Western New Yorkers know that the area is full of sports lovers.
But I’m not sure everyone realizes the area also is full of Broadway lovers.
Confession: I am both.
Buffalo tied for eighth place in the country a week ago in local television ratings for the Tony Awards.
The only markets ahead of Buffalo were New York City, where Broadway is located; Hartford; Fort Myers, Fla.; San Diego; San Francisco; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Philadelphia.
The 7.7 rating on Channel 4 was the highest here for the Tonys in at least 12 years. The next highest rating was a 6.9 in 2014.
The rating is even more impressive because the Tonys played opposite the deciding Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final, won by Pittsburgh over San Jose. The hockey game had an 8.6 rating on Channel 2. The Tonys had a higher rating than the other five games in the Final.
Of course, this was an unusual year for Broadway, with the Tonys driven by the hype for the musical “Hamilton.”
The three-hour show also had a terrific host in James Corden, a former Tony winner whose success in “One Man, Two Guvnors” undoubtedly contributed to his being named the host of CBS’ “Late Late Show.”
One of the highlights of the Tonys came when Corden showed how many Broadway stars have had roles in the TV series “Law & Order” and its spinoffs. It is a rite of passage for Broadway stars to be on that program, which is filmed in New York City.
Here’s a little-known fact that CBS undoubtedly doesn’t want to promote. The pilot of “Law & Order” was made for CBS. It passed and NBC bought it. The “Law & Order” franchise probably has made more money than even “Hamilton” ever will.
It also was interesting during the Tonys to see how many winners have had roles on television shows. Williamsville North High School graduate Reed Birney, who won featured actor in a play for “The Humans,” plays the vice president on “House of Cards.” Renee Elise Goldsberry, who won as best featured actress in a musical for “Hamilton,” played Geneva Pine on “The Good Wife.” She testified against Peter Florrick (Chris Noth) in this May’s final episodes. Frank Langella, who won best lead actor in a play for “The Father,” also is terrific in FX’s series about Russian spies, “The Americans.”
If I ever get fortunate enough to buy a reasonably priced ticket for “Hamilton,” I plan to immediately listen to the cast album 10-100 times so I’ll understand the fast lyrics. It wasn’t easy to understand all of the lines during a performance on the Tonys.
Radio sports talk show host Jim Rome soon will be taking his Jungle to a new location in the Buffalo market. I’m told Entercom has received permission to move Rome’s radio show from WGR to ESPN 1520 when John Murphy’s show on the Buffalo Bills moves from 7 p.m. nightly into Rome’s noon slot on WGR.
The switch of Rome to 1520 apparently means the ESPN program that is hosted by Dan Le Batard will end an hour early at noon instead of 1 p.m., and the first two hours of the following 1 to 4 p.m. program co-hosted by Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell will be pre-empted until 3 p.m. Rome will compete for an audience with Murphy’s show and former ESPN host Colin Cowherd’s program on 1270 The Fan from noon to 3 p.m.
Murphy’s program is expected to make the switch at the start of the Bills training camp in late July. It will mean that WGR will have local sports talk from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., with five hours – from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. – containing programs produced by the Buffalo Sabres and the Bills.
You could tell by the way the season finale of “Nashville” ended that there was a good chance it would return somewhere after ABC canceled it. Sure enough, fans will be able to see if the plane carrying Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) landed safely when the series returns on cable’s CMT. I’d bet on some cast subtractions to lower the program’s budget.
I made some personal journalistic history recently when I interviewed “American Grit” winner Mark Bouquin and his girlfriend, Melissa Darcy. It is the first time I have ever interviewed anyone on their way to the hospital to have a baby. The circumstance illustrated what a sweet couple they are. When I called Bouquin on his cellphone, he said they were on their way to Mercy Hospital to have a baby. I asked him if he wanted to delay the interview, but he said they still had another 20 minutes to get there so he was fine with answering questions. Later, I asked him if Melissa was comfortable enough to answer a couple of questions. She got on the phone as if nothing was happening and delivered some good quotes – before delivering Jamison Tyler Bouquin several hours later.
Channel 2 reporter Andrea Marvin wanted a low-key departure a week ago when she left for a job in West Palm Beach, Fla. I wish her well. She always sounded very bored saying “Andrea Marvin, Channel 2 News” when she signed off from a story. It always made me laugh. I will miss that.
I would never criticize a local station for opening its checkbook and sending a reporter to cover a national story like the Orlando tragedy. But you had to wonder what Channel 4 expected reporter Jenn Schanz to get when she arrived in that Florida city Sunday that it couldn’t get from the national outlets it uses, unless she had uncovered some local angle.
On Sunday night and Monday morning, Schanz did a competent job setting the scene, doing interviews in Orlando and relaying details anyone watching the national news would have known. Schanz worked very hard in Orlando, even if her reports didn’t have much new.
But Channel 4 had to be pleased that her just being in Orlando seemed to help the station’s ratings.
It won at 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, when Channel 2 usually is in first place. And I’m sure it will be heavily promoting Schanz as being the only local reporter in Orlando.