News Column

The Buffalo News, N.Y., Alan Pergament column

September 1, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 01--It's been a couple of months since I shared a variety of quick thoughts, so here goes another batch to remind you how opinionated I can be:

-- Channel 4 meteorologist Todd Santos had an impressive debut this week on "Wake Up!" that reinforced my view that eventually he'll be Don Paul's replacement as the station's chief meteorologist. However, I would tell Santos to slow down during his forecasts so viewers actually can take it all in. He talks faster than Buffalo Bills receiver Marquise Goodwin runs and Miley Cyrus gyrates.

-- President Obama may be a rock star, as a few reporters noted last week when he spoke at the University at Buffalo, but he wasn't a huge local TV star. The local TV ratings for the live coverage in late morning and early afternoon when the president arrived and spoke about education were up significantly from normal daytime viewing of talk shows. However, that didn't translate into higher viewership for most regular newscasts that emphasized team coverage of his visit.

-- As usual, Channel 2 won from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Channel 4 won at 10 and 11 p.m. and Channel 7 was third everywhere. But many of the newscasts had lower ratings than their July averages. Perhaps many potential viewers were distracted by trying to get the most out of one of the final days of the summer before school starts.

-- I had to laugh when Channel 4's Ed Drantch and Channel 2's Maryalice Demler reported from UB several hours after the president left. Drantch was reduced to saying that "things are pretty different than they were hours ago." Reporters who have left the business have always told me how ridiculous they felt when they were sent to locations hours after the event they were covering was over.

-- While Western New Yorkers treated the president's visit to UB as hugely important, the national media didn't notice. It didn't get any coverage on the two national newscasts I watched on the night he was here.

-- Lauren Hall, who has appeared frequently on WNLO's "Winging It!" as the show's producer, is now a co-host of the morning program that features sponsored segments. That's good news for new "Wake Up! co-anchor Teresa Weakley, who won't have to paint a permanent smile on her face as Victoria Hong, Joe Arena and Diana Fairbanks had to do when they were part of the show. Weakley makes her debut this week.

-- I bet some "Seinfeld" fans won't be thrilled when reruns of NBC's "Community" replace one of the back-to-back episodes of the classic TV series on WNYO. But let's face it: Many "Seinfeld" fans pretty much know all the dialogue on the episodes now after seeing reruns all these years.

-- Talk about scandalous. Judy Smith, the politically connected crisis management expert who is the inspiration for Kerry Washington's character on ABC's outlandish series "Scandal," is coming to Kleinhans Music Hall on Sept. 26 to speak as part of the Girl Scouts of Western New York's Leadership Speaker Series. Tickets are $75, with a package of a ticket, a meet and greet with Smith and her book going for $250. That's a lot of Girl Scout cookies. "Scandal" isn't exactly a show I would recommend to Girl Scouts. By the way, former "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow has signed to appear on "Scandal" this season. The series returns Oct. 3, a week after Smith's appearance here.

-- Three important Channel 4 news veterans from behind-the-scenes have left over the last several months, with their experience tough to replace. Assistant News Director Pamm Lent is leaving after this week, following Martha Meegan and Vic Baker. They've all left the news business. That isn't good for the station's newscasts or viewers. Like the Buffalo Sabres, a news department needs a good mix of veterans and younger producers. A younger Channel 4 executive producer, Alexis Marshall, also is exiting the station to go to a bigger market.

-- The 2013 Hall of Fame class of the Buffalo Broadcasters is impressive. But so is the list of people who haven't been honored yet. They include Channel 7's Keith Radford and Mike Randall, Channel 4's Don Paul and Don Postles, former investigative reporters John Pauly and Tony Farina, and former Channel 7 sportscaster Anne Simon.

-- I want to shout at my TV every time Channel 2 runs those promos featuring reporters supposedly asking tough questions of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other interview subjects. The promos don't leave any time for answers. Just once, I'd like to hear if those tough questions led to any important information. They rarely do.

-- While watching Santos' debut this week on "Wake Up!" I did notice how much Nalina Shapiro has grown as an anchor. She seems much more comfortable in the anchor seat.

-- One of the local casualties of TWC's dispute with CBS besides the loss of Showtime, has been the loss of CBS On Demand, which means you better DVR episodes of "Under the Dome" if you want to watch them at your own convenience. The loss of CBS On Demand will be more of a problem if a deal isn't made by the time the new TV season begins in a few weeks.

-- It hasn't gotten much attention, but there is widespread speculation that the Hillary Clinton miniseries announced by NBC during the Television Critics Press Tour in late July may never happen. That's the program that the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, was so upset over that he said NBC wouldn't be allowed to host a 2016 presidential debate. It was a classic overreaction. The miniseries actually had the potential to harm her candidacy as much as help it.

-- Inquiring minds want to know: Can't the FCC do something about Miley Cyrus' raunchy performance by punishing MTV for airing it? No. Basic cable isn't regulated, which is why the content of some FX series approaches HBO territory at times. The censors of basic cable essentially are advertisers, who may not want to be associated with soft pornography.

-- I didn't love Larry David's over-long movie "Clear History" that seems to be on every time I turn on HBO, but I did like his idea that electric sockets should be chest level instead of so low that they can be very difficult to use. Now if only David could do something about annoying TV news promos.

email: apergament@buffnews.com

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