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Ch.7 adds third member of sports team; Critics honor "Good Wife"

 By Alan Pergament

It may be last in local news, but Channel 7 beat Channel 4 at something.

While Channel 4 keeps looking for a third member of its sports team, Channel 7 has found its replacement for Allen Leight, who now works for the Buffalo Sabres.

Nick Filipowski arrives at the E. W. Scripps station from KTIV in Sioux City, Iowa, where he has been a weekend sports anchor and reporter. He moves from the 147th TV market to the No. 52 market.

Here is what he says about himself in his KTIV bio: "Growing up in a military family, I lived in eight states and in Japan for eight years.  Moving and living in different places, and experiencing new cultures allowed me to gain a better understanding of sports and the stories that drive the business."

"After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I spent the next few months selling shoes for New Balance,  before landing my first job as the Weekend Sports Anchor at KNOP-TV in North Platte, Nebraska.

"I love the Yankees, Nets and Broncos. Yes, I bleed Husker red."

The Broncos? Channel 7 will have to talk to him about that. 

He doesn't arrive until mid-August, which means the station will have to cover the Buffalo Bills training camp with Sports Director Jeff Russo and backup Shawn Stepner.

Channel 4, which lost sports producer Jay Harris to John Murphy's Buffalo Bills radio show on WGR and only has two on-air sports staffers in Steve Vesey and Lauren Brill, has been looking for a third member of the sports staff for weeks. However, the station is often slow to fill positions.

In another sports note, John Hager, program director of 97 Rock and Sports Radio 1270 The Fan,  wouldn't say if 1270 is interested in carrying Syracuse University football and basketball now that ESPN 1520 has dropped the Orange in favor of a new deal with the University at Buffalo.

But he did't rule it out, either.

"We are looking at several options to replace UB sports, and should have an announcement soon," Hager said in an email.

Finally, "The Good Wife" may have been ignored in the best drama category of the Emmys, but the Television Critics Association honored the CBS series for "outstanding achievement in drama" at its annual awards Saturday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Here are some other TCA winners:

"Breaking Bad" of AMC as the program of the year.

Matthew McConaughey of HBO's "True Detective" for individual achievement in drama.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus of HBO's "Veep" for individual achievement in comedy.

"COSMOS: A Space Time Odyssey"  on Fox for outstanding achievement in news and informational programming.

"RuPaul's Drag Race" on LOGO for outstanding achievement in reality programming.

"The Fosters'" on ABC Family  for outstanding achievement in youth programming.

"Orange is the New Black" on Netflix for outstanding new program.

"True Detective" for  outstanding achievement in movies, miniseries and specials.

"Veep" and "Louie" (Fx)for outstanding achievement in comedy.

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" earned the Herritage Award and director James Burrows earned the Career Achievement Award.  

UB deal means Syracuse is being dropped from ESPN 1520

By Alan Pergament

The move of University at Buffalo football and basketball radio broadcasts from Sports Radio 1270 The Fan to ESPN 1520 won't make every local college sports fan happy.

That's because it means that Syracuse University games in those sports no longer will be carried by the 50,000 watt station where UB is headed in a move that will increase the exposure of its athletic program.

Greg Ried, the general manager of ESPN 1520 and all local Entercom stations, confirmed Thursday night that Syracuse is being dropped.

"ESPN 1520 will be exclusive to UB sports as far as full season coverage," wrote Ried in an email.

Asked if that meant Syracuse games wouldn't be carried on any Entercom station -- it also owns WGR and WBEN -- Ried wrote: "As of right now we will not."

That would seem to leave an opening for 1270 The Fan to carry the Orange if Syracuse is willing to go on a station affiliated with CBS Sports Radio that only operates with 1,000 watts at night and 5,000 in the daytime.

I reached out to a 1270 representative Thursday night to see if the station would be interested in carrying Syracuse and will report when I hear back.

While Entercom's decision to carry the local college team is commendable and understandable, you could have a lively debate here whether there is more local interest in UB basketball or Syracuse basketball.

There are a lot of Syracuse graduates in the area (full disclosure: I am one of several members of the local media who is a SU graduate if you didn't know that already), its basketball program is annually one of the best in the country and it now plays in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference.

