Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Levin Is Tops in Editorializing

Channel 2 anchor Scott Levin as a spokesman for Tops?

Of course, that’s an absurd idea. A journalist can’t endorse any commercial enterprise.

But Levin sure sounded like he was up for the job Tuesday night after the station ran a very positive story about the success the supermarket has had with gas sales and its plans to expand the number of its stations in the area.

“Smart company, smart move,” said Levin.

Levin often is moved to editorialize at the end of a story. He probably was just saying what many viewers were thinking. But it would be smart of any anchor to avoid praising advertisers. That’s not his or her role.

* Maury Chaykin, a Brooklyn native who studied drama at the University at Buffalo and moved to Toronto to become one of Canada’s best actors, died Tuesday on his 61st birthday. His American TV roles included appearances on “CSI,” “Boston Legal” and “Entourage.” He played a producer on “Entourage,” Harvey Weingrad, that was widely believed to be based on another UB grad, Harvey Weinstein.

* On Tuesday, the stilltalkintv move from a Google blogspot home to didn’t happen without a few glitches. Several readers told me that they received a 404 error message when they were re-directed to the new site. The blog is back to the old site for now. Hopefully the move to the new site will be resolved later today. Additionally, comments weren’t able to be posted on the new home and comments made to the old home weren’t transferred. That should be resolved soon, too.

Ironically, the glitches came on a day that I gave a mini-review of the revised Buffalo News website. Check that. My 26-year-old son, who lives out of town, gave it two thumbs down.

My son is not alone. I received a few emails that agreed that -- while the site looks better -- it is much more difficult to navigate to find what a reader is looking for as easily as it had been in the past.

* It usually isn’t surprising when the president of any network entertainment division resigns. It’s a tough, time-consuming, pressure-packed job. But Tuesday night’s announcement that ABC Entertainment President Steve McPherson has called it quits after six years was a surprise because of the timing. In a few days, he was going to meet with the nation’s television critics in Los Angeles to discuss the new season that is two months away.

McPherson was often described as a volatile personality, so I suppose that makes the move less of a surprise in hindsight. He was always first class in my dealings with him and genuinely interested in what a critic in the relatively smaller market of Buffalo had to say or ask.

While the announcement of his departure noted that ABC fell into third place last season and has aging hits like “Desperate Housewives” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” McPherson also was behind the very successful launch of Wednesday night comedies “The Middle,” “Modern Family” (which is produced by Fox) and “Cougar Town.”

McPherson walked into a good situation six years ago when “Desperate Housewives” and “Lost” were developed by his predecessors, who were fired before they got on the air.

So that was a lesson about network politics. A couple of last year’s ABC dramas – “Flashforward” and “V” (which was renewed anyway) -- didn’t click. But “Castle” became a hit in its second season. In other words, McPherson seemed to have enough success last season to earn the right to finish out his contract. However, that’s not how things usually work in the pressurized network TV business.


  1. I'm so glad you've joined WNYmedia. I was unaware of your blog and deeply missed your BufNews columns. Welcome!

    P.S. The makeup artist needs to calm down at Ch2. That picture of Levin is a little creepy the closer you look at it

  2. Thanks for the kind words, Mark. It is all word of mouth so please pass the word around.

  3. I am enjoying it as well.