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Ch.2 is No. 1 in the country for "SNL" celebration; Bona fans get a fun TV lesson

As Jimmy Fallon told the legends in the audience of the 40th anniversary of “Saturday Night Live” on NBC, “give yourself a round of applause.”

Western New Yorkers made Buffalo the No. 1 TV market for ratings for Sunday night’s celebration of the legendary late-night comedy program.

There probably are a lot of reasons for Channel 2 getting the highest rating of any NBC affiliate.

It certainly helps that Channel 2 is a very strong NBC affiliate.

Additionally, “SNL” always has done well here.

But the biggest reason probably is the record-setting cold weather that kept WNYers huddled in front of their TV sets Sunday night to celebrate the Coneheads, the Californians and the wild and crazy guys and girls who have made “SNL” a landmark TV show.

The cold weather also appears to be influencing TV news viewing during the first two weeks of the February sweeps.

With the weather making viewers a captive audience, local news ratings remain very strong in this market.

In the first two weeks of the sweeps, Channel 2 is up 18 percent at 6 a.m., 17 percent at 5 p.m., 22 percent at 5:30 p.m., 4 percent at 6 p.m. and 25 percent at 10 p.m. from the four-week averages a year ago.

Second-place Channel 4 is up 4 percent at 6 a.m., 32 percent at noon, 11 percent at 5 p.m. and 21 percent at 5:30 p.m. It is down 2 percent at 6 p.m.

Viewers haven’t caught up with the product improvements at third-place Channel 7, but it is up 5 percent at 6 a.m. and 4 percent at noon. It is down 5 percent at 5:30 p.m. and flat at 6 p.m.

The positive news ends at 11 p.m., where all three stations are down from 4 percent to 11 percent.

Channel 4’s promotion of Nalina Shapiro to anchor at 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. has had mixed results so far.

The ratings for the 5:30 p.m. newscast are up an impressive 21 percent to a 9.2. However, the ratings for Channel 2 at 5:30 p.m. are also up 22 percent to a 10.6.

At 10 p.m., the strength of the Fox lead-in from “Empire” on Wednesdays appears to have helped Channel 2’s newscast on WUTV.

Channel 2 averaged a 4.0 rating at 10 p.m. for the first two weeks of the newscast and was within three-tenths of Channel 4’s 10 p.m. news on WNLO-TV, which averages a 4.3. A year ago, Channel 4 dominated during the four-week sweeps period at 10 p.m. 4.6-3.2.

So far, Channel 7 must be disappointed in the early results for it weather-centric morning revamp. Ratings have  improved 5 percent to a 2.1, but the other stations improved more in the morning.

Channel 2’s “Daybreak” (7.3, up 18 percent) has a rating that is higher than that of the combined rating at 6 a.m. for Channel 4 (4.9) and Channel 7 (2.1).

St. Bonaventure men’s basketball fans probably paid attention when ESPN’s always entertaining analyst Dan Dakich addressed some of the Bonnies history Tuesday night during garbage time in Michigan State’s victory over Michigan.

Dakich said former Bona Coach Jim O’Brien once told him that a referee named “Shapiro” "won more games for St. Bonaventure than any coach.”

The implication was that “Shapiro” made a lot of favorable calls for the Bonnies when they played at home.

Dakich never gave the first name of “Shapiro” but I’m guessing that old-time Bona fans assume he was talking about Murph Shapiro, who I remember from my days covering college basketball in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

HBO has renewed my favorite program on the pay-cable channel -- “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” -- for two more seasons of 35 shows apiece in 2016 and 2017. That should eliminate any chance he will replace Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.”

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