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Weatherly's "Bull" off to a strong local start; Emmy ratings soar here, not nationally

This is what I’m thinking:

The new Michael Weatherly series “Bull” was off to a strong local start Tuesday night with a 13.5 same day rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate. That was even higher than the season premiere of Weatherly’s former show, “NCIS,”  which has been the area's most popular drama. "NCIS" had a 12.4 same day local rating, which is low for this market.

The 10 p.m. Tuesday premiere of NBC’s “This is Us” had a decent 6.9 rating after “The Voice” (9.7). “This Is Us” moves opposite “Bull” in a couple of weeks, which could be a problem for it if the CBS show’s ratings hold.

“Bull,” in which Weatherly plays a jury consultant, was expected to get a strong sampling because of its lead and the program’s lead-in and I’m sure CBS will instantly label it a hit. But I’d see how many people come back for episode 2 and 3 and look at its demographics before deciding whether it is really a hit. I’d also wait and see how many people watch “This is Us” On Demand or in some other secondary way before measuring its popularity.

Jimmy Kimmel was a rated highly as the host with critics, but that didn’t help the national ratings for the Emmy Awards.

While the program had a slightly lower nationally viewership that the 2015 Emmys, locally the ratings improved by 60 percent. The Kimmel-led program had a 7.1 rating on WKBW-TV, the local ABC affiliate, compared to a 4.5 last year on WUTV with Andy Samberg as host of a Fox telecast.

This year’s local rating might have grown even more if CBS hadn’t carried part one of its two-part series on the 20-year mystery surrounding the death of JonBenet Ramsey. The program had a 7.7 rating on WIVB-TV, pushing the Emmys into third place locally on Sunday.

Of course, the top-rated program was Minnesota’s 17-14 victory over Green Bay on Sunday Night Football, which had a 13.3 rating on WGRZ-TV, the local NBC affiliate. That was lower than the 14.1 rating Sunday afternoon for Denver’s victory over Indianapolis on WIVB-TV, but higher than the 9.5 rating for New England’s victory over Miami on WIVB-TV on a Sunday without a Bills game.

If you missed the CBS pregame show, network football insider Jason LaCanfora said “sweeping changes could be coming in 2017” for the Bills and added “I’m told the environment in that Bills’ locker room very bleak” after the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman after two losses. I bet Bills players would dispute that.

Meanwhile, NFL insider Peter King suggested that Bills Coach Rex Ryan "is going to be very good next year on Fox," I think Ryan would be better suited to replace Mike Ditka on ESPN. Ditka’s expiration date should have been years ago because he adds very little these days. And wouldn’t it be poetic if Rex replaced the coach of the team, Chicago, that won the Super Bowl when Rex’s father Buddy was the defensive coordinator who got much of the credit?

If you missed my network preview, here are some mini-reviews of the network shows premiering tonight.

“Lethal Weapon,” 8 p.m., Fox:  Based on the 1987 buddy cop movie starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, it is a fast-moving hour with some risqué situations. Clayne Crawford plays a risk-taking detective teamed who has a nice chemistry with Damon Wayans, who plays a family man. I didn’t expect much but Crawford has a nice swagger about him and could be the season’s breakout star. 3 stars

 “Speechless,” 8:30 p.m., ABC: Minnie Driver plays a fast-driving and somewhat abrasive mother of three who even scares the police and will do anything to get the best care for her son who has special needs and uses a computer to communicate. It has its heart in the right place, but it doesn't have many laughs. 2 stars 

 “Designated Survivor,” 10 p.m., ABC: Kiefer Sutherland stars as a cabinet member who is drinking beer away in a safe place during the State of the Union address when the Capitol building is bombed. Totally unprepared, he becomes president and his beautiful wife (Natascha McElhone of “Californication”) becomes First Lady. The new president not only has to calm down America, but also keep a power hungry military man and a troubled teenage son under control. The pilot is one of the season’s best, though it is hard to see if the quality can continue. 3 and a half stars

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