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Weakley’s departure means another shake-up for ‘Wake Up!’ on Channel 4

Get ready for another version of WIVB-TV’s morning news program “Wake Up!”

With the departure of “Wake Up!” and noon co-anchor Teresa Weakley next month when she takes a job in Michigan, the station soon will be having its fourth regular female co-anchor in the morning in four years.

And constant turnover isn’t generally regarded as a good thing in morning television, which relies on viewers getting to know morning personalities and to even consider them as family members.

Weakley replaced Diana Fairbanks in the mornings in 2013, several months before Fairbanks returned to Traverse City, Mich., and left the TV business. Originally hired to anchor the 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, Fairbanks didn’t work the mornings very long.

Before Fairbanks, Victoria Hong was the co-anchor. Hong left in 2012 for a job at Delaware North a few months after male co-anchor Joe Arena left for a job in Pittsburgh.

Arena was replaced by Jordan Williams, who has been Weakley’s co-anchor for the last three years.

Weakley, who arrived from a Youngstown, Ohio, station with the same owner as WIVB, will be moving to WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich., as morning anchor. That station also is owned by the same company that owns Channel 4.

The move was announced in a memo to the staff from Lisa Polster, the acting news director at the CBS affiliate.

Weakley will be moving to a TV market 12 places ahead of Buffalo. The Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek market is No. 41; Buffalo is No. 53.

“We are thrilled for Teresa,” Polster told The News in a text. “She is staying in the Media General Company. She has family there (Grand Rapids). She is a great journalist and will be missed but this is a great opportunity for her.”

During the Weakley-Williams combination, “Wake Up!” remained No. 2 in the market, behind Channel 2’s “Daybreak.”

Her last day at Channel 4 is Sept. 16.


Maria Genero is moving to the weather on weekend “Daybreak” on Channel 2 – Kevin O’Neill’s former spot – and on Monday night when main weatherman Kevin O’Connell has off in his four-day-a-week schedule.

When O’Connell retires in January, Genero and a newcomer, Heather Waldman, will split the 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. from Monday through Sunday. Genero will be working a Monday through Friday schedule, Waldman will be working Wednesday through Sunday.

Jennifer Stanonis takes over Patrick Hammer’s weekend night shifts. She has announced on air that she is expecting a baby in January, when she will take some time off.

Some readers wanted to know where that leaves O’Neill, who earned a meteorological degree while doing his regular job as a feature reporter. It leaves him as a fill-in weather anchor, like he was on Monday night. He will be primarily focusing on his old feature job.

“We like having him five days a week as part of ‘Daybreak,’ ” said General Manager Jim Toellner. “His live shots are one of the most popular parts of the program.”

I’ve been asked by readers to assess the winners and losers in this realignment.

As far as weather is concerned, O’Neill’s new role appears to be a demotion since he has no regular assignment in the department and will literally be out in the cold on some of his live shots when he does features. However, he is happy with the situation and he certainly would be eligible to get more weather work after O’Connell retires, Genero moves to a Monday-through-Friday schedule and Stanonis is on maternity leave.

Hammer’s shift also could be viewed as a demotion since he was originally hired to be O’Connell’s replacement. Morning TV is important, but the top meteorologists work evenings. However, Hammer will get the title of chief meteorologist when O’Connell retires and the move to mornings is understandable since he worked mornings in Minneapolis.

Stanonis is making a lateral move.

Genero clearly is the winner. She gets a promotion since eventually she will be sharing O’Connell’s duties with Waldman.


Reports of any significant TV demise of the Olympics during the Rio Games were greatly exaggerated.

That is especially true in Western New York.

Channel 2, the local NBC affiliate, tied for 19th place among 56 affiliates that measure overnight ratings via meters.

And that’s despite living in an area where many potential Olympic viewers have access to Canadian live coverage via CBLT, the local CBC affiliate in Toronto.

According to my unofficial results, Channel 2 averaged a 15.9 rating for the 17 nights of NBC’s prime time coverage. That was down about 4 percent from the 16.5 average for the London Games in 2012.

The ratings in the Buffalo market were 10 percent higher than the 14.4 rating that NBC averaged nationally over the 17 nights.

And if you remove the relatively lower ratings for the opening and closing ceremonies here for Rio compared to London, the audience on the 15 nights of competition was almost the same here as it was for the games in England.

Considering how much the TV landscape has changed in the past four years with more streaming options like Netflix, the 4 percent drop here is minimal.

Of course, Channel 2 does have an advantage in that the demographics of WNY tend to be somewhat older than parts of the nation and have fewer millennials who nationally were less likely to watch.


Confession time: I haven’t seen a second of the Bravo series “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Don’t Be Tardy” that feature Kim Zolciak, the wife of Bills linebacker Kroy Biermann.

But plenty of Western New Yorkers have.

“The Real Housewives of Atlanta” averaged a 2.9 household rating for the season that concluded in April. That’s higher than several lower-rated prime time network programs.

“Don’t Be Tardy,” which I am told features Kim and Kroy’s family, didn’t do as well. It averaged a 1.6 household rating here for its last season.


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