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“No Ordinary Family” Is Ordinary

Julie Benz
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  Talk about no ordinary competition.

 The heavily-promoted new ABC series “No Ordinary Family” is facing TV’s most-watched series in “NCIS” on CBS and one of TV’s most-talked about series in Fox’s “Glee.”

 And to make matters even worse, it premieres at 8 tonight opposite the Britney Spears episode of “Glee.”

 With that competition, a family show better have super powers just to survive.

 Or star power.

 Even with super powers and star power, “No Ordinary Family” just seems rather ordinary.

 Michael Chiklis (“The Commish,” “The Shield”) is the big name in the “Ordinary” cast that also includes Julie Benz (“Dexter,” see above), who had a guest role last season on “Desperate Housewives,” and Stephen Collins (“7th Heaven”).

 A powerful-looking guy, Chiklis plays against type this time. He plays a police sketch artist who has a beautiful wife who is a much more accomplished and overworked career woman.

 “It’s the dream of every wife to work 80 hours a week to support her family,” she tells her husband, bruising his ego even more.

 They also have two teenage kids, who don’t seem to be as keen about the idea of taking a family vacation as dad. Why? Did I mention they are teenagers?

 “When was the last time we did something as a family?” he asks. “That’s how memories are made whether you want them or not.”

 So the family goes on a trip, survives a plane crash and eventually each member develops super powers.

 “We survived a plane crash, that’s a memory that can last a lifetime,” says the enthusiastic father.

 Then the superpowers kick in, surprising co-workers, friends and themselves and possibly making them think about what is important in family life. Or not.

 Dad can catch a bullet, mom can shatter mirrors with her speed, the smart-mouthed daughter can hear people’s thoughts and the son with a learning disability becomes … well you don’t have to be a genius to guess that one.

 The self-involved daughter gets most of the good lines.

 “It is not fair, I can’t be a virgin and a freak,” says the daughter after discovering her powers. “I think I liked it better when we were just dysfunctional.”

 One doesn’t need to have superpowers to see most of this coming or to predict its future.

 This isn’t the kind of series that can last a lifetime. It would have worked much better as a sweet Disney movie, which it is at its heart.

 So enjoy the easy-to-watch, predictable pilot. Just don’t expect super things to come.

 Rating: 2 and half stars out of 4



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QB Switch Just What Ch. 4 Needed

Patrick Kane and Lord Stanley's Cup
Image by life is good (pete) via Flickr


This is what I’m thinking:

* Can Ryan Fitzpatrick bring Buffalo Bills fans back in their seats next to the TV?

The switch at quarterback from Trent Edwards to Fitzpatrick may just be the spark needed – for Channel 4.

Because last week’s lopsided loss in Green Bay had “only” a 27.9 rating on the CBS affiliate.

While a 27.9 rating – representing 27.9 percent of area households — makes it the highest-rated program of the week in Western New York, it is about 20 percent lower than the rating for the Bills home opener against Miami.

 That suggests the encouragement Bills fans received in the preseason when ratings were high has disappeared with the lack of regular season offensive production.

 The New England game Sunday should be a bounce back game for Channel 4 – provided it is competitive. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will call the game for CBS.

 The Bills-Jets game on Sunday Oct. 3 will bring Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf to Ralph Wilson Stadium. Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker will do the Oct. 10 home game against Jacksonville.

 * You may have read that all but one of the 82 regular season Buffalo Sabres games will be carried in high definition on MSG. Unfortunately that bit of good news doesn’t extend to customers of FiOS. Cablevision, which owns MSG, only will sell the standard definition feed to its competitor.

 * I just got a release about the first “Ice Issue” from  ESPN The Magazine, which offers a preview of the upcoming NHL season.

 According to the release, the Mag is doing a feature on Chicago Black Hawks star Patrick Kane (see above). This is its summary of the article about the South Buffalo native:  “Despite his rise to hockey’s pinnacle (he) is just as grounded as he was before Chicago made him the first pick of the 2007 NHL draft.” With that summary, it will be interesting to see how Kane’s celebrated off-ice mistakes are portrayed.

