Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Excellent 10

Here we go! I am honored to present to you: The Excellent 10: The best television shows of 2006. Once again, we’re counting them down American Top 40 style, from number 10 to number 1.…

10. Pardon the Interruption (ESPN). Despite Kornhiser…. And LeBatard….

9. Simpsons (Fox).

8. Arrested Development (Fox). R.I.P.

7. South Park (Comedy Central). Despite a handful of weak episodes, this show still hits the political satire target with success every time, especially with this year’s superb “Cartoon Wars” -- The best episode of any sitcom to air this decade.

6. The Daily Show (Comedy Central). Jon Stewart fake news show is more informational (and fun) than the local news that air opposite it.

5. The Colbert Report (Comedy Central). Who in the land can appear at the White House Dinner and upstage Bush and invent a word “truthiness” that becomes a part of the vocabulary? Colbert! You’re damn right.

4. America’s Next Top Model (CW). Don’t listen to the critics. What do they know? This show is still entertaining, better than the overrated Survivor. (And who in Chicago watches Survivor anyway?)

3. Ugly Betty (ABC). Finally! A show us geeks can relate to! (And no, Misfits of Science doesn’t count.)

2. Heroes (NBC). Are you on the list? You can be if you Save the Cheerleader. Best new show of the season. This show rocks!

1. Family Guy (Fox). I know Matt and Trey are gonna hate on me for putting this here (and putting South Park at #7) but this is easily, the best comedy -- and best show of the year. It’s still fresh, funny, and a bit better than The Simpsons. (I can’t believe I just said that….)

Honorable Mention: Aqua Teen Hunger Force (Adult Swim), King of the Hill (Fox), Grey’s Anatomy (ABC), Criminal Minds (CBS) [This deserves a mention for surprising everyone by topping Lost in total viewers and households -- and the fact that "Lost" was well, looked lost all season.]

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

CBS co-founder dies

It's been a rough December in the entertainment business, where it seems like legends are dying every few days. Now, another death - this time the person who co-founded CBS with William Paley, Frank Stanton, dies at 98.

Bears-Packers off to Sunday Night (UPDATED)

Chicagoans, put those New Year's Eve plans on hold...

For newly revised NFL schedule for December 31, click here.

UPDATE: The NFL announced that both Fox and CBS can carry doubleheaders this Sunday, thanks to the wild and willy playoff races in the NFC (and to a lesser extent, the AFC.) This marks the first time in history that both networks carried doubleheader games simultaneously. This is only for areas that does not have an afternoon home game this week (such as here in Chicago.)

(Updated 12-29-06 at 22:34 by T Dog)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

That's a wrap for 2006

We’re taking a breather from blogging as everything slows down due to the holidays (particularly after this wild week!) On Wednesday, I’ll post The Excellent 10 -- the best shows of the year (The Toilet Bowl 10 post is below this one), but we won’t return to full speed until January 2. If there’s any breaking news in the media industry between now and that date, we’ll post it here. Also, when we return that week, we’ll post two important T Dog Think Tank articles as we prepare for the upcoming National Association of Programming Executives (NATPE) convention later in the month: The dominance of WLS-TV here in Chicago, and the crisis looming (it’s actually here) over the lack of new off-network sitcoms in the market.

I will also be tweaking the site during this down time to add more links and to improve it to serve you better. I wish you nothing but good holiday cheer, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year! See you January 2nd!

Peace (and hair grease),

Terence Henderson

Chairman, The T Dog Blog, Inc.

P.S. If your now just getting around to reading this, you should notice the three breaking news stories on top of this. Man, the news never stops, doesn't it?

The Toilet Bowl 10

Here is the worst of the worst. We're counting down the worst TV programs of 2006. Other blogs rank their lists from one to ten. Where's the excitement in that? Why start at Number One? Here at the T Dog Blog, we do things differently. We're counting them down Casey Kasem-style, from #10 to #1. Now, on with the countdown…..

10) Survivor: Cook Islands. (CBS) To rejuvenate the franchise, they decided to split the tribes among races, prompting outcry from the media and politicians (if they didn’t have anything else better to do.) Mark Burnett’s plan was nothing more than a joke, as he merged the tribes after only two episodes. Well, the ratings were down from the previous edition, and the program turned out to be as dull as ever.

9) Stanley Cup Finals (OLN, NBC) Edmonton + Carolina = A dull series and no ratings, despite going seven games. (After all... it is the NHL.)

8) Around the Horn (ESPN). ESPN’s version of Bill O’Reilly, Jay Mariotti, is on this show. Enough said.

7) The Game (CW) Come on, Mara Brock Akli. You can do better than this.

6) ‘Til Death (Fox) What happens when you combine Married… With Children with Everybody Loves Raymond and take out the kids? A program that copies old Too Close For Comfort scripts.

5) The War at Home (Fox) Beginning in January, this program will be paired with above show to form an hour of Mustn’t-See TV.

4) Anything that has ever aired on MyNetworkTV. Instead of listing the shows individually, we grouped all of them under this banner. Because they suck. And that goes for their new shows, Wicked Me and Watch Over the Game, or whatever the hell they're called.

3) According to Jim (ABC). Unfortunately, America associates Chicago with trailer park trash like Jim Belushi instead of people who actually have talent, like Bob Newhart, Jennifer Hudson or Fall Out Boy. And we have this show to thank.

2) The O’Reilly Factor (Fox News Channel) This guy is an asshole, no doubt about it. This piece of shit actually would have been number one if it wasn’t for…. (drum roll please)

1) Show Me the Money (ABC) The worst game show of all time, featuring the worst host of all time, William Shanter. This was the most embarrassing program to air on ABC since Turn-On in ‘69. That program was yanked after one airing. ABC yanked this show after a little more than a month on the air. One airing of Show Me proved to be more than enough.

DISHONORABLE MENTION: The Bad Girls Club (Oxygen), The Book of Daniel (NBC), Big Day (ABC), Deal or No Deal (NBC), Drawn Together (Comedy Central), Lucky Louie (HBO), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC), Twenty Good Years (NBC).

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bart Simpson's Week 16 NFL picks

Bart Simpson: (c) Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved.

That's right. You heard me. Bart Simpson this week is picking NFL games on (If you're a gambling man, don't take his advice. He thinks the Chiefs play in St. Louis.) He said he once drove to Cincinnati (no doubt to loot in the 2001 race riots), and the Pilgrims still live in New England (obviously next door to his other father, Peter Griffin.)

Yeah, and next week, Eric Cartman will be making the picks - he hates San Francisco (too many hippies), he's picking the Broncos to win (of course), and he thinks the Rams still play in Los Angeles.

Wake up with Wolf

Bruce Wolf, who joined WMAQ-TV morning's team after being unceremoniously dumped at WFLD-TV earlier this year, will shine (make that rise and shine) in an new early-morning offbeat news show called Barely Today, that will begin Jan. 15. The program will air at 4:30am (yes 4:30am), which pushes Early Today to 4am. The program launches on Dr. Martin Luther King Day -a holiday where a lot of people will be off to honor the slain civil rights leader.

The program will also be simulcast on classic rock WLUP-FM (The Loop), where Mr. Wolf does double duty as sports commentator on Jonathon Brandmeier's morning show.

Once again, WMAQ has beaten the competition, launching new morning newscasts in earlier time slots. In 1990, it launched the first 6-7am newscasts (after sister station KNBC in Los Angeles became the first to launch one two years earlier), launched the first 5:30am newscast in 1993, then launched a 5am newscast in 1998.

4:30 am news is nothing new: WMC-TV in Memphis launched a 4:30am newscast several years ago.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Big Ten Network to headquarted here (Take that Indy!)

They may have gotten the tournament, but we got their network... The new Big Ten Network announced yesterday that it is basing its headquarters here in Chicago on Chicago Avenue in the renovated Montgomery Wards building. There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at the new headquarters, with dignitaries including Mayor Daley and Alderman Walter Burnett Jr.(27th).

