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Bills Fans Losing Interest in TV Games

Katie Couric: May Get Help from Queen Latifah


If Buffalo Bills Owner Ralph Wilson is going to fire Coach Chan Gailey after the season, it probably will be because so many fans have been turned off by his play-calling and game-day decisions that they have lost interest in the team they love, which could affect season ticket sales.

One indication that it may be happening is local television ratings for Bills game.

The Bills’ 50-17 loss to Seattle Sunday in Toronto was the lowest-rated of the season and the lowest-rated regular season game in recent memory.

The game averaged a 22.2 rating on Fox affiliate WUTV, which will still make it the highest-rated television program of the week in Western New York. But Bills games typically get ratings in the low to mid 30s. In other words, the rating for the Seattle game indicates about one-third of Bills armchair fans have been turned off.

Admittedly, the blowout nature of the game played into the low rating. But the game didn’t even approach the normal range at the start. The game had a 25.4 rating in the beginning and rose to a 25.5 before it gradually slipped as viewers left each quarter hour. By game’s end, it had a 16.8 rating, which is in the range of some preseason games.

To put interest in more perspective, Dallas’ overtime victory over Pittsburgh that played opposite the Bills game for much of the time averaged an 11.3 rating. Its rating rose after the Bills game ended, hitting as high as a 19.1 in overtime. In other words, more people were watching the exciting Pittsburgh-Dallas at the end than the embarrassing Bills loss at the end. Not a good sign.

To put the Bills rating in further perspective, San Francisco’s win over New England on NBC’s Sunday Night Football averaged a 14.0 rating until midnight.

The low rating can’t be attributed to Fox play-by-play man Dick Stockton and analyst John Lynch. They had strong games. Lynch repeatedly said that plays being made or not made by the Bills can’t happen in the NFL and pointed out how defensive players were out of position on the read-option run by Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.

Channel 4 News has been copying Channel 2 innovations for years so I suppose it is no surprise that its high energy promos now resemble those of Channel 2 News.

In case you wondered as I did, Channel 7 did ask ABC if it could move the soap opera “General Hospital” from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. to give Katie Couric’s new talk show a better lead-in than it is getting from Ricki Lake’s talk show. ABC said no. Channel 7 is planning to drop Lake’s show in favor of Queen Latifah’s new talk show in the fall.

HBO is planning a documentary on President Clinton that is being made with the full cooperation of the now extraordinarily popular 42nd president. The interesting thing is it is being produced and directed by Martin Scorsese. HBO said it “will explore (Clinton’s) perspectives on history, politics, culture and the world.”

In case you missed, the incredible catch by Bills receiver Stevie Johnson Sunday of an overthrown pass by quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was judged No. 2 Monday on ESPN’s plays of the day in any sport during SportsCenter. As one of my readers noted, it became No. 1 today in a different category on SportsCenter – NFL plays of the week. I can’t instantly think of one other memorable catch this season by a Bills receiver. You can blame Fitzpatrick for inaccuracy at times, but it isn’t like his receivers have given him much help this season. And I’m not only talking about T.J Graham, who dropped four passes Sunday that could have helped Fitzpatrick’s statistics look a lot better if they had been caught.

Channel 2 anchor-reporter Melissa Holmes and “Inside Edition” reporter Les Trent have both mentioned this morning on social networks that former Channel 2 photojournalist John Kooistra was a member of reporter Richard Engel’s NBC News team that was kidnapped in Syria and released five days later. He must have some story to tell.

According to a NBC News report on its website, Kooistra said he had “made good with my maker” and had been “prepared to die many times.”



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3 responses to "Bills Fans Losing Interest in TV Games"

  1. Jill says:

    I just watched ESPN and they had Johnson’s catch ranked #1.

  2. Jill says:

    Admittedly i was at a store so I couldn’t hear the sound. And, it was all football…maybe it was NFL plays of the week? In any case; helluva catch! (And makes me scratch my head even harder about that easy one he let slip that would have won the game against Pittsburgh a couple years ago…SIGH…what coulda been)

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