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Fulfilling their public service role, the three local news departments dropped network and syndicated programming this morning for extensive coverage of the day's weather problems. Channel 4 was the only station among the three to provide video as several of the area's leaders at City Hall explained how government was coping with the weather issues that closed schools and…

  Can Oprah save Patti Novak's "Confessions of a Matchmaker"? Cable's A&E already has announced that Novak's tough-love dating series set in Buffalo has been canceled. But Novak is appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Friday, and we know that Oprah has the power to change things. If Novak's appearance on Oprah doesn't cause A&E to re…

Truthfully, the only thing impressive about the debut of the Fox reality show, "The Moment of Truth," was its local ratings. Wednesday's post-"American Idol" premiere had a 16.1 rating on WUTV if you count the first few minutes of the hour that were still "Idol." "Idol" had a 16.0 rating, the lowest-rated of the early season. But t…

At 9 p.m. Wednesday, Fox premieres its latest car accident series, "The Moment of Truth." It is almost impossible to look away as contestants are asked extremely personal questions and required to give answers that could ruin relationships. A lie detector determines if they are telling the truth. In a Facebook and MySpace world, I supposed we shouldn't be surpri…

The depiction of the worst behavior of Buffalo Bills, which airs at 10 tonight on HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," could have been worse. That's my assessment after watching a preview of the 11 and a half minute segment on excessive drinking at NFL stadiums. It includes about two minutes on rowdy Bills fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium drinking through a funne…

How bad is Western New York going to look? That's the question surrounding word that HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" has interviewed two members of Erie County law enforcement for a piece on excessive drinking at NFL stadiums that will run Tuesday. Promos for the segment featuring Bills fans have been airing on HBO recently and the pay-cable network confi…

Maybe Simon Cowell should go back to being mean. Wednesday's second audition episode of Fox's "American Idol" slipped to a 15.7 rating on WUTV, down about 31 percent from the 22.8 rating the second night had a year ago. The 15.7 also was down about 20 percent from the 18.7 rating Tuesday on WUTV. Ratings were also off nationally on Tuesday. Still, a 15.7 rating …

I have a good friend who I call Evelyn even though her name actually is Ellen. This often confuses people at the frequent parties she and her husband, Gene, give after one of their frequent moves to a new home. Then I explain that I began calling her Evelyn after Ellen was interviewed on local TV and misidentified in a graphic as Evelyn. I bring this up because there ha…

Maybe there is going to be a hangover from last season's anemic edition of "American Idol." That's the first thought I had after looking at the about 25 percent local ratings drop for the first audition episode of the 2008 season. "Idol," which always has done well on WUTV, scored an 18.7 rating on Tuesday, which is impressive by most local TV standard…

We all knew that the writers strike would mean TV eventually would be going to the dogs. But who took it literally? Among three new reality and alternative series that CBS announced today it has ordered for airing later in the season is "America's Top Dog." According to a CBS release, dog owners and their pets "will live together and battle it out in a dog…

If the lack of celebrities didn't kill NBC's hour presentation of the strike edition of the Golden Globe Awards, its choice of co-hosts probably did. Apparently the superficial takes of Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell on the surprises wasn't enough to attract many local viewers. The program averaged a meager 3.5 rating on Channel 2, which was actually .6 lower than the earlie…

We'll have several weeks at least to contemplate the latest breakup in the lives of Dr. Derek Shepard (Patrick Dempsey) and Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo) on the final episode of "Grey's Anatomy" filmed before the writers strike. Okay, the suspense won't be killing me. Like the characters, I just can't take any more breakups. This time, the issue Thursday was ov…

ABC's Jimmy Kimmel certainly got more out of the late-night exchange program with NBC's Jay Leno Thursday night than Leno did when they appeared on each other's shows. Both hosts seemed to have a good time and told some interesting stories. But Kimmel also used the occasion to address some newsworthy issues, such as the NBC plan to have Leno vacate "The Tonight Show&…

I turned on Channel 2 at 7 this morning and expected to quickly see Tim Russert analyze the surprising results in the New Hampshire primary on NBC's "Today." Instead, the local NBC affiliate stayed for about 15 minutes with reports on the havoc the high winds were causing. It was a smart move for a news department that continues its quest to become the station …

I never thought I'd write this sentence. The premiere of "The Celebrity Apprentice" last Thursday was such a hoot I can't wait until Thursday's second episode. Thanks to Vincent Pastore, Piers Morgan, Stephen Baldwin and Gene Simmons, the premiere had more laughs than "The Office," which filled the 9 p.m. Thursday time slot until it ran out of original…