It looks like News 4 Buffalo is going to enter the 21stCentury in 2012.
According to sources, WIVB-TV is expected to carry its newscasts in high definition in late January in time for the February news ratings.
Channel 4 is presently the only local station that doesn’t carry its news in some form of high definition. The first inkling that it planned to follow competitors Channel 7, Channel 2 and YNN came from a reader who claimed he read about it in one of Channel 4 meteorologist Don Paul’s weather blogs.
I couldn’t find it in Paul’s blog. But sources confirmed that Channel 4’s owner, LIN Media, is spending money on its facilities and has given the go-ahead for high definition equipment. It takes time to implement, with the February sweeps the target date.
Despite being the only local station without HD, Channel 4 rode the strength of its 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WNLO and its regular 11 p.m. newscast to an overall victory in the November sweeps.
However, Channel 2 recently has been running promos proclaiming it the overall ratings victory in the morning and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Channel 4 wins at 5 a.m., Channel 2 wins at 6 a.m. Channel 2 is able to declare itself the early morning victor on the strength of NBC’s “Today,” which dominates in the market from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. while the CBS morning show on Channel 4 still gets very low ratings here and is about to change its anchor team again.
Channel 2 wins the local news competition narrowly from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. over Channel 4, with its margin of victory increasing at 6:30 p.m. because of the dominance of “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” in the network news battle.
Speaking of “Today,” there have been published reports that “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest is talking to NBC officials about joining the morning program in some capacity. NBC wants Matt Lauer to sign a new deal to stay as co-host beyond 2012. It would be unlikely that Seacrest would want to drop all of his other lucrative jobs to be full-time on “Today.” But stranger things have happened. Most likely, NBC wants Seacrest for now in some other role besides co-host.
Nationally, “Today” is losing some audience to ABC’s “Good Morning America” and there is some speculation that new co-host Ann Curry could be in some jeopardy because Lauer isn’t a big fan and might want a change to renew when his current deal expires at the end of 2012. He seems much more comfortable with Savannah Guthrie, who subs for Curry at times.
Despite the Buffalo Bills six-game losing streak, they remain a TV hit. The 37-10 loss to San Diego last Sunday had a 29.4 rating on Channel 4, meaning 29.4 percent of area households were willing to endure the suffering. The rating is about double what any prime time program averaged last week. The Bills will likely have only one more televised game locally – the finale at New England.