 * Mark Preisler, a Nichols School graduate, former Channel 4 producer and the current coordinating producer at ESPN, is now an author. He and ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlerth wrote “”Ready, Set, Play.” In an email, Preisler wrote the book features interviews “with some of the world’s greatest sports stars about their childhoods, relationships with their parents, and how they parent their kids.”


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Make “Blue Bloods” Part of Friday Routine

Rob Morrow at the Governor's Ball after the 43...
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In this economy, maybe Tom Selleck and Dana Delany will be enough to keep TV viewers at home on a Friday night.

At least that’s what CBS and ABC are hoping for as the two TV veterans headline some good-looking old style TV shows.

While Delany’s Friday show isn’t yet on ABC’s schedule, Selleck’s “Blue Bloods” has a season premiere at 10 tonight on Channel 4 (it repeats at 9 p.m. Saturday) that is a cut above most police dramas.

“Blue Bloods” also has some Buffalo bloodlines. Fred Keller is a director-producer on the series about three generations of police heroes and legal eagles in New York City.

Selleck stars as Frank Reagan, the police commissioner who is the head of an Irish family of cops in this stylish-looking series with the sites of New York City a backdrop. It also stars Donnie Wahlberg and Will Estes as his sons in the force; Bridget Moynihan  as his daughter the assistant district attorney; veteran actor Len Cariou as his father; and Frank Sinatra as the soundtrack.

This isn’t initially David Milch’s “NYPD Blue,” though there are some similarities before the pilot ends.

 Frank does things his way in and out of uniform, riling against bloggers and trying to keep his children from battling during law-and-order and justice system debates over meals.

Wahlberg gets much of the air time in the pilot, playing an abusive cop in the Andy Sipowicz mold who will do anything to save a 9-year-old hostage. Estes plays a Harvard-educated son who goes in the family business rather than get rich as a lawyer. Moynihan is the daughter with a messy personal life who believes in the Constitution, which puts her at odds with some family members.

There is plenty of family drama, family hostility and family secrets and a decent twist near that end that makes “Blue” move beyond what otherwise was a routine cop series. Rating: 3 stars out of 4

It gets a break tonight, airing opposite ABC’s “20/20,” which follows a repeat of the new ABC Wednesday legal drama “The Whole Truth” starring Rob Morrow (see above) and Maura Tierney.

The truth is the new ABC series needs an extra run in Buffalo. It opened Wednesday  night with a meager 3.6 rating on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate. The premiere of CBS’ lighter legal drama “The Defenders” opposite it almost tripled the “Truth” audience with a 9.7 rating.

 Fox’s new Tuesday comedies, “Raising Hope” (4.4) and “Running Wilde” (3.2) also had rough opening nights here despite the strong lead-in from “Glee”(8.2).

 ABC also is repeating the season premiere of “Modern Family” at 8 tonight, followed by a repeat of the lame sitcom “Better With You.”

 * After only one episode aired, HBO has announced that it has renewed “Boardwalk Empire” with Steve Buscemi for a second season.


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NBC’s “Outsourced” a Novelty Tonight

William Shatner photographed by Jerry Avenaim
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It is Fake Vomit and Poop Night on network TV as CBS and NBC trot out new potentially insulting comedies.

First up is the crappy William Shatner (see right) series on CBS, named for the Twitter feed and best-selling book “Sh-t My Father Says.” It airs at 8:30 p.m. on Channel 4.

You can fill in the missing vowel.

If it weren’t for the title, Shatner and the time slot after “The Big Bang Theory,” this painfully unfunny comedy wouldn’t have gotten much attention at all.

Shatner essentially plays a male version of Betty White in that anything irreverent he says about Wolf Blitzer or James Gandolfini is greeted by an annoyingly loud laugh track. Shatner plays a 72-year-old former military guy, Ed, who has had three wives and has two very different sons from different mothers. Think of Ed as Don Rickles – without the humor.

 The youngest son has been re-cast (I didn’t see the newer version), but the casting wasn’t the problem with the original pilot. It was the dialogue, which included three urination jokes in the first 10 minutes followed by a joke about a broken vagina (which one hopes has been cut from the newer version).

 At 9: 30 p.m., NBC’s politically-incorrect comedy “Outsourced” is a novelty tonight — a show with potential.

