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Channel 4 faces choice on morning format

This is what I'm thinking:
WIVB-TV will have to change its morning schedule on Jan. 7, 2008, now that CBS has announced it won't allow affiliates to carry a portion of "The Early Show" starting in January 2008.

Channel 4 General Manager Chris Musial is out of town and couldn't be reached to comment. The station apparently has a choice of dropping its hybrid hour of local and national news at 7 a.m. or dropping "The Early Show."

Channel 4 is one of the more successful CBS affiliates to carry a local-national hybrid from 7 to 8 a.m. on weekdays. It carries "The Early Show" from 8 to 9 a.m.
The first hour, which includes local segments anchored by Victoria Hong and Lisa Scott, gets ratings almost as twice as high as the second national hour.
In the May sweeps, Channel 4 averaged a 5.4 rating in the first hour, tying for second place here with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Channel 7. NBC's "Today" is first with a 6.2 rating.
CBS has been a big national loser in the mornings for decades in a battle with "GMA" and "Today." The network decision to drop the hybrid is designed to increase CBS' national ratings in the three-way battle.
In making the announcement recently to end the hybrid practice, CBS News President Sean McManus said the change will come at the same time "The Early Show" begins changes to its "content, set, format and focus."
Presumably, Channel 4's owner, LIN Broadcasting, will have a big say in the station's decision.
Royal chit-chat... Matt Lauer's interview with Prince William and Prince Harry on NBC didn't produce any news, but many Western New Yorkers were exposed to the considerable charms of the young adult sons of the late Princess Diana. They practically looked and talked like regular guys in their 20s, who just happen to live the life of luxury. The program had an 11.6 rating on WGRZ-TV, which made it the king of Monday night programming locally.
Ironically, the princes' appearance helped explain why TV keeps finding ways to get ratings by dealing with elements of the life of their late, charismatic mother.
The rating for the princes practically tripled the reality show lead-in, "Age of Love," which had a 4.8 here. Tuesday night's two-hour edition of "America's Got Talent" had an incredible 14.3 rating here.
Premiere hits pay dirt... The season premiere of TNT's "The Closer" on Monday hit a record, averaging a 5.7 national rating. And it did even better than that here, averaging a 7.1. To put that in perspective, the cable show finished second in its time slot here, behind only the repeats of CBS comedies on Channel 4. The series premiere of "Heartland," which followed "The Closer," had a 3.2 rating.
"Matchmaker" ratings... A&E considers the ratings for the first two episodes of "Confessions of a Matchmaker," the reality show set in Buffalo, a success, even if the audience was paltry compared to that of "The Closer." The show averaged a .9 nationally and averaged 1.1 million viewers. A&E says it was its No. 1 program in total viewers and adults 25-54 in the time slot this year. In Buffalo, the first episode averaged a 1.6 rating and the second a 1.4.
And Sopranos ratings... The June 10 series finale of HBO's "The Sopranos" had an 8.7 rating in Western New York, which is about what ABC's "Brothers & Sisters" got on Sundays during the regular season. Of course, HBO is in considerably fewer homes than ABC. Nationally, the historic HBO show concluded with a 6.5 rating. HBO repeats episodes of the show often and makes it available On Demand. But the finale almost required immediate viewing because the ending was revealed all over radio and television the next morning.
Ellen DeGeneres' writer gets kudos... Kevin Leman II, who has co-authored several books with his father, psychologist and Amherst native Dr. Kevin Leman, won two daytime Emmys as a writer and producer for Ellen DeGeneres' talk show, his father reports. His proud dad added that Kevin also wrote a "great deal" of the material for the Oscars when DeGeneres hosted it. Kevin II lives in Burbank, Calif., but has a summer residence in Chautauqua County, his father wrote in an e-mail.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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