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Changes to come in local morning TV landscape

This is what I’m thinking:

With WGRZ-TV’s John Beard heading back to California in January and WIVB-TV waiting for a new owner before naming Teresa Weakley’s replacement, the local morning TV landscape in Western New York will be changing in 2017.

Beard is exiting top-rated “Daybreak” a few months after weather anchor Maria Genero moved to a schedule with more agreeable hours. That puts added pressure on co-anchor Melissa Holmes, who works so well with Beard, to provide stability in a time slot that viewers appreciate and desire it.

Pete Gallivan, who was "Daybreak" co-anchor before Beard arrived in 2009, would appear to be a possible replacement. But the station is running national advertising for Beard’s position. That may indicate that General Manager Jim Toellner may be seeking someone with more personality than Gallivan or that he doesn’t want to sacrifice his strong reporting skills on other newscasts. Over at Channel 4, Brittni Smallwood has done very well as the temporary co-anchor of No. 2-rated “Wake Up!” alongside Jordan Williams since Weakley left. The ratings have remained steady. Smallwood has the anchor skills and pleasant personality for the morning and deserves a shot at doing the job permanently.

However, the station is about to undergo another ownership change to Nexstar, which presumably is behind the delay in naming permanent replacements for former news director Scott Levy and Weakley. Nexstar is nicknamed Deathstar in the industry, which indicates it may be more concerned about making money than spending it on a new morning star.

The changes at Channel 2 and Channel 4 would seem to leave an opening for Channel 7’s third-rated morning program co-anchored by Ed Drantch and Katie Morse to get more sampling.
Speaking of Channel 7, its “Everywhere” promotional music campaign seems to be borrowing the upbeat attitude of Channel 2’s promos. Good idea.

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Since I am a member of the media, I was predisposed to be interested in the new Amazon series, “Good Girls Revolt,” which is based on a true story and deals with sexism in the news magazine industry in New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It has a nostalgic “Mad Men” feel, an excellent cast of mostly little-known actors and serves as an interesting reminder to how much women have overcome even if they still haven’t won the presidency.

Genevieve Angelson, who plays a smart and rebellious researcher who aspires to be a writer in the male-dominated industry, steals just about every scene she is in. Jim Belushi, who is one of the magazine’s leaders, may be the most recognizable name in the cast, but he has a secondary role. Grace Gummer, who is Meryl Streep’s daughter, plays future screenwriter Nora Ephron. In one fictionalized episode, Ephron quits the magazine because it refused to allow women to have the title of writer even if they wrote stories.

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The Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump presidential race illustrated how far female reporters have advanced since the “Good Girls Revolt” days. The nation won’t be getting its first female president, but several females became media stars covering the election campaign. Three that impressed me were NBC’s Hallie Jackson and Katy Tur and CNN’s Brianna Keilar.

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Channel 7’s Keith Radford interview with legendary anchor Irv Weinstein on Nov. 4 was sweet. It wasn’t a tear-jerker, thanks to Weinstein’s constant laugh while illustrating what his battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) has done to his classic voice. Watch the interview here.

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WNED-TV, the local public broadcasting station, is planning a holiday treat. At 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving, it is re-running “Hamilton’s America,” the 90-minute program that details Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creation of the hit Broadway musical. The first airing as part of “Great Performances” on a Friday night in October had a 1.5 local rating.

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Thanks to the 22.1 rating for the Cubs’ game 7 win over Cleveland last Wednesday, the local ratings for this year’s World Series almost doubled the 2015 World Series won by Kansas City over the New York Mets. The seven games this year averaged a 14.6 local rating. The five games in 2015 averaged a 7.7 rating.

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NBCSN has added the Nov. 29 game involving the Canadian teams that have two of the league’s more dynamic players, Toronto’s Auston Matthews and Edmonton’s Connor McDavid. It will be joining it in progress at 10 p.m. It had been criticized for failing to show a game between the two stars. The rating for a game it did show opposite a World Series game – Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders – may have had something to do with the change in philosophy. It didn’t even register a rating in Buffalo, one of the top hockey markets in the league. The problem with carrying Toronto and Edmonton games is those Canadian markets aren’t rated in the United States.

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As entertaining as the Buffalo Bills’ 31-25 loss to Seattle on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was, it didn’t do much for the NFL’s declining ratings. The game had a national 7.8 rating, which the Sports Business Daily said was the lowest-rated for week nine in nine seasons. The fact Buffalo is a small market didn’t help.

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Monday was a test of the local interest in the Bills and Sabres. The score: Bills 38.2,  Sabres 4.3. It isn’t a fair comparison: The Bills were part of an exciting loss. The Sabres lost to Boston, 4-0. The Sabres had averaged a 5.5 rating for their first 10 televised games.

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I would have thought that the Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier might have been suspended for airing a false report about an investigation of Hillary Clinton a week before the election. But there he was on election night co-anchoring the cable news network’s coverage alongside Megyn Kelly. Baier’s strong reputation took a big hit for that erroneous report.

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If I were to give WBEN afternoon talker Tom Bauerle a co-host, it wouldn’t have been someone who thinks like him in David Bellavia. I would have chosen a liberal for balance. But anything or anyone that cuts into Bauerle’s time is all right with me.

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Now that she has been in the co-anchor seat at Channel 7 for almost a year, I have some advice for Ashley Rowe: Lower the volume. I still think she is a future star, but she does seem to raise her voice almost to a shout at times.

email: apergament@buffnews.com

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