Monday, September 19, 2011

The T Dog Media Blog has moved!

In five seconds, The T Dog Media Blog is re-directing you to its new home at Please update your bookmarks. If it hasn't redirected in five seconds, please click on the above link.

Adios, Blogger! It's been a great five years.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The T Dog Media Blog is moving

After approximately five years, The T Dog Media Blog is moving on to bigger and better things.

Like to yours truly's own website.

With The T Dog Media Blog entering its sixth season Monday (man, time flies!), yours truly has made the decision to move the blog from Blogger to Wordpress platform on my newly launched website:

The existing posts - all 2,131 of them - have been imported into the Wordpress site and all have been tagged and categorized so it can be easier for users to find items.  

At some point during this weekend, the web domain will direct to the new site at This way, there will be no need to update your bookmarks. As of September 19, all new items will be posted on

The new site is being hosted by Bluehost.

Why is the blog moving? Well for one thing, I wanted my own platform to provide the blog - that is, my own web domain name and site as opposed to piggybacking off of Blogger's.

Wordpress offers more features than Blogger - not to mention a much better mobile interface where yours truly can post on the go. The T Dog Media Blog will now be easier to read on your iPhone, iPod Touch (which I have), Android, or WebOs device with an simple mobile interface (I used Blogger's mobile interface, but Wordpress' is far more superior.) In addition, Wordpress offers me an opportunity to offer my material in on a platform that doesn't really feel like a blog.

In addition, the Twitter badge on the new T Dog Media site is far better than the one used on Blogger. Here, you can see my Snoopy (or a retweeter's) avatar, and you can reply, retweet, or favorite a tweet right from the page! How awesome is that?

With the move, T Dog's Media Friends are being fully updated with new links (like TV Media Insights) and the removal of dead links (goodbye PI feedback and Jeff Roteman's WLS Tribute Site.)

In the future, I will be adding new features, such as a YouTube video page and possibly a podcast - but that's a little bit down the road.

Even after the launch of the new site, there will be a few tweaks made here and there.

Finally, you no longer have to go through a verification process for commenting as I enabled that on Blogger to keep spammers out - Wordpress has a stronger system that handles the e-junk. However, the old rules still apply when commenting - they must be relevant to the subject matter (if you want to praise or criticize me for the article, well, you can do that too.)

Monday marks the start of the sixth season - and a new era - of The T Dog Media Blog. So come on along for the ride!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Life After Oprah

Anderson Cooper's new syndicated talk show began on Monday.

Welcome to Life... After Oprah.

Monday marked a new era in syndication as repeats of The Oprah Winfrey Show came to an end on Friday (her last original episode aired on May 25) as the broadcast business is without the queen of talk for the first time since Sept. 5, 1986 as Oprah Winfrey decided to devote more time to her fledgling cable network.

While some stations made their moves on May 26 (WLS-TV premiered Windy City Live at 9 a.m. while a few others launched new newscasts), others are now just making their post-Oprah plans - and some are eschewing syndicated fare for local programming. For example, CBS affiliate WCIA in downstate Champaign is launching a new local news/lifestyle show called, possibly the worst name for a TV program I've ever heard of (aside from ABC's 2002 sitcom dud Wednesday 9:30/8:30 Central.) If the title of the show is a joke, Imagine what the content would be like...

While some premieres won't take place until September 19, several new syndicated strips made their debuts on Monday (all programs airs Monday-Friday, unless otherwise noted):


Warner Bros.' Anderson (WFLD, 2 p.m.) - as in Anderson Cooper - is a vehicle for the likable CNN personality and 60 Minutes correspondent who plans to cover a wide variety of topics, though Mr. Cooper has stated the series isn't a news program despite his hard news background.

Also on tap is CBS Television Distribution's Excused (WCIU, 11 p.m.), which tries to bring the dating/relationship genre, which was popular in the late 1990's/early 2000's (think Blind Date) back into the forefront. Entertainment Studios is launching a pair of freshmen strips this week: We The People (WMAQ, 12:30 p.m.), yet another courtroom show with Gloria Allred as the Judge (yikes), and Who Wants To Date A Comedian (WCIU, 3 a.m.). Yes,Who Wants To Date A Comedian is a real show. Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't possibly make this stuff up.