Down to the wire

The Broadcasting & Cable TV Critics Poll is out, and HBO's The Wire topped the charts for best overall show of 2006. The runner-ups included freshman sensation Heroes in second place, and 24 came in third.

For best comedy they picked The Office, best drama went to The Wire, and best reality show went to The Amazing Race. As for the worst show, they picked now-defunct freshman sitcom Happy Hour. Notably, Deal or No Deal came in third. I wonder if that contestant who came on the show with that ridiculous airhorn influenced the vote total....

Toss Up

Welcome to Pardon the Interruption! Filling in for Tony and Mike today, I'm your host, T Dog. The hell with headlines, let's get to our game today - Toss Up! Let's go to the producer...

Producer: Who is the biggest moron? Jay Mariotti or Bill O'Reilly?

Hmmm. That's a tough one. One is an asshole. The other is an asshole. Both are total dickwipes.
I'll say it's a tie. If there is any two jackasses that need to be blown off the face of the earth, it's Jay Mariotti and Bill O'Reilly. (Ding)

That's it for Toss Up! On tomorrow's edition, we'll debate who is the biggest no-brain loudmouth - Rosie O'Donnell or Donald Trump? Thanks for watching, I'll try to do better the next time.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

T Dog Blog Think Tank: Second Chances

Miss USA Tara Conner and Chicago Bears' defensive tackle Terry "Tank" Johnson may not cross each other in their lifetimes, but they share a lot in common: On Tuesday, they both got second chances from their respective organizations.

Both held press conferences, both apologized, and both were told it was their last chance.

Tuesday morning, Miss Universe Organization CEO Donald Trump met Miss USA Tara Conner in New York City to discuss allegations of underage drinking and drug use, and even smooching Miss Teen USA (boy, that'll sell well in the state of Kentucky),among other things. Mr. Trump was going into the meeting about to dismiss Ms. Conner. After the meeting came the press conference, and it seems all was forgiven, with Tara Conner going to rehab.

Miss USA in rehab. Oh, the shame, the shame. The shame of it all. (That's Dr. Smith from Lost In Space saying that, not me. And trust me, any kid who thinks Dr. Smith is a great role model needs to be sent to DCFS, stat.)

Meanwhile, Tank Johnson was busted by Gurnee Police on Friday for having six unregistered guns in his home. That same night, he went to a bar in the River North neighborhood with one of his friends. A fight broke out in the club, someone pulled out a gun and fired, and Tank Johnson's friend was dead. Later on Tuesday, Mr. Johnson met with Bears' management and was suspended by the organization for one game. Bears management was considering cutting Mr. Johnson from the team.

Back in the day, we held celebrities and athletes to a higher standard. They were role models to children. But, oh how times have changed.

Beauty pageant winners and athletes aren't perfect. They're just like you and me. We make mistakes. Ms. Conner, a girl from a small town in Kentucky, got caught up in the whirlwind atmosphere that is New York. (or any other big city.) How can she adjust? As for Tank Johnson, it turns out that he grew up in the suburbs of Phoenix, Ariz., got good grades, and went to a good university. (So much for that image of a "thug" and being from the "ghetto".) Yet, he fell into the same pratfalls that do in some African-American athletes.

It seems that society still hold these people to a higher standard. Why? Because Americans still have this image of their stars being like Marliyn Monroe or Joe DiMaggio. But yet, they weren't perfect, either! If Joe or Jane Schmoo did these things, would anyone care? You wonder if these are the same people who hold politicians to a higher standard. We stopped doing that here in Chicago and Cook County years ago.

I don't condone their actions. But hey, as I said. They're human. Donald Trump, Lovie Smith, and Jerry Angelo are human. That's why Miss USA and Tank Johnson got second chances. Mistakes are made. The messes are cleaned up. But the key here is -- not to make them again. In the words of Stephen Colbert -- They're on notice.

And if they do make these mistakes again, I know a great punishment -- make both them go on Papa Bear's show to explain themselves -- i.e. The O'Reilly Factor.

"King of the Hill" is back on at 7:30 Sundays. Central Time.

Yes! Fox's King of the Hill is back in its original time slot where it launched in January 1997, the plum slot after The Simpsons. This means that American Dad, which has occupied that slot, is moving back to its 8:30 pm (Central Time) slot, all effective January 28. Family Guy's time slot remains unchanged.

King of the Hill will enter its 11th season this January.

TV Prevue news you can use

Mirror a trend that's been going on in other newspapers, the Sun-Times is eliminating its TV Prevue section and moving its TV listings online (scroll way down to the end to see article). This comes on the heels on the news that TV Guide Canada eliminated its magazine and moved its listings online recently.

I went to the Sun-Times TV listings website last night. It didn't work. Good luck, Sun-Times. There goes more subscribers out the door.

By the way, thank you for keeping the AFL in existence, ESPN. Thanks for snatching up a low-rated entity that no one cares about and trying to force down our throats. You know, like Newscorp. is doing with MyNetworkTV.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The V of Doom lowers the boom

Viacom has backed out of a proposed video website collaboration that included NBC Universal and CBS (which split from Viacom earlier this year.) that would take on independent video sharing site YouTube. Viacom's pullout now puts the project in jeopardy.

(Disclaimer: The T Dog Blog is not responsible for anyone who has nightmares trigged by seeing and/or remembering this logo. You can bet your Matlock on that.)

End of an era

Two animation greats have passed on: Joseph Barbara and Chris Hayward (Rocky & Bullwinkle).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Late Friday news update

It's unusual to have this much news break late on a Friday, so I've decided to summarize all the late breaking news into one post:

  • Update: ABC has now decided to yank low-rated and critically blasted game show Show Me the Money off the air immediately, meaning it's gone for good. The program was to move to Tuesday nights beginning January 2, but now ABC will replace Money with Funniest Home Videos repeats.
  • ABC has also pulled the plug on Daybreak, after declining ratings, and the fact that the Taye Diggs drama posted its lowest ratings to date Wednesday. Those will be replaced comedy repeats, most likely the returning According to Jim and The George Lopez Show. No word where the remaining episodes of Daybreak will air, though dumping them on the web (a la Vanished and Kidnapped) is a likely option. (On a related note, ABC earlier this week also put Ted Danson sitcom Help Me Help You on hiatus.)
  • Both Broadcasting & Cable and TV Week are reporting that changes regarding MyNetworkTV may be in the works. The televonela format clearly isn't working (Two new stripped shows debuted last week to even lower ratings than the ones that were replaced after their 65-episode cycle was completed), and Fox execs are mulling the possibility of scaling back the soap operas to two episodes a week, and adding game shows, reality programs, even a deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization. Changes may happen as soon as this summer, according to inside observers. Broadcasting & Cable also points out that production costs on the televonelas have now ballooned to $1 million a week for each series. In some local markets, MyNetworkTV was getting outrated by reruns of older off-network series such as Mama's Family and Becker, by PBS programs, and far and away by programming on the new CW network, created by the folding of WB and UPN stations. Many MyNetworkTV affiliates are former UPN stations.

ABC cancels 'Show Me The Money'

Yay! The network pulled the plug on the six additional episodes that were ordered. The low-rated program will run on Tuesdays in January as planned, but those are episodes already ordered. Good Riddance.

WLS-TV goes HiDef

Robert Feder is reporting today that WLS-TV in Chicago will air all of its weekday programming in High Definition, becoming the first station to do so. That includes all of its newscasts, and syndicated programming such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Meanwhile, Feder finally mentioned the Third Coast Press' FCC challenge toward Chicago's television stations, which was soundly rejected on Wednesday. According to Feder, the stations can breathe a sigh of relief, but those licenses were never really in jeopardy to begin with.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Celebrity gossip time

Let's lighten the mood around here.....

Miss USA involved in scandal?

Who's Miss USA Tara Conner been hanging out with? Tank Johnson?

Another death: Lamar Hunt dies

I don't mean for this blog to be an obituary page, but it starting to look that way: Another death of a high-profile person who contributed a lot to the medium. This time, it's Lamar Hunt, one of the founders of the American Football League, and owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, passes at the age of 74.

