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Channel 2 boosts NBC, a Jason Tartick sighting and some love for Bills moves

What Western New York is Watching, abbreviated edition:

The influence a strong local network affiliate has on its network’s ratings was on display again during the February sweeps.

The ratings strength of WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) provided its network, NBC, help in winning the early morning and early evening news time periods.

NBC’s “Today” (6.2) had a Nielsen rating here that was slightly higher than the combined rating for ABC’s “Good Morning America” (3.1) on WKBW-TV and “CBS This Morning” (3.0) on WIVB-TV (Channel 4). From 7 to 9.a.m. Channel 4’s local “Wake Up!” (4.1) on sister station WNLO actually had a higher rating than the national shows from ABC and CBS here during the time period.

More importantly, “Today” won the key 18-49 and 25-54 demographics in the morning by significant margins. “CBS This Morning” beat “GMA” for second place in the key demos.

At 6:30 p.m., NBC’s “Nightly News with Lester Holt" (10.5) used the strong 6 p.m. lead-in from Channel 2 to win the battle with “The CBS Evening News with Jeff Glor” (8.6) on Channel 4 and ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir" (6.6) on Channel 7. The newscasts finished in the same order in the demos.

Jeff Glor (Getty Images)

Glor, the Town of Tonawanda native, was in first place in the November sweeps when Channel 4 dominated and gave his newscast a stronger lead-in.

The rating for Muir’s third-place newscast actually is impressive since Channel 7 provides him with such a weak lead-in.

In late-night, Channel 2’s 11 p.m. first-place household rating win wasn’t enough to help “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” win the 11:35 p.m. comedy competition.

“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (3.1) was the late-night household winner over Fallon’s program (2.3) and “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (1.2) on Channel 7. However, Colbert and Fallon are tied in the 18-49 demo and Colbert has only a lead of one-tenth of a point in the age 25-54 demo.

The results are much different nationally, primarily because Channel 7 is a weak ABC affiliate.

Nationally, ABC’s “GMA” led “Today” during the February sweeps in viewers, but “Today” had the better demos.

ABC’s “World News” also was No. 1 nationally in viewers and won the age 25-54 demo. NBC’s “Nightly News” won the 18-49 demo.

I don’t have the national February sweeps numbers for late night, but Colbert has been winning in viewers for some time and recently barely moved ahead of Fallon in the key 18-49 demo.

Spoiler alert if you didn’t yet watch Tuesday night’s uncomfortable-to-watch episode of NBC’s “This Is Us.”

At least it ended somewhat upbeat with Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris Sullivan) naming their premature newborn son Jack after Kate’s late father. Of course, any “This Is Us” fan could have predicted that. But it was done in a beautiful way.

Another spoiler alert regarding 'The Bachelor'

I didn’t watch more than a few minutes of this year’s “The Bachelor” featuring Colton Underwood, a/k/a "The Virgin," until this week after learning Buffalo native and former “Bachelorette” contestant Jason Tartick was going to appear in the two-part finale Monday and Tuesday.

Tartick and some other popular “Bachelorette” contestants were at the live finale Monday and Tuesday in a panel analyzing Underwood's plight of picking a woman, Cassie, who rejected him. The panel also rooted on Colton.

Tartick was the most comfortable in front of the camera, but the panel played like unnecessary filler so the show could have a four-hour finale to sell ads and try to build suspense.

On Monday, host Chris Harrison oversold Part 2 of Tuesday’s finale, saying it included “a shocking turn that’s never happened in ‘Bachelor’ history.”

I DVRed through the episode in seven minutes and learned that Colton and Cassie have decided to date rather than become engaged.

The season has had strong ratings. If I had watched this season, I imagine I would have been disappointed.

Tartick’s main contribution Monday was to say when one is rejected “a new direction does open and there is happiness around the corner.”

He is speaking from experience. He has been linked romantically to former “Bachelorette” Kaitlyn Bristow.

Asked if they were still dating, Tartick responded Tuesday via text” “Yes.”

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen Tuesday on the Buffalo Bills work in free agency: “I like what the Bills have done.” He is one of many national pundits to say the same thing days after the national media piled on when talks with wide receiver Antonio Brown broke down.

I never get shocked anymore when celebrities we love get in hot water. But Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who are accused of doing something illegal to get their children in prestigious colleges? The accusations against Huffman reminded me that she was one of the stars on one of the seasons of ABC’s excellent and short-lived “American Crime.”  She played a mother grieving the death of her son – and dealing with the legal system.


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