 Ben Rappaport, who has Paul Rudd’s blandness, stars as Todd. Todd is a 20something guy with huge college debts who has to move to Mumbai, India to run a call center for a novelty company that has shut its doors stateside.

 Rizwan Manji is his assistant manager, guide and potential rival, Rajjiv Gidwani, with simple dreams. “My dream is not to use the toilet after my father,” he explains.

 “Dreams come in all sizes,” replies Todd.

 Todd has to deal with an unprepared office staff and some culture shock. However, the comedy is an equally opportunity offender – insulting Indian food and customs and taking as many shots about what passes for American culture.

 You know pointless, useless or priceless things like fake vomit and Cheesehead caps worn by Green Pay Packer fans.

 “In America no can stop you from making it,” explains Todd. “This is the definition of freedom.”

He is talking about making silly novelties — not TV shows. 

 There is an assortment of stereotypical characters and some sensitive viewers may have to hold their noses after some of the offensive material.

 But here’s a novelty for most NBC comedies (except “The Office,” which it follows). “Outsourced” can be zanily funny at times. However, the writers will have to quickly find a way to be funny without all the vomit and bathroom material.  

 But I may be dreaming about that ever happening.

 Speaking of dreams, ABC premieres a new drama at 8 tonight, “My Generation,” about 20something stereotypes who have discovered the difficulty of fulfilling their high school dreams when reality got in the way.

 Things didn’t go as planned for the punk, the wallflower, the nerd, the beauty, the brain, the rock star and the rich kid, all of whom are followed around by a documentary crew.

 As if the stereotyped characters weren’t enough to turn you off, there’s the dialogue:

 “I am so excited to show how that salami will go with the wine,” says a scatter-brained married female.

 “Just because I have a son I don’t think that makes me a father,” says a former hotshot.

 “I got pretty excited about all the women who could use my sperm,” says a nerd sperm donor. “Not excited. I feel really good.”

 It is hard to get excited about “My Generation.” The best thing you can say about the show is at least the cast is attractive enough to keep your attention. Still,  I imagine members of today’s younger generation will be playing beer pong to all the clichés.

 “My Generation”: 2 stars out of 4

 “Sh.t My Father Says”: 1 and half stars out of 4

 “Outsourced”: 3 stars out of 4


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TV Pros Add Good Spin to “The Whole Truth”

Rob Morrow at the Governor's Ball after the 43...
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 The one ABC program that wasn’t available for early review was the Jerry Bruckheimer legal drama “The Whole Truth” starring old TV pros Maura Tierney (“ER”) and Rob Morrow (“Northern Exposure,” “Numbers”).

It premieres at 10 tonight on Channel 7 opposite the much lighter and sillier CBS legal show, “The Defenders.”

After watching “Truth” this morning, I can report it is a well-produced traditional criminal law series with a diverse cast that has a twist: Viewers are shown the different reactions, strategies, angles and spins of the defense and prosecution teams after they get the same information.

 Tierney and Morrow (see above) play former Yale Law School classmates, Kathryn Peale and Jimmy Brogan, who are on the different side of the law. They respect and still have feelings for each other out of court, but they battle hard in court with the aid of their respective legal teams.

 Tierney works hard as a prosecutor, quotes Benjamin Disraeli and Aristotle (“excellence is not an act but a habit”) and dates younger men. Murrow is a natural defense lawyer and showman.

 They face off tonight with a case involving a high school teacher accused of murdering one of his students.  The format keeps a viewer guessing about guilt or innocence. The truth is I found the verdict difficult to comprehend, but some viewers might disagree and that’s the fun.

My verdict: “Truth” is far from excellence and unlikely to become a weekly habit. But the acting pros in the leads and the appealing supporting cast make it very watchable.

Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4  


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Lando Leaves Ch. 4 for Rochester Job

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

 Lia Lando has left Channel 4 after almost three months as a temporary anchor to take an anchor job in Rochester, where she lives.

According to sources, Lando has signed to become an anchor at WHEC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Rochester. 

Sources said that Lando gave the Buffalo station a chance to match the latest Rochester station offer but Channel 4 declined. She anchored her last newscast at Channel 4 on Monday.