The AFL was formed in 1960, and put its games on the then-upstart ABC network. But it was NBC with a $36 million deal in 1964 that finally put the league on the map and made the NFL take notice. The two merged in 1966, but did not play each other in the regular season until 1970. In 1969, Mr. Hunt coined the phrase "Super Bowl" for the annual (and awkward sounding) AFL-NFL Championship Game. In 1970, The Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl for Mr. Hunt.

Mr. Hunt was also an original investor in the Chicago Bulls, and charter investor of the Major League Soccer.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

UPDATED: Finally! A decision the FCC made that actually makes sense

The FCC rejected a rather bogus license challenge from Third Coast Press over Chicago's 18 television stations. (I've never heard of them either.)

While there are problems with local news, it's not up to special interest groups (left or right) to determine what should be on newscasts, let alone what programming should be on local television stations.

Update: Here is Third Coast Press' website and FCC filing. It's an independent newspaper only available on the web (which they don't seem to update that often.) While I'm all for independent media (especially as alternatives for the two rotten big dailies), their execution of this license challenge was just outright pathetic. They should have done more research instead of the let's-group-everyone-in-this-corner approach. While Broadcasting & Cable reported on this today, Robert Feder figured it wasn't worth mentioning. (but hey, there may be good deal on that house Walt Disney lived in.)

Updated 12-16-06 at 12:18p

'Raymond' TV father dies

Peter Boyle, R.I.P. (1935-2006)

He played Frank Barone, a role he was Emmy nominated for eight times on Everybody Loves Raymond. He also won an Emmy for a guest appearance on The X-Files, and appeared in the movies Young Frankenstein, Joe, and Scooby-Doo 2 - Monsters Unleashed. Mr. Boyle passed away Tuesday night at the age of 71. :-(

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chicago, Milwaukee Arbitrends out (Part 2)

From Radio and Records, the Arbs Part 2 from Chicago and Milwaukee.


  • News-talk rules in this region as WGN and WTMJ top the charts.
  • Among CHRs, WBBM-FM (B96) is tops while WKSC (Kiss 103.5) slips a little.
  • WZZN's oldies format is a big winner -- best ratings for that frequency in 18 years.
  • WKQX (Q101) may be headed for a format change after posting the worst numbers in at least 30 years.
  • WVON is still trying to find its footing after frequency switch to 1690AM.
  • WILV's (Love FM) numbers are now about as bad as the former WNND's.

Worst. Commissioner. Ever.

Ad Age's Simon Dumenco calls for the resignation of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Couldn't agree more. In the words of The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy: Worst. Commissioner. Ever.

CW showing signs of life

The CW actually had a successful November book, according to this article in Mediaweek. According to analysts, at the end of the season, the new network could match the ratings of its predecessor, the WB.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Detroit November sweeps numbers

Courtesy of the Michigan Buzzboard (scroll down a little).

Looking at the numbers for those new talk shows, I say: Why even bother?

The hottest sitcom on TV in 2006: "Mama's Family"

It looks like Kansas City viewers aren't the only ones who prefer repeats of the Vicki Lawrence sitcom over whatever is on that new network created by Fox -- My something, or whatever it is. Mediaweek's Marc Berman is watching them too, and why not? He prefers it and Growing Pains to most of the swill that passes off as primetime programming on the major broadcast networks in 2006.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

WARNING: Moron Alert!

I know it's unusual for me to post on a Sunday... but I had to alert everyone on this...Tomorrow night's guest in the booth on ESPN's Monday Night Football game between the Bears-Rams is talent-free Chicago actor Jim Belushi of According To Jim. Why him? Why not other famous Chicagoans? What about Bernie Mac? Jenny McCarthy? Kanye? Even anyone from that '80's band Survivor? Why? Because Jim Belushi appears on According to Jackasshole and it season premieres on ABC next month; Disney owns ESPN and ABC; the game is being carried locally on ABC-owned WLS-TV... You get the point. When this happens, turn down your TV and tune in to your radio to the game (Newsflash: This is the ONLY time I'm saying to tune in the radio to anything...)

Well, it could be worse... We could be getting Vince Vaughn or R. Kelly....

Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh well. If Lovie Smith can stick with his quarterback.....

Then ABC can stick with this. Further proof that TV exces reward mediocrity. (Worked all those years for Jerry Springer, didn't it?) Now, let's reward Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon with a new contract! Oh, wait...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

KSDK lands rights to Cardinals

NBC affiliate KSDK in St. Louis has re-acquired the rights to air World Champion St. Louis Cardinals baseball games beginning next spring (assuming the power, knocked out in some areas by last week's snow/ice storms, is back on by then...)

KSDK carried Cardinals baseball from 1947 until 1987. In 1987, KSDK had the number one network lineup, and didn't want to pre-empt top-rated network programming to carry baseball games. They passed the rights off to KPLR, which has been the home of the Cardinals since 1988.

With NBC prime-time not doing much these days, KSDK has decided to re-acquire the package, with some games certain to air in prime, pre-empting NBC fare. KSDK will air 20 Cardinals games in high-definition (including road games -- hear that, Comcast SportsNet?), plus two spring taining games and a weekly television show devoted to the team. The games will also be carried through a network of TV stations spanning eight states, including Illinois.

With the move, KSDK, already far and away the number-one station in the market, will likely become more dominant. The station airs top-rated programs such as Wheel of Fortune, Jeporady! The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Ellen, plus a successful local daily program, Show Me St. Louis.

With the Cardinals now out of the picture, this brings up, once again, the possibility of KPLR becoming an ABC affiliate. ABC had a rocky history with former affiliate KTVI (now a Fox O&O) and with Sinclair-owned KDNL, Channel 30, which is among the lowest-rated ABC affiliates in the country. The station dumped its newscasts five years ago in a cost-cutting move. KDNL is also held in low regard by St. Louis residents. (The Grey's Anatomy Super Bowl debacle comes to mind.)

KPLR nearly became an ABC affiliate in 1988, but that was snuffed out when it acquired Cardinals baseball. With owner Tribune in the mode of possibly selling off its TV stations, the current CW affiliate could be in the best position in years to land the ABC affiliation. KPLR however, still owns the broadcast rights to Blues hockey games.

Fox Sports Net Midwest continues to own the cable rights to Cardinals games.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

CNET editor found dead

James Kim, R.I.P. (1971-2006)

He was missing for several days after going for help after he and his family was stranded in the snow in Oregon, but was found dead today in the southwestern part of the state.

CNET Memoriam:

Who Cares?

MyNetworkTV and the NHL make announcements. Why am I posting this, you ask? So you can click the two links, look 3 seconds, roll your eyes, and go back to what you were doing. That's exactly what I did.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Springer done with radio

TV talk show sleaze king Jerry Springer quits his radio show today, to pursue other opportunities.

Surprisingly, his decision to exit radio and politics is not because of the Democrats' winning Congress, or declining ratings, but because of his stint on Dancing With the Stars. Springer is eager to regain his pop-culture status he had in the late 1990's, when his rambunctious talk show earned gigantic ratings.

Given this, its unlikely Springer will give up his talk show, which is very good news for NBC Universal. Look for the syndicator to re-up Springer for a long-term deal when it expires in 2008.

Tribune Watch: News Corp. says no to Trib properties

Crain's Chicago Business website is reporting that News Corp. , parent of the Fox network, The New York Post, and other various media properties, has apparently taken a pass on Tribune Co.'s properties.

Monday, December 04, 2006

So... how that's working out for ya?

Aaron Barnhart of TV Barn interviews the GMs of the local Kansas City MyNetworkTV (KSMO-TV) and CW (KCWE-TV) affiliates, and finds that the rough is going for both of the affiliates of the new networks.

