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Top tube moments There was much ado in 2006 about news and anchor chairs

It was a television year dominated by news about news.

The big events included the historic move of Katie Couric into the evening news anchor seat, the end of WB 49 News, the accusation that Channel 7 ran fake news, the abrupt exit of 7 News co-anchor Susan Banks and the incredible spectacle of Fox reluctantly admitting that even its standards didn't allow for an O.J. Simpson interview that would only make news if he confessed.

Fox's admission was almost as shocking as the October Surprise storm that one radio newswoman said made Buffalo "The City of No Light."

And the City of No Television for many residents without power. Undoubtedly those viewers discovered that they can't live with TV and they can't live without it. Now it's time to take a look back at some of TV's powerful moments in 2006 and also some silly ones.

Queen Katie's Reign Is Brief: Couric got a huge rating on opening night, but she is third nationally now, just like Dan Rather. Locally, even the lead-in from news leader Channel 4 hasn't helped that much. She is second here.

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Prince Charles Is King in Buffalo: Meanwhile, Charles Gibson, has been embraced after moving into ABC's World News anchor seat from "Good Morning, America." He is No.1 locally, even with a soft lead-in from 7 News. Nationally, NBC's Brian Williams remains No. 1. ABC only went to Gibson after its younger choice for co-anchor, Bob Woodruff, was severely wounded by an bomb while covering the Iraqi War. His co-anchor, Elizabeth Vargas, left the broadcast after becoming pregnant.

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Channel 7's Fatal Mistake: Quoting reliable sources, 7 News announced that a state trooper, Joseph Longobardo, had died a few days before he succumbed to injuries after being shot by fugitive Ralph "Bucky" Phillips.

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HBO Popular? Not So Much: After years feeling the love with "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," and "Sex and the City," the popular pay-channel has had trouble replacing them.

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Faking the News: After airing a Super Bowl food segment that was a promo disguised as a feature, WKBW-TV became one of 77 stations across the nation accused by the FCC of faking the news.

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The Last Hurrah: After a terrific run, Martin Sheen and "The West Wing" signed off in a brilliant campaign that ended with the election of the nation's first Hispanic president, Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits).

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A Different Avenue: Kevin O'Neill, who became a popular WIVB-TV morning personality, "The Why Guy," moved from its Elmwood Avenue studio to the Delaware Avenue morning home of WGRZ-TV.

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Red Zone Troubles: In its increasing determination to look more like ESPN, Channel 2 began parading news figures in "The Red Zone" to quiz them for three minutes live when they were lucky to have 20 seconds of interesting things to say.

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Long and Short Goodbyes: Channel 7's Banks, Channel 2's veteran reporter Rich Kellman, Fox's "That '70s Show" and NBC's "Will & Grace" and "The West Wing" ended long runs.

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Idol Worship: Buffalo remains one of the best markets for Fox's "American Idol," which this year crowned a guy, Taylor Hicks, whose musical talents are best suited for hawking cars.

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NFL, ESPNU Thrown for a Loss: After Time Warner became the area's cable provider, local sports fans lost The NFL Network and ESPNU, and were unable to get a third Internet channel, ESPN360.

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Serial Overload: After the success of serials like "24" and "Prison Break," even the good new ones with star-studded casts -- like ABC's "The Nine" and NBC's "Kidnapped" -- couldn't get arrested in the ratings.

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Olympic Charade: In an attempt to inject some suspense in NBC's delayed prime time coverage of the Turin Olympics, Channel 2 Maryalice Demler's asked local relatives of America skater Kimmie Meissner: "What are Kimmie's chances tonight?" She had lost hours earlier.

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Sabres Fever: The team's playoff success inspired the community and embarrassingly turned sportscasters into cheerleaders. "We're excited as well," said Channel 7's Jeff Russo.

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Desperate Comeback: After a sophomore season jinx, ABC's "Desperate Housewives" got back on track with several decent dramatic and humorous story lines that reminded viewers why they fell in love with the characters in the first season.

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Expletive Deleted: Fans of David Milch's "Deadwood" were swearing at HBO like Al Swearingen (Ian McShane) after last season was declared the final full season. Milch has been commissioned to write two, two-hour "Deadwood" films, but he's working on a new HBO series.

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Split Personality: After Channel 2's 5 p.m. ratings spiked when Jodi Johnston was filling in temporarily, Johnston was given a split shift so she could stay on the mornings on "DayBreak."

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Presidential Stumble: Geena Davis won awards as the first female president in ABC's "Commander in Chief," but the series stumbled as badly as President Ford ever did and was canceled.

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Presidential Blowup: Former President Bill Clinton surprised Fox anchor Chris Wallace by lashing out during a discussion of how much blame his administration deserved for 9/1 1.

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Nancy Disgrace: "Boston Legal" writer David E. Kelley humorously based a cartoonish character on cable's Nancy Grace, who hit a new low by browbeating a former Lockport woman in an interview about her missing child. The young woman committed suicide.

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The Story That Never Dies: After John Mark Karr sort of confessed to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsay, the media replayed the case over before it became apparent that Karr was just a kook.

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MyCampy TV: After The WB folded into the CW, WNYO began carrying campy telenovelas from MyNetworkTV that made viewers long for the WB days of "Beauty and the Geek."

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Beret of the Year: The semifinal season of "The Sopranos" opened strongly but faded and may best be remembered for the beret worn by Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini) in one episode.

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Jinx Is History: Julia-Louis Dreyfus broke the so-called "Seinfeld" jinx by playing a divorced mother in a CBS comedy, "The New Adventures of the Old Christine."

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Programs of the Year: "Brothers & Sisters," "Dexter," "Frank Lloyd Wright," "Niagara Falls," "Everwood," "Rescue Me," "24," "The Office," "Ugly Betty," "Friday Night Lights," "House," "Lost," "Grey's Anatomy," "Heroes," "Dancing with the Stars," "The Colbert Report" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com.

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