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There's an art to the banter that TV news announcers engage in between broadcast segments. Channel 2 anchors Maryalice Demler and Scott Levin and meteorologist Kevin O'Connell were in rare form during a recent 6 p.m. newscast. Sitting at the news desk, Levin said, "I'll admit the warmer temperatures feel better, but I hate it when you get that slushy snow around your…

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Here’s a simple theory on the success of the Impractical Jokers: It’s about being vulnerable. This weekend, the Jokers – four Staten Island guys in their early 40s – will draw a pair of packed crowds to their two Saturday evening performances at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. They’ll show video clips from their smash-hit TruTV series, which is based on pranks and pun…

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BURBANK, Calif. — After writing a column about "This Is Us" Monday, I headed to the Burbank airport to catch a flight to Las Vegas, the first leg on my trip home. What were the odds that I would run into a star of the NBC series on my flight? And were the odds greater that we would have aisles seats across from each other? But there I was Monday afternoon sitting acr…

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If anyone exemplifies the expression "time flies when you are having fun," it is former WGRZ-TV co-anchor John Beard. By "former," I mean Beard really, really has ended his run as the co-anchor of the No. 1 morning program "Daybreak" on Thursday morning. It was an eight-year run, though Beard continues to say it was seven years. Presumably he missed a year because he…

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WIVB-TV (Channel 4) opens its new 6:30 p.m. newscast on WNLO-TV (CW 23) by telling viewers it is from the station with "the most local news." But off the abysmal ratings for the first two nights of "News 4 at 6:30," the question is: Can there be too much local news? Monday's opener of the newscast on Martin Luther King Jr. Day co-anchored by Christy Kern and Dave Gre…

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After the end of last week's episode of "This Is Us" that featured a raw, painful therapy session with the three siblings and their mother, my sister called me. She had an observation and a simple question about herself, our older brother and me. She loves the show about the Pearson family, but added she had never related to it more than in that episode. The simpl…

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Title: “Extras” Year it began: 2005  Where it can be seen: Netflix, DVD Who’s in it: Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Ashley Jensen Typical episode length: About 30 minutes (season 2 finale about 90 minutes).  Number of episodes to date: 13 Brief plot description: Andy Millman (Gervais) is a struggling actor who finds himself taking roles as an extra whil…

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PASADENA, Calif. – Notes and quotes from the Television Critics Association semi-annual press tour ... After an NBC news conference for the Feb. 4 Super Bowl, I ran into play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and he played interviewer. He asked me a question I usually am asked in Buffalo: "I can't believe you didn't ask if the Bills are going to make the schedule next year.…

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PASADENA, Calif. – When Maureen Orth was approached by a producer to option her book, "Vulgar Favors," for a television series, her lawyer wasn't exactly encouraging. "He said 'you know, Maureen, this isn't worth the paperwork,' " Orth recalled in an interview here. " 'These things never happen.' " So she hired an agent to do the paperwork. The result is the nine-…

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PASADENA, Calif. – It is only a few days into the semi-annual Television Critics Association tour and I've already experienced Trump fatigue. Oprah gets part of the blame. If her Golden Globes speech hadn't sparked speculation that she may try to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020, then critics might not have asked every comedian here their thoughts abou…

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WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) anchor Pete Gallivan is going back to the future when he becomes the permanent co-anchor of the morning program "Daybreak" after John Beard exits late next week. He was as surprised as anyone last Friday when General Manager Jim Toellner told him Adam Benigni decided against becoming the "Daybreak" co-anchor to return as sports director, freeing Gall…

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PASADENA, Calif. – Get ready for a second prison escape upstate. Academy Award winner Benicio Del Toro and Emmy Award winners Patricia Arquette and Michael Imperioli are starring in a second television version of the prison escape at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora in June of 2015. Showtime announced here that it is filming an eight-hour series, "Escap…

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The mystery of what the cable news anchor and YouTube comedienne hired by WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) is going to do is over. Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner announced Kate Welshofer, a Western New York native and graduate of St. Bonaventure University, will do some exclusive digital content and add "some entertaining content for all our shows." In a memo to the staff…

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The second season of FX's "American Crime Story" is called "The Assassination of Gianni Versace." The first was the smash hit and award season bonanza "The People Vs. O.J. Simpson." Versace begins at 10 p.m. Jan. 17. It confronts a specific period's homophobia directly in a way that, despite the geometrically progressing acceleration of the subject everywhere, is sti…