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Ch.4 keeps 10 p.m. news audience even as Ch.2 soars

By Alan Pergament

It is 10 O’Clock: Do you know who Channel 2’s anchor is going to be on the newscast carried on WUTV?

Do you even know that Channel 2’s 10 p.m. newscast is now on WUTV?

In the last few weeks, Channel 2 has rotated main anchors Scott Levin and Maryalice Demler on the 10 p.m. news, with newcomer Kelly Dudzik filling in for both when they were on vacation.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner said the plan for now with the May sweeps approaching is to continue rotating the station’s main anchors at 10 p.m. on the newscast that has moved from Sinclair’s owned WNYO-TV to its Fox affiliate WUTV. But he added that isn’t necessarily a permanent

“At some point, we will figure it out,” said Toellner. “The newscast is designed for a single host. Right now, we’ll continue to rotate them.”

Dudzik, who arrived from Little Rock, Ark. last month after auditioning for the “Daybreak” slot eventually given to Melissa Holmes, also has substituted as an anchor on the 5 p.m. newscast. That’s the newscast that used to be co-anchored by Jodi Johnston before she left for a job in the banking industry. Dudzik also has done an extensive amount of reporting, an area the station has needed after Pete Gallivan left to work for Gov. Cuomo.


Kelly Dudzik: 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. candidate

Toellner isn’t saying whether Dudzik eventually will get either the vacant 5 p.m. or 10 p.m. slot, but she would seem to be the favorite for one of those positions.

“There are a lot of possibilities,” said Toellner.  “We are short a couple of reporters and we
are utilizing everybody. Once we fill those spots, we will name a permanent anchor. Right now, we need boots on the street.”

On the first four nights since Channel 2’s newscast moved from little-watched WNYO to WUTV, Channel 4 ‘s 10 O’Clock News on sister station WNLO-TV has remained a dominant No.1 and averaged slightly above the 5.2 rating it had during the February sweeps. It had a four-night average this week of 5.25.

Channel 2 has seen its ratings on WUTV almost double from what it was averaging on WNYO in February. It averaged a 3.0 rating for the four nights, up from a 1.7 in February. In other words, Channel 2's move to a stronger station has helped it but hasn't hurt Channel 4.'

Before the 10 p.m. battle began Monday, Toellner wasn’t expecting any miracles.

“It is going to take some time before people know it is on WUTV,” said Toellner. “People have had the habit of turning to Channel 4 (at 10). We’re not expecting immediately to be No.1, but a lot more people will get exposure to our news.”

By the way, CBS’ “Elementary” was No. 1 at 10 p.m. Thursday here with a low 5.7 rating, Channel 4’s News was second with a 4.8. ABC’s “Scandal” and NBC’s “Hannibal” tied for third with a low 3.5 rating. Channel 2’s news was fifth with a 3.0. The low ratings for the broadcast network series suggest two things. Some of the episodes – though not “Hannibal” -- were repeats and there is going to be a lot of DVR viewing of those shows this weekend.

I watched portions of “Jon Gruden’s QB Camp” episode Thursday on ESPN featuring Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib and came away almost rooting for the Buffalo Bills to draft him in the first round to reunite him with his college coach Doug Marrone. Gruden couldn’t say enough flattering things about Nassib, concluding “the way he threw the ball was as impressive as any guy I’ve seen this draft.”

But then I remembered that Gruden makes everybody who comes to his QB camp look and sound like the second coming of Tom Brady. Factoring out the Gruden hype factor, Nassib looks like he would be a very good second round pick.


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