December 6, 2013 - 8:03 AM
By Alan Pergament
This is what I'm predicting and thinking after talking to industry insiders:
After further review, it looks like Channel 2 may be able to carry an University at Buffalo men's basketball or football game on a Saturday night as part of the partnership announced Thursday by the NBC affiliate and Division I program.
I originally doubted that Channel 2 would preempt any network prime time programs since NBC demands preemptions be kept to a minimum.
However, one or two Saturday nights might be available because NBC primarily carries reruns of series programs on that night. They can be preempted once in a while because they are first carried earlier in the week or month and are available On Demand anyway.
More likely, Channel 2 would carry games on weekend afternoons when NBC Sports isn't carrying anything.
It may not be easy for Channel 2 to find a football game to carry next season. After all, 10 of the Bulls' 12 games this season were carried by the ESPN channels, Fox Sports Network and Time Warner Cable.
The TWC games would be the ones most likely to land on Channel 2 next season. TWC carried two games this season.
The bigger part of the deal will be the up to 10 basketball games that will be carried by one of Channel 2's digital channels, 2.2. The sub-channel is carried by TWC.
The Channel 2-UB deal makes it look increasingly like 2.2, which has been carrying old television series via Antenna TV, will shortly carry a combination of sports, weather and news. The emphasis is likely to be on weather, with Channel 2 also considering carrying reruns of its newscasts on 2.2.
TWC has announced that it plans to carry another Channel 2 sub-channel, 2.3, next month. That most likely will be where Antenna TV moves.
The speculation continues that the owners of Channel 7 and all the stations in the Granite group will be sold shortly. The latest possible player in the possible sale is Scripps-Howard. According to sources, Scripps has had people looking at 7 Broadcast Plaza this week. Sinclair Broadcasting and Nexstar also are considered potential buyers. If a deal happens in the next few weeks, I would guess that Channel 7 staffers would consider it an early Christmas present.
Speaking of rumored sales, Time Warner Cable is believed to be on the market with Comcast, Cox and other cable operators looking into a deal. The idea is to create a cable giant that would be in a stronger position to keep down programming costs. If TWC is eventually sold, it could take months or even years before getting federal approval.
Finally, an item that was extremely predictable. NBC has announced that this year's drama hit, "The Blacklist" with James Spader, has been renewed for a second season of 22 episodes.