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Sports channel comes Nov. 19

Time Warner is preparing to carry a heavy schedule of college and high school games when it launches the Time Warner Sports Net on Nov. 19 on its own Channel 13.

However, TW spokeswoman Robin Wolfgang added that the Sports Net will be managed and staffed by TW's current crew, which indicates that coverage initially won't approach how the former Empire Sports Network operated.

The highlights supplied by TW indicate the new channel won't be as exciting as the mysterious promos that have begun airing. The network schedule consists of many college and high school events that TW has already carried, supplemented by additional games to put the whole package under the Sports Net umbrella.

The schedule will include basketball, hockey and lacrosse games played by the University at Buffalo, Canisius, St. Bonaventure and Niagara, six Syracuse University basketball games and AHL hockey from Rochester, Syracuse and Albany.

In addition, there will be 25 New York Knicks games, which presumably will be the ones that conflict with the Buffalo Sabres games carried on the Knicks' channel, MSG.

The Bills' victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon had about a 34 rating on WIVB-TV, giving a strong lead-in for the clash of the titans between New England and the Indianapolis Colts. The Pats' 24-20 victory had about a 30 rating on Channel 4, which was on the high end of the ratings playoff games often get around here. However, it wasn't in the ballpark of the Super Bowl, which generally gets ratings in the high 40s here.

The local rating was considerably higher than the 22.5 overnight rating the Pats-Colts game averaged in the nation's top markets. The national overnight rating was the best for any regular-season game on any network in about 20 years.

Dallas' romp over Philadelphia on NBC's Sunday Night Football had about a 7.5 rating on WGRZ-TV, which indicates local viewers had had enough football by the time prime time rolled around.

e-mail: apergament@buffnews.com

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