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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.


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.

Continue reading "Sochi Olympics, Syracuse hoops, "Downton" winners here" »

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.

Continue reading "A Syracuse grad crosses Duke game at Cameron off bucket list " »

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.

Continue reading "Buffalo is top-rated market for USA semifinal loss to Canada" »

Buffalo market top-rated for USA-Canada women's final

By Alan Pergament

It won't ease the pain of watching Team USA's men's team lose to Team Canada, 1-0, in the semifinals of the Sochi Olympics this afternoon, but Buffalo hockey fans have one reason to be proud.

Once again, Buffalo was the No. 1-rated market for the NBC Sports Network's coverage Thursday of the heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss that Team USA's women's team suffered in the gold medal game to Team Canada.

Buffalo was No. 1 for the women's game with an 8.8 rating, with the Minneapolis-St. Paul market second with a 7.9. Boston was third with a 6.5, Providence fourth with a 6.0 and Ft. Myers, Fla. fifth with a 5.9.

The rest of the Top 10 consisted of Denver (5.8), Las Vegas (5.8), Hartford-New Haven (5.7), Pittsburgh (5.6) and Knoxville (5.3).

Buffalo has been one of the top-rated markets for Olympic hockey games throughout the tournament and is expected to be there again when the ratings for the men's semifinal game come in Saturday.

"Downton" has commanding season finale; Ch.2 scores with Olympics

By Alan Pergament

You may recall that my review of the first seven episodes of "Downton Abbey" before the fourth season premiered was that this season of the popular PBS series is a well-acted, entertaining downer.

I suggested the fall leaks about the big plot moments of the season that previously played in Great Britain ruined some of my enjoyment of the exploits of the Crawleys and the people that serve them early in the 20th Century.

I watched the first seven episodes all over the holidays and I almost got as depressed as Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) after the tragic death of her husband Matthew (Dan Stevens) in the season three finale.

There wasn’t a whole lot of happiness or laughter going on in the first seven episodes as Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), Anna Smith (Joanne Froggart), her husband Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) and Tom Branson (Allen Leech) all faced crises and serious issues.

Continue reading ""Downton" has commanding season finale; Ch.2 scores with Olympics" »

Weather delays low-power channels; Fallon ratings remain strong

By Alan Pergament

Do you remember a few months ago when Lockport police officer Steven Ritchie said he planned to debut a low power TV station with as many as six channels as early as Feb.1 as long as the weather co-operated?

Well, I don't think I have to tell you that the weather didn't co-operate and that has postponed the debut of WBXZ-TV, Channel 56, by about a month.

The 51-year-old Ritchie was granted FCC approval to take over the license for WBXZ-TV, in August after purchasing it from a Syracuse owner of several low power stations for $25,000. Ritchie said the station has been around for about 20 years and has carried home shopping and music channels before.

Now he says the plan is to install the equipment needed to send the channels from a tower on top of the HSBC building in downtown Buffalo by next week.

Continue reading "Weather delays low-power channels; Fallon ratings remain strong" »

The tearful Bode Miller interview helped his image

By Alan Pergament

My Olympic journal:

I woke up Monday morning and hadn't seen The Bode Miller interview that blew up Twitter and other social networks the night before.

So I went online, found it and was shocked.

Not really by anything that NBC's skiing reporter Christin Cooper did in her interview with Miller after he won a bronze medal.

I realize it is a minority view  -- I read Twitter and have seen the polls overwhelmingly blasting NBC and Cooper -- but I was shocked that her line of questioning became controversial when Miller cried as she pursued the impact that his brother's death almost a year ago had on his race and his feelings about the medal.

Continue reading "The tearful Bode Miller interview helped his image" »

Buffalo is No.1 with Miller in net

By Alan Pergament

Buffalo hockey fans can shout "we're No.1, we're No.1" this morning after the ratings came in for the USA's 5-1 victory over Slovenia Sunday morning with Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller in net.

The Buffalo market had a 6.3 rating for the game on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), with Boston (5.6), and Pittsburgh (3.9), Providence (3.6) and Philadelphia (3.2) rounding out the top five.

The cable rating Sunday here was about 25 percent below the 8.5 rating in Buffalo for Saturday's 3-2 shootout win over Russia. Buffalo was third in the country for Saturday's more intense, exciting and meaningful game, behind Pittsburgh (9.8) and Boston (9.2).

Here is the rest of the Top 10 for Sunday's game: Minneapolis-St. Paul 3.1, St. Louis (3.0), Chicago and Hartford-New Haven (2.8) and New York (2.7).

Buffalo's NBC affiliate also scored well for four hours of Sunday's prime time broadcast network coverage. Channel 2 was No.3 among all NBC stations with a 19.1 rating, with only Kansas City (20.0) ad Milwaukee (19.6) ahead of it. NBC averaged a 12.1 household rating nationally.


Buffalo No. 3 for record NBCSN audience for USA win over Russia

By Alan Pergament

It is no surprise that the United States' 3-2 shootout victory over Russia Saturday morning is the most-watched hockey game ever carried on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).

The cable game averaged 4.1 million viewers nationally, beating the 4 million average that game 3 of the 2013 Stanley Cup finals had in the Chicago-Boston series.

It also isn't any surprise that the Buffalo market had the third-highest ratings Saturday morning, averaging an 8.5 rating, with only Pittsburgh (9.8) and Boston (9.2) ahead of it. Of course, many people here also watch CBC's coverage of Olympic coverage and aren't counted.

Buffalo is typically in the top five in ratings nationally during the Stanley Cup playoffs, sometimes only behind the two cities the participating teams play in. 

Continue reading "Buffalo No. 3 for record NBCSN audience for USA win over Russia " »

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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 |