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Berry's series a local hit; Hanks' "Sixties" series gets Emmy nod

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking;

Buffalo fell much more in love with Halle Berry's new series "Extant" than the nation did.

But that's expected because Channel 4 is one of the strongest performing affiliates in the country for CBS programming.

The Wednesday premiere had a 9.1 rating here, easily defeating a repeat of NBC's reality powerhouse "America's Got Talent" (7.9) in the hour that they went head-to-head.

Nationally, "Extant" had a 6.7 household rating, which analysts described as solid, but unspectacular compared to last season's debut of "Under the Dome."

CBS also repeated "Extant" Thursday night.

It will be interesting to see Sunday afternoon if the Buffalo market approaches the national rating of the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. The game is being carried on ABC.

Argentina's penalty kick victory Wednesday after a scoreless 90 minutes had about a 3.7 rating on ESPN here, well below the 4.3 rating it had nationally when it became the highest-rated and most viewed World Cup game on the ESPN networks that didn't involve the United States men's team. 

Germany's 7-1 destruction of Brazil Tuesday had a 3.0 rating here, well below the 4.2 rating it had nationally.

The local numbers are decent, just not in the range that you might expect in a market that was one of the strongest in the country for NBC's coverage of the Premier League.

As the Buffalo Bills training camp nears, the key local question is whether Channel 7 or Channel 4 will be the first to hire a new sportscaster.

Channel 7's owner, E.W. Scripps, also has posted job openings for a news producer, two associate producers and someone on the assignment desk. Clearly, Scripps realizes it needs help behind the scenes before it hires new reporters and anchors.

Channel 4's newest reporter, Joe Melillo, made his on-air debut this week. According to the station website, Melillo was born in Stony Brook, Long Island and most recently has been a reporter at WENY in Elmira. He is a graduate of Trinity College in Connecticut.  

I enjoyed Thursday night's episode of CNN's series on "The Sixties" that dealt with the British Invasion on the music scene that got a big boost from the arrival of The Beatles. The series produced by Tom Hanks' company had the rare distinction of being nominated for an Emmy Thursday while the series is still playing. The episode on "The Assassination of President Kennedy" was nominated in the outstanding documentary or nonfiction special category. The American Experience program on "JFK" was nominated in the same category.

And National Geographic's "Killing Kennedy'"was nominated in the outstanding movie category.        

More from News interview with Jeanneret

By Alan Pergament

Some leftovers from my conversation with Buffalo Sabres announcing legend Rick Jeanneret that pertain to the reaction from Wednesday's story about his diagnosis with stage 3 throat cancer:

With Buffalo's Roswell Park Cancer Institute nearby, the natural question was why wasn't Jeanneret being treated there instead of the cancer clinic in Hamilton, Ont. Naturally, I asked Jeanneret that question:

"That's not the point," said Jeanneret, who is an independent contractor with the Sabres and not technically an employe with insurance. "The point is where you are insured. I am insured in Canada, not in Buffalo. I know that Roswell is world-renowned. That's out of the question at the moment."

I'm sure many Sabre fans wish Jeanneret would get the best treatment in the place that makes him most comfortable no matter which country the hospital or clinic is located in.

About whether he knows the technical term for his cancer:

"That was enough to give me pause right there," said Jeanneret of hearing the words throat cancer. "I didn't pay a whole lot of attention after that."

I imagine that's a plenty common reaction from cancer patients.

About whether he feels sorry for himself because of the location of his cancer in his throat when he makes his living with his voice:

"I didn't choose to have cancer and secondly I didn't choose where it is going to strike," said Jeanneret. "I have every intention of coming back."

In other words, he admirably isn't feeling sorry for himself.

About whether he has reached out to former Erie County Executive Joel Giambra, who was treated for throat cancer about 14 years ago and was the focus of at least one story in the local news Wednesday pertaining to Jeanneret's announcement:

"I really haven't had time to think about it," said Jeanneret. "Until this article comes out, nobody knows what my situation is so I haven't heard from anybody. I haven't reached out."

I imagine Giambra or anyone who has gone through what Jeanneret is about to experience would be more than happy to talk to him about it if he wants some comfort. 

One more thing: Besides noting the support he has received from his wife, mother, two sons and stepdaughter, Jeanneret also mentioned his sister. It was my oversight and I apologize to her. She  was mentioned in a subsequent blog Wednesday.




Sabres release statement asking for Jeanneret's privacy

By Alan Pergament

The Buffalo Sabres released a statement this morning about play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret's announcement today that he has throat cancer.