 Lando had commuted from Rochester since July to become the temporary anchor of Channel 4’s 5:30 p.m. newscast and the 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WNLO-TV after Lisa Flynn retired.

 The two newscasts had strong ratings in July and primary night last week, which made Lando the favorite to keep the job.

This morning, two Channel 4 producers posted Facebook comments praising Lando.

“She is a first class anchor in every respect,” wrote producer Vic Baker on Facebook. “I will personally miss working with Lia.”

To which Channel 4′s Aaron Mason added: “Ditto, Vic. Buffalo’s loss is Rochester’s gain.”

Lando’s departure should heighten speculation that Channel 4 will strongly consider hiring Emily Smith, a former overnight anchor for CBS News’  “Up to the Minute”  who returned home to her native Buffalo several weeks ago.

 The station might also consider morning reporter and anchor Melissa Holmes for the anchor jobs.

 Sources have said that Smith, a former WBEN reporter and former Channel 4 intern, wants the Channel 4 anchor jobs but decided to move home even with no assurances that she’d get it.

* Western New Yorkers joined the nation Monday in making ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” the most-viewed show of the opening night of the official fall TV season.

 “DWTS,” which featured the David Hasselhoff (who was ousted Tuesday), Bristol Palin (see above),  and Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from “Jersey Shore” among others, had a 17.9 rating from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday on ABC affiliate Channel 7.

 However, its lead-in was unable to help ABC’s “Castle” (9.2) hold off a 10 p.m. challenge from CBS’ new version of “Hawaii 5-0” (10.8). As expected NBC’s lame newcomer, “Chase,” finished third with a 5.1 rating at 10 p.m.

 The season’s best new series about a Texas con man, Fox’s “Lone Star,” couldn’t get arrested locally or nationally in a head-to-head battle with NBC’s heavily-hyped “The Event.” “Star” had a weak 3.1 rating on WUTV, losing two-thirds of the lead-in from “House” (9.3). “The Event” (6.9) was the highest-rated show on local NBC affiliate Channel 2, finishing second locally in the time slot to “Two and Half Men” (13.8) and newcomer “Mike and Molly” (12.2). 

“Mike and Molly” — the CBS comedy about members of Overeaters Anonymous — was Monday’s highest-rated new show locally even though it also was the worst new show. It had its lead-in from “Two and a Half Men”  to thank. Of course, the big challenge for all the new shows is keeping the audience that tuned in to the opener. I would think “Mike and Molly” has a fat chance of that.


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“Glee” Returns with More Songs, Lessons

Lea Michele at Time 100 Gala
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After a fantastic, award-winning season, “Glee” better step up rather than rest on its laurels.

That’s because starting next week the Fox sensation will go head-to-head with ABC’s superhero series, “No Ordinary Family.”

 The “Glee” team realizes it faces a challenge because it has no ordinary episode planned for next Tuesday – the Britney Spears episode.

 But before it goes there, “Glee” opens its season at 8 tonight with an episode that introduces two new singers. They are played by international pop star Charice (yeah, I never heard of her, either) and Chord Overstreet (who certainly has a musical name).

 Charice and Chord are part of the Team of Rivals dynamic of the show. Charice plays a newcomer out to steal Rachel’s (Lea Michele, see above) musical thunder, Chord plays an athlete who is out for Finn’s role (Cory Monteith).

 Dot Marie Jones plays the third newcomer, the ironically-named new football team Coach Beiste.

 It’s a lively, good-humored opener that seems to have a few more songs than usual and a few more contemporary songs at that. Last season, I seemed to know most of the old tunes featured in the episodes. This time around I wish I had a teenager or Ryan Seacrest around to name every tune but the highlight – Michele singing “What I Did for Love” from “A Chorus Line.”

 The opener initially changes the contentious tune between Sue (Jane Lynch) and Shue (Matthew Morrison) and has the cheerleading coach and Glee Club coach forming an alliance.

 That’s no fun.

 Eventually, the episode returns to its roots with a lesson on the importance of accepting people for who they are that is worth cheering.

 Rating: 3 stars out of 4

 “Glee” is the lead-in for two Fox comedies that are getting good buzz even though their quirkiness almost assures them of getting a limited audience.