Syracuse's two appearances in the NCAA tournament at the First Niagara Center last March -- it lost the second game to Dayton -- attracted so many SU fans that they were like home games for Jim Boeheim's squad.

However, just about every Syracuse basketball game is carried either on national or local television, which might reduce interest in its radio broadcasts.

Still, Syracuse's games should be attractive enough to interest 1270 The Fan enough to consider trying to make a deal to carry them to offset its UB loss.

If not, it wouldn't be shocking to see Entercom try to carry some Syracuse games on one of its stations in the area when they don't conflict with UB games.    


Praising, criticizing Channel 2 for promotion and advertising

By Alan Pergament

I've come to praise Channel 2 for its promotion and criticize it a little for promoting something involving an advertiser during its newscast.

First, the positive.

The praise goes to the promos, which the station usually does very well.

I'm not counting the one currently running in which it has viewers mouth promotional cliches that sound like they've been brainwashed into thinking Channel 2 is "on their side," "holds people in power accountable" and gives a "voice to the voiceless."

That promo is pretty lame.

But you may recall that I wrote a while back about members of the station's promotional department -- Dan Meyers, Jim Caskie and Justin Wahowski -- getting nominated for the prestigious national Promax Awards.

It turns out they won one gold, two silvers and one bronze medal late last month in Las Vegas.

The gold winner was for its promo, "Winter's Coming."

One of the silvers was for the comical "We're Ready for the Olympics" campaign, which I thought was its best promo. It's the one that had several staffers involved in Olympic events, including anchor Maryalice Demler on skates.

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Ch.7 plans show from Judge Judy as news lead-in for Now

By Alan Pergament

One of the big reasons for the decline of Channel 7's news is the lousy lead-in it gets at 4 p.m. weekdays.

That isn't expected to change much this fall when it plans to carry a new judge show, "Hot Bench," produced by CBS and Judge Judy opposite Channel 2's powerhouse "Ellen" and Channel 4's "Dr. Oz."

The talk show from Queen Latifah moves back an hour to 3 p.m.  in place of the canceled show from Katie Couric.

Down the horizon, Channel 7 may have to run a new program being produced by its new owner, E.W. Scripps.

Called "The Now," Scripps premiered it on its stations in Kansas City and Denver this week at 4 p.m.

Scripps executive Brian Lawlor said in a Scripps release that the program will have a heavy emphasis on what is trending on social media.

"I believe The NOW will set the pace for the type of programming that audiences on multiple platforms crave," Lawler is quoted as saying in the Scripps release. "The audiences want to know what's happening right now, give their own take on those events, and share their thoughts with their own social media networks." 

The release said the program will expand to six more stations in the months ahead, including at the  Detroit station Scripps purchased at the same time as Channel 7.

But the expansion of "The Now"  won't include Buffalo's Channel 7 -- at least for now.

"We are not slated to be part of the initial rollout of The Now," wrote Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse in a text response. "It requires a dedicated crew locally for that show alone and the feeling was there were too many other priorities initially."

"We are excited about the various programming opportunities from Scripps and are closely following the rollout of 'The Now' as it reflects a different and topical approach to early fringe's 4 p.m. programming and a fresh alternative to syndicated talk."

Of course, another significant reason for Channel 7's decline is the cutback in its news staff. It is expected to rectify that with announcements of new hires shortly.

The celebration of New York Yankee great Derek Jeter during Fox's telecast of the All-Star game Tuesday gave the game a significant local ratings boost from a year ago when Yankee great Mariano Rivera was honored.

But it was no World Cup final by a longshot.

The American League victory averaged a 5.7 rating on WUTV from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. and fell after that. A year ago, the All-Star game averaged a 4.6 rating here. Germany's World Cup victory over Argentina Sunday -- which obviously was more important to soccer than the All-Star game  is to baseball -- had a 10.4 rating locally during game time.

The Nike advertisement in which a variety of sports stars -- including Michael Jordan at the end -- first responders and ordinary people tip their cap in Re2pect to Jeter (who wears No.2) ran during the game. It is an instant commercial classic.  

Did Trump's ego take a bruising from "Celebrity" treatment?

