Catching up with the headlines:
Eyewitness News theme is back at 11: Without fanfare, Channel 7 has returned the Eyewitness News theme to its 11 p.m. news along with the memorable tag line: "It is 11 o'clock, do you know where your children are?"
The theme only plays briefly. It doesn't play at 6 p.m. It returned at 11 p.m. earlier this month as part of the station's celebration of its 50th anniversary. It is unclear if it will stay beyond the celebration or if speculation that staffers have heard about the possible return of the Eyewitness News format has any foundation. It would be a smart move.
Of course, dropping of the Eyewitness News theme is considered to have been one of the biggest mistakes the station has made as its news ratings have deteriorated over the years.
The carriage disagreement between Channel 4's owner, LIN TV, and Time Warner Cable has been the best thing to happen to 7 News, which has been in second place since Channel 4 went off cable and is getting sampled in large numbers because WIVB-TV now only enters about half of the Western New York market.
However, owners of Channel 7 and Channel 2 are expected to be in similar battles with Time Warner soon. Channel 4's problems would be an inducement for Channel 7's owners to keep the station on cable while it negotiates if the decision is only based on the impact on the Buffalo station.
It is anyone's guess how long this LIN-TWC battle can go on. The silence appears to be deafening. The November sweeps start Oct. 30, which should be an inducement for LIN to settle things. The key words in that sentence are "should be."
Shows on CFTO: This is for you, Niagara County subscribers of Time Warner Cable. According to TV Topics, the local CTV affiliate carries the following CBS shows: "CSI" (8 p.m. Thursday); "Ghost Whisperer" (8 p.m. Friday); "Without a Trace" (10 p.m. Friday and 9 p.m. Saturday); "Gary Unmarried" (9:30 p.m. Wednesday); "CSI: NY" (10 p.m. Wednesday); "Amazing Race" (8 p.m. Sunday); "CSI: Miami" (10 p.m. Monday) and "Criminal Minds" (8 p.m. Tuesday). CTV makes deals with the producers of programs carried on all the networks. It is is allowed to carry the CBS shows at different times than WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate that is off Time Warner in most other areas around here.
Tom Calderone is president: Calderone, the 1986 Buffalo State College graduate who was featured this summer in a Buffalo Bills television advertising campaign, recently was promoted to president of VH1, which has been experiencing great growth since he was named the general manager three years ago. In the release announcing his promotion, MTV's Van Toffler praised him by saying: "Tom has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, great instincts in identifying the next cultural phenomenon for the VH1 audience, a sharp business sense and an inexplicable love of the Buffalo Bills." Actually, the success of some of VH1's reality shows is much more inexplicable around here than Calderone's love of the Bills.
Local hockey success story: Tom Callahan, 32, a native of Lackawanna and graduate of St. Francis High School and St. John Fisher College, is now the radio voice of the Nashville Predators. That gives the National Hockey League team quite a Western New York connection. Pete Weber, the former voice of the Buffalo Sabres and the Buffalo Bisons, is in his 11th season as the television voice of the Predators alongside analyst Terry Crisp. On radio only games, Weber does play-by-play and Callahan is a reporter.
Sarah Palin endorses her image: The appearance of the Republican vice presidential nominee on "Saturday Night Live" led to the show's highest ratings in 14 years. Buffalo viewers gave Channel 2, NBC's local affiliate, a prime time-like rating of 11.5 for the 90 minutes. The program had a 17.7 rating here for Palin's appearance in the opening and still was in double digits for her later appearance on the "Weekend Update" set.
Since the show aired, the cable news shows have been asking whether Palin's appearance will help her increasingly falling image as much as it helped the program's ratings. It's almost as silly as asking if "SNL" shouldn't have allowed her on the show because it was showing political favoritism.
Democrats shouldn't get worked up about the idea that Palin's appearance helped her. If anything, she endorsed her image as a candidate who refuses to hold a news conference. She endured hearing Alec Baldwin call her a "horrible" woman and said she wouldn't take any questions from the media before shouting "Live from New York, it's Saturday Night." Her one good scripted line seemed to be lost on many viewers. She told Baldwin that her favorite Baldwin brother was Stephen. He is a born-again Christian.
Dave turns serious newsman: Sen. John McCain, who announced his presidential candidacy on David Letterman's late-night show, was very funny when he made up with Letterman last week after canceling an earlier appearance. But Letterman wasn't only looking for laughs.
He pressed the Republican presidential candidate repeatedly about the qualifications of Palin. Letterman, saying he was concerned about the future of his 4-year-old son, continued with the subject even after McCain asked him if he was done with it. If Bob Schieffer retires before Letterman, the late-night host would be a suitable replacement as the host of "Face the Nation." Kidding.