Meanwhile, Debmar-Mercury and ITV Studios USA are premiering new newsmagazine strip America Now! hosted by Orland Park's own Bill Ranceic and former Entertainment Tonight co-anchor Leeza Gibbons. The series, airing primarily on Raycom-owned stations (such as WOIO in Cleveland and WXIX in Cincinnati), currently does not have a Chicago clearance.

Other new first-run strips set to debut next week include Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle (WFLD, 1 p.m.), The new - and hopefully improved - Bill Cunningham Show (WGN-TV, 2 p.m. in a limited national rollout)  and Dr. Drew's Lifechangers (WGN-TV, 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.), which is cleared primarily on CW affiliates.


There is a lot of activity this year in this arena as five new off-network sitcoms and the return of Law & Order: Criminal Intent to broadcast syndication vie for audience.

- The two big off-net entries this year are Warner Bros. The Big Bang Theory (WPWR, 6:30 p.m.; WFLD, 10 p.m.) and 30 Rock (WGN-TV, 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.). Both series also start their cable runs this year: TBS has Big Bang and WGN America and Comedy Central are airing 30 Rock. How this will effect local stations' ratings remains to be seen. Both debut September 19.

 - Expanding from four weekend episodes to a daily strip on the same date is Twentieth Television's animated American Dad (WCIU, 8:30 p.m), while sister animated series Futurama begins its syndicated weekend airings (WCIU, Sat. 7-8 p.m. and 10-11 p.m.) on September 24.

- NBCUniversal's Law & Order: Criminal Intent returns to weekday syndication for the first time since September 2009 as a double-run strip (WPWR, 10 p.m., 11 p.m.). If that wasn't enough, the original Law & Order makes its appearance in broadcast syndication for the first time ever as weekend offerings. Look for the series on WPWR the weekend of September. 24.

- Last - and certainly least, is a series no one thought would make syndication, since nobody watched this series on Fox. But Brad Garrett vehicle Til Death did, and you can catch the Sony-syndicated series while you can on WCIU-TV Sunday nights at 9 and 9:30 p.m. If you can stomach this series twice a day, then head over to WCIU's sister station (UToo - available on OTA channel 26.2) for two vomit-inducing episodes back to back from 4-5 p.m.

What's Out.

Aside from the departure of Oprah, there are several first-run and off-network syndicated programs that didn't make the cut for the 2011-12 season:

- As noted here two weeks ago, Warner Bros. passed on renewing Judge Jeanne Pirro for another season.

- Also gone is The Real Housewives..., whose reruns (and new episodes) still can be seen on Bravo.

- Off-network syndication contracts for My Wife & Kids, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and George Lopez were not renewed, resulting in their recent departures. However, there is good news for fans of George Lopez (and bad news for the rest of us) - ION has picked up the sitcom for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday airings. Well, at least we're no longer subjected to George Lopez's nightly talk show...

- Game shows 5th Grader and Don't Forget The Lyrics end their syndicated and My Network TV runs this week.

- Other syndication cancellations include Reno 911!, Deadliest Catch, and Smash Cuts.

- Finally, there's always a year where a syndicated project fails to get on the air. This time around, its Geek Meets Girl, a proposed series from Trifecta Entertainment that was scrapped at the last minute. In recent years, other proposed Trifecta series (Hacienda Heights and One in a Million) met a similar fate.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Grab Bag: You, the people

This Grab Bag is for you - that's right. You - the people. You have the right to gripe about yet another newscast or yet another new daytime courtroom show (We The People) on the horizon. You also have the right to have an alternative to the regular crap on TV - thanks to two new diginet TV channels. You have the right to critique about Merlin Media's new all-news stations - and a lot of listeners are exactly doing that. And you have the right not to suffer through another Q101 article. This Grab Bag - a collection of items that happened since this blog was put on a unfortunate hiatus earlier in the month - is dedicated to you - the people.

- In an item first reported by Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV is launching a midday newscast - the first in nearly twenty years. The new half-hour noon newscast is being anchored by Marion Brooks. WMAQ's low-rated noon newscast was canceled in 1991 to make room for soap opera Santa Barbara, which moved from its longtime 2 p.m. time slot to make room for Jenny Jones' new syndicated talk show, which was shot here in Chicago at the NBC Tower.

