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The Donald is trumped in Martha feud

This is what I'm thinking:

Martha Stewart thinks Donald Trump created a feud with her to get more publicity for the new edition of his NBC series, "The Apprentice." Trump thinks Stewart can never accept blame for anything and that the blame for the failure of her version of "The Apprentice" is hers alone because it was a disaster from the start. And Katie Couric of "Today" thinks they both are acting like "two kids in a sand box."

Guess what? They're all right. Stewart's show was a disaster from the start and Trump will do anything to get attention. And Couric couldn't have been more right Monday by asking Trump in front of his adult children: "Couldn't you take the high road?"

But guess what? This time, the Donald may have overplayed his hand and disproved the theory that even bad publicity is good publicity.

The low road he took in the Celebrity Feud and all the Olympic promos didn't help the Donald in Western New York when the international edition of "The Apprentice" premiered Monday.

Trump's show had an 8.5 rating on WGRZ-TV, down from the 9.9 its game show lead-in, "Deal or No Deal," received. It was third in the time slot to CBS' comedies, "Two and a Half Men" (16.4) and "Courting Alex" (14.7) and the latest edition of the Fox thriller, "24" (9.2). The Donald did beat the finale of ABC's "The Bachelor" (6.6 in the first hour, 7.7 overall) here, but otherwise viewers were saying "no deal" to his show. Beating "The Bachelor" by a slim margin has to be small consolation for a guy who is used to winning.

Trump's weak post-Olympic rating here also has to be a concern for NBC, which was hoping the extensive promotions during the Games would give their new series a ratings boost.

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The best sports story on TV during the two-week Olympic period didn't happen in Turin but in a Rochester suburb. The heartwarming story of Jason McElwain, a basketball team manager at Greece Athena High School, received huge local and national play last week. McElwain, who has autism, was inserted by the team's coach for the final four minutes of his high school team's regular season finale. He hit six three-point baskets as his classmates cheered. The response to Steve Hartman's report on the CBS Evening News was so strong that it made the rare decision to replay it on another night. ESPN's Sunday report concluded it was the sports story of the year.

It is the kind of story that could be made into a movie. All the Olympic features about athletes fighting back from injury or who have dealt with the death of loved ones feel a little cliched at times because we've heard similar ones before.

What made McElwain's story so special was how genuine it was and how good everybody felt about his achievement. The only things missing for those with unanswered questions were a comment from an opposing player or coach and an explanation about why the hot-shooting McElwain didn't suit up for the playoffs.

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I had to laugh at Channel 7's recent news report on how to find the right bra, which I found on the station's Web site after it was brought to my attention. It seemed to be a transparent attempt to attract viewers during a sweeps month. Reporter Bridget Blythe gets credit for keeping a straight face during the report that emphasized the importance of "size, support and style." Irv Weinstein would have been proud of that alliteration.

Curiously, the report was done at a local intimate apparel shop in the suburbs. It seemed like an advertisement for the shop and its owners, who will remain nameless here. At the very least, it looked like Channel 7 was "supporting" the establishment. I'm not sure if Title IX regulations demand it, but Channel 7 might consider doing a second report on Cosmo Kramer's invention for big-chested men made famous on "Seinfeld" -- the Bro.

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In the sweeps spirit, talk show host Tyra Banks is going undercover on today's show (noon, WNYO-TV) as a stripper in a topless club. A release from her show reports that "she wears a fake wig, fake teeth, a prosthetic nose and a lot of makeup" to transform herself into a dancer named "Chanel." Of course, she already proved in a previous show that some things about her that some people presumed were fake "were real and spectacular."

All right, I apologize for using such an easy, unoriginal line because I didn't watch that episode, and I'm not exactly sure if that comment is accurate. I just love dropping "Seinfeld" references, which in this case came from the Teri Hatcher episode. Banks also is quoted in the release about tonight's show saying she wanted to look into the eyes of male customers and "know what [they are] getting out of this."

So it is an educational program for her. To be honest, the quotes in the release seem a little fake to me. I don't know what viewers will be getting out of this show. All right, I admit it. That's a lie.

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To those who have asked: "Everwood" is set to return to the WB schedule in its old time slot, at 9 p.m. Monday, March 27. In other words, there soon will be yet another reason to skip the Donald.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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