If there is anything as aggravating as how early a presidential campaign starts, it is probably how early holiday-themed music is played on the radio.
A day or so after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, I turned on Star 102.5 to hear “Jingle Bells” and other holiday classics.
I immediately put it up for an unofficial vote whether it was too early. The returns were too close to call. Some people thought radio stations should wait until after Thanksgiving. Others thought it was nice to hear some joyful music after the nasty election campaign was over.
I was on the side of those who thought it was too early.
It also may too early to deliver some leftovers – in the form of notes – a few days before Thanksgiving. But here they are.
• Channel 2 weather anchor Kevin O’Connell is scheduled to end his full-time run at the NBC affiliate in January. But like Don Paul before him, O’Connell isn’t going gently into the night. Paul landed at Channel 7 on weekends shortly after exiting Channel 4. O’Connell won’t need to find another outlet.
“He’ll probably stay on in some capacity,” said Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner. “We’re still discussing what his role will be. Both sides want to make it happen.”
• After further review, O’Connell’s buddy, “Daybreak”’ co-anchor John Beard, isn’t leaving in January. He was persuaded to stay at Channel 2 until June, which gives the station more time to find his replacement.
Toellner said the primary concession made to Beard was to allow him to leave the station earlier and not do the “Today” show local cut-ins that had kept him at Channel 2 until 9 a.m. daily. That means Beard – who says he has sleeping problems – can go back to bed after his shift ends.
• I can’t believe I forgot Jodi Johnston. A week ago, I mistakenly wrote that Pete Gallivan was Melissa Holmes’ co-anchor on “Daybreak” before Beard took over. Holmes’ predecessor, Johnston, was Gallivan’s co-anchor.
• Channel 2 quietly reshuffled some of its anchors on its newscasts prior to the November ratings book. Kelly Dudzik, who had been co-anchoring the 5 p.m. newscast, is now the regular anchor of the 10 p.m. newscast on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate. Maryalice Demler, who had rotated with Scott Levin on the 10 p.m. newscast, has replaced Dudzik on the 5 p.m. newscast and now co-anchors with Levin from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m., and at 11 p.m. Michael Wooten no longer co-anchors the 5:30 p.m. newscast. Toellner said the moves were made for consistency sake.
• Cheers to Buffalo Sabres play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret, whose voice has improved this season from last season. Now if only the same could be said of the team.
• Am I the only one who feels a little badly for Billy Bush? Well, as badly as anyone can feel for a guy who walked away with millions after being fired from “Today” because of his involvement in the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trump said … Oh, you know what he said. The point is that Trump won the election and got more than 40 percent of the women’s vote anyway. That would seem to indicate the female viewers who watch “Today” could have forgiven Bush for being part of that offensive bus conversation. I would have suspended him, rather than fired him.
• If you’re looking for the Bills’ game in Cincinnati Sunday, be advised that it is on the local Fox affiliate, WUTV, rather than Channel 4, the CBS affiliate that normally carries Bills road games on Sunday. The NFL schedules so-called “crossover” games to try and equalize that schedules it gives to its network partners. Ex-Bill Chris Spielman is one of the Fox analysts today.
• Dave Chappelle’s critically-acclaimed appearance as guest host of “Saturday Night Live” also was a local and national ratings hit. The program had a 7.6 local rating, which was only 0.2 points below the rating for the Oct. 1 season premiere. And it averaged an 11.2 rating for the exceptional opening 15 minutes when Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton went to the piano and sang the late songwriter Leonard Cohen’s often misunderstood “Hallelujah” before Chappelle did a brief standup act that ended with a message – also misunderstood by some -- about giving President-elect Donald Trump a chance while also holding him accountable.
Very few broadcast network prime time programs get an 11.2 live ratings these days. The six live editions of “SNL” this season have averaged a local rating of 6.6, which is about 25 percent higher than the first six original episode in 2015. However, the Nov. 7, 2015 “SNL” had an 8.4 local rating, higher than any episode this season.
The Nov. 7 guest host? Donald Trump.
Since Trump has been so much easier to poke fun at than Hillary Clinton, his upset victory can be looked at as good for “SNL.”
• I was on an airplane watching MSNBC Monday when Pete Williams had difficulty staying composed talking about the death of his broadcasting friend, Gwen Ifill.
He was composed later that day for his report on the “NBC Nightly News” on the beloved broadcaster’s death. On Tuesday, NBC’s “Today” chose to show Williams’ emotional MSNBC report that illustrated the network’s love for its former colleague.
Ifill, who spent some of her early years living in Buffalo, reportedly was recruited by the late Tim Russert in 1994 to cover Capitol Hill for NBC before she moved on to PBS.
Russert’s son, Luke, tweeted this after learning of her death: “I’ll believe that right now @gwenifill and my father are grilling James Madison on the need for the Electoral College in ’16. Love ya Gwen.”
• I find myself watching Amazon Prime programs more and more and network programs less and less. Last Sunday, I praised Amazon’s “Good Girls Revolt.” I also recommend “Goliath,” which stars Billy Bob Thornton as a once-powerful lawyer living in a dingy hotel who takes on a complicated case against his former law firm and law partner (played by William Hurt). It is co-created by David E. Kelley of “L.A. Law” and “The Practice” fame. But I’m really waiting for the return of my favorite Amazon program, “Mozart in the Jungle.” It begins streaming on Dec. 9.