- Filling out the hour on WMAQ is a new, last-minute-to-the-marketplace daytime courtroom show from Entertainment Studios titled We The People, with Attorney Gloria Allred presiding over cases for arbitration. The series has cleared six other NBC O&Os, including WNBC New York, KXAS Dallas, and WVIT Hartford.

While airing a courtroom series is out of character for an NBC O&O (in Chicago, court shows usually air on WCIU or WPWR), the move is being made since NBCUniversal decided to withdrawal reruns of The Real Housewives from broadcast syndication after a lone, unsuccessful season (don't worry, you can still see the dysfunctional dames on Bravo.)

The last time WMAQ aired a courtroom show was in 1997-98, when it aired a new revival of The People's Court with former New York Mayor Ed Koch (Court now airs on WCIU with Marilyn Millian presiding.) WMAQ also aired the original version of The People's Court from 1982-87 with Judge Joseph Wapner.

- The new Bounce digital subchannel network has signed Weigel Broadcasting's low-power WWME here in Chicago and WBME in Milwaukee to carry their new service, which launches on Sept. 26. Created by Martin Luther King III, former Atlanta mayor and current Ambassdor Andrew Young, and the principals behind Rainforest films, an African-American production company. Bounce is targeted to African-American audience in the 25-54 demo and recently signed Toyota USA as its first national sponsor. Other clearances for Bounce include WMCN Philadelphia, KHOU Houston, WUAB Cleveland, KSMO Kansas City, and WISH/WNDY Indianapolis representing the LIN, Meredith, Belo, and Raycom station groups.

Bounce plans to feature a wide variety of films, sporting events, off-network programming, inspirational shows, and original programming targeted to African-American audience. Bounce launches on Sept. 26 with the 1978 theatrical The Wiz, a musical take-off of the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz featuring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson. You can find Bounce on WWME's 23.2 digital subchannel.

- Also on the diginet beat: Adell Broadcasting's Detroit independent station (WADL) has signed a deal with Antenna TV to carry the Classic TV digital network over its Channel 38.2 subchannel and on Comcast Cable Channel 295. Chicago-based Competing classic TV diginet MeTV is still without a affiliate in the Motor City, but things could open up soon if the ongoing turmoil at RTV is any indication - currently, WXYZ is affiliated with the faux classic TV channel on Channel 7.3.

- If you've noticed, Crawford Broadcasting's WSRB-FM has returned to its Soul 106.3 branding after a few months as Real Radio 106.3, whatever that meant.

- And speaking of radio stations "not winning", yours truly has his first verdict on Merlin Media's new all news-talk WWWN-FM - not exactly impressed. Moments of dead air, mispronounced words, lots of flubs, too many repetition of stories, uncompelling content (shopping tips?), and an overall amateurish presentation. While yours truly understands this station is targeted to the soccer mom crowd aged 25-54, this has a long way to go to pose a legitimate threat to mass appeal WBBM-AM. And believe it or not, there are actually women out there who don't care about shopping or chocolate!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

T Dog's Six Pack: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

As you may know - if you've been following on Twitter - The T Dog Media Blog is leaving Blogger and is moving to a new home as part of the new website I'm launching officially on September 19, when the sixth season of The T Dog Media Blog begins. Visit to view the progress of the site as yours truly works on it. It's currently in Beta, so the look of the site will change several times as the 19th gets closer.

Due to a major tagging project for the new website, yours truly haven't been able to do much writing in the blog as of late (which unfortunately, meant no Comic-Con or TCA Press Tour posts.) But the tagging project is finally over, so its back to writing about the wackiness and fun that is local and national media. In the meantime, you'll see postings on both the Blogger version of The T Dog Media Blog and on the T Dog Media site. But on September 19, all new material will be exclusively on the new site.

Speaking of goodbyes, there are a lot of them in this edition of the Six Pack - a well-respected media columnist is moving to a new online home; a legendary businessman stepping down due to health issues; a pair of TV show cancellations; and two managers at a local TV station who ought to be packing their bags. A lot to get caught up on, so on we go - the winners and losers for the months of July and August:


Windy City Live. While it was a given the new local morning would not match the numbers for the program it replaced (The Oprah Winfrey Show),Windy City has done decently well, topping Regis & Kelly, Today, and Good Day Chicago in recent ratings reports, meeting WLS-TV's expectations - not to mention attracting a significant amount of African-American viewers.

