It’s been several weeks since I shared several quick thoughts to remind you of how opinionated I can be. Here goes another batch.
• The November sweeps start on Halloween night, Thursday, and one of the more interesting things to watch is the local early morning news battle.
Channel 2’s “Daybreak” has been trying to hold off a challenge from Channel 4’s new “Wake Up!” crew of Teresa Weakley, Jordan Williams and meteorologist Todd Santos.
Some weeks, the margin between the two stations has been thinner than a New York City model during Fashion Week.
During the first four weeks from the official start of the new season, Channel 4 was ahead at 5 a.m. by one-tenth of a point and Channel 2 was ahead at 6 a.m. by three-tenths of a point. A year ago, Channel 2 held a lead three times as large.
The 13 percent gain of “Wake Up!” appears to have come at the expense of Channel 7’s new morning team of Cole Heath and Tiffany Lundberg. Channel 2 is only down 3 percent from a year ago. Channel 7’s already-low morning ratings have dropped 33 percent.
Of course, the ratings so far didn’t include the most important part: demographics. The November sweeps will supply them for advertisers.
• A reminder and a confession: The episode of “Top Gear” shot here airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on The History Channel 7. A confession: I’ve never seen a full episode of the series.
• It was fashionable for WGR sports hosts to bash national host Colin Cowherd when he was on their station, but I’ve always been a Cowherd fan and find myself listening to him on ESPN 1520 when Hockey Hotline or Jim Rome is on WGR. Cowherd is one of the more intelligent and creative-thinking radio hosts on the air.
• After I saw the enormous DVR and On Demand viewership that Robin Williams’ new CBS series, “The Crazy Ones,” is receiving here, I gave it a second look. Call me crazy, but I didn’t laugh once at the episode in which Sarah Michelle Gellar and the co-worker played by Hamish Linklater appeared to be considering a romance.
On the other hand, I can see why NBC’s “Parenthood” gets a huge DVR audience. The scripts make me cry even when I know I’m being shamelessly manipulated.
• The first three episodes of “Homeland” pretty much bored me to death – especially the third one in which a tortured Brody (Damian Lewis) finally showed up – but last Sunday’s episode that ended with a great twist may have won me back. Still, I imagine anyone who joined the series this season is wondering what all the fuss is about.
I also loved the twist in last Sunday’s “The Good Wife,” which appeared to mean Diane Lockhart (Buffalo’s Christine Baranski) isn’t going anywhere. Tonight’s episode, in which former lovers Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Will (Josh Charles) are at war, is terrific.
• In case you missed my blog interview with Mary Beth Wrobel after she left Channel 2, be advised that her sales territory for the medical device company she works for includes Western New York. So although she will be living in Seattle, you might run into her here.
• Some students at Buffalo State College are upset that 107.7 is calling itself Buffalo’s Alternative when the college station at 91.3 has been carrying alternative music for years. Of course, 107.7 is a commercial station and the 91.3 signal is weak, even though its power recently was increased. I’m told that Entercom – which owns 107.7 – may be close to hiring a program director and that DJs will be hired after a PD is chosen.
• With NBC’s Sunday Night Football games lasting for hours because of weather problems, lighting problems and super long games, Channel 2’s Sports Extra appears to be snake-bit. It is too hard to stay up late to see what Adam Benigni, Andrew Peters and Ruben Brown have to say about Bills games and the obvious things that people on Twitter tell Lydia Dominick.
• If you have HBO and HBO On Demand, I recommend “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” which is more about the politics inside the Supreme Court than it is about Ali’s fight career. It is worth watching just to see all the terrific actors in it, including Frank Langella, Christopher Plummer, Fritz Weaver, Danny Glover, Barry Levinson (better known as a director), Peter Gerety, Ed Begley Jr., John Bedford Lloyd and Harris Yulin. It also includes file footage of Ali’s fights and interviews.
I also highly recommend the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary on the St. Louis Spirits of the American Basketball Association, a group of talented players who talk about the fun they had and their self-destructive behavior. It has plenty of Buffalo angles, since the Spirits were coached by former Buffalo Braves coach and Canisius College coach Bob McKinnon and featured former Braves Marvin Barnes and Gus Gerard and former Braves public relations man Rudy Martzke.
• Oddity of the month: A paid program for Roswell Park carried by Channel 2 in prime time instead of an original episode of the critical darling “Parks and Recreation” had a higher rating than Amy Poehler’s show usually gets here.
• I wish conservative Republican and Iraq War veteran David Bellavia good luck as a full-time talk show host for WBEN. He is doing the late-night shift and filling in for the other right-wingers on the station as he has done in the past. But couldn’t WBEN find one lefty to balance the station’s agenda?
• Finally, regular readers know that one of my favorite TV stars is George Clooney, which was one reason that I looked forward to seeing his critically acclaimed film “Gravity.” I haven’t been more disappointed in a movie in decades. Since I wrote in my blog that the movie should be called “Inertia,” I’ve had as many readers agree with me as have told me that I’m insane.