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WBBZ, Bills have reasons for optimism

By Alan Pergament

This is what I''m thinking:

WBBZ-TV General Manager Bob Koshinski undoubtedly is correct that more people are aware of the independent station now than were a year ago when it simulcast the Buffalo Bills’ 19-14 victory over Miami with the NFL Network.

So I can see why he is optimistic that the station can top the 18.3 rating it received last November when it simulcasts this year's NFL Network game on Thursday, Oct. 3 against Cleveland.

However, more Time Warner Cable subscribers can also find The NFL Network on its own channel than could find it last year when the Bills game aired several weeks after the deal to carry it was made, which might hurt WBBZ.

However, WBBZ can be helped because this season's game is earlier in the season when there still could be some optimism about the Bills, interest in whether quarterback EJ Manuel can become the starter and the game is on the road when 70,000 people normally in Ralph Wilson Stadium can be in front of their TV sets.

The 18.3 rating that WBBZ received for the Bills-Miami game was by far the highest rating in the station's history. At that time,  Koshinsi said that the rating the station received was about what it expected. The NFL Network simulcast received a 13.9 rating here for a combined 32.2 rating.

The combined rating was in line with most Sunday afternoon game ratings for Bills games. That made it a little disappointing since the occasional prime time games the Bills get often generate higher ratings.

Koshinski added last year that WBBZ's post-game rating exceeded expectations. The post-game rating of about 7.5 at 11:45 p.m. slipped to a still decent 3.5 at midnight. That’s better than Jimmy Kimmel gets on Channel 7 here for his ABC late-night show. However, the two-hour WBBZ pregame show hosted by Koshinski only averaged a 1.3 rating.

"Broadcasting the game was absolutely worth the investment and all the hard work by the entire WBBZ staff," wrote Koshinski in an email after the game.

Presumably, that's why WBBZ outbid bigger rival stations (believed to be by a significant amount) to get this year's game. 

Inquiring minds want to know: Why did the Charlie Sheen series "Anger Management" made for cable’s FX suddenly appear on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, on Monday nights recently?

Good question. I don't really know why it is polluting the broadcast network’s airwaves. But I have my suspicions.

FX got roped into making multiple seasons of "Anger" because it met a quick ratings performance clause in its contract. It almost immediately saw a huge ratings slide. One imagines the late spring move to Fox is designed to offset some of the company's financial losses. But that's just a guess. FX also may have hoped the Fox airings would help the show's cable ratings.

If that was the case, no sale in Buffalo. The third of four episodes running on Fox had a .5 rating (yes, that’s a .5) here Monday. By the way, "Anger" co-stars Noureen DeWulf, also known as the wife of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.

I awoke Tuesday morning just in time to see NBC’s "Today" show air a 7:30 a.m. report by Stephanie Gosk on the New England Patriots signing of Tim Tebow. My immediate thought was I accidentally landed on ESPN, which obsesses on everything Tebow.

Gosk compared the statistics of Pats Hall of Fame starting quarterback Tom Brady to Tebow's meager statistics and noted they both have made the cover of GQ. After it was over, anchor Matt Lauer told Gosk "that was a mean report." No argument here.

It was an unfair report. If you are to believe Ann Curry supporters, if anyone should know about mean it is apparently Lauer. I think he's been getting a bum rap on that score. Curry was miscast as a "Today" co-anchor. Her replacement, Savannah Guthrie, is a huge improvement. Curry’s departure was as clumsily handled as Tebow’s arrival with the New York Jets a year ago. But she had to go.

Funny quote of Tuesday night came from San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich when asked by ABC's Doris Burke how his team was containing Miami's LeBron James during the Spurs' game 3 blowout win: "I can't tell you that." Smart question. Smart answer.


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