Sorry haters - Windy City Live is here to stay.

Steve Jobs. The Apple CEO officially resigned this past week due to health issues, but he'll be remembered for changing the way we consumed entertainment though iTunes, iPods, and iPads. While Hollywood might not want to admit it, Steve Jobs was a visionary who helped give the public more control over when to watch their favorite TV shows and movies and making the Walkman obsolete. 

Marc Berman. It's sad to see the Programming Insider go after twelve years - thanks to Mr. Berman's departure from Adweek this past Friday (Berman originally wrote for the now-defunct Mediaweek, which folded into Adweek after A.C. Nielsen sold the magazines.) But the good news is, you can follow him to his new home at TV Media Insights where you can sign up to receive his new daily column and visit him at his new Mr. TV website. Both links will be included into the blogroll when the new T Dog Media website launches on September 19 (the old PI Feedback site was shut down Friday evening.)

To read his final Programming Insider newsletter, click here.

Best of luck to Marc Berman in his new home! With such a great talent for writing about TV and media, he'll fit in his new home fine.


As usual, there is a multitude of losers to choose from - the return of the insipid Bachelor Pad, Chicago baseball, the Bears Family Night fiasco, Kim Kardashian and her new, temporarily unemployed NBA "superstar" leech of a husband, Mancow whining about the now-defunct Q101 again (dude, let it go already), the unimpressive debut of WWWN-FM's all-news format (absolutely NOT "winning") and more. But these are the three that stand out:

Judge Jeanne Pirro. The thing is, she's now back to being just Jeanne Pirro: Warner Bros. canceled her Chicago-based daytime courtroom show after four seasons, the first two on CW; the other two in syndication.The departure of Pirro leaves just Judge Mathis and Rosie O'Donnell's soon-to-launch talk show as the only national daily programs produced in the Windy City.

Lopez Tonight. There won't be a Lopez Tomorrow: TBS canceled George Lopez's late-night talk show after two low-rated seasons, which took a ratings hit after being downgraded last November to make room for Conan O'Brien.

CBS 2 blows it again. Continuing our "...blows it again" franchise... CBS-owned WBBM-TV aired a story last month during its barely-watched 4:30 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. newscasts regarding a shooting in the city's Grand Crossing neighborhood, and featured a 4 year-old African-American child who stated on camera he wanted a gun when he was older - giving the impression that the kid wanted to be a gangbanger when he becomes an adult.  But what the station didn't show was footage with the kid saying he wanted to be a police officer to help battle the bad guys. The edited video wound up on YouTube and other video-sharing sites.

The station was criticized by the NAACP, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), and many other journalist watchdog groups, including The Maynard Institute. Station officials admitted the mistake but never apologized, and there hasn't been any disciplinary action taken that I know of. If you've read this blog for the past five years, you know how really screwed up CBS 2 management has been over the last few decades - from erroneous reporting regarding Fred Hampton's death in 1969 (those "bullets" were just ordinary holes in the wall) to coverage of a "pot party" in 1971 to the tabloid-like newscasts that dotted the station in the '90's to the Amy Jacobson bikini fiasco in 2007. And oh yeah, there's the matter of a boycott by Operation PUSH in the mid-1980's after the Harry Porterfield debacle at a time when CBS ownership was in turmoil.

And you wonder why the station has never been able to attract African-American viewers. And Les Moonves' and other CBS executives' silence on the matter speaks volumes.

Yep, just another typical day at The Church of Tisch.

To borrow a phrase from Chicago Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom... News director Jeff Kiernan and GM Bruno Cohen: your plane is boarding. Hopefully, we'll see WFLD's GM Mike Renda and news director Carol Fowler on the same flight out of town.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Stay up late with... Clarissa?

Melissa Joan Hart, pre-Sabrina

But you no longer can't with Monique and soon, you won't be able to with George Lopez, either

Late-night has become a rather bizarre place lately - outside of the usual nuttiness of course - with an insomniac sheep running around, reruns of obscure kids series from the '90's earning high ratings on an obscure channel, and a program proven to survive anything (it is bizarre, but as not bizarre as Lenogate in early 2010.)