By Alan Pergament

This what I'm thinking:

Remember when filming "Celebrity Apprentice" seemed to be an impediment for Donald Trump's dalliance with running for governor of New York State on the Republican ticket.

Apparently, it wouldn't have been that big a problem.

During the ongoing, semiannual television critics meetings in Los Angeles, Paul Telegdy, president of NBC's reality and late night programming, reportedly said the season has been produced but hasn't been scheduled to air. 

"In terms of actually scheduling the current season, it's partly we have a wealth of new material," Telegdy reportedly said. "We haven't figured out the perfect place for the 'Celebrity Apprentice' to go."

Boy, I can't imagine how much that statement bruised Trump's ego, which is the size of a football field. His show isn't important enough to make the schedule yet?

At least Trump's ego is being stroked by all the continuing reports about how interested he is in buying the Buffalo Bills. His net worth, according to Forbes, is $3.9 billion. 

My friend from Toronto, Bill Brioux, had the most entertaining take on Telegdy's statement about Trump's show: "It might turn up in a year's time, or when Trump stops mouthing off about running for president, or never," wrote Brioux. Knowing Bill, he was probably being sarcastic about it never airing.

I can't see it never airing because that would be a lot of money for NBC to eat.

Speaking of the Bills continuing story, the report from the Toronto Sun's John Kryk that former Buffalo Sabres Owner Tom Golisano is going to bid for the Bills alone and "is in it to win it" sure is getting a lot of mileage in the Buffalo media.

You wish the local media might note that the billionaire's reported net worth by Forbes is $2.1 billion, which means he'd probably have to pay half of it to become the successful bidder.

Sabres Owner Terry Pegula, who bought the Sabres from Golisano, is mentioned in Kryk's story. According to Forbes, his network worth is $3.3 billion. You don't have to do much math to see that Pegula would most likely win any "in it to win it battle" if it was only between the two men.

Inquiring minds want to know: Who is Josh Kozlowski, who showed up again doing the weather for Channel 2 last weekend.

He's a freelancer that Channel 2 is using on weekends while Jennifer Stanonis is on maternity leave.

According to Channel 2 News Director Jeff Woodard, Kozlowski also does free-lance work for a Rochester station and worked for five years for Time Warner Cable in Syracuse.

Channel 4 also is using a weather free-lancer, Keith Eichner, on weekends as it looks for Bryan Shaw's replacement.

Finally, ABC/ESPN only credited the Buffalo market with an 8.6 rating for Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in the World Cup final. I gave it a 10.4 rating. We scored the game differently. I took out the low-rated portion of the pregame show that ABC counted and just used the game time and intermission. I don't know why ABC includes the pregame, but I suspect it has something to do with advertising since the pregame and halftime is the only time ads are run. The national rating -- including the pregame portion -- was a 9.1.   


Local World Cup rating out of this world for soccer

By Alan Pergament

Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in extra time Sunday to win the World Cup had local ratings that were out of this world for soccer.

ABC's coverage during game time from 3 p.m. to around 5:45 p.m. had a 10.4 rating on local affililate Channel 7, which was more than double the 4.6 local rating for Spain's victory over Netherlands four years ago during game time.

The rain showers Sunday afternoon may have helped the local rating, as did the fact the game went into extra time.

However, the rating clearly confirms the impressive surge in interest in the United States and Western New York for the soccer competition played every four years. The question now is whether the interest will continue beyond the World Cup. 

The final hour of Sunday's game from 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. averaged a 12.5 rating locally, peaking at 13.7 in the final 15 minutes when the winning goal was scored by Germany's Mario Gotze.

While Univision also has had impressive national ratings for its coverage of the World Cup, its coverage didn't register a rating here. The channel is only on Time Warner Cable's Buffalo system, the satellite dishes and FiOs.

The national rating for the World Cup isn't available at this writing. It may include the pregame show, which will lower the rating.

Update: ESPN reports the game averaged a 9.7 overnight rating in the 56 metered markets, including Buffalo. That includes the pregame show, which is why ESPN says that Buffalo averaged an 8.6 rating rather than a 10.4 rating. The rating is reduced when the low-rated pregame show is added. Still, ESPN said Buffalo was one of 12 markets that recorded its highest men's World Cup rating ever.   

