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On 'Mrs. Maisel,' McDermott and other holiday leftovers

Some leftovers after Thanksgiving:

--- I was a little surprised to see an advertisement on ABC and NBC this week for a streaming series, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," that is my favorite new Amazon program.

The aptly-titled show from Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of "Gilmore Girls," premieres Wednesday.

This is the perfect time for all Amazon Prime subscribers to realize they are entitled to watch the streaming service's programs.

"Mrs. Maisel," which is set in the 1960s, is about a Jewish housewife and mother who discovers she is funnier than her unethical husband and becomes a standup comedian.

I've seen the first four episodes and couldn’t have been happier if I were given a year's supply of matzo ball soup.

It is nostalgic, it is funny, it is just a little outrageous and it is female-empowering. Actress Rachel Brosnahan has a terrific star turn as Miriam ("Midge") Maisel. Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle play her traditional parents and Luke Kirby shows up as Lenny Bruce.

I thought it could have been inspired by the career paths of housewives- turned comedians Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr so I did a little research.

Roseanne reportedly gave Sherman-Palladino her first writing job on "Roseanne" and Bruce reportedly was a supporter of Rivers on the comedy circuit.

--- I love Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon and ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" but their take last week on Bills Coach Sean McDermott was as stupid as McDermott's decision to start quarterback Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor against the Los Angeles Chargers turned out to be.

Kornheiser and Wilbon said McDermott should be fired. The coach is in the first year of a reported five-year contract and not even the mega-rich Pegulas are going to fire him for one decision that backfires. After all, they are already paying Rex Ryan not to coach and criticize them on ESPN.

Often when you hear national talk show takes on the Bills you end up shaking your head. Ex-Bill Marcellus Wiley actually suggested on ESPN that the decision to play Peterman was motivated by money because his salary is a lot less than Taylor's. And Wiley gets paid for takes like that.

--- Buffalo native John Maggio has two TV works coming soo. He is the director of the 8 p.m. Dec. 4 HBO documentary, "Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee." It is about the powerful Washington Post executive editor who became a legend for his newspaper's coverage of Watergate.

HBO calls it "an intimate portrait of this formidable man, tracing his remarkable ascent from a young Boston boy stricken with polio to the one of the most pioneering and consequential journalistic figures of the 20th century."

And on Jan. 9, Maggio is the writer, director and producer of the two-hour film "Into the Amazon," which premieres on PBS' "American Experience." According to PBS, the film is about the perilous 1914 journey by President Theodore Roosevelt and Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon "into the dark and deadly heart of the Amazon rainforest to chart an unknown river in one of the most dangerous places on earth."

"What was anticipated to be a relatively tranquil journey turned out to be a brutal test of courage and character, claiming the lives of three men and almost killing the president."

Maggio's previous "American Experience" films include "Bonnie & Clyde," "Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid," "Billy the Kid," "The Lobotomist," The Boy in the Bubble," "Kinsey," and The Fight."

--- It is the holiday season so someone is telling me to say something nice about someone on local television. I've been very impressed by Channel 2's new reporter Emily Lampa.

--- New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski has become a star in commercials as well as in the NFL. I love the ad for a detergent when he puts on pigtails and pretends to be on a female sports team. The Western New York native isn't identified in the ad. At this point, his face is so well known that he doesn't have to be.

--- WGRZ-TV recently loaned sports reporter Jonah Javad to the Houston affiliate of its TV Group, Tegna, to cover the World Series. I've been told that one possible landing spot for Javad if he chooses to leave is in Texas. But it is at Tegna's Dallas affiliate. However, the job apparently has been frozen and can't be filled yet.

--- After my column last Sunday about the TV ratings of prime time broadcast programs, inquiring minds want to know: How many meters are in Buffalo to determine the ratings? There are 400 set meters in Buffalo that determine what's watched and not who is watching. And there are 45 people meters as here as part of the national sample that measure who is watching.

Inquiring minds want to know: Why didn't  Spectrum Cable air CTV's second airing of the film "Long Time Running" about the late Gord Downie and The Tragically Hip on Nov. 12.

The reason it didn't air is the same reason that the Oct. 20 airing of the film didn't run on Spectrum: A failure of CTV and Spectrum to communicate.

A CTV spokesman wrote: "I can confirm this was not blacked out by Bell Media and that the direction did not come from Bell Media. Suggest you check in with Spectrum."

So I did. A Spectrum spokesperson wrote: "We have a standing non-duplication for that time period and received no notice to alter it."

This might sound like a strange suggestion to Spectrum. But with all the money people pay for its service, you would think that it could hire someone to look at the CTV schedule to see if it has changed and it doesn't need to cover certain time periods with paid programming.

--- The sexual harassment allegations against Charlie Rose that led to his firing by CBS and PBS has caused WNED-TV to make some schedule changes.

The local public broadcasting station is replacing Rose's PBS show that runs at 5 p.m. weekdays with repeats of "Finding Your Roots," which WNED says is one of its most popular programs.

Rose's half-hour weekend show that is carried at 11:30 a.m. Sunday is being replaced by “Great Decisions in Foreign Policy.”

WNED-TV says the changes will continue until year's end and it will decide later what to do in 2018.


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