- On July 25, TeenNick (formerly known as The N and Nick GAS beforehand) launched an nostalgic late fringe block titled The '90's Are All That featuring - what else? Old Nickelodeon favorites that aired in the 1990's, including Clarissa Explains It All, Kenan & Kel, All That and other series scored impressive ratings by improving its time period numbers on its first night - and even crushed competing fare on other basic cable networks. For example, reruns of Kenan & Kel and All That beat TBS' Lopez Tonight by 60% in total viewers. in the 11-12 a.m. (CT) time slot, and beat newer, more expensive off-network sitcoms How I Met Your Mother and Old Christine on Lifetime by 20%. Among younger viewers (18-34), the '90's block improved the time period from previous programming in the time period, including off-network sitcoms Malcolm in the Middle and Undeclared. In addition, the classic Nick shows have been the top trends on Twitter in the U.S. in the late fringe hours.

- And the after effect of Teen Nick's success may have determined the fate of two low-tier late-fringe cable talk shows: BET has announced it has canceled The Monique Show after nearly two years on the air. Hosted by Oscar-winning star Monique Hicks, the late-night series failed to gain ratings traction with viewers. The series' final first-run episode airs on August 11. Monique is best known for her for her portyal as an abusive mother in the film Precious, but also starred in the UPN comedy The Parkers.

- And it looks like George Lopez may follow Monique out the door as well - a decision is due this month on the fate of  TBS' Lopez Tonight, as it tries to get renewed for a third season. Premiering a month after The Monique Show, Lopez got off to a good start ratings-wise, but tailed off considerably and even more so after Conan O'Brien bumped him into the 11 p.m. (CT) time slot. And with reruns of 20-year old Nick shows beating Lopez, the future of the former sitcom's star looks just as bright as Pat Sajak's show did in late 1989 (translation: the axe is waiting to swing.)

- In life, there are two things that can survive a nuclear disaster: a Twinkie factory and Comics Unleashed. Despite low ratings and numerous time-period downgrades over the years, Entertainment Studios has managed to keep Comics Unleashed With Byron Allen on the air somehow.  The series has been picked up for two more seasons thanks to CBS-owned stations in the top three markets, including WBBM-TV here in Chicago as well as WCBS-TV in New York City and KCBS-TV in Los Angeles. Comics Unleashed began in 2006 on WCIU-TV in prime-time, but has aired on WBBM in late-night in recent years.

By the way, the founder of Entertainment Studios is ... you guess it... Byron Allen, who was one of the co-hosts of NBC's 1979-84 reality series Real People.

It's all to make Frank Woolanski's puppet-like head spin.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

FM Radio enters an "all-news" era in Chicago

Last week, Chicago did not have FM all-news stations. As of 8:10 a.m., we had not just one - but two as the race between the Court Jester and The Church of Tisch for all-news supremacy begins.

On Friday, WWWN-FM (101.1 FM) dropped all music from its airwaves and became all-news, with Merlin Media making the announcement official on Sunday via press release. And at 8:10 a.m. Monday, CBS-owned WCFS-FM began simulcasting sister station WBBM-AM.

Judging by tweets and message board postings, listeners were not impressed with Merlin's Media's new all-news station. Many criticized WWWN for numerous screw-ups and some compared it to a bunch of interns on-air at a college radio station and for being just downright amateurish (not exactly "winning" radio.) Others continue to bemoan the loss of WKQX-FM/Q 101 and cursing at Randy Michaels.

As for WBBM-AM's move to the FM dial this morning, the move took later than expected: Church of Tisch management decided to hold off on flipping WCFS from its failed "Fresh" format to Newsradio 780 until 8:10 a.m. so special guest Mayor Rahm Emmanuel can "push the button" to make a change (an engineer actually does that) was nothing more than a glorified publicity stunt. The flip should have taken place at 5 a.m., at the start of Pat Cassidy's and Felicia Middlebrooks' shift.

While many are lauding the moves of both WWWN and WCFS for switching to FM News formats, especially as some music fans are getting their tunes elsewhere (i.e., MP3s, Internet and satellite radio, etc.), others are bemoaning the loss of not one, but two music stations as the FM band is starting to evolve away from music.
As for WBBM-AM's move to the FM dial this morning