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What's next after Levin's departure from Channel 2?

A smorgasbord of notes before the holiday feasts:

What now? That's the question following the classy goodbye Wednesday by former Channel 2 co-anchor Scott Levin on the final day of the May sweeps.

It usually takes something seismic to change news viewing habits in Western New York. Levin's departure after almost 20 years as the station's primary male anchor could qualify.

It will be followed by an aftershock at the end of the year when John Beard plans to exit as co-anchor of Channel 2's morning program "Daybreak."

Looking at the just-completed May sweeps, Channel 2 already looks vulnerable in three key time slots it has won in recent years.

The 6 p.m. WIVB-TV (Channel 4) newscast co-anchored by veterans Don Postles and Jacquie Walker won the battle in household viewership and closed the gap with Channel 2 in the key 25-54 demographic.

Channel 4's 5:30 p.m. newscast anchored by Nalina Shapiro also won in households, though Channel 2 won in the key demographic.

Channel 2 barely held on for a 6 a.m. victory. "Daybreak," usually a big winner, defeated Channel 4's Wake Up" by .05 of a point in households and saw its demographic win significantly reduced.

WKBW-TV, which has had an improving news product, remains a distant third in all time slots it competes in.

With the competition between Channel 2 and Channel 4 so tight, the decision on who will replace Levin becomes even more important as viewers just may sample different newscasts.

Sports Director Adam Benigni, who co-anchored the 5:30 p.m. newscast during the May sweeps, will fill in for Levin while General Manager Jim Toellner decides who is going to fill the role permanently. When Benigni vacations, Pete Gallivan will likely get a shot at the position.

If Benigni gets the job permanently, the station will need a new member of the sports department.

Gallivan frequently fills in for Beard on "Daybreak" and is likely to be the favorite for that job once Beard leaves at the end of the year.

Benigni has Levin's endorsement. "He is a great guy, the hardest-working guy in the newsroom.  Always has been. Smart, all-around solid guy. I love Adam," Levin said.

Beard reports that he has been officially told he will be part of the fifth season of "Arrested Development" for Netflix. He doesn't know how many episodes he will appear in. He said the new season is scheduled to shoot from August into October and that he'll fly out to California to film when needed.

Responses to crudity

The FCC decided no action is necessary over Stephen Colbert's crude remark about President Trump at the end of his monologue on "The Late Show" on May 1. No surprise here. The comment was bleeped and aired in late night when the rules on content are looser.

By the way, CBS reported this week that Buffalo (Channel 4) is in the Top 10 of affiliates for Colbert's program. His Tuesday night show opened with members of a fictitious law firm, "Galino and Farnes: The Attorney Guys," making a pitch to be President Trump's lawyers. He has been advised to seek private counsel for matters pertaining to the Russian investigation. Cellino & Barnes advertises in the New York City area.

Speaking of crude, CNN's Anderson Cooper caught some flak for a recent remark directed at Trump apologist Jeffrey Lord. Cooper later apologized for the remark, which appeared to result from his increasing frustration dealing with Trump surrogates who can't simply admit that the president makes any mistakes and go to ridiculous lengths to defend him. Cooper's earlier eye roll during a Kellyanne Conway interview spoke volumes, too.

I'm actually amazed that he can keep his cool when Jack Kingston and Kayleigh McEnany do their verbal gymnastics defending Trump. You wish CNN would drop Lord, Kingston and McEnany and find Trump defenders who don't insult the intelligence of the host or viewers.

In brief

"This Is Us" star Sterling K. Brown discussed the importance of telling his wife about love scenes he is in during Monday's episode of NBC's "Running Wild with Bear Grylls." Brown said he called his wife immediately after doing a love scene with Kate Hudson but didn't say the movie he was filming.

Brown and Hudson worked together last summer in the film "Marshall" that was partially shot in Buffalo. They shot scenes together at the presidential residence of Daemen College. Brown plays a chauffeur wrongly accused of raping a beautiful socialite played by Hudson. The chauffeur is defended by Thurgood Marshall, a future Supreme Court justice who is the subject of the movie.

Remember the name Chris Blue. Or not. He was the winner of this season's "The Voice" on Tuesday and deservedly so. He had a crowd-pleasing performance on the Final Four night Monday, which most likely rocketed him to the title. But winning "The Voice" doesn't guarantee much. Quickly, name one past winner. Thought so.

It was nice to see Channel 2's Rich Kellman back on the air last week reporting an extended story on the opioid epidemic.

Am I the only one who didn't clearly hear the lyrics of "Saturday Night Live's" version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" during the cold open of the season finale? You almost wish there had been a crawl with the lyrics.

The episode hosted by Dwayne Johnson had a 5.8 local rating on WGRZ-TV, which is impressive considering the show had few bright moments besides the open and Weekend Update. It might have been the worst episode of the season. "SNL" surely will be missed during its summer break, though President Trump and his family may be happy about it.

Channel 2 News is losing some of its key behind-the-scenes personnel. Executive producer Matt Pitts, who is married to anchor Kelly Dudzik, is leaving to be Key Bank's communications manager for the Western New York region. He is the second key producer to leave the station in recent weeks. Sally Durwald, a highly respected producer who was at Channel 2 for 17 years, recently left to work at Channel 4.

Inquiring minds want to know: In Channel 2's goodbye to Levin Wednesday, reporter Claudine Ewing said the anchor knows that she calls him her "TDOW" and never explained what the initials stand for. She told me the initials stand for "Tall Drink of Water." Levin is 6 foot, 3-inches tall.


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