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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" »

Marv's "retirement" speech deserves an asterisk

By Alan Pergament

This is what I'm thinking:

The announcement by David Letterman last week that he plans to retire in a year or so reminded me that former former Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy's famous line "if you're thinking of retiring you are already retired" deserves an asterisk or a qualifier.

The words "unless you can milk it" should be added.

Letterman joins a long line of recent iconic entertainment figures who announced they are retiring a year or more before they actually do.

The list includes Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Jay Leno and New York Yankee Derek Jeter (who really is in the entertainment business).

Continue reading "Marv's "retirement" speech deserves an asterisk" »

"Sharknado" company shooting film in Buffalo, Lockport

By Alan Pergament

Alligators in Buffalo?

Being fought at Lafayette Square by citizens with guns, chain saws, axes, pitchforks and shovels?

It is all happening this morning as the production company behind last summer's Syfy channel hit "Sharknado" shoots some scenes for an upcoming movie with the working title of "Alligator Apocalypse."

Tim Clark, film commissioner for the Buffalo Niagara Film Office, said the area on Clinton Street near Washington Street in Buffalo is standing in for New York City, where the film is set.

Continue reading ""Sharknado" company shooting film in Buffalo, Lockport" »

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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Letterman retirement talk is a local ratings winner

By Alan Pergament

Western New Yorkers wanted to hear that David Letterman was retiring in his own words Thursday night.

Local ratings for "Late Show with David Letterman" on the night he surprised his New York City audience by announcing he was going to retire were higher here than the combined ratings for his two young rivals -- NBC's Jimmy Fallon and ABC's Jimmy Kimmel.

Because Letteman's show is taped in late afternoon for airing at 11:35 p.m., the big news was reported on the evening newscasts and served as an alert for late-night viewers. 

Kenmore's Jeff Glor -- who has had a busy week covering Buffalo Bills Hall of Famer Jim Kelly's battle with cancer and the General Motors crisis -- reported on Letterman's announcement for "The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley."

One of the benefits of Letterman announcing he is going to retire about a year before he actually does is that many viewers will probably want to watch his Derek Jeter-like goodbye tour.

And with the two Jimmys getting so much attention for the way they are reinventing late night with sketches that go viral, Letterman needs every advantage he can get.

But back to Thursday, the fourth straight day that Letterman has won here in the competition with the younger Jimmys.

Letterman had a 6.8 rating on Channel 4, the local CBS affiliate. "The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon" had a a 2.7 rating on Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate. It barely beat Kimmel's late-night ABC show, which had a 2.6 rating.

It is hard to know what is going on here regarding Fallon, whose late-night show has been a national ratings hit and continues to create viral hits. This week, Fallon dressed up as Russian president Vladimir Putin in a sketch with Sarah Palin that has been a big internet hit.

This morning, I speculated that Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" deserves Letterman's job.

Bill Carter of The New York Times, who has documented the late-night wars for years with books and even a movie based on one of his books, has thrown Stephen Colbert and Neil Patrick Harris into the mix.

Harris, one of the stars of "How I Met Your Mother" who also has impressed as the host of awards shows, is an intriguing candidate. He would be terrific in sketches but it's hard to know what kind of interviewer he might be.

But that's getting ahead of things anyway because WNYers still have a year to watch Letterman's goodbye tour.

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Sabres TV ratings continue slide as nightmare season nears end

By Alan Pergament

How low can the Buffalo Sabres go?

We're not talking about in the National Hockey League standings. They can't get any lower than 30th  place out of 30 teams.

We're referring to the team's television ratings.

After the NHL lockout ended in January of 2013, 13 of the Sabres' first 23 TV games last season had ratings of 10 or higher. The Sabres reportedly averaged about an 8 rating in the shortened season for games carried on the Madison Square Garden Network.

Because of this season’s pitiful start under former Coach Ron Rolston, TV ratings dropped early in the season to average about a 6 rating. There was a brief surge when Ted Nolan was named interim coach. His first game against Toronto had a 10.3 rating, the second game the next night a 7.9 rating.

But as the nightmare season thankfully nears its end, the Sabres are getting ratings that would appear to be at or near the historically low end since the advent of people meters in the Buffalo market in 2000. I say "appear" because statistics from all the years are unavailable.

Continue reading "Sabres TV ratings continue slide as nightmare season nears end" »

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" »

Media skepticism is wise in Trump interest in Bills

By Alan Pergament

Pardon my skepticism, but some elements of the local radio and TV media went way overboard Tuesday over the speculation that Donald Trump might buy or invest in the Buffalo Bills after the death of owner Ralph Wilson.

Of course, regular readers known I am skeptical of just about everything involving the billionaire blowhard.

I would gladly cheer if Trump saved Bills fans a lot of angst, bought the team and kept it here.

I just wish Channel 4 and Channel 2 had watched ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday before they carried their stories on Trump's interest based on his remarks on WBEN radio earlier in the day.

"PTI" co-hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon both agreed that Trump's purchase of the Bills would be "great" for the National Football League and for Buffalo. But they added the chances of it happening are minimal because he would need approval from other NFL owners who still hold a grudge against him for being a strong voice when he owned a team in the USFL and sued the NFL.

The local stations also would have been wise to have read a post by the Buffalo News' Tim Graham Tuesday that noted the USFL lawsuit and added that Trump's ownership of casinos would prohibit him from owning a team.

Those two nuggets belonged in any Trump story related to the Bills Tuesday because they added much needed perspective. The chance that Trump would give up a sure money-winner like owning casinos to take a financial risk and own the Bills is about equal to the chance -- well -- that he would run for governor of New York State.

Continue reading "Media skepticism is wise in Trump interest in Bills" »

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