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It might be another 17 years before we see a TV musical drama on network television. Viva Laughlin, the CBS series, didn't even last as long as Cop Rock, the ABC musical drama from Steven Bochco that premiered in 1990 and ran for 11 episodes. On Monday, CBS pulled its riskiest show, Viva, from its lineup after only two low-rated episodes. You could see it coming. After …

A report on “The NFL Today” Sunday by a so-called league insider had to please and upset Bills fans at the same time. Charley Casserly, a former executive with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans who now serves as the “general manager” of the CBS pregame show, said he talked to Bills owner Ralph Wilson Friday about the team’s plans to play one…

The CBS bet on a musical drama, “Viva Laughlin,” didn’t pay off in Buffalo. The 10 p.m. Thursday opener of the series about a singing Nevada casino owner, and featuring an appearance by Hugh Jackman (who also is a producer on the show), bombed on Channel 4. It had only a 6.4 rating, losing two-third of its “CSI” (18.0) lead-in -- and Channel 4 generally is one…

Like political polls, Nielsen ratings are a snapshot in time that could change daily or weekly. I bring this up because there have been a few notable developments since Wednesday's Buffalo News story about local ratings for the new season. On Tuesday, the CW program, “Reaper,” from Williamsville’s Michele Fazekas, soared to a season-high, same-day 4.3 rating o…

We may expect the Buffalo Sabres to be the lead story on the 11 p.m. news in April or May during the National Hockey League playoffs? But Oct. 15 - less than two weeks into the season? Clearly, Channel 7 caught some early Sabres Fever Monday night by leading its 11 p.m. newscast with a story that lasted about four minutes about the Sabres’ 5-4 overti…

     I fell for it. Again.     Promise me the return of a long-gone TV character (even if they're dead) and I'll tune in no matter how obvious a ratings ploy it is.     You don't need to be a "CSI: Miami" viewer to have heard the buzz about the return of the long-dead Tim Speedle (Rory Cochrane) in Monday night's episo…

Some weeks back, Channel 29 dropped "Everybody Loves Raymond" at 7 p.m. and added the huge Charlie Sheen hit "Two and a Half Men" in that time slot. It's been eye-opening watching some of the earlier episodes. Actually, disturbing is a better description. From the very beginning, this half-hour sitcom has been obsessed with sex. Even against the bac…

  Is anyone watching "Private Practice," the new ABC drama that spun Kate Walsh off "Grey's Anatomy"? Big mistake for the ex Mrs. McDreamy.   I've seen all the episodes of the new ABC drama so far, and despite its talented and downright beautiful cast - Walsh, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daily, Audra McDonald and Taye Diggs -- it seems to me the show…

Fans of Fox's incredibly hot drama "House" should be relieved after seeing last night's episode. It was absorbing and crazy all at once - just what you'd expect from the show starring Hugh Laurie.Well, expect might be a bit too hopeful, because by the end of last season, the once cutting-edge "House" had become formulaic, and dare I say it, predictable…

So you say you like a little fight every now and then?It's practically your birthright as an American. Well, here's one for you -- HBO vs. Showtime for the Heavyweight Championship of Premium Cable TV.What do you think? Who's got the footwork, the quick jab and the knockout punch?It's a question I'm going to try my plodding best to figure out in my column in Sunday's TV To…

Not even Jerry Seinfeld could save “30 Rock” in Buffalo. Even with Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the hilarious season opener, the Emmy-winning comedy Thursday night suffered a huge ratings drop from its lead-in and only averaged a 3.4 rating on Channel 2. “30 Rock” was the lowest rated program on any of the Big Four networks here and it …

Here is something that sometimes happens on the sets of movies and TV shows. Whenever a big movie star doing a small role, or a truly venerable old showbiz figure who's been around since sand was invented (someone like the late Alan King or Eli Wallach or Elaine Stritch) has finished shooting their final scene in the production, someone (usually an affectionate director w…

   Lessons on how to win, as shown on season three of Bravo's "Top Chef": Show your true self to the cameras, even if you're arrogant, nasty, a backstabber and unwilling to take responsibility or criticsm. Don't worry about lending a hand to help others or hoarding an ingredient, something that is especially fun when another chef needed it. Even with al…

J.P Losman or Trent Edwards? Panhandlers on Elmwood Avenue. Believe it or not, those stories actually were at the top of local TV newscasts this week. The potential for a Buffalo Bills quarterback controversy after Edwards led the Bills to their first victory in place of an injured Losman was the big story on a Channel 2 newscast. Channel 7 led a newscast with a report on …