TV is adding a new local morning show, moving Rachael Ray's popular show to noon, dropping its abbreviated new noon news and ousting Martha Stewart's show from its morning time slot and possibly dropping it altogether.
The moves will occur in September, traditionally the start of the new TV season.
Jim Toellner, the general manager of the NBC affiliate, revealed that the new local show will air at 11 a.m. weekdays, where Stewart's show has been running. He had few details about the show, which he said will be produced by the station's news department.
He did say the show wasn't going to be similar to Channel 7's long-running morning program, "AM/Buffalo."
"We will not be selling segments [to advertisers, like Channel 7 does]," said Toellner. The host or anchor hasn't been announced, and the station is meeting with focus groups to determine the program's content.
It has been determined that the program will have news updates, which will take the place of the abbreviated noon news.
As far as the future of Stewart's show, Toellner said he is talking with NBC about either putting it on overnight -- where the audience would be minimal -- or not at all.
Ray's show, one of the few new syndicated talk shows from last fall to be successful, is moving to noon because its old time slot, 10 a.m., will be filled by the fourth hour of NBC's "Today" show.
Ray will be displacing "America's Funniest Videos" and "Extra," which the station has been running after its abbreviated noon news.
Channel 2 also will be carrying a new syndicated game show, "Crossroads," next fall at 2 p.m. weekdays. It replaces "Passions," the soap opera that no longer will air on NBC.
Heir apparent? . . . If I had seen late-night host Jay Leno during his Buffalo visit to La Nova last week, I would have asked him about a June trade magazine report that suggested he might not be giving up his "Tonight Show" seat to Conan O'Brien in 2009 after all because his show is still a gold mine for NBC, which is struggling in prime time. NBC's plan to replace Leno with O'Brien was announced three years ago.
According to Broadcasting & Cable, NBC Universal President Jeff Zucker is courting Jon Stewart, whose contract with Comedy Central ends in 2008, for some role with the network. Reporter Ben Grossman speculated that NBC may decide to keep Leno and give O'Brien "a reported $40 million payout" that would mean it would need a 12:30 a.m. replacement for the big redhead. In that case, Stewart would be a 12:30 a.m. candidate.
However, Grossman added that Stewart is said to be more interested in David Letterman's job at CBS once (and if) Letterman retires. I can't see Stewart working at 12:30 a.m. after either Leno or O'Brien. The trade magazine report hasn't gotten much national attention, which makes it easier to be skeptical of it. But I can see another backstabbing "Late Night" book and movie in the works if O'Brien shockingly doesn't get Leno's job in two years. He deserves the job.
Jim Toellner, Channel 2's general manager, said he hadn't heard of the speculation. "I have no insights," said Toellner. "I'm insightless."
Sartori jackpot . . . Local musician Tom Sartori has hit the jackpot again. The Depew High School graduate, who tours all over the world as a singer, has a regular role in the new NBC reality show premiering at 9:30 tonight on WGRZ-TV, "The Spelling Bee." He is a singer in the show's house band that gives contestants part of a song before they have to finish the lyrics.
According to his parents, Sartori has been in five of the first six shows that have already been taped. After the show is finished filming, Sartori plans to perform at several places in Western New York in August.
Sartori is no stranger to national television. He won $305,000 in 2005 after finishing in 26th place in ESPN's World Series of Poker.