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Sabres, “Big Bang” Score in Ratings; “Idol” Slides

English: Brian Williams at the Vanity Fair cel...

Brian Williams: Big Ratings Here

This is what I’m thinking:

The local TV appeal of the Buffalo Sabres  was on display Wednesday when they lost to the New York Rangers, 1-0, in a shootout.

The game carried on Time Warner Cable via the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) had a 9.2 rating for its entirety. That’s about three times what the games have been averaging since they have been off local cable because of the TWC-MSG dispute. Imagine what the rating would have been if the Sabres had scored a goal. The final 15 minutes of Wednesday’s game involving the much-criticized shootout that determined the winner had an 11.2 rating.

As speculated here Thursday, the fact the Sabres’ overtime ran past 10:15 diminished the audience for the 10 o’clock news debut of Channel 4’s Diana Fairbanks on WNLO-TV Wednesday. Her opening 10 p.m. newscast had a 3.8 rating, which is about 35 percent lower than Channel 4 typically gets on WNLO. Channel 2’s new 10 at 10 on WNYO-TV with Melissa Holmes took a big hit, too.  It averaged a 1.6, getting only a 1.1 for the first 15 minutes opposite the Sabres game.

Buffalo News critic Jeff Simon and I rarely agreed on much of anything when I was the regular TV critic. (His never-ending glorification of former Channel 4 anchor Carol Jasen and repetitive criticism of Jacquie Walker are only two examples). But he ran a column a day after my Thursday blog that also praised Fairbanks and criticized Channel 2’s silly 10 o’clock gimmick of counting the Top 10 stories backwards on the WNYO-TV newscast.

So if we agree you wonder if Channel 2 is going to reconsider the stupid experimental idea. On the first night of the sweeps Thursday, Channel 2 received more reason to drop the countdown than reading two acerbic critics. The Thursday newscast started at 10 with a 2.2 rating and slipped to a .9 (that’s a point 9) in the second 15 minutes. That meant half of its viewers didn’t care to stay around to find out the No. 1 story of the night chosen by Facebook friends. If that trend continues, kiss the backwards countdown goodbye. Channel 4’s second newscast with Fairbanks Thursday averaged a 4.6 rating.

Simon and I don’t agree when it comes to voting on watching the most painful decline in local TV news. On Friday, Simon said it was watching Channel 4’s decline. I’d vote for watching Channel 7’s decline years before Channel 4’s decline.  

Speaking of declines, the local decline of Fox’s “American Idol” this season continues. Thursday night’s installment had an 8.4 rating on WUTV, which is about half the rating that CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” (16.7) had on Channel 4. “Idol” didn’t even beat “Rob” (10.8), the comedy that follows “Big Bang.” “Idol” was the fifth highest show of the night here. Simon Cowell’s fall run of “X Factor” has hurt “Idol,” along with all the other copycat karaoke shows — including NBC’s post-Super Bowl show “The Voice.” This week, “The Voice” is sure to have a higher rating here than “Idol.”

The continuing ratings decline of Channel 7 news is hurting ABC’s “Good Morning America” and the evening news with Diane Sawyer. “GMA” now is closer to CBS’ latest edition of the morning news here than NBC’s “Today,” which gets more viewers on Channel 2 than the other affiiliates get combined for their network morning shows. And Sawyer’s telecast is third in this market now. “The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams” is an even bigger No.1 here now that local affiliate Channel 2 does so well in the early evening news wars. Williams’ newscasts get higher ratings here than anything NBC carries in prime time here except NFL games. The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley is No.2 here.

Channel 2 probably wishes NBC would quickly cancel “The Firm” on Thursday nights. Last Thursday’s episode had a 2.8 rating here, a lead-in that killed Channel 2’s 11 p.m. newscast.

pergament@msn.com

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4 responses to "Sabres, “Big Bang” Score in Ratings; “Idol” Slides"

  1. Joe says:

    Did Simon have some strange kind of stalker/muse relationship w/ Jasen? Even a decade after she left, he still refers to her in such warm glowing prose. Every time, pretty much, he talks local tv news. Enough Jeff enough.

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