Several interesting finds: 1.) The CW's ratings are down in Kansas City from both WB and UPN. (In Chicago however, CW's ratings have been somewhat successful, thanks in part to WGN-TV's strong overall performance.) 2.) KCWE's overall ratings are up, but the increase comes from Dr. Phil and Oprah reruns (from sister station KMBC-TV), not from the CW lineup. 3.) At 7pm, more viewers are watching reruns of Mama's Family on KMCI-TV than Desire, the dreadful telenovela that mercifully wraps up tomorrow (and so does its equally crapful companion, Fashion House. )

MyNetworkTV is introducing two new telenovelas to replace the exiting shows, effective Wednesday. (Why Wednesday? Shouldn't weekday shows like that debut at the start of the week... like, oh I don't know... on MONDAY?)

One thing we know... Here in Chicago, whatever replaces those two programs will be beaten in the ratings by Chicago Tonight on Channel 11 and Comics Unleashed and repeats of Becker on WCIU. Maybe MyNetworkTV should look into hiring Phil Ponce, Byron Allen, and Ted Danson.

Local November Sweeps roundup

I’ve been complying local sweeps results for 17 seasons now and this is the first time I’m posting these on a blog…..

Local November sweeps stories from around the country…

Dallas/Fort Worth: In Big D, NBC-owned KXAS-TV won its sixth straight 10pm news crown, defeating ABC affiliate WFAA-TV in households and in adults 25-54... KXAS returned to the top spot in 2001, ending the 13-year dominance of WFAA as the market’s news leader. Meanwhile, Wheel of Fortune on CBS-owned KTVT won the 6:30pm time slot, but in the adults 18-49 demo, Wheel was defeated by Entertainment Tonight on WFAA. (Belo8?)

Phoenix: NBC affiliate KPNX continues its news dominance over the competition as it had since the mega-affiliation swap since took place over several weeks in the fall of 1994…. The rest of Phoenix's November's news numbers can be found here.

Miami/Ft. Lauderdale: Thanks to Dr. Phil, ABC affiliate WPLG has re-established dominance in local news and in overall ratings for the first time in years… Meanwhile, new CW affiliate WSFL beat MyNetworkTV’s WBFS in prime-time. (If you care, the article also mentions nearby West Palm Beach’s ratings where… yawn… NBC affiliate WPTV wins again [except noon]).

Orlando: ABC affiliate WFTV finished numero uno in every news time slot, and in overall ratings. (Surprisingly, this station is about as dominant as fellow ABC stations WSB Atlanta, WPVI Philadelphia, and WLS right here in Chicago.)

Milwaukee: ABC affiliate WISN-TV won the 5pm and 6pm time slots, but it was NBC affiliate WTMJ that took home the victory at 10pm again. Meanwhile, syndicated reruns of The Simpsons on Sinclair’s WCGV beat The King of Queens on sister station WVTV. However, Homer & Co. underperformed November 2005’s time period delivery.

Baltimore: CBS-owned WJZ-TV got a big boost from the Ravens (an AFC team; CBS carries AFC teams), but it was NBC affiliate WBAL-TV that won all local news time periods, except noon. (Hey Baltimore, remember when WJZ dominated the local ratings and Scripps' WMAR-TV was actually a competitor? Smart move dumping NBC when it was number one, was it Scripps execs?)

We'll have more results in the days ahead as more and more results become available.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Megan axed in Detroit

It looks like the beginning of the end for NBC Universal's The Megan Mulually Show as NBC affiliate WDIV in Detroit has canceled the show and is being replaced by Ellen, which moves from 4p.m. to 10a.m. WDIV is launching a new newscast at 4p.m. that will go up against Oprah and will return King World's Inside Edition to the 4:30pm time slot beginning Jan.8.

Inside Edition debuted on Jan. 9, 1989 in Detroit on WDIV in that exact time slot, leading out of syndicated reruns of The Cosby Show.

Inside Edition currently airs on ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV at 1am.

Late night news ratings drop in Washington

The Washington Post is reporting that late-news ratings at 11p.m. for the four network affiliates in the Washington, D.C. market have plummeted more than ten percent compared to last year's ratings.

One station, Allbritton's ABC affiliate WJLA, fell 35 percent at 11p.m. in November, compared to November 2005, despite ABC No. 1 ranking in prime-time. NBC-owned WRC-TV, the market leader, was down 11 percent. Gannett's CBS affiliate WUSA and Fox-owned WTTG (which also has a 10pm newscast) were also down.

Hats off to WDCW-Channel 50, the Tribune-owned CW affiliate, which found success with syndicated shows such as The People's Court, Maury, Judge Mathis, and The Bernie Mac Show, and CW's prime-time lineup, which easily defeated that of crosstown rival WDCA-TV, which featured MyNetworkTV programming. WDCW has come a long way from the days of WBDC and WFTY (its predecessors that occupied channel 50 back in the day), the latter often airing eighteenth-rate programming and practically had NO ratings (literally-- hash marks.)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Avalanche of boobs

Robert Feder's column in the Sun-Times this morning featured letters about yesterday's column. But none of them was on Montel Willams DVD project, Upscale Chicago, or even Felicia Middlebrooks' contract extension. It was the last item that trigged the outrage -- a one sentence mention about WFLD-TV morning show anchor Tamron Hall breast implants.

Here comes the Avalanche of hate mail so fast and furious, that retired goaltender Patrick Roy couldn't stop it. (Yes, an NHL reference. And he did play for the Colorado Avalanche.)

But, what you expect from a populace that freaks out when Janet Jackson's exposed breast is on TV for all of one second?

So, what's the big deal? Of course, Tamron Hall is not well-liked in Chicago media circles, as some feel that she was the one who forced Bob Sirott out of the stations' morning show several years ago. (Station management has turned over twice since then.)

Then again, a lot of women -- African-American women in journalism get scrutinized -- more so than anybody else.

Felicia Middlebrooks' and Diann Burns made contract demands in the past, and more recently, WGN-TV's Allison Payne and WMAQ-TV Marion Brooks' bizarre behavior were scrutinized by the print media in this town. All are African-American women.

I read reactions to these issues on local message boards in the past, and most posts were not flattering.

Which makes me wonder -- if the women were white, would this elicit the same response? As an African-American myself, it's natural that I should have these questions, especially in the light of the racist Michael Richards' tirade caught on tape in a L.A. comedy club.

Then again, Ms. Middlebrooks shouldn't have sought out the help of the Rev. Jesse Jackson for her previous contract negotiations (what was she thinking?) or Ms. Payne shouldn't have wrote a check for public television -- on the air -- on Chicago Tonight (for real, what was she thinking?)

I've seen Tamron Hall's work, and IMHO, she's one of the worst-talented news personalities in the market. (Then again, so is most of CLTV's on-air staff. )

Crazy antics by news anchors aren't limited to race, creed, gender, or color. But in an era where a lot of viewers across the nation are fed up with local news, neither is criticism of the personalities.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

WDJT dumps Victoria, Upscale gets upped

Weigel Broadcasting's WDJT-TV in Milwaukee (also owner of sister station WCIU-TV here in Chicago) announced it was moving next Tuesday's The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show to 12:40am (last item in article), pre-empted for all things, A Billy Graham Special. GM Jim Hall says that the station has received some complaints about Victoria's Secret in the past.

Some people are upset the way the station is run. (We have are own questions about WCIU's sister station, WMME-TV, or ME-TV here. America's Funniest Home Videos and Roseanne as classic TV? Come on!)

In other area TV news, The Sun-Times' Robert Feder reports today that locally produced magazine show Upscale Chicago, is being upgraded to a late Saturday Night time slot on WFLD-TV at midnight, beginning Dec.9. The program is airing out of the popular late-night Fox show Talk Show With Spike Feresten and the syndicated Whacked Out Sports. Upscale had aired on late Thursday nights (Thursday?) on sister station WPWR-TV.

Of course, that is not as interesting as what Feder put at the end of his column. (Talk about Victoria's Secret.)

Tribune Watch: Stay of execution

We won't know the fate of the Tribune Co. this year: Tribune extends its deadline to accept bids for the company through the first quarter of next year.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

T Dog Blog Think Tank: NHL, Hawks, Broadcasters need to get with the program

This is what I posted yesterday in the Comments section of a story about the Chicago Blackhawks firing their head coach:

"Everything about this team SUCKS, including the management. Now I can see why the NHL is behind NASCAR, Golf, and "Deal or No Deal" in popularity in this country. I would rather watch a Britney Spears video than this poor excuse of a "hockey" team."


