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Ch.2 Gets Ratings Boost With Morning Head Start; Suhr on “Today”

You might have thought that starting the new 4:30 a.m. edition of Channel 2 during the London Olympics wasn’t such a good idea since so many Western New Yorkers are staying up until midnight to watch NBC’s coverage and presumably are sleeping later in the morning.

On the other hand, Channel 2 has been able to promote the new venture during the games. Just not as much as NBC is promoting Matthew Perry’s new NBC series “Go On.”

Insomniacs must be happy. Channel 2 began its new 4:30 a.m. edition of “Daybreak” on Monday, giving it a 30-minute morning head start on rivals Channel 4 and Channel 7. John Beard is anchoring the 4:30 program solo, with Jodi Johnston coming in later at 5 a.m. (if you want to call 5 a.m. later) to do her normal “Daybreak” shift.

John Beard: News for insomniacs?

There is a chance the earlier start time will enable Channel 2 to overtake Channel 4 at 5 a.m., where Channel 4 has benefitted in the past from the channel being on the station after local viewers retired the night before after watching CBS’ prime time programming or Channel 4’s highly-rated 11 p.m. news.

Channel 2′s strategy sure worked on opening morning. Monday’s 4:30 a.m. premiere had a 4.1 rating, more than double Channel 4′s 1.8 at the half hour with the CBS Morning News. The lead-in helped Channel 2 also win handily at 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.. Of course, it has the advantage of being affiliated with the Olympics network.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner wrote in an email exchange that many NBC affiliates in the country have expanded their morning shows after the network allowed them to preempt their shows for local news. Gannett, which owns Channel 2 and many other stations, didn’t direct Channel 2 to start at 4:30 a.m., wrote Toellner. He added it was a “local choice.”

Toellner said he read about a year ago that the average time that people get up is 5:36 a.m.

“I don’t know how accurate that is but I do know people are getting up earlier all across the country including here,” wrote Toellner. “Many to work out at home or for many an early breakfast in the new family gathering meal due to hectic schedules.”

Then there are those who seem to get up earlier as they age. Like me.

Speaking of getting up early, “Today” viewers got a local treat this morning when NBC’s Savannah Guthrie interviewed Jenn Suhr, the WNY native who won a gold medal in the pole vault Monday. Let’s hope those who stayed up late to watch Suhr win Monday night caught the interview because NBC sure didn’t give it much attention in its prime time telecast.

NBC devoted about three minutes starting at 11:21 p.m. to Suhr winning after she and the silver medalist missed their final attempts at a higher level. It had earlier shown Suhr being successful on some attempts at lower levels.

Surely, WNYers sticking around until 11:20 p.m. expected to see a post-performance interview with Suhr, who after all won a gold medal. NBC’s cameras showed Suhr seeking out her husband and coach, Rick, and mentioned her triumph over illness and injury but there was no interview. Channel 2 couldn’t have been too happy about that, either. I imagine it will replay portions of Guthrie’s interview on newscasts today.

Aaron Sorkin’s most recent episode of “The Newsroom” certainly seemed like a commercial for President Obama. It revolved around the killing of Osama bin Laden and ended with the President’s address to the nation more than a year ago after the terrorist was killed. Politics aside, it was an excellent episode. The HBO series is improving weekly. The previews for upcoming episodes included a shot of Buffalo actor Stephen McKinley Henderson. It is unclear what his role will be.

It was a little embarrassing listening to Olympic analyst Brandi Chastain root for a United States-Japan final in women’s soccer during the U.S.’s controversial 4-3 overtime victory over Canada Monday afternoon. I’m no soccer expert, but it did seem like Canada was on the wrong end of some calls that helped the U.S. get a penalty kick that tied the game late. Speaking of embarrassing, I think I heard a NBC Network studio host misspeak and say the U.S. men’s basketball team lost to Lithuania. The U.S. won a tight game, which seemed like a loss to some.

There’s no surprise that the Buffalo Bills preseason game with the Washington Redskins will be blacked out Thursday. If you’re not a season ticketholder, you’ll be unlikely to pay regular season prices for the game. The team said that more than 20,000 tickets remain for the game, which means it would have been blacked out even if the Bills had accepted the 85 Percent Blackout Rule. Channel 7 will carry the game at 8 p.m. Friday after NBC’s Olympic coverage in a battle of tape delayed sportscasts. It will be interesting to see who wins – Channel 2 or Channel 7.

pergament@msn.com

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1 response to "Ch.2 Gets Ratings Boost With Morning Head Start; Suhr on “Today”"

  1. Bill M says:

    Alan,

    In both markets I have lived since leaving WNY – Nashville and Columbus – the morning news programs start at 4 or 4:30 and have done so for a long time. Sounds like the Buffalo stations are looking at the same trends. FYI, Jon Burton, who I think had a cup of coffee at Channel 7 a few years back, is now the No. 1 sports anchor on WTVF in Nashville, the highest-rated station in the market

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