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In strange news, Ch.4 news executive leaving for Ch.7 is staying during sweeps

This is what I’m thinking:

In case you missed it Friday, Channel 4 executive news producer Aaron Mason has been hired by Channel 7 as its assistant news director.

But he will continue to work at Channel 4 until Nov.21.

This is stranger than some of the November sweeps series that have been carried by local affiliates over the years.

This is the second time in a month someone has announced he is leaving Channel 4 to go to Channel 7 and for a few weeks stayed with the station he is leaving.

Reporter Ed Drantch, who is now a reporter and Sunday anchor at Channel 7, stayed with Channel 4 for a few weeks after his departure was announced.

That was strange, since most times stations show people the door as soon as they declare or are told they are leaving. Channel 4 meteorologist Bryan Shaw was escorted out the door immediately after he was let go even though the station hadn't hired his replacement.

But as strange as it was to see Drantch reporting on Channel 4 the same day his departure to Channel 7 was announced, the continuing presence of Mason at the station is even stranger even if he isn’t on-air.

Mason, who is highly thought of inside Channel 4 and has been there for more than a decade, is in management. Presumably, he may know all kinds of secrets about Channel 4’s news plans and has the potential to learn even more in the next three weeks before he heads over to a rival station.

The fact that Channel 4 wants him to stay suggests the station desperately needs him to be there, especially during the November sweeps period. The sweeps start this Thursday and run through Nov. 26, five days after Mason leaves Channel 4.

General Manager Rene LaSpina still hasn’t hired a news director to replace Joe Schlaerth, who was fired three months ago. Staffers believe the interim news director, Peter Jacobus, wants to leave as soon as possible.

There is speculation inside Channel 4 that a few people may have been offered the news director’s job but turned it down because they can google LaSpina’s name and instantly see her reputation for cost-cutting.

By now, some people might have thought that Channel 4 would have considered giving Mason the news director’s job at least on a tryout basis. That’s if he wanted it. It might have been hard to take a job that might have required him to do things he didn’t want to do to the friends he has made on the staff for the last 10 years.

Speaking of strange, the odd thing about the 41.2 rating for the Buffalo Bills’ 43-23 victory over the New York Jets is that the rating grew even after it was clear the Bills had the game in the bag in the fourth quarter. The game had a 44.6 rating at 4 p.m. and a 43.3 rating at 4:15 p.m.

That suggests either Bills fans were enjoying a rare road victory against the Jets or they were still concerned the team might find a way to blow a 26-point lead.

How far has the World Series fallen in Western New York?

On Sunday night, San Francisco’s victory over Kansas City in game five had about a 5.2 rating on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate.

A Sunday morning NFL game between Detroit and Atlanta from London on the same channel had a 5.4 rating.

Pittsburgh’s victory over Indianapolis carried by Channel 4 after the Bills game had an 18.5 rating.

New Orleans ' win over Green Bay on NBC’s Sunday Night Football had a 12.0 rating on Channel 2.

In other words, all five regular season NFL games carried here on Sunday had a higher rating that the World Series game here.

ABC has ended the romance with “Manhattan Love Story,” making it the season’s first fall cancellation because of low ratings. None of this year’s romantic comedies are doing all that well here.


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