By Alan Pergament
The Buffalo Bills schedule this upcoming season is a victory for WIVB, WUTV and armchair fans.
According to industry experts, home games conservatively generate $100,000 to $150,000 in advertising revenue for local TV stations because they can sell commercials at high rates because of high ratings.
Channel 4 (WIVB) is definitely the biggest winner because it is guaranteed eight televised road games and could carry as many as 13 of the 16 games if five home games with AFC opponents carried by CBS are sold-out 72 hours in advance.
And the home sell-outs should come easier this year since the schedule only has one home game carried by CBS after Nov. 17, when tickets can be tougher to sell because of the weather and the Bills place in the standings.
Channel 29 (WUTV), the local Fox affiliate, has reason to cheer because the two home games with NFC opponents that it carries are at times that make sellouts extremely likely. The first Fox game against Carolina is in week two on Sept. 15. And the second home-game against Atlanta on Dec. 1 is being played in Toronto when the games are guaranteed to be called sellouts even if there are thousands of empty seats.
The Thursday night game on Oct.3 in Cleveland on The NFL Network is still up for grabs since NFLN sells also sells the rights to a local station so the game won' just be available to cable and satellite subscribers.
Last season, local indepedent station WBBZ out-bid the local network affiliates and paid more than $100,000 for the game rights. Bob Koshinski, the station's general manager, said the station doesn't have the right of first refusal for the game, but he added: "We plan on being back in the hunt again. (It) worked out very well for us."
The way the schedule breaks, armchair fans should be happy late in the season when they get to watch three games on Sundays when the Bills are on the road or when a home game is sold-out on a weekend it is carried by the network -- CBS or Fox -- that has the doubleheader.
Since three of the five December games are on the road, armchair fans will get to see at least three afternoon games on those three Sundays and they could get four Sundays with three games if the Bills home game with New England is sold-out 72 hours in advance because that is a CBS doubleheader week.
Jon Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," continued to hammer CNN Monday night for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings. With a graphic "This is CNN?" in the background, Stewart took aim at a former Channel 2 reporter, Susan Candiotti, who said during a live CNN standup that the streets in Watertown, Mass. were so empty that "it is as though a bomb had dropped somewhere."
After a long pause to let that remark sink in, Stewart cracked: "Yes, it does seem like that sometimes. It is not so much a metaphor as what actually happened."
Katie and Max Bichler have made it to the final five of "The Amazing Race" after Sunday's episode featured the Buffalo newlyweds finishing in first place during the first 30 minutes. I'm sure the couple has many local fans now that they have dropped the annoyance factor. But Max may have lost some fans by revealing his politics.
He told viewers that the late Ronald Reagan was his favorite president and that Rush (presumably Limbaugh) would be upset with him for initially missing a history question in which Reagan was the answer. Didn't anyone ever tell Max that politics can be a touchy subject when you are trying to be liked by everybody?
Sunday's episode was another of those annoying teases in which the supposedly eliminated couple found out that the episode was one in which no one was eliminated. In other words, the Bichlers won on a night that finishing first didn't really matter in the overall scheme of things.
But it did matter in another way -- the Bichlers won two new cars Sunday for being No.1. I'm beginning to think they could win the whole thing and the $1 million that goes with it.