Some tasty leftovers after Thanksgiving:
• One of the measuring sticks for local news supremacy is where viewers go during times of crisis like “Snowvember.”
Judging by the recent ratings for Snowvember coverage and during the entire November sweeps period, Channel 2 has the most reason to gloat and is most likely to be in a commanding position in the future.
The NBC affiliate dominated the ratings during Snowvember and during the November sweeps, which is one of four monthly periods that are looked at closely by advertisers.
During the storm, Channel 2 had double-digit ratings even for its afternoon coverage.
During the entire sweeps period, which officially ended Wednesday night, Channel 2 dominated in the morning and during the 5 and 6:30 p.m. news time as it has for some time now.
But more impressively, it has significantly narrowed the 10 and 11 p.m. battles with Channel 4, which have dominated those time periods.
The move of Channel 2’s 10 p.m. newscast from WNYO-TV to WUTV in April of 2013 was expected to be a game changer. Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock News on sister station WNLO-TV more than doubled the ratings of Channel 2’s news at 10 p.m. on WUTV a year ago. This November, Channel 2 was within six-tenths of a point of Channel 4.
At 11 p.m., Channel 2 also narrowed the gap with Channel 4 to 1.4 points from 3 points a year ago. And it usually has stronger demographics than Channel 4.
And what about Channel 7?
The hiring of meteorologist Andy Parker away from Channel 2 and the decision to concentrate on the weather in the morning has helped it increase its ratings by more than a point from a year ago but it remains in third place.
Channel 7’s new owner, E.W. Scripps, has to realize that the rebuild is going to take awhile. After all, it took Channel 2 more than five years to get in the position it is in.
• While we are on Channel 7, I am impressed by a couple of its relatively new anchors and reporters. Katie Morse, who now anchors the Sunday newscasts with Ed Drantch, has illustrated a personality that was hidden at Time Warner Cable News. Reporter Hannah Buehler also has been impressive since leaving a Buffalo Bills job to work at the station. And I am impressed by morning reporter Matthew Bove. Full disclosure: Bove was a student of mine at Buffalo State College. I didn’t expect him to be so good on the air so quickly. A friend of mine who also was impressed during his Snowvember coverage inquired about where Bove came from. He already took a course with me so I’m not going to punish him anymore by holding back some praise.
• Many people are asking how Snowvember compared to the Blizzard of ’77. It made me think about what the ratings were like in 1977 compared to now. Of course, there were no metered ratings in January of 1977. That also was a few years before CNN went on the air and cable became a big deal.
However, with some certainty we can say that the regular newscasts had much higher ratings during the Blizzard of ’77 than they did this month. During the recent storm, the three local newscasts had a combined rating of about 40 at their peak for regular newscasts. During the February sweeps of 1977 – which began a few days after the blizzard – the three 6 p.m. newscasts had a combined 53 rating. At 11 p.m., they had a combined rating of 55. Needless to say, the ratings were likely even much higher than that during the days they were reporting on the Blizzard of ’77.
• When I took a break from watching storm coverage, I plopped in a DVD sent by HBO of the final three episodes of “The Newsroom.” The first of the three airs tonight. I enjoyed every one more than the first three this season. However, writer-creator Aaron Sorkin could have used a few more than six episodes to wrap everything up. The best scene in the final episodes finds news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) confronting his childhood demons. I won’t spoil how artfully it is done.
• I can’t believe how incredibly dumb the ABC series “How to Get Away with Murder” is every week. And how I can’t get away from watching it anyway. The legal issues in the series are laugh out-loud funny. That especially was true when Professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis) supposedly managed to get a court order to require all of the professors at her husband’s college to submit their DNA. The craziest part of the fall finale of this crazy series is the fact that it didn’t appear like Annalise’s students needed to cover up the crime of killing Annalise’s husband. They could have just turned themselves in and argued self-defense. Maybe they will eventually do that. Crazier things have happened on that show.
• It certainly looks like the “Parenthood” writers have decided that the marriage of Joel (Sam Jaeger) and Julia (Erika Christensen) can be saved. Their apparent reconciliation after signing their divorce papers undoubtedly makes most fans of the show and marriage happy. However, fans can’t be happy that there are only four episodes of the series left.
• If I know Channel 4 anchor Jacquie Walker at all, she probably badly missed covering Snowvember while she was being treated for early stage breast cancer. And she most likely was watching every second of local news coverage she could watch.
• Funniest moment of the November sweeps came when NBC’s Lester Holt referred to Ralph Wilson Stadium as “Robert Wilson Stadium” during the network coverage of Snowvember. The classy Holt quickly went on Twitter to correct his mistake.
• Former Channel 4 reporter Jericka Duncan was very impressive covering the storm here for “The CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley.”
• Funniest title of the year goes to the upcoming “30 for 30” documentary “I Hate Christian Laettner.” The program about the former Nichols and Duke basketball star is scheduled to air on ESPN a few days before March Madness begins.
• Funniest tweet of the storm goes to former Channel 4 reporter Anthony Congi. After the Bills game with the New York Jets was moved to Monday night, Congi tweeted “So it really did take an act of God to get the Bills on Monday Night Football again.” Technically, of course, the game wasn’t on MNF.