Here's the entire release sent by Michael M. Gilbert, vice president of public & community relations for the National Hockey League team.

"The Buffalo Sabres are deeply saddened to learn of Rick Jeanneret's cancer diagnosis. RJ has been a vital part of the Sabres family and the Buffalo community for 43 years and this news undoubtedly weighs heavily on everyone who has had the privilege of listening to his broadcasts through the years. As he begins treatment in the coming weeks, we will continue to keep RJ, his wife, Sandra, his mother, Kay, his sister, Marcia, his children, Mark, Chris and Shelly, and his grandchildren in our thoughts. We wish RJ a full and speedy recovery and know his tenacity will serve him well in his fight. On behalf of the Jeanneret family, the Sabres are asking for respect of the family's privacy as RJ undergoes treatment -- any inquiries should be directed to Michael Gilbert The team has also set up a dedicated email address,, for fans to send well-wishes and notes of encouragement." 



Ch.7 makes right draft call on Sabres, not Ch.2 or Ch.4

By Alan Pergament

Inquiring minds want to know:

Why didn't Channel 2 and Channel 4 send someone to Philadelphia to cover the Buffalo Sabres selections in the National Hockey League draft when little-watched Channel 7 and Time Warner Cable News did?

It was a shake my head decision by the two top local TV news departments.

It was less surprising that Channel 4 wasn't there since it only has two members on its sports team --  Steve Vesey and Lauren Brill.

But Channel 2's decision not to send someone and instead rely on a stringer was a bit of a shocker since it has the largest sports department in Western New York and its network, NBC, carries NHL games.

In addition, this edition of the Sabres draft was more important that usual in that the team used the second pick of the draft to select Sam Reinhart, and new General Manager Tim Murray has quickly developed a reputation as a quote machine.

Asked about the station's reasoning for not sending anyone to Philly, Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner wrote in an email: "We have not sent anyone in recent memory, except when they were in Toronto. Perhaps next year we will re-think that."

Continue reading "Ch.7 makes right draft call on Sabres, not Ch.2 or Ch.4" »

Kilgore shoots down Benigni source theory

 By Alan Pergament

When Channel 2 sports director Adam Benigni reported a few weeks ago about the interest that Buffalo Sabres Owner Terry Pegula and his wife Kim have in buying the Buffalo Bills, I got a text from someone in the media.

"Think anyone following the 'Pegula is interested in the Bills' story' Channel 2 is touting will report that Ed Kilgore works for Pegula? Just listened to Adam on with (WGR's) Howard Simon. Didn't come up."

The media person texting was obviously suggesting what several other people in the media also were thinking -- Kilgore was one of Benigni's sources and probably the most important one.

That idea not only surprised Kilgore but led to a vehement denial when I talked to him last week about his 40-year career in sports at Channel 2 and other non-sports topics. The conversation was a few days before Mike Gilbert, Sabres vice president of public and community relations, released a statement saying that Pegula and his wife "are following the developments involving the sale of the Bills."

"I want this on the record," said Kilgore early last week. "I have never given Adam one single word. I have not been the source of one single thing that Adam has said. And personally I know nothing about Terry's  interest in the Bills. I know nothing about it. We've never talked about it. His people in Pittsburgh haven't talked to me about it. I haven't asked him. I don't know any more than you or Adam or anyone else does about the Bills."

"Whoever his sources are, they are not me and I hope nobody else thinks that. I told him right away --  and Adam knows this -- whenever it came to being a source for something, I'm not going to be that guy."

Continue reading "Kilgore shoots down Benigni source theory" »

Local World Cup rating Thursday understandably lower than for Sunday

By Alan Pergament

The World Cup rating for the United States' 1-0 loss to Germany Thursday afternoon was lower in Western New York than it was for the 2-2 draw with Portugal early Sunday evening.

But that's totally understandable.

After all, many WNYers were working on Thursday and were off on Sunday.

The game had a 7.0 local rating on ESPN from noon to 2 p.m., which was about 20 percent lower than the 8.7 rating for two hours Sunday. Each rating point in Buffalo equals about 6,300 households. which means about 44,100 households were tuned in.

The soccer rating was higher than any prime time network show Thursday evening except for a repeat of "The Big Bang Theory," which had a 7.4 on Channel 4. The second episode of "Big Brother" had a 6.0. 

Of course, Nielsen doesn't count all the people watching the soccer game together in offices around WNY, in area bars or at Canalside.