 At 9 tonight, “Raising Hope” is a comedy from the creator of “My Name is Earl” about a 20something guy, Jimmy (Lucas Chance), who is unprepared to raise a baby after the serial killer mother heads to prison.

 How unprepared? Jimmy thinks giving a baby a bath is “a weekly thing.”

 The cast includes Martha Plimpton, Garret Dillahunt (“Deadwood”) and Cloris Leachman, who have a ball with the absurdist humor. However, it seems to be a very limiting premise and the off-the-wall humor may get so old fast that it is hard to envision this series as a weekly thing.

 Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4

 However, it is better than “Running Wilde,” a 9:30 comedy in which Will Arnett plays a spoiled rotten, filthy rich tycoon who has avoided growing up until he is reunited with the pretty, caring daughter (Keri Russell) of his family’s former housekeeper.

 The show just as easily could have been called “Raising Wilde.” I’m not wild about Arnett – who seems to play the same character over and over – or the absurdist humor. But Russell makes it watch-able and at least worth a second look. 2 stars

 ABC also premieres the Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”) cop series, “Detroit 1-8-7” at 10 tonight. Forget those promos that make it sound like it will be attractive to for fans of “NYPD Blue” (even though “Blue” star James McDaniel is in the cast). The opener is more likely to appeal to fans who haven’t missed an episode of Fox’s “Cops” over the years.

 Imperioli plays a cop, Detective Louis Fitch, with terrific instincts who initially is followed around by a documentary crew.  “He’s like Yoda with a badge,” suggests a fellow cop.

 The reality is his character hates people almost as much as cell phones. And Detective Fitch’s risky behavior in the climactic scene is so silly and stupid that Yoda might even laugh.

 In the end, 1-8-7 is a watchable but routine, by-the-numbers cop show save the detrimental film crew conceit – which reportedly has been eliminated.

 2 and a half stars


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House Foundation Sadly Explored

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 13: Actress Lisa Ede...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife


One of the foundations of the Fox hit show “House” has been the often contentious relationship between brilliant Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and hospital administrator Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein).

Of course, you increasingly knew that underneath all the disagreements about medical testing and risky diagnosis, they loved each other.

And now that “House” is getting a little old by network TV standards, the writers have decided it’s time for a real romance starting at 8 tonight on WUTV.

I’d like to say I loved tonight’s seventh season premiere, in which House and Cuddy explore their love and spend some time together in the bedroom and the bathtub.

But it didn’t work for me. It is tender. It is touching. And it is boring.

The boredom isn’t elevated by a serious sub-plot involving an ailing member of House’s team, Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), or a comical one involving a neurosurgeon.

 Next week’s episode explores whether the House-Cuddy relationship will impact how they do their jobs and whether it will help or hurt patients. I think you can pretty well guess their conclusions.

 The more pressing issue for TV fans is whether the relationship will help or hurt the show. So far, it isn’t helping, but “House” writers have a way of fixing things.

Rating: 2 and a half stars out of 4

The premiere of “House” should help give a strong lead-in to the season’s best new drama, “Lone Star,” in its opening night battle with the heavily-promoted NBC series, “The Event,” at 9 tonight.

 As far as pilots go, it is no contest. “Lone Star” is an intriguing hour about a Texas con man who attempts to go straight — despite his father’s (David Keith) displeasure — to keep the women he loves happy. Yes, I said women. The lead has two lives and two wives. He is played by James Wolk, who has a George Clooney-like twinkle in his eye. Jon Voight also is aboard as an oil man and the father of one of the wives.

 It is an intriguing concept that is much less complicated than “The Event,” the conspiracy series that stars Jason Ritter as an everyman hero trying to save the world from …

 I’m not exactly sure.

 The pilot received praise Sunday night during NBC’s football game from that noted TV critic Cris Collinsworth. Collinsworth likened it to “24” because the creators of that Fox show also are producing “The Event.”

 He should stick to football. The first 15-20 minutes of tonight’s episode cut through so many different time zones that a viewer’s head may be spinning more than Trent Edwards’ head was Sunday against Green Bay.