To put the local rating in further perspective, let's compare the World Cup final to the decisive games in major sports.

The World Cup rating was:

Higher than the 9.2 rating on Channel 2 for the Los Angeles Kings title clincher over the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup finals.

Higher than the 8.6 rating on Channel 7 for San Antonio's title clincher over the Miami Heat in the NBA finals.

Higher than the 9.6 rating on WUTV for the Boston Red Sox's World Series clincher over the St. Louis Cardinals.

However, it was lower than the 12.2 rating on Channel 4 for the University at Connecticut's NCAA men's basketball final victory over Kentucky.

It was nowhere near the 51.0 rating on WUTV for Seattle's Super Bowl romp over Denver. But expecting the world version of football to compete with interest in the American version on television was way too much to ask. 

Reasons for James' return to Cleveland may resonate in Buffalo

By Alan Pergament

The Budweiser commercial called "Hero's Welcome" about a serviceman coming home earned an Emmy nomination Thursday morning.

This afternoon, the poignant music and lyrics in the song played in the ad -- "Coming Home" -- were played on national talk shows hosted by Jim Rome on WGR and Colin Cowherd on WWKB after NBA supertar LeBron James announced he was coming home to the Cleveland Cavaliers after winning two titles in four years with the Miami Heat.

Of course, a NBA star coming home isn't on the same level as the return of a serviceman.

But undoubtedly, James eventually will be getting a hero's welcome when he returns to Ohio after a trip Sunday to the World Cup final in Brazil.

For sports fans anyway, James' announcement was one of those "where were you moments?"

I was in my car listening to Rome and Cowherd at different times. They immediately cheered the letter that James wrote for Sports Illustrated that beautifully explained why he was going back to his home state and what he hoped to accomplish beyond just basketball.

Rome described James' return to Cleveland "as one of the greatest sports stories I've ever seen."

Cowherd spoke in similar terms about the letter, in which James talked about Ohio and its residents in the same way that Buffalonians would would hope a celebrity would talk about their hometown.

I imagine some WNYers hearing the letter aloud by the radio hosts might have almost felt as emotional as Ohio natives because James was not just writing about that area but all areas like it.

Rome made the point that the low key way that James handled this decision was as good as the egotistical way "The Decision" he made on ESPN four years ago was bad.

James certainly kept his plans to himself, which had national media James' experts guessing and second guessing what he planned to do right up to the last minute. And often guessing wrong.

On Thursday afternoon, I heard Miami-based radio host Dan LeBatard essentially say he was buying the Heat's apparent confidence in keeping James.

On Friday morning, I heard ESPN's Brian Windhorst, who has been on the James' beat for years, speculate that James might sign a one-year deal to stay with the Heat.

Windhorst was one of several ESPN experts speculating on what James might do slightly before James' announcement was made.

Tim Kurkjian, who covers baseball for ESPN analyst, made the most sense Thursday when he was asked on "Pardon the Interruption" what he thought James would do.

Of course, he had no idea. But he said he was rooting for James to return to Cleveland because it made for "the best story" and he always roots for the story.

That was pretty much my feeling Monday when I concluded a blog by writing LBJ's return to Clevleand would be "a great story."

It was made even greater by how beautifully James expressed why he was "coming home."  



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.        

The President and the Emmys and more odd details

By Alan Pergament

Some odds and ends from today's Emmy nominations -- with an emphasis on the odd -- after looking at about 50 pages of nominations:

Did President Obama get an Emmy nomination?

Technically, probably not.

But his appearance in the "Funny or Die" bit with Zach Galifianakis called "Between 2 Ferns" was nominated in the category of outstanding short format, live-action entertainment program.

In the brief bit, the president was trying to reach younger people by plugging the website HealthCare.Gov, which at the time was a disaster.

In the same category competing with the president is Bruno Mars' halftime show during the Super Bowl.

Jerry Seinfeld got a nomination in the short format nonfiction program category for his series "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee." Among his competitors in the category, "Jay Leno's Garage."