The fact that Portugal's victory over Ghana -- which enabled the U.S. to reach the knockout round on tiebreakers -- was being played simultaneously on ESPN2 didn't impact the U.S. rating much, if at all. It had a .3 rating and didn't get any rating at all for several 15-minute periods.

ESPN actually includes the 30-minute pregame show in its ratings. I took out the low-rated 30 minutes to get a rating just for the time the U.S. games were played and the intermission period.

If the pregame show was included, the Portugal game had a 6.2 rating here and the Germany game a 6.1. ABC reportedly said the Germany game averaged a 6.3 rating in national overnight ratings of the Top 56 TV markets. It is unclear if that national figure includes the 30-minute pregame show, which would depress the rating. 

I don't know why ESPN includes the pregame show, but it is able to sell advertising during those 30 minutes, which one local expert believes might have something to do with it. There is no stoppage time during the game for advertising.


Huge soccer surge in popularity may be bending the truth

By Alan Pergament 

NBC News correspondent Bill Neely finished his Monday night report on Team USA's 2-2 draw with Portugal by declaring that this year's World Cup performance of the team "may prove to be the turning point for soccer in the United States."

About 36 hours earlier, ESPN's Roger Bennett used a two-year-old ESPN survey to declare in a commentary on "CBS Sunday Morning" that "we now live in a nation in which demographics determined that soccer is the second most popular sport for those aged 12-24, ahead of basketball, baseball and college football."

"In fact," the Brit added, "the United States has become a bona-fide soccer nation. And the 2014 World Cup will empower the sport to complete its takeover."

I hope that's all true. It's a wonderful sport. It also is a safer sport to play than football, which is why so many parents prefer their kids play it.

But is it a continuing revolution? Not so fast.

Please forgive me for interjecting some reality and perspective and possibly be a downer at the party, but I have my doubts because I've heard this revolutionary song before.

Continue reading "Huge soccer surge in popularity may be bending the truth" »

World Cup scores in local ratings on ESPN, but not as well as NFL

By Alan Pergament

World Cup fever hit local news Sunday, with all three stations leading their 11 p.m. newscasts with stories about local reaction to the United States' 2-2 draw with Portugal.

From the crowds watching at Canalside and Hertel Avenue, you might think all of WNY is caught up with the soccer tournament that is played every four years.

But those crowds, as well as everyone in local bars, don't count in Nielsen ratings.

And perhaps that is why the local rating for the ESPN telecast didn't hit double-digits. The estimated 5,000 people at Canalside alone could have added a half a rating point. 

The game had an 8.7 rating locally from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, which was about 35 percent higher locally than the United States' 2-1 victory over Ghana in its first Cup game.

To put the soccer rating in perspective, we should remember there is what the world calls football and not what the United States calls football.

The 8.7 rating is lower than the local average for regular season National Football League games in 2013 on ESPN. The NFL games on ESPN averaged a 9.8 here last season.

However, the 8.7 rating is slightly higher than the 8.6 rating that Channel 7 had for San Antonio's game five clinching victory over Miami in the NBA finals.

And it was higher than any prime time network summer program Sunday. "America's Got Talent," the top broadcast network program Sunday, averaged a 7.3 on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

The soccer rating also was in a statistical tie with the rating for Channel 2's 11 p.m. newscast, which had an 8.8 rating. The 11 p.m. newscasts for Channel 4 and Channel 7 both had a 4.4 rating.





U.S World Cup triumph is local TV winner

By Alan Pergament

If local TV ratings are any indication, Western New Yorkers have caught World Cup Fever.

The United States' dramatic 2-1 victory over Ghana in its opening game of the tournament Monday evening had a 6.5 local rating on cable's ESPN.

To put that in perspective, the rating from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. was higher than the local ratings for two Stanley Cup finals games between the Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers that were carried on NBC's cable sports network later in the evening when more viewers are available. (The three Stanley Cup finals games on NBC had higher ratings.)

The soccer rating also was higher than the local ratings for all of the NBA Finals games except Sunday night's clincher by San Antonio over Miami.

And it was higher than the weekend ratings for the U.S. Open golf tournament.

However, soccer didn't beat everything. The local and national news ratings on Channel 2 and Channel 4  from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. were higher.

And it couldn't beat Channel 4's dominant syndicated pairing of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The final 45 minutes of the U.S. victory had ratings of 9.0 or higher. And that didn't count all the soccer fans watching the games in bars across the area.

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" »

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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 |