You'’re probably wondering why I'’m mentioning that the Chicago Blackhawks fired head coach Trent Yawney on this blog. Hawks management actually has something in common with many radio and television executives: they're boobheads.

Consider this:… The Hawks are cheap; media companies like Clear Channel and NBC are cheap. (NBC 2.0, anyone?) The Hawks are owned by a out-of-touch dinosaur who still blackout games on TV; network executives put on programs that we wished were blacked out on TV. Attendance has declined at Hawks games and NHL games in general; audiences are bailing out of broadcast TV and terrestrial radio. NHL games now air on an obscure network; NBC, The CW and MyNetworkTV have become obscure networks. (The latter two rather quickly.) The Hawks made bad decisions regarding players; the networks have made bad programming decisions such as airing too many sound-alike, look-alike, one-name serialized dramas, and Fox with that great idea of an O.J. special, If He Did It. (You know the outcomes of all three scenarios.)

Want more? The Hawks got rid of stars like Chelios, Amonte, Belfour, Roenick, and play-by-play man Pat Foley over the years; the networks got rid of well- written shows like Arrested Development, Futurama, The Bernie Mac Show, and Everwood. Mediocre dreck like Wirtz, Pulford, and Tallon gets to stay; so does Kevin Reilly (NBC), Peter Ligouri (FOX), and Dawn Ostroff (The CW). Hawks management doesn't care about the public; neither does the management at radio and television companies. And so on. And so on. And so on.

And the boobery isn't just limited to the Hawks. I watched all of only two Hawks games this season (and that's all I'm going to watch), and haven'’t kept up with the NHL much lately. That's because of decisions like one made tonight in which Vs. (formerly OLN -- or did you know that already?) slated a doubleheader of hockey games with exclusive coverage -- up against ESPN'’s Monday Night Football, which has dominated the cable ratings all season long. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should be hit with a Vonage Box for thinking that his sport can outdraw football -- let alone wrestling -- head-to head on Monday Nights. He should be hit with another Vonage Box for moving hockey to OLN from ESPN to begin with.

Of course, there was the lockout in which the owners and Bettman "won"”, one that deprived fans of a Stanley Cup in the 2004-05 season, and an atrocious playoff system that gave us an ultra-lame Stanley Cup Finals in 2006 between the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes, even though it went seven games. Television ratings for this sport have declined to a point where even the now-defunct WB and UPN networks have drawn more viewers.

Maybe the NHL should move from NBC to MyNetworkTV. As the home of mediocre programming, the NHL and the Hawks would fit right in. Yep, a sports league nobody cares about airing on a network nobody watches. (Or is it the other way around?) Maybe with some luck, both will go away. And maybe in the process, take the Blackhawks, its inept management, Bettman, and idiot radio and television executives with you.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Television Blunders

I said I was going to return Tuesday, but I just had to post this... From Sunday's Trib:

O.J. blunder hardly a first for television

And here are some more.. From Mediaweek's Marc Berman (subscription may be required):

TV Turkeys, Part 3

I can go on forever adding to the list of blunders.... USA Today on TV, The Chevy Chase Show, The Geraldo brawl in '88, Mancow TV (remember that? Yes, Mancow had a TV show).... Just goes to show you that everything in life isn't perfect... and the television and radio business is far from perfect.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The 2006 T Dog Blog Turkey Awards

Welcome to the first annual T Dog Blog Turkey Awards. We’re here to reward stupidity and simpletonism in the fields of broadcasting and in media in 2006 (so far.) Judging by the long list of winners (or shall we say “losers”? ), 2006 was a busy year for being stupid, ignorant, lame, boring, moronic, etc… You get the point.

So, fire up the grill. Grab a beer. Pull up a chair. Invite that relative over that your significant other can’t stand. Because it’s time to hand out some turkeys.

And this year’s awards go to:

-Michael Richards. What the hell was he thinking? He should have been hit with a Vonage box for what he said onstage at The Laugh Factory in L.A. last Friday Night.

-Jack-FM (WJMK-FM) for letting Jim Belushi take over the station for the day to whore the syndicated rerun premiere of his useless comedy According To Jim on September 18. Useless “comedian” hawking his useless “show” on a useless “radio station“. Sounds good to me!

-Fox, for coming up with that great idea for an O.J. Special, If He Did It.

-Bill O’Reilly. It seems every time he opens his big fat mouth, someone should put a fist in it.

-The Cubs. Just because.

-The creation of the CW and MyNetworkTV, providing us with hours of quality TV, especially The Game, Desire, and Fashion House. Better off if all those stations went back being independent.

-Whomever wrote the first and the last episodes of the fall cycle of this season’s South Park. (Trey Parker, I’m looking at you.)

-Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue. Yikes. Whoever thought of this series should get a clue. At least they didn’t bring back Scrappy.

Dennis Byrne’s column. Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle could write better crap than this.

-Survivor’s racial split. Lasting all of two weeks. Like the interest in this show for this season.

-The Blackhawks. Just because., for the overall crapiness of their site and for the headline that appeared on the front page of their website, posted by some moron: “Opie and Anthony Out!!! CKG Done!” Yeah. And Dewey defeated Truman too.

-NBC, for their plan to cut jobs and save $750 million and to eliminate scripted shows at 7pm (CT) in a initiative called “NBC 2.0”. Is the 2.0 NBC’s executives IQ?

-Those sleazy political ads that ran in October. Thanks for making TV even more unwatchable.

-The FCC. A one-time respectable non-partisan agency is now nothing more than a right-wing government junket, trying to give mega-corporations the right to buy as many TV and radio stations they want, and claming to protect children from swear words from television. Too bad they are not as interested in protecting children from, oh I don’t know… random gunfire in places like Englewood? The type that took the lives of two innocent girls earlier this year? This is one of the reasons the Democrats swept the elections and took over Congress.

-Whoever thought it was a good idea to add Erica to the Eddie & Jobo show on B 96 (WBBM-FM.) The move lowered the show’s IQ by 60 points. (as if it wasn’t low enough already.)

-MSNBC, for reporting Tom Cruise’s weeding as “Breaking News”.

-Vanished, Kidnapped, Smith, DayBreak, Standoff, and all the similarly named one-word new serialized dramas (except Heroes) that sound alike, talk alike. Another thing they have in common -- nobody’s watching.

-Eddie & Jobo (again) for feeling sorry for Kevin Federline after Britney dumped him and promoting his “concert” at the House Of Blues. Those moves lowered the show’s IQ 20 more points.

-WLIT. Are they an AC station? A disco station? A CHR? Next thing you know, they’ll be playing Snoop Dogg. (By the way, is AC still alive as a format?)

-Delilah‘s nightly radio show. Enough said.

-Lost. After stringing viewers along for too long, “Lost” should get lost.

-Show Me the Money, a new game show hosted by talent repellent William Shanter featuring dancing girls and idiot contestants who talk too much instead of answering the obviously too-easy questions. Please, someone show this crap the door.

-The War At Home. Just because.

-Flashback Weekends on ANY radio station. Nine FM and WLIT need to get fresh ideas.

-And finally, to Wall Street. Thanks for making the companies who own radio and television stations across the country so bland and cookie-cutter, driving the audience to the Internet, satellite radio, DVDs, and other alternative forms of entertainment. And what is the reward? Layoffs, cost-cutting, and the possibility of Chicago losing its only major media company. Thanks a lot.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Murdoch drops O.J. special, book

The chairman of News Corp. pulls the plug on the Fox special and the book after the O.J. Simpson stuff proved too hot to handle.

Here is the official press release directly from News Corporation.

Say It Isn't So, Kramer!

WOW. I'll never look at him the same way again.

