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You haven't lived until you've seen a pretty young woman in blonde pigtails pop a live tarantula into her mouth, pucker her closed lips and play the harmonica. Badly. Very badly. Her name, according to "The Gong Show" was "Mary Bleeds." Online, you can discover the incidental info that her pet tarantula's name was "Midas" but, frankly, I was too traumatized by it all…

The most valuable lesson I learned in college was from a fellow student at SUNY Stony Brook, where I spent my freshman year in 1966-67 before transferring to Syracuse University. Mark was 15 or 16 years old and from New York City. It wasn't unusual for New York City kids to graduate from high school very young and go directly to college. One day, Mark sat me down in …

Say a temporary goodbye to talk show host "T.D. Jakes" after Friday's episode on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) at 2 p.m. Not that many Western New Yorkers have actually said hello to Jakes' show. It averaged a 0.5 rating in May and finished tied fourth in its time slot, even losing to "Bonanza" reruns on WBBZ-TV by a 2-1 margin. Jakes' show will be replaced at 2 p.m. Monday…

A few weeks before the July 13 arrival of Emmy nominations, the Television Critics Association announced its 33rd Annual Awards nominations  this week to recognize the best work in the 2016-17 TV season. The TCA Awards have different categories and the Emmys typically ignore some of the TCA nominees and winners in much the same way the Oscars may ignore the Golden Glob…

A preview of "Marshall," the locally filmed biopic about the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, will premiere on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" at 11:35 tonight on ABC. Star Chadwick Boseman announced the sneak peek via Twitter late Tuesday night. Before the trailer drops, catch me on @JimmyKimmelLive tomorrow for the first sneak peek at #MarshallMovie! pic.twitter.c…

It's answer time. Many of my readers rely on this blog to explain what is going on in local television. First up: The New York Mets, who are dealing with a lot of injuries that have hurt their season. They are 31-37, 10 games behind Washington in the National League East. Some of the team's games have suddenly and surprisingly appeared on cable's Spectrum Sports. …

If you can’t get enough of vampires and demons, then dim the lights and binge-watch the otherworldly world of “Angel.” Starring David Boreanaz, this spin-off of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” features all the furious fights but with a darker atmosphere. Title: Angel Year it began: 1999 Where it can be seen: Amazon; Hulu Who’s in it: David Boreanaz; Char…

Oh, brother. CBS has given Western New Yorkers an extra reason to watch the new season of the reality series "Big Brother." Mark Jansen, a 26-year-old personal trainer from Grand Island, is one of the 16 houseguests in the new season competing for $500,000. To read more about Jansen, who describes himself as "fun, strong and thoughtful,"click here. The houseguests…

I stayed out of the Megyn Kelly-Alex Jones controversy before her interview with the nutty conspiracy theorist aired. Over the years, I've often seen pre-show hysteria become unwarranted. I remember when the CBS movie "The Reagans" was supposed to be a hit job, the content in "NYPD Blue" was supposed to be so despicable that many ABC affiliates wouldn't show the pilot, …

This is what I'm thinking: A nurse practitioner at a health clinic on Genesee Street turned media critic in a Buffalo News story Sunday about Buffalo's most dangerous neighborhood. "Everyone is not going to shoot you," said Takesha Leonard of the residents there. "But if all you watch is that television, I would never walk foot in here." I sympathize. Television n…

There's nothing new about the nutjob theories of Alex Jones – that, for instance, the massacre at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut never happened and that 9/11 was an inside job. We've always had people in this country eager to tell us about all the conspiracies that are being kept from us by mainstream media. In 1964, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian from Bu…

Notes left on the cutting room floor: My favorite HBO show is "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" because the host often addresses things that I don't notice. A few Sundays ago, Oliver discovered a secret about the legendary CBS news magazine "60 Minutes." He showed correspondents on the program putting words in the mouths of interview subjects, who just repeated them.…

Shemika Charles of Buffalo, a two-time Guinness Book of World Records holder for the limbo, hit a new high for her routine Tuesday night. As the audience and judges of the NBC reality program "America's Got Talent" gasped and gave some amazed looks, Charles' routine was highlighted by her ability to slowly limbo underneath the undercarriage of a truck as the Sia song "C…

Western New York is considered to be a much bigger hockey market than basketball market. But the just-concluded National Hockey League and National Basketball Association finals illustrate the love of both professional sports on local television is very close. Golden State's 129-120 victory over Cleveland Monday night in Game 5 of their series to win the NBA title ha…

All hell broke loose when Bill Maher used the n-word on "Real Time" two weeks ago. People wanted him tarred, feathered, fired and Lord knows what else. He wasn't doing it meanly or cruelly or insultingly, though; he was referring to himself and using Malcolm X's famous distinction between "field negro" and "house negro" in the slave era. (Malcolm, famously, used the for…