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Channel 7, Channel 4 have promo battle for 'Buffalo Strong' station

Alan Pergament

This is what I’m thinking:

WKBW-TV’s (Channel 7) promotional slogan “Buffalo Strong” made my list of positive things to talk about in an April 1 column.

“WKBW-TV finally has a memorable slogan, even if it seems to have borrowed it from Boston,” I wrote. “It uses it much too often for my taste – there I go, being negative – but at least it is attention-getting and this news department has improved substantially and deserves to get more attention and better ratings than it does.”

I’m not the only one who likes it.

WIVB-TV (Channel 4) appears to like it, too.

Its new promotional campaign slogan, “Stronger Together,” includes two Channel 4 staffers saying, “we’re Buffalo strong.”

If “Stronger Together” sounds familiar, that was the 2016 campaign slogan of Hillary Clinton.

So in one promo, Channel 4 appears to be borrowing from two different campaigns.

Channel 7 says it has been running its “Buffalo Strong” campaign for more than two months, even before the coronavirus outbreak gave it new meaning.

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Channel 7’s new general manager Marc Jaromin came close to saying “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” when asked about the Channel 4 promo.

“In one of my very first meetings with this team,” wrote Jaromin, “I shared a core ‘turnaround’ philosophy of mine; ‘Do what you do, do it well, and when the market leaders pivot toward you, you’ve already won.’”

Perhaps Channel 4 thinks that since Channel 7 is so deep in third place in the local news ratings, viewers think its promo will look original.

Asked why Channel 4 is using a similar slogan to the one Channel 7 has been using for months, Channel 4 General Manager Brien Kennedy wrote: “7 is using ‘Buffalo Strong’. Ours is ‘Stronger Together’ and it’s been on the air for 3-4 weeks. It’s an extension of Loving Living Local song, which we’ve been using for almost three years.”

Kennedy would have a stronger argument if the Channel 4 promo edited out the comments from the two staffers who say “we’re Buffalo strong” in the promo.

Kennedy hasn’t been around long enough to realize Channel 4’s rivals believe it has a history of “borrowing” or imitating promotional campaigns.

It wasn’t too long ago that Channel 4 ran uplifting musical promos that WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) believed were very similar to the Channel 2 theme, “This Is Home.”

I have no horse in the race for the Congressional seat in the 27th District in which endorsed Republican candidate Chris Jacobs is being challenged by Beth Parlato in the June 23 primary.

But whoever advised Parlato to run a sarcastic negative advertisement featuring an older actor who claims to work for the IRS that is supposed to be funny made a serious mistake.

The old guy says the IRS doesn’t endorse candidates but if it did it would endorse Jacobs. Then he goes on to explain Jacobs is a “tax lover” while Parlato is a “tax cutter” like President Trump.

I’m sure some voters who don’t understand sarcasm and don’t listen to the ending may think the ad is an endorsement of Jacobs rather than for Parlato.

The coronavirus outbreak also makes cutting taxes right now a debatable idea. On the one hand, it may put more money in people’s pocketbooks. On the other hand, it would add to what already is an exploding federal debt.

CBS has announced that it will add three new programs next fall. It doesn’t announce its cancellations, just what shows are returning.

“Carol’s Second Act” starring Patricia Heaton didn’t make that list and won’t get a second act. The new spring show starring Edie Falco, “Tommy,” also isn’t coming back.

Here is a brief summary supplied by CBS of the new shows that will make the fall schedule if film production resumes.

“Clarice”: Rebecca Breeds (“Pretty Little Liars”) stars in the role Jodie Foster made famous in the 1991 film “Silence of the Lambs.” CBS says the series will take “a deep dive into the untold personal story of brilliant and vulnerable FBI Agent Clarice Starling as she returns to the field in 1993, six months after the events of ‘The Silence of the Lambs.’ ”

“The Equalizer”: Queen Latifah stars in the “reimagining” of the 1985-89 TV series that starred Edward Woodward. She plays “an enigmatic woman with a mysterious background who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn.” Chris Noth is among the co-stars.

“B Positive”: Another comedy from Chuck Lorre, it stars Thomas Middleditch (“Silicon Valley”) and Annaleigh Ashford (“Masters of Sex”). Middleditch plays a “therapist and newly divorced dad who is faced with finding a kidney donor when he runs into a rough-around-the-edges woman from his past who volunteers her own. Together they form an unlikely bond and begin a journey that will change both of their lives.”

CBS doesn’t need many new fall series since it is returning 23 series, including five that premiered this season – “Bob Loves Abishola,” “All Rise,” “The Unicorn,” “FBI: Most Wanted” and “Evil.”

The report by University at Buffalo graduate Richard Deitsch of The Athletic that analyst Booger McFarland and play-by-play announcer Joe Tessitore are out as ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” team was hardly a surprise. It means the Buffalo Bills 22-19 playoff loss to Houston was their last meaningful game together. (The Pro Bowl doesn’t count.)

McFarland’s fate may have been sealed in the final 15 seconds of regulation of the Buffalo playoff loss when he suggested the Bills consider running on third down to get a few yards and then spiking the ball before trying a tying field goal. Of course, the field goal would have been on a fifth down, which doesn’t exist.

As speculated just about everywhere, Steve Levy is favored to be the play-by-play announcer and one or both Louis Riddick and Dan Orlovsky are the favored to be the analysts. It’s a long shot, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Dave Pasch, the Syracuse graduate who is currently the radio voice of the Arizona Cardinals, was named the play-by-play announcer.


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