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'Roseanne' opener was a big hit here, but couldn't beat Stormy interview

ABC and many media critics are calling the reboot of "Roseanne" a megahit after last week's two-episode premiere.

It is understandable.

The two episodes a week ago received ratings that haven't been seen in recent years for a premiere episode of a new or reboot of a series and led ABC to renew it for a second season of undetermined length.

Locally, the program averaged a 15.2 live rating on WKBW-TV (Channel 7), which is close to what a Buffalo Bills preseason game gets on the channel.

The big question for tonight's third episode is whether Western New York and the nation will return in similar numbers.

Last week's premiere had some advantages. It was like a movie premiere, with Roseanne Barr riding a publicity wave from all media outlets that included her real-life support of President Trump as embodied in her character Roseanne Conner.

ABC repeated the episode Sunday night, hours after Barr created a controversy for tweeting a discredited theory that surely has to upset her bosses at Disney.

The Sunday repeat only had a 2.1 local rating on a busy TV night, suggesting everyone who wanted to see it already had five days earlier or on demand.

Barr's Twitter craziness also might have created some backlash that could affect tonight's rating.

I didn't love the first two episodes as much as many critics because I go to entertainment series to avoid divisive politics.

I did love one line uttered by Roseanne to her sister Jackie (Laurie Metcalf), who detests Trump .

"It is not my fault," Roseanne told Jackie. "I happen to be a charismatic person who is always right about everything."

Interestingly, the one TV star who had a higher rating than Roseanne in Western New York in the last few weeks was Stormy Daniels, who claims she had a sexual encounter with President Trump.

Her March 25 interview with Anderson Cooper on CBS' "60 Minutes" had a 17.5 live rating on WIVB-TV (Channel 4).

Some people suggested that CBS' decision to release a transcript of the interview while a college basketball tournament game that went into overtime was delaying the start of "60 Minutes" would backfire. They thought viewers would hear all they needed to hear on the cable news channels and would avoid the CBS interview.

It didn't happen in Western New York. The three cable news channels – CNN, Fox and MSNBC --  barely averaged a combined 1.0 rating opposite the end of the basketball game. The game averaged an 18.0 rating in that half hour, providing Daniels and Cooper with a strong lead-in.

Here are some other interesting notes about what Western New York has been recently watching:

* Music to NBC's ears:  The live broadcast of "Jesus Christ Superstar" had an 8.2 rating on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) on Easter Sunday night. It was the highest-rated program of the night, with "60 Minutes" second at 7.1. With a cast led by John Legend as Jesus, Brandon Victor Dixon (who has played Aaron Burr in "Hamilton") as Judas and Sara Bareilles as Mary Magdalene, it was exceptional. There were some sound issues, but it easily was my favorite live musical since broadcast TV rediscovered the form.

* 'American Idol' slips: The two-hour episode Sunday opposite the NBC musical had a lower than normal 3.9 rating on Channel 7. Monday's episode rose slightly to a 4.1.

* Hoop dreams: The Notre Dame women's exciting 61-58 win over Mississippi State on Sunday night for the national title on a last-second shot had only a 2.6 local rating on ESPN. To put that in perspective, Villanova's 79-62 victory over Michigan for the men's national title Monday had a 7.4 rating on TBS. Michigan's win over Loyola Chicago on Saturday night in the men's semifinals had about a 7.5 local rating on TBS and Villanova's rout of Kansas had a 6.2 after it.

* Jack's night: The five assist night by Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel in a 7-4 win over Nashville had only a 4.0 rating Saturday on MSG, which is well below the season average. The Sabres' 5-2 loss to Toronto on Monday on MSG had a 3.4 rating opposite the men's title game.

* Programming note: The "Hill Street Blues" episode, "Trial by Fury," mentioned in a story carried by The Buffalo News as part of a tribute to legendary producer Steven Bochco, has a Buffalo angle. The episode was written by Buffalo writer David Milch, who started his TV writing career on "Hill Street."

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