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Ch.4 to simulcast Bills-Dolphins game with NFL Network

By Alan Pergament

Channel 4 has grabbed the broadcast rights to the Buffalo Bills Thursday Night Football in Miami against the Dolphins on Nov. 13 that also is being carried on cable's The NFL Network, according to two well-placed sources.

For the last two seasons, independent channel WBBZ had simulcast the Bills game on The NFL Network schedule but it wasn't able to bid this time, according to General Manager Bob Koshinski.

Koshinski said he was told that the league "wanted to stick with as many CBS affiliates" for the games not on the broadcast network's Thursday Night schedule. He added he was told that five CBS affiliates are carrying the eight NFL Network games that aren't on CBS' schedule and the other three CBS affiliates remain possibliities.

This year, CBS and The NFL Network carry the first half of the Thursday Night schedule until Oct.23,  then The NFL Network gets the second half all to itself except for a Dec. 20 game on CBS.

The NFL Network games not on CBS are simulcast on a broadcast station in the home markets of the teams so fans without cable can also watch the games. The same procedure occurs for ESPN's Monday Night Football schedule.

In Channel 4's case, it presumably is paying to carry a game with the Bills' American Conference rival that in past years it would have carried anyway as a CBS affiliate.

"We're very disappointed," said Koshinski of WBBZ losing a chance at a third Bills game. "The Bills were a great success for us, they raised our profile and it it was a lot of fun to carry them."

It is unclear what happens to the Nov. 13 episode of CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," the most popular comedy in television.

CBS has announced that the series -- whose actors are holding out for bigger contracts and delaying production -- will return to Thursday nights on Oct. 23 after its initial portion of the football schedule ends. "Bang" begins the season on Monday nights, its former home.

"Big Bang" is hugely popular in Western New York and its fans may want to shout if Channel 4 doesn't find a good place to run the Nov. 13 episode if it is pre-empted here for the Bills game.

apergament@buffnews.com

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