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New NFL TV rule means Buffalo will see more football this season

Are you ready for even more football than you’ve watched in the past?

The National Football League is experimenting this season with a new rule that will give armchair fans even more games to watch on some Sunday afternoons.

In seasons past, the local CBS affiliate WIVB and the local Fox affiliate WUTV were prohibited from carrying a game opposite a Buffalo Bills home game on their network’s doubleheader weekend.

The NFL loosened the rule in late May for this season and is allowing games to air opposite a home team’s games for several weeks of the season.

As an example, when the Bills host Miami at 1 p.m. Oct. 20 on WIVB, WUTV will be able to carry the Arizona-New York Giants game opposite it.

On Nov. 24 when the Bills host Denver at 1 p.m. in a game carried by WIVB, WUTV will be able to carry the Giants game with the Chicago Bears opposite it.

The league has told WUTV that the Buffalo market will have games in both the early and late windows on all Fox doubleheader Sundays.

In years past, WUTV would have likely carried a movie opposite the Bills games on WIVB those Sundays. WIVB is scheduled to carry 13 Bills games and WUTV is scheduled to carry two home games. The 16th game doesn’t have a home yet.

When WUTV carries the Bills home games at 1 p.m. with Philadelphia on Oct. 27 and Washington on Nov. 3, WIVB likely will be able to carry a CBS game opposite them on the network's doubleheader weekend.

The old rule was designed to protect attendance at home games.

The new rule means that there will be more weeks that three Sunday games will be available in Buffalo.

However, there is one report that a team can stop the practice after allowing it for two Sundays, which suggests a team might see if the rule impacts attendance before allowing the practice to continue.

There certainly will be plenty of NFL football available to watch on Buffalo television this opening Sunday.

The Bills opener at the New York Jets at 1 p.m. Sunday will be carried by WIVB at the same time as Washington plays Philadelphia on WUTV.

WUTV has a doubleheader Fox weekend and will carry the New York Giants opener against Dallas in the 4:25 p.m. game.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football game between Pittsburgh and New England starts at 8:20 p.m. on WGRZ-TV, the local NBC affiliate.

If you’re not a football fan, WNED-TV, the local public broadcasting station, is carrying a two-hour special, “Downton Abbey Returns” at 4 p.m. Sunday. It includes a preview of the movie that is soon to be in theaters. While the ad for the movie currently playing says the movie will premiere in theaters on Sept. 20, if you go online you can see it is scheduled to be carried for one night only at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in three local theaters before starting on a daily basis on Sept. 19.

The death of Valerie Harper, who was best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” had me searching for episodes of the classic sitcom over the long holiday weekend. I found some episodes On Demand on the Sundance Channel.

If you are looking for something different to watch tonight, I have a suggestion for you based on Conan O’Brien’s appearance with Anderson Cooper Monday night on CNN. “Conan in Greenland,” in which the late-night comedian heads to the territory of Denmark to see if citizens there approve of President Trump’s offer to buy it, looks hilarious. O’Brien made a lot of fun of Cooper’s attempt to grow a beard over a nine-day vacation while promoting the special, which airs at 10 tonight on TBS.


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