Thursday, May 31, 2007

Stanley Cup clipped

More bad ratings news for sports: The Stanley Cup Finals have been a complete disaster for Versus and the NHL, drawing just 466,000 viewers for Game 2 between the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators. Ratings are down 22 percent in households from a year ago.

Of course, when the NHL commissioner is as stupid as the Blackhawks' owner is, both get what they deserve in the popularity department.

Since CNN's Anderson Cooper is in town, maybe he should high-tail those cameras over to the United Center to expose the biggest fraud in sports...

Battlestar Galactica to end

This just in: The spectacular sci-fi show on SciFi will end its run sometime next year.

Minnesota to The Simpsons: Get Lost

Leave it to Minnesota to spoil The Simpsons' fun: While sixteen other Springfields are vying for the free preview screening for the new Simpsons movie (including Illinois and Missouri), the Springfield in Minnesota turned the producers down.

Maybe they should stick to doing what they do best: boo A.J. Pierzynski.

And as for the "lady" quoted at the end of the article: it's entertainment for Christ's sake. She wouldn't last five minutes in Chicago.

CD trump downloads

But this is an online poll from the people who brought you Dewey defeats Truman, so I wouldn't read too much into it. As for the comments section, note that the posters are likely over 50 - the only people who pretty much read this blog anyway.

Cable ratings down too in May

Cable, like broadcast, is in a slump too - but hey, isn't everything nowadays? You know- sitcoms, ratings for the NBA playoffs, the economy, government, the Cubs, the White Sox, etc...

Study: 38 percent find primetime less enjoyable this year

According to an interview with Rich Luker of Chicago-based Relay Worldwide. Of course, that number would instantly double if they counted Chicago baseball fans in the survey.

Basketball bouncing down

The Jazz-Spurs NBA Western Conference Final was a ratings flop, and the San Antonio Spurs advancing to the Finals won't help the NBA or ESPN. But at least they won't have the numbers the NHL and NBC will have for the Ducks-Senators Stanley Cup matchup. Sadly for the NBA, that's the only positive thing out of all this.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and White Sox are tanking by getting swept earlier this week. Yeah, that's good for ratings...

So... When does Big Brother and America's Got Talent begin again?

An important reminder

The T Dog Media Blog usually doesn't endorse programming from the cable news networks, but this is an important special: On CNN, Anderson Cooper: 360 will focus on youth violence in Chicago, including the murder of 16-year old Blair Holt, who was among five people shot on a CTA bus on May 10. The crime shocked Chicago and made national headlines.

This comes as many cities, including Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee are experiencing surges in youth-related violence this year.

The report, entitled 24 Hours in Chicago, will air tonight at 9 p.m. (CT) on CNN.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Regis & Kelly relocates

It's back to the future for Regis Philbin - Regis and his main TV squeeze Kelly Ripa, will be hosting their TV chatfest from the modified set of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire on an indefinite basis while repairs are being done to the set due to the fire that struck WABC-TV's news set in New York Sunday Night. (Regis Philbin hosted the ABC game show from 1999-2002 - it's now in syndication and is hosted by Meredith Vierra.)

Live With Regis & Kelly tapes next door to the news set, and sustained some water and smoke damage. Kelly Ripa's office and her wardrobe also suffered the same fate. (Mr. Philbin's office is on another floor and suffered no damage.)

Millionaire has finished taping for the season, and will resume later this summer. Meanwhile, WABC is broadcasting their news from the station's newsroom for the time being.

Both Live and Millionaire are syndicated by Disney/ABC Domestic Television (formerly Buena Vista Television.) Both shows air on Disney/ABC-owned WABC-TV in New York (as well as WGN-TV here in Chicago.)

Do you trust your weatherman?

Living in Chicago? Hell, naw! (well, maybe Tom Skilling and Jerry Taft.) But this story from Broadcasting & Cable tells how inaccurate weather forecasts are putting the public in jeopardy and their credibility at stake. In some cases - it's blowing the bottom line for businesses, vacationers, and state highway troopers. In one example, the Texas Rangers lost $250,000 in concession and ticket revenue after a forecast predicted downpours during a game against the New York Yankees, which kept fans away. The game played on without interruption.

