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'Meet the Press' shut out nationally by little-watched soccer game; Raptors not a big draw here yet

It is a measure of the local popularity of NBC’s political talk show “Meet the Press” that so many regular viewers were upset that it was missing Sunday morning.

A talk show host on WBEN-AM who some people believe is prone to conspiracy theories tweeted out it would be heard on the station even if Channel 2 didn’t carry it.


The decision to pre-empt “Meet the Press” was a national one made by NBC, not Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate.

It was pre-empted for a key soccer game, which certainly seemed odd and unfortunate in a presidential election year.

Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner emailed me that he would never pre-empt “MTP.” I believe him. He has said it before.

However, Channel 2 might have been wise to have done a better job alerting viewers before Sunday that the show moderated by Chuck Todd wouldn’t be aired on Sunday.

NBC gave back the 9 a.m. hour to its affiliates who carry “MTP” at that time, which is why Channel 2 carried a half-hour golf show and a religious program for the hour.

The golf program started with a decent 3.9 rating. It was most likely that high because people expected to see “Meet the Press.” At 9:15 p.m., the rating slipped to a 1.7. The religious program averaged a 1.3.

And the soccer game that bumped “MTP”? It had a 0.7 rating from 10 a.m. to noon.

Here are a couple of things that the Washington Post story in today’s Buffalo News about NBC’s fall schedule didn’t have room to address.

“The New Celebrity Apprentice,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump in the boardroom, will return at some point in the season. Warren Buffett, the investment guru who is chairman of The Buffalo News, will be one of the advisors on the program.

And LeBron James, who is a little busy these days preparing with the Cleveland Cavaliers to meet the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals of the NBA, is the executive producer of a reality show called “The Wall.” No, it doesn’t have anything to do with Trump or Mexico. It is a game that NBC said “centers on a colossal 40-foot wall and involves quick thinking, shrewd strategy and a little luck.”

The most interesting reality show idea may be “Better Late Than Never,” in which old-timers Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman travel across Asia. It sounds like a “bucket list” TV show that could produce as many laughs as the commercials featuring Charles Barkley, Spike Lee and their friends.

Inquiring minds want to know: Are the Toronto Raptors a big draw in WNY because they are only about 90 minutes to two hours away? That's in good traffic. It could take 2 and a half to 3 hours in bad traffic.

Not so much yet. The Raptors’ game 7 win over Miami to earn a spot in the Eastern Conference final had a little better than a 2.3 rating for three hours Sunday afternoon on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate. The Players Championship won by golfer Jason Day had a 6.5 rating on Channel 2 from 2 to 7 p.m.

This just in: Fox followed NBC’s announcement Monday morning with a 2016-17 schedule loaded with new programs.

The most interesting-sounding program is “Shots Fired,” an event series that Fox describes as “a compelling event series examining the dangerous aftermath of racially charged shootings in a small Southern town.” It doesn’t have an air date.

The cast certainly is compelling. The program features Academy Award winners Helen Hunt and Richard Dreyfuss and Stephen Moyer of HBO’s “True Blood.”

Two high-profile comedies from last fall, “Grandfathered” and “The Grinder,” were canceled. Two drama programs that premiered last fall, “Rosewood” and “Scream Queens” are returning for a second season as is "Lucifer," which premiered in midseason. However, “Rosewood” is moving to 8 p.m. Thursday before the final season of "Bones."

A new dramatic update of “The Exorcist” also made Fox’s schedule. But it was given the often deadly time slot of 9 p.m. Friday.

"The X-Files" isn't dead yet. Fox said it hopes to bring it back again when the busy schedules of writer-creator Chris Carter and stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson allow for more shows to be made.

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