Fox affiliates can O.J. special

Fox stations owned by LIN, Pappas, and Prime Cities broadcasting decided not to show the controversial two-part interview featuring O.J. Simpson next Monday and Wednesday nights. The announcement of the special last week caught practically everyone off-guard, as it is being headed up by Mike Darnell, head of "alternative programming" at Fox. This, of course is a major November sweeps stunt. (And you thought sweeps were dead. Think again.)

Meanwhile, it is not likely that the airings will be pulled -- that's because Fox owns stations in ten of the top eleven markets (with San Francisco being the exception), and station managers can't pull network programs off the air because of content (That's generally a rule for all network O&Os, though it's very rare this happens - in 1973, then-CBS O&O in St. Louis, KMOX-TV refused to air Sticks & Stones, a controversial movie about the Vietnam War - a very hot topic at the time.) Network O&O's however, can pre-empt for sports, news programming, or special events. For example, WMAQ-TV here in Chicago usually pre-empts NBC fare in August for Bears pre-season games.

In 1969, ABC turned off raunchy show (at least for that era, anyway) Turn-On after one airing after about 75 ABC stations dropped the show. But back then, there only five ABC O&O's. Fox has 35 owned-and operated stations, which include MyNetworkTV affiliates.

The airing of the O.J. special may also have unattended consequences-- from Democrats on Capitol Hill, who recently took control of Congress. Here's Why.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Former college football coach dies at TV station

The legendary University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler collapsed this morning while preparing to tape a program at WXYZ-TV in Detroit. He died later at a Southfield, Mich. hospital. Mr. Schembechler was 77.

This comes a day before one of the biggest football games in the school's history: #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan in Columbus, Ohio.

I saw some video of Mr. Schembechler today speaking at a press conference about the big game earlier this week. He talked about the game and his hatred for Ohio State, as if he was still the coach! (He retired in 1989.) He was fiery and passionate, even toward the end. That is what college football is all about.


Detroit News: Schembechler,77, collapses while taping TV Show

Detroit Free Press: Bo Schembechler, a U-M coaching legend, dies at 77

WXYZ-TV: Breaking News: Bo Schembechler Dead at 77

Michigan Buzzboard: Bo Schembechler Passes Away

Thursday, November 16, 2006

George Michael Sports Machine to shut down

When you think of the name George Michael, you usually think of the former pop star who ****** himself in a public restroom some years ago.

Well, even before the Wham! star became famous, there was another George Michael -- one who's a respected sports anchor on Washington D.C. television for 26 years and an institution to that market's residents.

It was announced yesterday that George Michael would be stepping down from his nightly anchoring duties and the sports director position at NBC-owned WRC-TV in Washington D.C. on March 1. This also means the cancellation of The George Michael Sports Machine, a satellite-delivered program that ran on Sunday Nights in syndication for years. The show had been syndicated by NBC Universal Television Distribution.

The move comes as NBC Universal is cutting jobs and trying to save $750 million annually. Mr. Michael made the decision after he learned that much of his staff would be cut.

George Michael will not leave the station entirely: According to the Washington Post, he'll continue to host Redskins Report and Full Court Press on WRC, plus he'll continue to conduct live Monday interviews with the Redskins coaching staff.

Trivia: When Group W merged with CBS in 1995, WRC-produced The George Michael Sports Machine became the first program in history to be syndicated by a company owned by a rival network (CBS' Eyemark Entertainment). When CBS bought King World in 1999, it absorbed all Eyemark product into that company. Syndication rights reverted back to NBC after it formed its own syndication division.

ITC (original producer of The Muppet Show and Space:1999) started syndicating the show in 1991, and was taken over to Group W in 1994. Before that, NBC offered the program to its affiliates for airing from 1984-91.


This has ramifications for both the television and radio industries. Details here:

Clear Channel Sold for $26.7 Billion

May's Family Finds Buyers for Clear Channel, TV Stations for Sale

Clear Channel Goes Private in $26.7 billion deal

List of TV Stations to be sold by Clear Channel (courtesy of Michigan Buzzboard)

List of radio stations to be sold by Clear Channel

Official Press Release from Clear Channel

Updated 11:05pm, 11-16-06

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Emmitt Smith wins "Danicng"

Mario Lopez clearly was the better dancer, but it was the popular vote that rode Emmitt Smith to victory on last night's Dancing With The Stars. Meanwhile, the results show drew a season-high 27.2 million viewers while new serial drama Daybreak (haven't we had enough of those?) tanked.

(Updated 7:18pm 11-16-06)

Chicago Arbitrends

First Arbitrends ratings radio report for the fall season: WGN and WGCI are tied for first, WZZN's Oldies format is starting to pay dividends (best ratings for that frequency I've seen in least 18 years), The "feel good music" revolution is making WILV (Love FM) and WLIT feel bad, and WLUP (The Loop) and WKQX (Q101) continue to s(t)ink.

Where's Nine FM you ask? Don't ask.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tribune Watch: 'Feud' switches syndicators

The continuing saga of the Tribune Co. continues to unravel: Fremantle Media, the producer of Family Feud, is dropping Tribune Entertainment as syndicator and is replacing it with Debmar-Mercury, a unit of independent film studio Lionsgate, Inc. effective immediately.

It seems this program has been through more syndicators than hosts -- John O'Hurley is currently the captain of this ship, replacing Richard Karn, who hosted the show since 2002.

For now, Tribune continues to syndicate American Idol Rewind for Fremantle, which launched this October for weekend play. This move leaves Tribune without a daily strip (five days a week) on the air, and the future of the syndicator uncertain.

For you trivia buffs, Family Feud premired on ABC in 1976 and in syndication a year later, both lasting until 1985. It returned again in 1988 on CBS and syndication -- with the network version ending in 1993 and the syndicated version ending two years later. The current version has been on since 1999. Family Feud was also the #1 game show in syndication from 1978-84, until a certain show with a Wheel knocked it off.

Hosts: Richard Dawson (1976-85; 1994-95), Ray Combs (1988-94), Louie Anderson (1999-2002), Richard Karn (2002-06), John O'Hurley (2006- )

Syndicators: Viacom (1977-85), LBS Communications (1988-92), All American Television (1992-95) Pearson Television (1999-2002), Tribune Entertainment (2002-06), Debmar-Mercury (2006- ).

Geraldo and the Big Apple

Geraldo At Large, Twentieth Television's syndicated news magazine, is making a big splash in New York City on WNYW, beating Katie Couric in the adult 25-54 demo at 6:30pm. for the month of October. He also beat Couric at 6:30pm in Detroit on WJBK in that same demo (it helps to note that Couric's news show airs on a station -- a network O&O with NO LOCAL NEWSCAST.)

Meanwhile Rachael Ray's syndicated show from King World was the top-rated new talk show for the week at 2.0. A distant second was Telepictures' (or Warner Bros., or Lorimar, or whatever they are calling themselves this week) Dr. Keith Ablow with a 1.0 rating.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Tribune Watch

Here is the latest:

  • The Chicago Sun-Times has reported in today's editions that Gannett Co. may be interested in buying Tribune's newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune.
  • In today's editions of Crain's Chicago Business, the business paper asks if Tyra Banks can boost Tribune Co.? According to the article, Tribune's CW stations in the top three markets (WPIX-- New York, KTLA -- Los Angeles, WGN -- Chicago) have posted gains to the tune of +11% in households, and (more importantly) up 17% from last year, thanks to the addition of shows like America's Next Top Model, which stars former supermodel turned talk-show host Ms. Banks. (Top Model ran on UPN last year; the Tribune stations were WB affiliates.) However, ratings are down in most of the other metered markets, and down nationally. This may help explain why NewsCorp's MyNetworkTV, a new network launched 13 days before the launch of the CW, is struggling in the top three markets, and elsewhere (Asides from the programming sucking.) There appears to be an uncertain future for both fledgling networks as they have been national ratings disappointments as viewers continue to flee broadcast television for cable, satellite, DVDs, and broadband video from the internet, hitting nontraditional affiliates (not affiliated with ABC, CBS, or NBC) the hardest as they struggle to attract and maintain audiences.
  • Crain's is also reporting that other potential bidders, besides Gannett, include MediaNews Group (owner of papers in San Jose and Denver) and various investor groups.

