast will be played at 1 p.m.

The schedule was taken off BuffaloBills.com and other NFL team websites shortly after it was discovered but not before it was available for fans to see.

The Bills open the season at Chicago on Sept. 7 and return for their home opener against Miami on Sept. 14. They also have a Sept. 21 home date with San Diego.

The rumored Thanksgiving game at Detroit also didn't materialize. The Bills visit Detroit on Oct.5.

The schedule was returned to the website as originally scheduled at 8 p.m.

Fans might be confused by a new aspect of the TV schedule. Bills road games at Chicago and Detroit would be on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate, in years past. They are on Fox this season as part of a new feature called "crossover games." Fox is carrying some games featuring AFC teams on the road and CBS is carrying some games featuring NFC teams on the road. 

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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.

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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.

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"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" »

Jim Kelly and family may be at Knicks game tonight

By Alan Pergament

Jeff Glor, the CBS correspondent from Kenmore who reported on Jim Kelly's battle with cancer this week for "CBS This Morning," just gave an update on the Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer.

Glor went on Twitter to tweet: "Jim Kelly is getting out of the hospital for the weekend and is hoping to attend tonight's Knicks game with family."

The New York Knicks, who are in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, host the Washington Wizards tonight in Madison Square Garden.

The game is being televised by MSG Plus (the Sabres are on MSG) and the game director most likely would show Kelly and his family if his pain is under control and they make it to the Garden.

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Analyzing Ch.2 "history"; Bills' Brandon has "Draft Day" cameo

By Alan Pergament

Call it the Tale of Two Releases.

While I was gone for a week, I received two different takes on the news demographics during the recent February sweeps.

Not surprisingly, Channel 2 and Channel 4 had very different outlooks on what occurred in February in the so-called "money" age groups.

By that, I mean stations sell demographics to advertisers, not overall household ratings.

In some cases, what the stations didn't include in their takes was as interesting as what they did include.

Continue reading "Analyzing Ch.2 "history"; Bills' Brandon has "Draft Day" cameo" »

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