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Inquiring minds want to know: Did WIVB-TV's decision to replace Brittni Smallwood with newcomer Melanie Orlins have any impact on the station's ratings in Orlins' first month as co-anchor of the morning program "Wake Up!"? The short answer is not much. Of course, the bigger question is whether Western New York viewers will stay with the new "Wake Up!" team of Orlins …

Sylvia Bennett, the senior vice president of development and corporate communications, is leaving the station on Oct. 20 to become the head of development with the University of California, Berkeley’s Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). In an email, Bennett explained: "Berkeley is my alma mater and I am originally from the Bay Area. This will be a welcome r…

WNED-FM, the local PBS affiliate, is a week late in carrying the documentary, "Erie: The Canal That Made America." It aired on some PBS affiliates in New York State on Tuesday night. WNED is airing at 10 p.m. next Tuesday. It is an hour program narrated by David Muir, the Skaneateles native who is the anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." Here's an edited summary fro…

The Sean McDermott coaching era got off to a decent but hardly spectacular start in the Nielsen TV ratings. The Buffalo Bills' 21-12 season opening victory over the New York Jets Sunday had a preliminary rating of 33.5 on WIVB-TV (Channel 4), the local CBS affiliate. The rating was delayed because Nielsen's facility in Florida was affected by Hurricane Irma. The 33.5…

WGRZ-TV didn't make a really big deal about co-anchor Scott Levin's return after three months working for a car dealer. Co-anchor Maryalice Demler turned to Levin about 15 minutes into Monday's 5 p.m. newscast and asked: "How you settling in?" "I'm settling in just fine," replied Levin, "It feels like riding a bike." After some happy talk with weathercaster Maria …

Rex Ryan is used to criticism as the former coach of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. But the slings and arrows weren't out quite as quickly in his coaching days as they were for Ryan's debut as a Monday Night Football commentator alongside play-by-play woman Beth Mowins on ESPN during Denver's 24-21 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. It was amusing reading l…

Inquiring minds want to know: Where is WIVB-TV (Channel 4) co-anchor Don Postles? Postles has been out sick for about two weeks. Dominic Mancuso, the general manager of Channel 4, said he can't comment because of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, that protects the confidentiality of a person's medical information. According t…

If you yearn for science fiction that is both dark and surreal, then binge-watch Max Headroom. Offering both 1980s nostalgia and a vision of networked corporate power that feels uncannily contemporary, Max Headroom is a unique cyberpunk gem. Title: Max Headroom Year it began: 1987 Where it can be seen: Amazon; DVD Who’s in it: Matt Frewer; Amanda Pays; Chris …

Blame Dan Rather. It's always easy to do and not always wrong. In his case, Dan Rather in 1961, was a news director/reporter at Houston's KHOU when Hurricane Carla hit. It was about to join the list of 10 most powerful storms in American history. Rather not only understood how big hurricane stories are, he understood that they were "great television"; if you're looki…

CBS' Kevin Harlan is one of my favorite play-by-play men on football and basketball. He has a great voice, terrific enthusiasm, hits the right high notes on key plays and usually does a strong job setting up his analyst. But I don't think I've ever heard him make as many mistakes as he did alongside analyst Rich Gannon during the Buffalo Bills' 21-12 victory over the…

"Twin Peaks: The Return," Showtime's extraordinary offer of prime time to David Lynch and his partner Mark Frost, has been must-see TV this summer. I watched every episode with a weird combination of duty and excitement. To have been a critic watching, right from the very beginning, David Lynch's career (including interviewing him in what seemed at the time like a Lynch…

"The commodification of flesh and sexual imagery" is what David Simon's co-creator George Pelecanos said  "The Deuce" is about. Sex exploitation went "from being in a brown paper bag and under the counter to universal in American life." I don't know about "universal" but I take his point. The period in which "The Deuce" takes place is 1971, just before the advent of "D…

When you've made as much money for Fox as Seth MacFarlane ("Family Guy," "The Cleveland Show," "American Dad!"), you can pretty much get anything you want from the network. That includes making the mediocre new space adventure series, "The Orville." It becomes the first new network show of the season when it has a special series premiere at around 8 p.m. Sunday on WUTV …

The end of the "Reading Rainbow" dispute has arrived. According to a spokesperson for WNED-TV, all of the claims between the local public broadcaster and "Reading Rainbow" host LeVar Burton's company have been settled. WNED-TV spokesperson Kathie Rizzo Young issued the following statement: "After Reading Rainbow went off the air, WNED licensed several companies, i…

WKBW-TV (Channel 7) certainly needs more local programming since it is the only station among the Big Three that doesn't offer a 10 o'clock news or weekend morning newscasts. So I applaud its effort in premiering a new, more informal 7 p.m. weeknight news program, "The Now, Buffalo." I'm just not sure its well-done and informative blend of health and consumer feature…