WMAQ drops midday newscast

A little late with this, but it does bear mentioning: Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that WMAQ-TV's 11a.m. newscast and its checkerboard rotation of 11:30am syndicated shows are being axed for iVillage Live, a new interactive program that will air live from 11a.m. to noon (CT) on Channel 5 and nine other NBC O&O's, and simultaneously on NBC's Bravo cable network and online at NBC acquired the assets of the female-oriented website last year. The fun begins Dec. 4.

The move is related to NBC Universal goal to cut 700 jobs and save $750 million dollars.

NBC and its most of its affiliates traditionally has trailed ABC and CBS in the daytime ratings race. Since 1988, the network has cut three-and-a-half hours from its daytime lineup, giving the time back to its affiliates for local programming or in most cases, syndicated programs.

WMAQ's newscast averaged only a 1.1 rating and 4 share in October, far behind its news competitors, and syndicated shows Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Judge Joe Brown.

The last time something like this (minus the internet and cable component, of course) was tried on the NBC O&O level in daytime was the ill-fated revival of House Party, which aired on NBC-owned and Group W stations, and a handful of other outlets in 1990. The host of the show? None other than the man who fronts Fox News Channel's morning show Fox and Friends -- Steve Doocy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What About Brian?

No, not that Brian. But the ABC Monday Night Show What About Brian is picked up for a full season, while Fox's Justice has been crushed by the pooper-scooper.

Is the end near?

For the Tribune Company? It looks like the company is going to implode. The television Stations, WGN radio, The Cubs, and the Chicago Tribune may all be sold.

The Los Angeles Times reported yesterday that Tribune may be exiting the television ownership business because their stations in New York (WPIX) and Los Angeles (KTLA) licences are expiring soon. And with Tribune owning papers in both markets (including the Los Angeles Times), they might have to divest the stations because of the cross-ownership rules, which since 1975 prohibited companies from owning a television station and a newspaper in the same media market. Here in Chicago, Tribune owns WGN-TV and WGN-AM, plus the Chicago Tribune, but that was grandfather in, since Tribune owned them all since '75.

Crain's Chicago Business website also reported on the story. A financial analyst stated that Tribune's stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago (The nation's biggest) could fetch up to $2.5 billion dollars.

On the radio side of things, Inside Radio wonders in all the infighting at the Times and the Tribune, how come the fate of top-rated WGN-AM isn't be discussed? That's a good question. If WGN-AM is sold, who will step up to buy it? Clear Channel? CBS? Entercom? Citadel? Are the former two going to sell off weaker assets (because of market cap concerns) to acquire WGN-AM?

Plus, what's going to happen to the Cubs? CareerBuilder? WGN SuperStation? Soul Train? U.S. Farm Report? (You can't live without the U.S. Farm Report, you know.)

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is going to be one interesting ride for the next couple of months. We could see a unprecedented amount of wheeling and dealing -- one that could shake up the largest markets for years to come. As we say in television land (and well as in radio land) -- Stay Tuned.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ed Bradley dies

The Veteran 60 Minutes anchor dies of Leukemia at the age of 65. :-(

Link: Chicago Tribune

Talk about false advertising

CBS-owned KBCW in San Francisco (formerly KBHK) is actually promoting syndicated episodes of the Simpsons as "new":

I wonder if these are the same episodes that aired on Fox last season...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

... and don't hit your ass out the door! (Part 2)

Britney dumps Kevin:

I know. I know. This is a media blog, and there should be no room for celebrity fluff. But hey, I'm not to pass up this opportunity to take a few shots....

1. This marriage is just as over as the Steelers' season.

2. Now that his meal ticket is gone, K-Fed will go back to doing what he does best... beg for change on the expressway off-ramp.

3. He will be in town for a concert soon. To get a feel of what his future is going to be like, he should stand outside of Wendy's on Madison and Clark in the Loop and sell Streetwise.

4. He could be the PC guy on those Apple commercials.

5. Maybe he can go play for the Blackhawks. As a loser, he'll fit in perfectly.

6. Oh yeah, the concert. If people want to see losers, they'll go to Cubs games.

7. Maybe he'll join the cast of 'Til Death. Like his music gig, he can appear on a sitcom that will also be short lived.

8. This marriage is just as over as Britney's career.

... and don't hit your ass out the door!

Mark Hyman, who created those "Point" commentaries for Baltimore-based Sinclair NewsCentral stations (including for Sinclair owned ABC affiliates WICS-TV in Springfield and WICD-TV in Champaign), has decided to stop annoying what little viewers they have left for their newscasts and decided to annoy his family instead....

Those commentaries often featured views that were tilted to the right, which hurt Sinclair's image somewhat. When viewers watch local news -- they want murders, fires, and fluff pieces. When they want commentaries, they go to the cable news networks. (Here in Chicago, Walter Jacobson, the far opposite of Hyman, was ousted earlier this year from Fox-owned WFLD-TV, effectively ending the "Perspective" commentaries he has given on Chicago newscasts for over three decades.) Hyman's commentaries, like Jacobson's, just don't fit in this day and age of local news.

(P.S. -- Walter is part of Channel 5's election coverage tonight.) -- T.H. 11:59pm


If this does not make you go out and vote Democratic today, then I don't know what will.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen -- Your candidates for Governor:

Well, they're better choices than the idiots that are REALLY running for the office.

Friday, November 03, 2006

WLIT flips to Christmas Music early

Yes, it's only November 3, but WLIT has decided to flip to Christmas Music -- fifty-something days until Christmas. A quote from Feder's column in today's Sun-Times:

"When I saw a snowflake this morning, that's when I decided," said Darren Davis, vice president of programming and operations for Clear Channel Chicago. "I hadn't planned on it. It just felt right."

It seems like most decisions made in radio today are made like that. On a snowflake.

But look at this way my fellow fanboys -- No more "The Girls" or those stupid "Flashback Weekends" for now -- or hopefully ever.,CST-FIN-feder03.article

Thursday, November 02, 2006

NBC vs. Fox

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Interesting article in the Trib today from Ed Sherman about the new flexible scheduling policy that came into place this year with the league new television contracts. This involves the Chicago Bears, and their successful undefeated season thus far.

Fox isn't pleased that the game between the Bears (media market #3) and the 5-2 New York Giants (media market#1), orginally scheduled for a 12:01 Central Time start on Nov. 12, was moved by the National Football League to 7:15, meaning that the game won't be televisied by Fox but by NBC instead.

NBC of course, got back in the NFL game for the first time in eight years by acquiring the Sunday Night Football franchise that was formerly was on ESPN. NBC paid the NFL $600 million dollars. Part of that new deal came with the guarantee of marquee match ups... (i.e. the ones with playoff implications) -- and the right to pluck one marquee game from either CBS or Fox's Sunday afternoon lineups late in the season.

Even though Fox hasn't protected the Nov.26 Bears-New England Patriots game (NBC has slated Eagles-Colts for that night), there is a possibility that NBC might go back to the league and ask for that game -- because the Eagles are struggling and NBC fears that the game has the potential to become a one-sided affair.

As it stands for now, Fox will carry the Bears-Patriots game on Nov. 26 at 3:15pm (originally a noon start) and also plans to carry the Bears-Vikings game the following Sunday.

As we say in television land, Stay tuned.,1,4164123.story?coll=chi-sportstop-

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Next thing you know, they'll say that watching Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Lions games are good for your kids

The group that is the ultimate in stupidity (aside from Blackhawks management), the PTC, says that reality TV is better for your kids:

Wait a minute... kids still watch broadcast TV? Apparently, the people at the Prick Tofu Crud didn't get the memo.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

No Cable Required

Law & Order: Criminal Intent -- Coming soon every night to a broadcast television station near you.

For the first time in a long time, an off-network hour-long drama is being sold in broadcast syndication for airing in daily (strip) syndication. (That’s right! You heard me!) NBC Universal announced it was selling Law & Order: Criminal Intent to Fox-owned stations in top markets (including WFLD/WPWR here in Chicago) on a barter basis beginning in September 2007 in a unique cable/broadcast hybrid.