 I learned more about the show from all of NBC’s promos this summer than I did watching the confusing pilot. It is going to be a lot of work to get things straight.

 Reportedly, the producers are going to tone down all the time traveling, which is a very good thing. Perhaps that will help make “The Event” worth all the hype and persuade viewers to give it another chance.

 Ratings: “Lone Star”: 3 and a half stars; “The Event”: 2 and a half stars

 At 10 p.m tonight, CBS and NBC go back to the future with shows that could have played in the 1970s and 1980s.

 The “new” CBS show is “Hawaii Five-O,” which is based on the old show from the 1970s. It has a good-looking cast that includes Alex O’Loughlin (“Moonlight”), Scott Caan (“Entourage”) and Daniel Dae Kim (“Lost”) and the Hawaii scenery is breathtaking. But despite all the updates, it is still 1970s TV at its core.

 “Five-O” certainly is more involving than NBC’s “Chase,” which seems like a USA Network reject. It features another beautiful female (Kelli Giddish) with a painful back story. Her job as a tough-talking U.S. Marshall who chases criminals helps her get through her issues. The criminal tonight is the most interesting character. Not a good sign.

At times, the dialogue and the lead’s toughness are so unintentionally laughable that one expects they will chase viewers away.

Rating: “Hawaii Five-0”: 2 and a half stars; “Chase”: 1 and a half star


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FiOS, TWC Make a Sports Deal

ORCHARD PARK, NY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Brian Moorma...
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Pigs can fly! The New Orleans Saints have won the Super Bowl and Verizon’s FiOS and Time Warner Cable have made a sports programming deal.

I’m not sure if the last statement is the most surprising.

After all, Time Warner has been running ads for awhile now telling subscribers and potential subscribers about all the things it can offer that FiOS customers can’t get.

That used to include some Syracuse University and University at Buffalo football and basketball games.

But late Friday, FiOS announced it had made a deal with TWC to carry games involving those universities, starting with the Syracuse football team’s home opener tonight against Maine. The release didn’t mention whether UB’s game with Central Florida – which is carried on TWC13 and played at the same time as the SU game on TWC87 — will air tonight on FiOS.

Of course, the big cable attraction that FiOS customers haven’t been able to get is Buffalo Sabre games in HD. Maybe this deal provides hope that a deal between the owner of MSG, which carries the Sabres games, and FiOS can eventually happen.

* Since the Bills are on the road at Green Bay Sunday, three afternoon games enter the Buffalo market. By my calculation, there are only five weekends this NFL season in which only two afternoon games will be available if the Bills sell out their home games. That’s a big “if” this season unless things improve on the field. When the home games sell-out, a third game can be carried if the network the Bills are on has the doubleheader.

* WGR radio, the most powerful local sports station, certainly isn’t helping the Bills box office by hammering the team after its loss to Miami and even speculating about the possibility it could go winless this season.

 Puh-lease. This is the NFL. If the Bills’ embarrassing preseason opener against Washington should have taught us anything, it is one shouldn’t overreact to one loss in which the offense looked putrid. It is wise to wait at least two weeks to panic.

* Steve Tasker admits he can be a bit of a homer when he works the Bills preseason games. But working the Bills-Miami game for CBS last Sunday, Tasker didn’t initially go along with Coach Chan Gailey’s decision to punt on fourth down and 10 yards to go from the Bills 1-yard line with about 90 seconds left in the game.

 “You go for it,” Tasker told play-by-play man Gus Johnson. “You don’t have a choice.”

When Gailey chose to send out punter Brian Moorman (see above),  Tasker said he disagreed. But when Gailey had the team take a safety, Tasker said he understood the strategy.

However, he didn’t seem to understand some NFL rules. He suggested the Bills might try a traditional onside kick after the safety rather than have Moorman punt. However, NFL rules apparently prohibit using a tee on a kick after a safety. I say apparently because that’s the unofficial answer in numerous internet postings.

* Remember Ross Tucker, the old Buffalo Bills lineman from Princeton? Didn’t think so. He has turned into a pretty opinionated NFL analyst. On ‘The Jim Rome Show” Friday, he suggested that he got married at age 26 because the social life for singles in Buffalo wasn’t all that hot. If a single guy from Princeton who plays for the Bills had trouble getting dates here, he should be looking at himself and not the city.

