Nobody asked me, but: It is time to talk politics. Television politics, that is, that will affect viewing habits.
It isn't hard to understand why Channel 7 just moved "AM/Buffalo" back to 10 a.m. weekdays.
Programmer Sarah Norat-Phillips says the station made the switch because of viewer requests. To which we ask, "which viewer?"
"AM" was getting abysmal ratings at 11 a.m. and was a terrible lead-in for the station's noon news. The "AM" switch means that "Rosie O'Donnell" moves to 11 a.m. and no longer will be carried live.
Because of TV politics, "Rosie" also will be moving next fall. It will air at 4 p.m. in the fall of 1997 as part of the deal that Channel 7 made with the syndicators, Warner Brothers, to keep the popular show through the year 2000.
Sources say that in order to retain the rights to "Rosie," Channel 7 agreed to carry two other less attractive Warner shows next fall -- "Maureen O'Boyle" and "Extra."
Rosie's move to 4 p.m. next fall will enable Channel 7 to earn more advertising revenue for the show, which it needs to do because the popular show has become much more expensive.
Because of the "Rosie" deal, Channel 7 will lose its present 4 p.m. show, "Montel Williams," next fall to Channel 2. WGRZ-TV got the show because it agreed to keep Montel at 4 p.m.
As a result of its deal with Montel, Channel 2 will probably be getting out of the kids business in the afternoon. It presently plays afternoon reruns of sitcoms that appeal to children -- "Family Matters," "Who's the Boss," "Full House" and "Step by Step."
"Montel" figures to give the station a better news lead-in since it will attract more news viewers than the sitcoms.
To get "Montel," Channel 2 agreed to extend its contracts with two other shows owned by the syndicator, "Hard Copy" and "ET."
Montel has done quite well on Channel 7, only losing to "Oprah" on Channel 4 by one rating point in May, the last significant ratings period. However, "Montel" is more unpopular with advertisers than "Oprah" and "Rosie," which are considered more family-friendly entertainment.
It is easier to sympathize with those cable subscribers upset that C-SPAN 2 has been dropped by TCI of Buffalo. A month before Election Day, the timing was lousy.
It also is another example of television politics.
TCI isn't as far along in rebuilding its system as many suburban systems and doesn't have their channel space capabilities. C-SPAN 2 was sacrificed because of a national deal TCI made with Rupert Murdoch to carry his new Fox News Channel. Murdoch reportedly is paying cable distributors like TCI $10 per subscriber to carry Fox News, an outrageous amount of money in cable circles. C-SPAN 2 is supported by the cable industry and doesn't pay cable systems to carry it.
TCI General Manager Paul Meegan said he can't put C-SPAN 2 back on without bumping something else. And because of federal regulations and politics, things probably will get worse before they get better.
TCI may soon be legally obligated to find a channel for Channel 26 in Jamestown, which will be carrying the religious programming currently seen on Channel 49.
Once Channel 26 is found to meet transmission requirements, TCI and other local cable systems will have about 60 days to find room for it. And that will mean that another station will have to be sacrificed.
Say good night to Channel 7 sports anchor-reporter Eric Goodman. He turned in his resignation, effective Nov. 1. He will soon join the new sports channel being launched, CNN/SI. Because of TV politics, there is a good chance there won't be room for the new channel here on most -- if not all -- cable systems. Similarly, ESPNEWS won't be seen here immediately on most -- if not all -- cable channels because of channel space problems.
If you're reading this past 5 p.m., you should be able to turn on Channel 49 and see the newest commercial station in town. The WB Network affiliate plans to sign on with reruns of "Saved by the Bell" at 5 p.m. The station is already on local cable systems.
Because it is starting in mid-season, Channel 49 is doing some creative scheduling to help viewers catch up with the WB Network shows that premiered in August nationally.
At 8 p.m. Thursday, it will carry all of the August premieres of WB's Sunday shows. At 8 p.m. Friday, it will carry all of the August premieres of WB's Wednesday shows. On Saturday night, it will carry last season's series premiere of the soap opera, "Savannah." And at noon Sunday, it will carry six hours of this season's "Savannah."
Station officials say next week there will be a major newspaper, radio and television publicity campaign for the new Channel 49.
I had to laugh during my vacation after watching a Channel 4 report on the decline of crime in the city of Buffalo. Soon afterwards, WIVB went on to cover crime stories in other cities. The unintended message was clear: If we can't cover local crime, we'll find national crime stories to scare you.