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Ch.2's Levin and Dudzik a comedy team; Schultz hire a bad PR move

By Alan Pergament

I don't know if Channel 2 co-anchors Scott Levin and Kelly Dudzik are intentionally trying to make me laugh but they manage to do it occasionally during happy talk. And I imagine I am not the only one who gets a kick out of their repartee.

On the 5 p.m. newscast Tuesday, they began talking about Justin Timberlake's Feb. 22 concert at the First Niagara Center.

"He’s like the old Justin Bieber," said Levin.

I thought it was an apt comparison since Timberlake was a teen recording star before he matured into his multiple entertainment roles today that include singing, dancing, acting and being a natural comedian.

"Old?" replied an aghast, but smiling Dudzik, who apparently didn't  understand her older co-anchor's comparison. "He's not old. He's like 30."

Actually, Timberlake is 32. And Levin wasn't really calling him old, just saying by Bieber standards he is old. Bieber is 19.

"I know who he is," added Levin. "He's a great dancer."

Dudzik replied "pfft" or some sound effect like it and gave a funny look.

Levin, who just turned 50, replied with a funny look to Dudzik that seemed to say, "what are you doing trying to make me look out of touch?"

It was classic happy talk that wouldn't have looked out of place in the upcoming "Anchorman" sequel.

The only thing unintentionally funnier Tuesday was the National Hockey League's decision to suspend Toronto star Phil Kessel for three meaningless preseason games for swinging his stick wildly at the Buffalo Sabres' John Scott in Sunday's preseason game. They don't call the NHL a Mickey Mouse league for nothing.     

The Levin-Dudzik happy talk wasn't the only TV news moment that made me laugh Tuesday.

After doing a story about a snag in the announced hiring by Buffalo Schools Superintendent Dr. Pamela C. Brown of former Channel 4 reporter Lorey Schultz for an $115,000 public relations job, Channel 4 reporter Rich Newberg noted that Schultz hadn't returned his telephone call for comment.

The idea of a former Channel 4 reporter declining to return a call from a former colleague made me laugh.

I can't think of a worse public relations move by the superintendent during the current school crisis than to add a second high-paying public relations job to the $82,000 public relations position already held.

Brown and Schultz should have known that.  Schultz probably does -- which might be why she didn't answer Newberg's call. It will be interesting to see if the School Board approves her hiring tonight.  

When Entercom Radio switched the former of WWKB from progressive talk to ESPN Radio, some conspiracy theorists questioned why the radio group didn't put ESPN Radio on 107.7 FM, which has been simulcasting WBEN-AM for the last two years.

Some readers viewed the waste of the FM channel as a conspiracy to kill liberal talk here and just give conservatives Rush Limbaugh, Sandy Beach, Tom Bauerle and Sean Hannity another channel to spread their propaganda.

That theory should end now that Entercom announced Tuesday that the two-year experiment to simulcast WBEN-AM on 107. 7 will end at noon Thursday because almost all of WBEN's audience still listens on the AM channel.

Entercom hasn’t announced what the new format will be.

Whatever the new format is, Entercom's goal will be to make more money on 107.7 than it did by simulcasting WBEN. And that shouldn't be difficult.

Judging by comments to my recent story about KB switching to ESPN, the listeners who heard WBEN on 107.7 at work when they couldn't get the AM station will be the ones most upset by the end of simulcasting.  

NBC is running promos for the 15th season premiere of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" at 9 tonight that tell viewers that parental discretion is advised.

I'll say.

The episode concludes the story line in last season's finale in which Mariska Hargitay's character, Detective Olivia Benson, was kidnapped by a clever sociopath (played by Pablo Schreiber) who has been getting away with rapes and murders for years.

I almost didn't make it to the end of the episode, which is so graphic that it becomes a chore to watch after about 30 minutes. It is well-performed, suspenseful and adds some psychological details about the rapist's childhood.

However, it is implausible at times and so difficult to watch for a broadcast network series that I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

Hargitay recently told the Huffington Post that the episode is "the hardest thing I’ve ever done."

Be warned: Watching it until the end may be the hardest thing you do this broadcast TV season. The episode seems more suited for cable or pay-cable, when the standards of what is acceptable are very different.

I've never been a fan of the series' concept and this women-in- jeopardy, two-part episode reminded me why.


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