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Simpson series on FX is national hit, but might have been expected to do better locally

This is what I’m thinking:

The trade publication Variety declared the Tuesday night premiere of the FX limited series “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson” a national hit with 5.11 million viewers, a record for an original FX drama premiere.

Frankly, I thought the series about the disgraced Bills football legend would have done better in Buffalo than it did because of Simpson's ties to the area and the strong local and national reviews for the program.

Part 1 of the 10-part series had a 3.6 local rating for the first airing Tuesday and a 1.6 rating for the repeat that aired right after it. The combined 5.2 local rating is higher than most FX series get here and it should grow significantly when viewing up to seven days later is added.

By the way, the Simpson episode had a strong 2.0 national rating among viewers 18 through 49, which represents about 2.5 million viewers or half of the total viewership. Many viewers in that category weren’t born when the Simpson murder trial occurred.

The top-rated broadcast network program here Tuesday was the CBS special on the Best Super Bowl Commercials. It had a 9.8 same day rating on Channel 4. Nationally, it tied the Simpson program in the 18-49 demographic. Buffalo doesn’t get those demos immediately.

The cast of the limited series is uniformly excellent, though as I said a few weeks ago Cuba Gooding Jr. just doesn’t have the charisma, the strong voice or the body of Simpson to pull off his role.

If I had been casting, I would have tried to persuade Morris Chestnut of Fox’s “Rosewood” to take the role.

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The first reactions from readers to the announcement that Channel 4 is planning to premiere a 4 p.m. newscast were unfavorable.

But keep in mind, Channel 4 News doesn’t have to do all that well to get higher ratings than the two programs the newscast will be replacing from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. “Inside Edition” and “Jeopardy” get ratings in the 3.0 to 3.5 range.

Additionally, Channel 4’s newscast at 4 p.m. should be more compatible as a lead-in to its 5 p.m. newscast. The risk is that viewers will flee at 5 p.m. because they’ve already watched at 4 p.m. The reward is the station will have more commercial time to sell.

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WNLO-TV hasn’t done a very good job promoting its ACC basketball package. I’m a Syracuse University graduate and basketball fan and even I briefly forgot its Tuesday game with Virginia Tech was on CW 23. Syracuse stole the game in overtime, 68-60, which meant Channel 4’s newscast on WNLO didn’t begin until 10:30 p.m. and was cut to a half hour.

The game had a 1.0 rating, which is higher than many same day ratings that CW programs get on the channel. However, fans of one of the CW’s more popular programs, “The Flash,” couldn’t be too happy that it didn’t air until 11 p.m. Tuesday after the news. “The Flash” got a 1.1 rating, a little below its average.

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If Time Warner Cable eventually plans to charge Western New Yorkers for converter boxes and digital adapters, you would think its spokesman would be willing to confirm it. However, the spokesman didn't respond to an emailed question and voicemail message Tuesday asking whether the March 15 plan to force Hudson Valley subscribers to use converter boxes and digital adapters will eventually be repeated in WNY.

Of course, if TWC  didn’t plan to do so, you would think it would tell us that extremely positive news.

Email: apergament@buffnews.com

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