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     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 …

     We should know by now to trust in David E. Kelley. Off-season casting changes on "Boston Legal" made me nervous that the revolving door of characters would disrupt the great acting chemistry on the show that has numerous awards including Emmys for James Spader, William Shatner and Christian Clemenson. I felt for sure that the great John Larroq…

   Sorry to say, but the new fall shows have been hugely disappointing. Some are even dreadful. And  there's not a fresh or creative idea among them.   The worse I've seen so far:    On ABC: "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Big Shots" - both are vulgar, crass and stupid. "Private Practice" is not one-tenth as good as &q…

   Let's hear it for the underdog! Chef Dale, who was on the verge of elimination throughout this season on Bravo's "Top Chef," did some quick thinking -- and cooking -- to put himself into the show's finale. It was especially gratifying to watch after learning that Dale, who appears to sorely lack confidence in himself, had gone through difficult times…

Jim Lorentz said he retired from the Buffalo Sabres broadcast booth Tuesday because he is tired of the traveling after 43 years as a player and broadcaster. Can’t blame him. At least he ended his broadcasting career with a strong playoff performance last season.Now the Sabres are essentially auditioning former players Matthew Barnaby, John Tucker and Mike Robitaille …

The fast-moving premiere of the Channel 2 and Web program, “Your Today in Western New York," certainly couldn't be confused with the morgue-like magazine shows that Channel 7 carries. Channel 2's first show Monday featuring WKSE-FM personality Janet Snyder and Channel 2 personalities Chesley McNeil and Kevin O’Neill and their laptop computers was more t…

Well, I rated the local sportscasters working on channels 2, 4 and 7 from 1 through 10 in Saturday's News. The most notable email and in person responses so far are disputing my ranking of Channel 2 sports director Ed Kilgore as No.7. The respondents feel I have him rated too high. Ouch. In other words, I’m being criticized for being too kind. That doesn't happen …