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Senate hearing isn't big TV hit for local network affiliates, which take a financial hit

The riveting almost nine-hour hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee featuring testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh wasn’t exactly must-see TV Thursday in Western New York.

The three broadcast network affiliates with local news operations and the three main cable news outlets had a combined average rating of 17.1 from 9:30 a.m. – when network coverage began – through 7 p.m.

Although the combined rating would likely make the hearing the No. 1 entertainment program in prime time, it is about half the rating a Buffalo Bills regular-season game gets on just one channel.

The combined rating for WGRZ-TV (Channel 2), WIVB-TV (Channel 4) and WKBW-TV (Channel 7) for the testimony of Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser also was lower in some hours for the combined average ratings those network affiliates usually get for regular programming. The rating was especially lower in the local news time periods from 5 p.m. through 6:30 p.m., which were preempted.

However, the hearing was a boost for cable news outlets, which in some cases received higher average ratings than usual in daytime time periods.

Fox News was the local ratings leader with a 5.4 average. Channel 2 was second with a 3.7 average rating. Channel 4 was third with a 2.5 average rating and Channel 7 only slightly behind with a 2.4. MSNBC averaged a 1.6 rating and CNN a 1.5 rating.

The local affiliates carried the hearings from network feeds at considerable cost as part of their job to serve the public.

"It cost us a lot of revenue but coverage like this goes to the core of our purpose," said Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner in a text. "This was compelling coverage of our system of government and is likely of historic significance."

[Related: Read the New York Times' report on Kavanaugh's hearing]

Watching the third season premiere of the NBC hit “This Is Us” was frustrating at times Tuesday night.

That’s because, at a few key moments, the feed of the program on WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) either went blank or haywire.

Toellner explained that it was a satellite reception issue.

NBC wouldn’t allow the episode to be repeated but it's available On Demand or at

The premiere had a 10.0 live rating, which is strong these days. But it was about one-third lower than the 15.0 rating for the second season premiere.

Broadcast network programs pretty much across the board are experiencing lower ratings.

[Related: Chance encounter with Justin Hartley of "This Is Us" | Pergament: So easy for families to relate to "This Is Us"]

The CBS announcing teams for the next two Buffalo Bills have been announced. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts work the Bills game in Green Bay Sunday. On Oct. 7, Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta will work the Bills home game against Tennessee.

Channel 2 has added another native Western New Yorker to its news team.

Leanne Stuck, who graduated from Sweet Home High School and Niagara University, is joining the station as a nightside reporter on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule.

A former intern at WKBW-TV (Channel 7), Stuck arrives from WEHT in Evansville, Ind., where she was a weekend anchor and reporter. Before that, she worked as a reporter at WJET in Erie, Pa.

She isn’t the only member of the Channel 2 news staffer to graduate from Sweet Home. That also is the alma mater of “Daybreak” co-anchor Melissa Holmes.

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