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Bills preseason ratings drop 25 percent in a year; Dedes and Wilcots to call opener

If the TV ratings for four preseason games are any indication, Buffalo Bills fans don’t appear to be as optimistic this season as they were in the first season of Coach Rex Ryan’s reign.

The four Bills preseason games in 2016 carried on WKBW-TV experienced a 25 percent decline in ratings from the four games carried in the 2015 Bills preseason.

Led by a 20.3 rating for the first preseason game against Indianapolis on Aug. 13, the four preseason games averaged a 17.0 rating this season. The Colts game was the only preseason game to hit a 20 rating this preseason.

In 2015, every Bills game had a rating higher than 21, with the third game against Pittsburgh having a high of 23.6.

A major factor in the reduced ratings this time around could be that Tyrod Taylor has established himself as the team’s quarterback and barely played in the preseason. Last year, interest was heightened by the three-way quarterback battle between Taylor, EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel and by the hiring of Ryan.

Additionally, two of the four games were played opposite the Rio Olympics. However, it is unclear how much that impacted the Bills ratings since the two games played during the Olympics had higher average ratings than the two that were played after the Olympics ended.

Of course, a 17.0 average rating is still extremely high for any summer program, especially this summer when the weather was terrific. All four Bills preseason games were the highest rated programs of the weeks they were played.

Inquiring minds want to know: When will Bills programs begin airing on MSG?

The two-part “Rex and Rob Ryan Reunited” special airs at 8: 30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, "Bills All-Access Live" with Chris Brown and John Murphy airs before the season opener against Baltimore.

At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, “The Rex Ryan Show” airs.

At 11: 30 p.m. Sunday, the post-game program “Bills Tonight” with ex Bill Ruben Brown and Rochester TV sports anchor Mike Catalana airs.

“The John Murphy Show,” which airs from noon to 3 p.m. daily on WGR radio with ex Bill Donald Jones as co-host, will be simulcast on MSG starting on Monday, Oct. 3. The simulcast has been delayed because staff needed to be hired and rehearsals needed to be conducted, according to Marc Honan, senior vice president of media and content for the Bills.

CBS has announced the announcers who will work three of the first four Buffalo Bills regular season games.

Spero Dedes will do play-by-play alongside analyst Solomon Wilcots on the Bills opener Sunday at Baltimore, with Dana Jacobson the sideline reporter.

CBS’ first team of Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson will work the Bills Thursday Night Football home game against the New York Jets on Sept. 15.

Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts and Evan Washburn, CBS’ second team, will work the Bills Oct. 2 game at New England on Oct. 2.

The Sept. 25 home game against Arizona is on Fox.



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