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NOT MUCH OF BUFFALO IN 'BRUCE'

This is what I'm thinking:

* Credit Jim Carrey's promotional tour with David Letterman, the "Today" show and just about everywhere else last week for the stellar national opening of the Buffalo-based film, "Bruce Almighty." The mediocre film has a few laughs -- and I'm not just talking about its depiction of our city.

Other than Channel 7's logos, Buffalo is hardly recognizable. The street names aren't ours and when's the last time you saw an apartment like Bruce's or a traffic jam here like the ones in the movie? And then there's the matter of lead co-anchor Susan Ortega, played by Catherine Bell of "JAG." She may make Buffalo broadcasting history as the first regular Hispanic weekday anchor.

With the recent departure from Channel 7 of Sharon Osorio, I don't believe there is a Hispanic on the air here right now. "It struck me as very funny," said Osorio of Ortega. "I think that played to an audience outside of Buffalo because we don't have a Hispanic anchor. But it would be nice to see."

* Wayne Brady is the star of commercials, which is about the only exposure the multitalented performer from ABC's "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" gets in Western New York. Most everywhere else in the country, Brady has become famous for his daytime talk show. A few weeks ago, he won a Daytime Emmy for best talk show host and the show won another one by tying "The View" as best talk show. But it isn't carried in Western New York. Why?

"The syndicator never got a good enough offer in Buffalo to (carry) the show," said Don Moran, the general manager of WUTV and WNYO. He said the syndicator didn't want to put it on a weak station and thereby lower the national rating average.

The best chance for Brady's show to succeed would have been at 4 p.m. on one of the Big Three network affiliates. But Channel 2 is carrying Montel Williams and Channel 4 is carrying Oprah Winfrey. That normally would leave Channel 7, but it decided against carrying a syndicated show to air its locally produced program, "Western New York Live!"

* I find the ubiquitous Channel 2 promos about how hard-hitting its reporters are laughable. But after the surprisingly beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I want Channel 2 to send out a reporter to ask "the tough questions" of its own weather forecasters and the forecasters at its rival stations who predicted a rainy three days: Can't you ever get a forecast right?

Why should we believe long-range forecasts when you can't predict what's happening 12 hours from now? Is it that hard to forecast the weather here?

Actually, I asked those tough questions to Channel 7's agreeable meteorologist Aaron Mentkowski, who is married to Osorio.

"The best thing is at least we didn't say it was going to be sunny all weekend and it rained," said Mentkowski, who explained on the air that a "dry slot" protected Buffalo from the rain that hit Rochester. "Buffalo is probably one of the most difficult places in the country to predict the weather. It is anything but cut and dried, black and white."

* Don't look for any more love letters to Western New York on the Travel Channel. Steve Cheskin, the general manager of the cable network who was behind the winter special extolling our area's virtues, "Buffalo Uncovered," has received his traveling papers. He departed the network early this month.

* If you want a preview of NBC's most talked about new comedy, "Coupling," tune in to Channel 17 at 11 p.m. Saturday. That's when the PBS station carries the British series on which it is based. "Coupling" is often referred to as the British version of "Friends." NBC is hoping that it will be strong enough to replace "Friends," which has its final season next year.

* Not surprisingly, CBS' excellent new drama, "Without a Trace," is one of those rare series that is repeating well. In its first head-to-head meeting with "ER" reruns, "Trace" triumphed by a significant margin. In Western New York, "Trace" had a 14.8 rating to a 7.7 for "ER." A dwindling but still healthy lot, "ER" fans are curious about the buzz for its rival show and are checking it out. Judging by the early returns, "ER" will be in more trouble next season.

* Did you see the story in Sunday's paper that reported the decision to put the nation on high alert for a terrorist attack was largely the result of a top-secret daily report given to the President by the FBI and CIA, called the Daily Threat Matrix? The secret report has inspired a new ABC Thursday drama, "Threat Matrix," which will try to threaten "Friends."

* NBC was wise to make a deal with TNT for reruns of "Boomtown" but it sure didn't give enough time for promotion. TNT ran the pilot episode at 10 p.m. Monday only a few days after completing the deal. The deal also allows TNT to carry next season's episodes of "Boomtown" shortly after they originally appear. "Boomtown" and "Without a Trace" were the best new dramas of last season. But "Trace" clearly is a more commercial series.

* Speaking of reruns, NBC repeats David Letterman's favorite TV movie, "Martha, Inc. The Story of Martha Stewart," on Saturday. Letterman has been poking fun of clips of the show ever since the highly rated film aired.

And WB repeats the highly rated series finale of "Dawson's Creek" tonight. If you don't know who died or if Joey landed with Dawson or Pacey by now, I'm not going to spoil it. Let's just say creator Kevin Williamson came up with an unrealistic compromise in which Joey picked one guy and the other guy was supposedly happy for the two of them. Only in Hollywood.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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