Showtime's "Homeland" was snubbed in the best drama category, but I can't see any reason to complain. Last season was pretty routine by its own standards. It took way too long to get going. Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin received nominations for their work on the series that probably should have ended after two seasons.

Netflix, thanks to the "House of Cards" and "Orange is the New Black," received 31 nominations, which was seven more than Showtime received. The streaming service may be more of a threat to pay-cable channels than the broadcast networks.

With the help of all the nominations for "American Horror Story: Coven," "Fargo" and "Louie," FX networks had 45 nominations, one less than NBC and eight more than ABC.

Billy Crystal's moving HBO special from his one-man Broadway show, "700 Sundays," deservedly got a few nominations. They included one for the writing by Crystal. I loved the special, partly because I grew up on Long Island and his high school basketball team at Long Beach used to play against my high school.

The underrated HBO movie, "Muhammad Ali''s Greatest Fight," got a TV movie nomination. I show that film to my sports journalism class semi-annually. It is about the boxing great's court fight after claiming to be a conscientious objector during the Vietnam war. The case landed in the Supreme Court, which found an unusual compromise to eventually rule in his favor. The film has a great cast that includes Christopher Plummer and Frank Langella. It also illustrates in an entertaining way how Supreme Court justices can fit the law to suit their own social and political beliefs. But if you've been paying attention to the present court, you probably know that.

Jodie Foster got an Emmy nomination for directing an episode of "Orange is The New Black."

It looks like the Aug. 25 Emmy program on NBC will be a coronation for HBO's "Game of Thrones" considering all the nominations that it received. That probably means I'll have to give it another try. My sons, my brother and several of my friends swear by it. But I've tried three times to watch the pilot and couldn't figure out what was going on and gave up each time. Well, maybe the fourth time will be the charm.

Remember the moving Super Bowl ads from Budweiser, "Puppy Love," and "Hero's Welcome." Both are nominated in the outstanding commercial category. 

"Good Wife" incredibly snubbed by Emmys

By Alan Pergament

Did I hear it right?

That was my first thought while watching the Yahoo! live presentation of the Emmy nominations this year and failing to hear "The Good Wife" be nominated as best drama.

It is my favorite broadcast TV show and was believed to be a sure best drama nominee after having a terrific season.

The six nominees are all worthy -- "Breaking Bad," "Downton Abbey," "Game of Thrones," "House of Cards, "Mad Men" and 'True Detective." Interestingly, none of them is on broadcast television.

But "The Good Wife" certainly had a better season than two of the long-running, nominated shows on my must-see list -- "Downton" and "Mad Men." As consolation prizes of sorts, Julianna Margulies of "The Good Wife" was nominated as outstanding actress in a drama, and Buffalo native Christine Baranski and Josh Charles were nominated for supporting roles on the series.

It is hard to understand why three actors in a series can get nominated when the series is snubbed in the outstanding drama category. But hey, the Emmy nominations don't have to make sense.

It wasn't a good morning for the broadcast networks as James Spader of NBC's popular drama "The Blacklist" failed to get a best acting nomination in a category filled by Bryan Cranston of "Breaking Bad," Jeff Daniels of "The Newsroom," Jon Hamm of "Mad Men," Kevin Spacey of "House of Cards" and Woody Harrelston and Matthew McConaughey of "True Detective." All of the nominated males have one thing in common -- they didn't appear on broadcast network series.

Less surprising was the absence of "American Idol" from the list of best reality series and the failure of "Late Show with David Letterman" to get nominated in the variety category. Letterman's replacement next year, Stephen Colbert, was nominated for "The Colbert Report" in a category that includes "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "Real Time with Bill Maher,' "Saturday Night Live," "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon."

The good news is my favorite new comedy, HBO's "Silicon Valley," was nominated as best comedy along with "The Big Bang Theory," "Louie," four-time winner "Modern Family," "Orange is the New Black" and "Veep." Interestingly, "Bang" and "Modern Family" were the only broadcast network series in the category, as critical-favorite "Parks & Recreation" was ignored.

I once mistakenly gave the Fox comedy "Brookyn Nine-Nine" an Emmy award when it actually won a Golden Globe. The Emmys didn't even grant it a nomination.

I'll have more to say after I get a look at all the Emmy nominations. 

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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.

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