by Mark Scott
Just some random thoughts about our industry on a rainy Sunday morning in late May…
I’m really enjoying Don Paul’s Facebook thread with his postings of fictitious CBS programs running in the Late Show time slot of 11:30 now that David Letterman has retired. Apparently, Don isn’t too pleased with CBS’ decision to air re-runs of its dramas during the summer months. Neither am I! I posted on my Facebook page that CBS should have maintained some semblance of late night talk programming at that time. In my opinion, CBS executives are giving a boost to their competitors by allowing former Letterman viewers to get comfortable with Fallon, Kimmel or Conan, so much so that it could hurt Steven Colbert when his show premiers in September. Don is making his point by having some fun with the CBS late night schedule. For instance, he posted this last Wednesday:
Tonight on CBS at 11:35: From 1978, the never-aired “CBS Reports: The Lost Art of Parallel Parking.” Part 1 airs tonight. Anchored by Charles Nelson Reilly. Part 2 hasn’t been found yet. But they’re looking, so you’ve been warned.”
Buffalo News TV critic Alan Pergament disagrees with us. He responded to both of our Facebook posts and wrote a blog post about it. Alan predicts Colbert will do just fine. He could be right. But just as NBC never preempted the “The Tonight Show” in the transition from Carson to Leno and Leno to Fallon (albeit there was two weeks of Winter Olympics coverage in the latter case), I’m wondering why CBS would suspend for nearly four month the now established franchise known as “The Late Show.”
One of the joys of Sunday morning on the radio is listening to Dave Debo’s Hardline on WBEN. I love following politics. Nationally, Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie podcast is a must-listen for me each and every week. Rudin is NPR’s former political editor. To this day, I’m flabbergasted that NPR allowed Rudin to leave after the ill-advised cancellation of Talk of the Nation. And locally, Dave’s show is something I try to tune in for at least a segment or two each and every Sunday. Dave is a superb interviewer who is balanced and knowledgeable. He certainly has his hand on the pulse of Western New York politics.
I got a real kick out of hearing NPR’s Terry Gross being interviewed by comedian Marc Maron on a recent edition of Fresh Air. Terry is known for getting candid answers from her interview subjects but is rather shy about sharing details about her own life. I had a chance to sit down twice with Terry to talk about her career during visits to WBFO. But Maron really succeeded in getting her to open up, particularly about her home life. Terry even talked about her early years in radio at the “NPR affiliate at the State University of New York at Buffalo.” Terry, would it have killed you to say the call letters?
So, within weeks of Comcast dropping its bid for Time Warner Cable comes news that a new suitor, Charter Communications, is planning to purchase our local cable TV provider. If regulators approve the deal, I’m hoping that Charter maintains the 24-hour local news service that TWC has run in Buffalo for more than six years now. The three big TV newsrooms in Buffalo are the dominant players, and I watch all three. But I’d like to say how much I have come to depend on Time Warner Cable News. No matter what time of day, it’s good to know that there’s a TV outlet where viewers can get a quick round-up of the latest local news. The anchors may be low key. But there’s a credibility there. No happy talk, just a straightforward presentation of the news.
I’ll admit I had no idea about what I was going to write when I sat down at the computer to pen this column. I was even thinking of not doing one, since Al Wallack authored such a fine piece for this newsletter. But I’ve had something to say in every newsletter since the first one in March 2008. So, I didn’t want to break that streak. Besides, there’s a lot of interesting topics about our industry that merit mention. There’s always something to write about! Thanks for reading my words.