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Alan Pergament: Former Buffalo TV reporters covering Chauvin trial; 'Rebel' is a lost cause

Alan Pergament: Former Buffalo TV reporters covering Chauvin trial; 'Rebel' is a lost cause

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This is what I’m thinking:

If you are interested in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, I suggest you become Twitter followers of former WIVB-TV anchor-reporters Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) and Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) and former WGRZ-TV reporter Danny Spewak (@DannySpewak).

The three former Buffalo TV reporters are covering the trial for their stations in Minneapolis. Raguse and Spewak work for KARE 11, while Gray works for a rival station KSTP.

KARE 11 has the same owner, Tegna, as WGRZ-TV and Spewak appeared on his former Buffalo channel with a report on the trial Wednesday night.

By the way, Spewak and Gray, who dated in Buffalo when they also worked at different stations, are engaged to be married.

Luke Russert, the son of the late “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert and writer Maureen Orth, had some April Fools’ Day fun by tweeting he was taking a job with the Washington Star and Current TV. Several local media members bought it.

The Star folded 40 years ago, and Current TV folded in 2013. I would have thought that it would been more likely that Luke would have joined the Buffalo Courier Express to cover the Buffalo Bills. (The Courier-Express folded in 1982.)

Spectrum Networks has announced that it has named Alexander Quince as Senior Director, News, for Spectrum News in upstate New York. He is based in Albany and will oversee the day-to-day operations there, as well as in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. Spectrum used to have its own news director here, Kelly Holland. It certainly is easier to sense a market’s news interests when you live in it rather than more than 300 miles way.

Mini-review of “Rebel”: By now, if you’ve watched anything on ABC the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen a promo for the new series “Rebel,” which premieres at 10 p.m. Thursday.

It stars Katey Sagal (“Married with Children,” “Sons of Anarchy”) and is loosely based on the life of activist Erin Brockovich, whose profile was enhanced by a 2000 movie with her name the title. It was directed by Steven Soderbergh and Julia Roberts played her.

The series from “Grey’s Anatomy” writer-producer Krista Vernoff goes over-the-top in the first scene when Sagal’s character, Annie “Rebel” Bello, crashes a party of rich investors. Before long, she slips and falls off a podium and crash lands on a table as if she is auditioning to be a Buffalo Bills fan.

As Rebel, Sagal struts around in leather pants like a superhero as she advocates for a cause, getting justice for a group of patients who became sick after a mechanical heart valve was surgically put into their bodies.

She must convince her boss, a lawyer who is a widower played by Andy Garcia, to take the case, and her gynecologist son to do research to show the case makes sense and will be worth millions of dollars.

To say Rebel’s life is complicated would be an understatement. She has two ex-husbands and is about to have a third one and has one child with each of them.

She gets along well with her two ex-husbands, one of whom is surprised she made it to 10 years with the third one before she appears to be headed for a shotgun divorce. (Yes, Rebel owns a shotgun.)

She spends a lot of time yelling in the first two episodes made available for review and supposedly is so intimidating that she gets her way with her children, criminals, college officials and her boss even when the reasons for her success make no sense.

In short, “Rebel” is often preposterous, but you can’t keep your eyes off Sagal, who seems to be having a lot of fun playing her.

The cast also is first-rate, with Adam Arkin playing the medical company villain; John Corbett, James Lesure and Matthew Glave playing the husbands; Kevin Zegers playing Rebel’s lothario son the doctor; and Lex Scott Davis and Ariela Barer as her daughters. Mary McDonnell also plays one of the patients who is ill from the medical device.

Despite the cast, the series is so ridiculous at times that you’d need to point a shotgun at me to force me to watch a third episode.

Broadcast television has gone to the dogs: As regular readers of this column know, I hate most reality shows and often cringe when I discover Western New Yorkers are among the contestants.

But congratulations to Macie Pisa and Corina Stammworthy, owners of Laundromutt Dog Grooming and Self-Service Salon on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore, who advanced Tuesday to the third week of the eight-week ABC reality series, “Pooch Perfect.” Australian actress Rebel Wilson, who was one of the stars of the movie “Pitch Perfect,” is host of the show that airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays.

Pisa has been grooming professionally for more than a decade and is an award-winning certified master groomer. Stammworthy opened the Laundromutt in 2013.

In last Tuesday’s episode, they won the first challenge of the dog grooming competition show and were granted immunity.

The series began with 10 of the best dog groomers in the country and their assistants, who compete in themed challenges before a trio of celebrity judges.

I’ve never heard of any of the judges – Lisa Vanderpump, Jorge Bendersky and Dr. Callie Harris. A little research uncovered Vanderpump has appeared on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “Dancing With the Stars,” neither of which I watch. I remind you that I hate most reality series. Bendersky is a celebrity dog groomer and Dr. Harris is a veterinarian.

If Pisa and Stammworthy make it to the season finale weeks from now, they will compete with two other surviving teams for a $100,000 grand prize and a trophy.

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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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