This marks the first crime drama to be offered in daily syndication since 21 Jump Street and Matlock were sold to broadcast stations in 1990, and the first overall drama to be sold since Paramount took 7th Heaven to broadcast stations in 1999.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, before cable became a major player, hour-long shows of all sorts were sold into syndication, including programs like Perry Mason, Star Trek (where it became a phenomenon), Gunsmoke, The Rookies, Little House on the Prairie, Quincy, Barnaby Jones, and Magnum P.I.

In the mid-’80’s however, reruns of serialized soap operas -- Dallas, then later Dynasty, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest -- faired poorly in strip syndication. Then, stations started choosing off -net sitcoms over dramas. Programs like The Cosby Show, Who’s The Boss? , and Married… With Children filled up key early fringe, prime access, and late fringe time periods on broadcast stations. Meanwhile, cable networks like USA, The Family Channel, and A&E started snapping up rights to hour-long shows such as Murder, She Wrote, Scarecrow & Mrs. King, McGyver, and The Equalizer.

This doesn’t mean that hour-long shows didn’t prosper in syndication. Hunter, which debuted in syndication in 1989, performed well for local stations, particularly in Los Angeles where during the first few years it beat all local competition (including local news) at 6p.m. Matlock continues to perform well for stations who air it, especially in the South, where star Andy Griffith is still popular. Other hour-long programs such as Highway to Heaven , Beverly Hills 90210, In The Heat Of The Night, and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman also performed respectably. Three of those four shows were sold on a barter basis (90210 was sold on a cash-barter basis), with the syndicators keeping half of the commercial time to sell to national advertisers, and stations got the other half to sell. They didn’t have to pay for the shows, and thus, the risk was low.

However, cable stepped up its game in the mid-’90’s, and started acquiring exclusive rights to hour-long dramas, as stations turned to first-run talk shows and more off-network sitcoms. Then a decade ago, Twentieth Television became one of the first syndicators to sell off-net hour long programs to a cable/syndication hybrid: The X-Files, NYPD Blue, and The Practice were sold to cable for Monday-Friday runs and to broadcast stations for weekend runs. This has been the standard ever since with dramas such as Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Angel, CSI, The West Wing, 24, and Without A Trace all getting similar treatment.

USA will continue to air the program next fall. If this cable/broadcast hybrid works for a stripped version of the show in syndication, we’ll see more deals like this for hour-long shows.

Meanwhile reruns of another hour-long show which was syndication in the ‘90’s, Baywatch, will return as a syndicated strip next fall handled by Litton Syndication. Baywatch, which ran on NBC in the 1989-90 season, and in first-run syndication from 1991 to 2001, was stripped from 1995-97 by All American/Pearson Television.

Link: (Broadcasting & Cable)

Don't feed the morons

This guy would be better qualified to run a radio station than some of the "professionals" on these radio message boards. Or to become governor of Illinois.

Click on this link here:,52168.0.html#top

Yep. A Story that's not true. (yet, anyway.) A post that's on the front page of this website. Considering the poster is probably some in-bred redneck idiot from Wisconsin. (Or better yet, some guy working on the local GOP campaigns.) No sources quoted or links. Yep, this site is to radio as the National Enquirer is to news. When is Larz coming back? His board is better this drivel from radio "professionals" on this stupid board, many of which wouldn't know how to operate a Burger King let alone a radio station.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More Changes

Change No. 1: NBC resurrects Thursday Must see lineup

From 7 to 9 (Central) Thursdays beginning next month, all the network's comedies will be on one night. Except "Twenty Good Years". This shitcom, which hasn't had one good episode, is on indefinite hiatus:

Change No. 2: New Syndicated talk shows shift slots

The Greg Behrendt Show and Dr. Keith Albow have shifted time slots in several markets (not necessarily downgrades though):

I know what you all about to say. Who?

Like The Megan Mulually Show, Greg and Keith have also struggled to find viewers for their flapfests. At least these shows haven't been drop-kicked into a 2 or 3 am time slot(yet), as this would have been the case several years ago.

Can't wait for "The Judy Baar Topinka Show" next fall. Oh, that's right. Joan Rivers already had a daytime talk show. (LOL)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Megan Mulually downgraded in N.Y., L.A.

I'm back....

Syndication Watch:

In what qualifies to be the kiss of death of any new show, NBC Universal's new Megan Mulually talk show has been downgraded at NBC-owned KNBC-TV in Los Angeles yesterday. The program, which features the former Will & Grace star, lost its key 4pm time slot and has been moved to noon. A local newscast which aired at this time, has now been moved to 4pm. This marks the first time since 2002 that KNBC has carried news at 4pm.

Between 2002 and 2005, Dr. Phil aired in that time slot, but in September of last year, the show moved to crosstown KCBS-TV.

Earlier, fellow NBC-owned counterpart WNBC-TV in New York City moved Megan from an afternoon slot to a late morning slot. The show was also downgraded at Media General's Columbus (Ohio) NBC station, WCMH-TV.

A downgrade in either New York or Los Angeles or both pretty much kills any syndicated show, as both markets are No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in market size, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Ratings are clearly the culprit. In Los Angeles over five weeks, Megan dropped 27% from its Ellen lead-in, while it was off 60% from Ellen year-ago ratings performance.


Nationally, the program trails other freshmen syndicated talk shows, including Rachael Ray.

Here in Chicago, the program airs at noon on WMAQ-TV, where it is being hammered in the ratings by soap operas and noon newscasts.

More info here:

TV Week

Broadcasting & Cable:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Finally! A network that the NHL can beat in the ratings

Remember MyNetworkTV? That groovy new network that all the square cats are watching? No? Neither does anybody else! With Maureen Ryan of the Trib is busy slamming the CW for their moves, and Marc Berman of Mediaweek ignoring it all together, Advertising Age apparently remembers there's a MNT: [subscription required]

I have also found that here in Chicago (and San Diego) from Sept. 18-Sept. 22, MyNetworkTV was outdrawn by reruns of Becker. That's right. A fourth-rate sitcom beating a seventh-rate network in the household ratings.

Ted Danson hotter than Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild. Make sense to me!

[P.S. Posted on 10-24-06. I meant to post this last week, but forgot. The Ad Age free link expired, so if you click the above link, you'll only get an abstract. In other words, take my word for it. Word. Word to your mother. Word Up. ]

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

TBS wins League Championship series

With declining audiences for sporting events (particularly baseball) on broadcast TV, a move to cable was bound to happen:

This is on top of a deal that gives Turner exclusive rights to the divisional playoff series beginning next year and Sunday afternoon games in 2008.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Steve Lyons, meet Lamar Thomas. Lamar Thomas, meet Steve Lyons.

It was not a good weekend for sports analysts:

Fox fired Steve Lyons for insensitive comments regarding fellow analyst (now Cubs manager) Lou Pinella and his use of Spanish during Game 3 of the ALCS Friday night, while Comcast SportsSouth (not related to Comcast SportsNet) canned former Cane Lamar Thomas for thoughtless comments during that big brawl in Saturday's broadcast of the Miami (FL) - Florida International (FIU) college football game.

Meanwhile, 31 players have been suspended for their part in the brawl, and one player from the U of M (Anthony Reddick) suspended indefinitely. Also, 16 FIU players have also been suspended indefinitely and two players are gone for good.

Both teams play 9 miles apart from one another in Miami. Sounds familiar Chicago baseball fans? Remember the Michael Barrett - A.J. brawl in the Cubs-Sox game last June? Eerily similar, as the Cubs and Sox play 8.1 miles apart.

Anyway, the Miami-FIU brawl was completely crass. Both teams showed a complete lack of sportsmanship. Next time if you guys want to do stuff like that -- go into politics.

What are the posters saying? Check out this link on Radio-Info (and get a good laugh):,51232.0.html

And look over there! Speaking of firings:

Ken Macha will soon likely run to Art Shell in that same Oakland unemployment office.