 * There should be an asterisk for the low rating for Rafael Nadal’s U.S. Men’s Open singles title victory over Novak Djokovic which was delayed from Sunday to Monday because of rain. In Buffalo, tennis fans might have had trouble finding it because local CBS affiliate Channel 4 decided to air the season premiere of the Oprah Winfrey Show at 4 p.m. Monday and ship the match over to its sister station WNLO.

 That meant the first two hours of the men’s match had a meager .8 rating in Buffalo on CW 23. After a rain delay, the match was carried on ESPN2 starting at 7:30 p.m. It delivered a much stronger 2.8 rating here on cable, suggesting that there are many tennis and Nadal fans here when they know where a big match is located.


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Channel 2 Wins Primary Ratings, Too

Jon Hamm
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This is what I’m thinking:

And the local ratings winner at 11 p.m. on primary night was … Channel 2.

Since I voted it the station that did the best job on the night of Carl Paladino and Tim Kennedy victories, I’d like to think the viewing public was tuning in because of quality.

But that isn’t always the determining factor in ratings’ victories.

Channel 2 was first with a 9.2 rating, with Channel 4 finishing second with an 8.0 and Channel 7 third with a 6.4.

The key factor in Channel 2’s win probably was its lead-in from 10:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. from the season premiere of “Parenthood.” It got more than double the rating that Channel 4 got from a CBS special on New York’s Fashion Week.

Channel 4 jumped almost 6 points from its weak lead-in, while Channel 2 jumped around 4 points from its lead-in. Channel 7 jumped about 2.5 points from its lead-in.

The most surprising result Tuesday night was how well Channel 7 did with its coverage anchored by Keith Radford and Joanna Pasceri. Sure, it finished in its customary position of third place. But the 6.4 rating was higher than it usually gets and the station got it despite being the last station in town to realize that Paladino had won.

Channel 2 called Paladino’s victory first, quickly followed by Channel 4. Both attributed his win to an Associated Press story. That’s something Channel 7 couldn’t do since it dropped the wire service in a cost-cutting move almost a year ago.

Channel 4 had something to cheer at 10 p.m., when the newscast anchored by Lia Lando on sister station WNLO-TV had a 7.9 rating. That more than doubled the 3.5 rating for Channel 2’s newscast on WNYO.

 * Happy Talk Moment of the Week: After reading a story about an airline’s plan to reduce the legroom for its seats, “Today” show news anchor Ann Curry cracked that it would be good for Bob Costas. Everybody on the set of the NBC morning show laughed. I’d be curious to know whether Costas had the same reaction. I’ve admired and praised Costas for years and have had a good relationship with him. But I do recall the one time that he was displeased with something I wrote concerned a line in a very flattering story that mentioned his height.

 * Bill Maher, who impressed a University at Buffalo audience during last year’s Distinguished Speakers program, returns to HBO at 10 tonight (it repeats at 11 p.m.) with another edition of the HBO series “Real Time with Bill Maher.” Among the panelists tonight is that noted political analyst Jon Hamm (see above), star of “Mad Men.”

Speaking of mad men, it would be a minor surprise if the conversation didn’t turn at last briefly to Paladino’s victory in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

* Did you enjoy Associated Press TV writer Frazier Moore’s pick of his 10 top new fall TV series that ran in last Sunday’s Buffalo News? So did I – more than a week earlier when I read it when it first ran on the internet and in several newspapers across the country. I’m sure many readers weren’t aware of how old Moore’s summary was when it ran. But enough people read AP stories on the internet or read them in other newspapers to make it wise for a paper to either provide their own local reviews or carry reviews from someone other than the AP critic.

That also goes for stories on Saturday college football games that run in Sunday’s newspaper and stories on NFL Sunday games that appear in newspapers on Monday. Anyone can read the same AP summary of the games on the internet on Saturday night or Sunday night. A paper would be wise to get a different post-game strategy.

I’m not saying this to be critical of an industry that I love, but to suggest ways it can adapt to changing times to try and stop more people from going to internet for their news and reviews.


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