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Alan Pergament: Emmys owe ratings gain to NFL; another WNYer shines on 'The Voice'

Alan Pergament: Emmys owe ratings gain to NFL; another WNYer shines on 'The Voice'

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This is what I’m thinking:

Much has been made nationally of the improved ratings for Sunday’s Emmy Awards compared to a year ago when the show was done virtually.

If Buffalo is any indication, the improvement is almost entirely because of the strong lead-in the 8 p.m. program received from the Dallas Cowboys’ last-second victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The game averaged an 18.1 rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate, and ended right before the Emmys began.

The Emmys averaged a 4.5 rating, which isn’t much but still was up from a 3.9 rating a year ago.

One rating point in Western New York is equal to 5,285 households.

But a closer look at the ratings indicates Western New Yorkers headed for other entertainment after a quick Emmy start.

The first 15 minutes of the Emmy telecast, which included a lively, entertaining musical number that was the highlight of the program, had a 9.8 rating on WIVB. It slipped to a 7.0 at 8:15 p.m. and was down to 4.3 by 8:45 p.m.

By the final hour, when you would expect decent ratings because many of the top awards were given out, the rating dropped to a 2.4.

The ABC game show, “To Tell the Truth,” on WKBW-TV, even had a much higher rating at 10 p.m. than the Emmys. It had a 3.6 average for the hour.

Of course, the Emmys had tough competition Sunday.

The Baltimore Ravens’ 36-35 upset of the Kansas City Chiefs was the highest rated program Sunday night locally with a 14.8 rating on NBC’s "Sunday Night Football” carried by WGRZ-TV.

A far as the Emmy awards themselves, as expected, the Television Critics Association awards announced a few days before the Emmys were a good barometer.

The TCA doesn’t give out nearly as many awards as the Emmys and doesn’t award them by gender, but the awards it gave out mirrored the Emmys.

The TCAs award for Individual Achievement in Drama went to Michaela Coel (“I May Destroy You," HBO), who earned an Emmy for outstanding writing for a limited series, anthology or movie.

The critics’ choice for Individual Achievement in Comedy went to Jean Smart (“Hacks," HBO Max), who won the Emmy for outstanding lead actress in a comedy.

“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" (HBO) was given the TCA award for Outstanding Achievement in Variety, Talk or Sketch. It won the Emmy for outstanding variety talk series.

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was given three awards by critics for outstanding new program, outstanding achievement in comedy and program of the year. It earned the Emmy as best comedy.

Netflix’s “The Crown” was given the critics award for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. It won the Emmy for best drama.

As far as the Emmy show itself, many of the comedy bits by host Cedric the Entertainer fell flat and weren’t, well, that entertaining.

But I did enjoy the losers’ support group bit in which Cedric led a discussion with Scott Bakula, Jason Alexander, Zooey Deschanel and Alyson Hannigan about never winning an Emmy. Former child actor Fred Savage, who played Kevin Arnold on "The Wonder Years," eventually chimed in from his director’s chair.

A couple of more ratings notes: The first part of Ken Burns’ series on “Muhammad Ali” had a 2.5 rating from 8  to 10 p.m. Sunday on WNED-TV, the local PBS affiliate. According to WNED, it had the third highest rating on Sunday night for “Muhammad Ali” among PBS stations, with only Louisville (where Ali grew up) and Sacramento stations getting a higher rating.

If you missed the series, which ended Wednesday night, be aware all the episodes are being streamed on WNED’s website and the PBS Video App. WNED also plans two events, one in late October and one in early November, related to the film that will be announced shortly.

Three of my favorite commentators in the “Muhammad Ali” series were old sportswriters Robert Lipsyte, Jerry Izenberg and Dave Kindred. I especially loved everything Kindred had to say. David McMahon, the Clarence High graduate who co-wrote the series, told me they all loved Ali.

In other sports rating news, the University at Buffalo’s 28-25 loss to Coastal Carolina carried by ESPN2 Saturday had a 2.3 local rating.

Buffalo Bisons play-by-play announcer Pat Malacaro received 15 seconds of fame Thursday morning on NBC’s “Today” as he described the surprise appearance of Rookie, the Trenton Thunder’s bat dog, in a recent Bisons game. “A very special guest made an untimely visit to the mound,” said “Today” anchor Craig Melvin as footage of the dog roaming the diamond appeared. Malacaro, who was not identified, described the dog as being “a little overanxious.” Melvin responded: “Just a little.”

A reminder: Today is the day that WGRZ-TV meteorologist Heather Waldman plans to say goodbye on the 5:30 p.m. newscast.

Will Joshua Vacanti, a 28-year-old from Lockport, be the next Cami Clune on NBC’s “The Voice”? Clune, a Western New York singer, made it to the live semifinals last December and now is singing in WGRZ’s promos that have the theme “Glad 2 Be Here.”

Vacanti was selected for Team John Legend in the blind audition phase of NBC’s reality show Tuesday night after his performance of the song “Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen 2.” Legend blocked new judge Ariana Grande, who also turned her chair in hopes of grabbing Vacanti for her team. After I tweeted about Vacanti’s performance Tuesday, WGRZ co-anchor Scott Levin replied on Twitter: “And I watch him singing worship most weekends at my church service!!! The Chapel. He’s an authentic WNY with a killer VOICE! Go JOSHUA!!!”

After Vacanti’s performance, the show told part of his story that included his once weighing 300 pounds. He has since slimmed down, crediting becoming a vegetarian.

Vacanti is a 2016 graduate of SUNY Buffalo State’s music program and studied privately with associate professor Holly Bewlay.

My spies tell me Charlie the Butcher will get a mention in Saturday’s edition of “The Kitchen” on the Food Network at 11 a.m. Saturday as part of tailgate segment that will include making beef on weck. Restaurateur and chef Geoffrey Zakarian, who is a co-host of “The Kitchen” and is married to a Western New Yorker, has long been a big fan of Charlie’s roast beef.

My favorite moment of Rob Gronkowski’s appearance on the Peyton and Eli Manning alternative broadcast of Green Bay’s win over Detroit on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” was Gronk telling Peyton he does more commercials than Manning does. I have tired of the one in which Gronk says he is “special.”

I wish Andrew Peters and Craig Rivet, formerly of “The Instigators” on WGR, good luck on the podcast they are expected to start. They will need it, too. It isn’t easy to monetize podcasts unless you are a big name. I don’t think either qualifies but hope I am wrong.

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TV Critic

Alan Pergament has had a variety of roles at The News since 1970, including as a news and sports reporter. He has been the TV columnist since 1982, with more than year off for good behavior. He is a member of the national Television Critics Association.

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