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History says a 4 p.m. newscast might struggle to attract viewers

This is what I’m thinking …

Remember Linda White? Stephanie Hoey? Grace Polanski?

Didn’t think so.

Those former Channel 7 staffers came to mind when thinking about Channel 4’s plans to premiere a 4 p.m. newscast on Monday.

It isn’t the first time a local 4  p.m. program was tried.

In September 2002, Channel 7 started a lifestyles news program with White as the host, Hoey and Polanski as reporters and weatherman Mike Randall.

It was a resounding flop, most likely because it focused more on lifestyles than news.

I doubt Channel 4 is going to make the same mistake, though News Director Scott Levy has said the hourlong news program is going to be geared more to women viewers than men.

Western New Yorkers don’t need a 4 p.m. news program, but Channel 4 doesn’t need much of an audience to make it a success. All it has to do to be labeled a success is beat the low ratings it has been getting there with “Inside Edition” and a repeat of “Jeopardy” to give its 5 p.m. newscast a stronger lead-in.


The local ratings for the FX limited series, “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” have been very steady over eight episodes. But if you have stopped watching, I strongly recommend you watch this Tuesday’s penultimate episode. It deals with the so-called “Fuhrman Tapes” that capture Detective Mark Fuhrman, who found the bloody glove, repeatedly uttering the racial epithet to a screenwriter that he had earlier denied saying when appearing earlier on the witness stand. The tapes also included Fuhrman’s insults about the wife of Judge Lance Ito, which raised the possibility of a mistrial. It is the best episode of the series to date.


The most popular prime-time network programs during the February sweeps in Western New York illustrate how much the networks desperately need new hits and how strong CBS is in this older market.

In viewing up to seven days after episodes originally air, the top five scripted shows in ratings here out of 90 programs were golden oldies “NCIS” (19.8) “The Big Bang Theory” (19.3), “NCIS: New Orleans” (15.0) “Blue Bloods” (13.8) and “Law & Order: SVU” (11.6). The first four are on CBS, the last one on NBC.

The top-rated Fox series here is the reality series “American Idol” (9.6), which is tied for 18th in its farewell season. The top-rated ABC series is “Grey’s Anatomy” (9.6), which is tied with “Idol.” The top-rated new CBS series is the medical drama, “Code Black,” which has the same 9.9 rating as the top-rated new NBC series “Shades of Blue.” They tie for No. 16 in the market.

The top-rated new ABC series is “The Real O’Neals” (5.6), which premiered during the February sweeps. It was No. 51. (“Quantico” didn’t air in February.)

Interestingly, the abominable Jane Lynch comedy, “Angel From Hell” (6.0), that CBS quickly canceled, had a higher rating here than ABC’s buzzed about “Scandal” (5.8) and tweeted about “The Bachelor” (5.6).

However, these are all household ratings. “Scandal” and “Bachelor” are more popular with the younger viewers advertisers seek and are harder to find in Western New York.

Some other things to note: The reboot of “The X-Files” was Fox’s strongest scripted series, with a 7.5 rating for 30th place.

NBC’s popular freshman series “Blindspot (6.9) tied for 38th place, CBS’ “Supergirl” (6.7) tied for 40th.


News that Channel 7 wants to extend the contract of Keith Radford beyond the current one that ends in November had me thinking about whether he can last as long at the station as legend Irv Weinstein. Weinstein retired at age 68 after 34 years at Channel 7. Radford turns 65 in November, when he will celebrate his 29th year at the station. It won’t be easy for Radford to beat Irv’s record even if he wants to do it.


Inquiring minds want to know: How is Radford’s former co-anchor, Joanna Pasceri, doing? I ran into her at a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the Irish Center and she appeared to be very happy as the public information officer for the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. She is discovering, like so many others who leave broadcasting, that life is good outside of TV.


The St. Bonaventure University and University at Buffalo women’s basketball teams made great strides on the court this season as both qualified for the NCAA tournament. They deserve applause. However, they weren’t exactly treated as must-see TV events in Western New York, which has been very slow to embrace women’s collegiate sports despite the increased publicity they have deservedly received. UB’s first-round loss to Ohio State had a 0.5 rating on ESPN 2 and that was higher than the two Bona tournament games rated. By comparison, the UB men’s first-round loss to Ohio State had an 8.8 local rating. And the two wins by the Syracuse men’s teams had a 2.5 and a 3.2 rating, respectively.


I had to laugh when Charles Barkley started off CBS coverage of the men’s tournament by singing “One Shining Moment.” He sings about as well as he plays golf. By the way, the song will be played again April 4 on TBS, which carries the men’s final instead of CBS this year. There is a good chance that many college basketball fans will miss the opening tip before they realize where the game is being carried despite all the promos telling them during the tournament.


Warning: On Thursday, CBS premieres the new comedy “Rush Hour” based on the Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker movies. One of the TV series stars is Amherst’s Wendie Malick so I was rooting for it. However, it is as bad as the CBS promos make it appear to be.


I’m not sure how I feel about that taco commercial in which former “Star Trek” star George Takei says one of the products it is selling “made me pick up a newspaper.” It did make me laugh. But on second thought, it looked like a dig at newspapers. However, I’m for anything that promotes buying a newspaper no matter how it is done.