Of course, you don't have to have bad weather to keep fans away from Rangers' stadium. The team's poor play and Sammy Sosa are more than enough.

Hidden Palms to be hidden in Chicago

Tonight's premiere of CW's Hidden Palms is being delayed in the Windy City until Saturday Night because of something like a Cubs-Marlins game, but it doesn't really matter. Judging by this review, this show has about as much buzz as The Stanley Cup Finals.

LaSorte new boss at Emmis stations

Former WGN-AM programming head Tisa LaSorte has been promoted to the newly created position of brand manager of The Loop (WLUP) and Q101 (WKQX). She'll oversee both stations' programming, marketing, promotions, and new media.

She'll report directly to Marv Nyren, who is a regional vice president and marketing manager of Emmis' radio cluster in Chicago.

And believe it or not, she has a MySpace page...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

MyNetworkTV unveils fall schedule

As expected, no more telenovelas.

From "Survivor" superstar to a has-been selling insurance

Dreamz, this is your future (if it isn't already.)

Reilly out

When NBC unveiled its fall schedule to upfront buyers, it seemed like the lineup was from 1977, not 2007. (The network was in last place then, too.) So, NBC fired Kevin Reilly and replaced him with producer Ben Silverman. He will move into the co-chairman role at NBC Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Group with Marc Graboff.

They had to get Reilly out of there before he greenlighted any more inane programming ideas, like The New Man From Atlantis.

The price is wrong, so you must be fixed

To coincide with Bob Barker's retirement from The Price Is Right next month, The Sun-Times reprinted an interview in today's editions with Robert Feder conducting an interview with him in New York on August 6, 1985. In this article, Feder bought items from a grocery store and played a pricing game on ol' Bob. He missed every one of them (at least he didn't overbid.)

Meanwhile, the above picture is Q101's (WKOX-FM) new billboard campaign. He's telling you to listen to Q101's new morning show and get fixed - or he will come to your house and spay and neuter your pet.

Sadly, Mr. Barker is making the same as any new radio station employee these days - minimum wage. (Cue the Losing Horns...)

Reel Talk to get really syndicated

Reel Talk, a movie-review show that has been airing locally on WMAQ-TV and nine other NBC-owned stations, is heading to syndication this fall. The program is taped at WNBC-TV in New York.

The half-hour weekly movie review program, hosted by film critic Jeffrey Lyons and IFC's Allison Bailes, has been cleared in 85 percent of the country by NBC Universal Domestic Television, including NBC, CBS, Hearst-Argyle, and Belo station groups.

The biggest non NBC O&O clearence comes in Boston, where it air on CBS O&O WBZ-TV.

The show will compete with Buena Vista's long-running Ebert & Roeper, now in its 21st season. That show is cleared primarily on ABC O&O's, including WLS-TV in Chicago.

Roger Ebert, meanwhile, is still recovering from surgery, and will not appear on Ebert & Roeper for quite some time. He is, however, writing movie reviews again for the Sun-Times. Guest hosts are filling in alongside Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper for the time being.

The last movie-review show to air in syndication aside from Ebert & Roeper/Siskel & Ebert was Paramount's Hot Ticket, which limped along in syndication from 2001-04, with Lenoard Matlin and Joyce Kulhawik.

Another show, At The Movies, ran in syndication from 1982 to 1990. Roger Ebert hosted that show along with the late Tribune film critic Gene Siskel for four of those years, before bolting to Buena Vista in 1986 to host Siskel & Ebert & The Movies (later shortened to Siskel & Ebert.) At The Movies replaced them with a series of robotic co-hosts, one of which was Rex Reed.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Charles Nelson Reilly passes

Best known for his long-running stint on The Match Game, Mr. Reilly passes at 76.

Fire hits WABC-TV

WABC-TV in New York was knocked off the air for a time last night after a fire broke out at the station before the 11 p.m. newscast and didn't resume until 5 a.m. The station's early-morning newscasts were broadcast from what looked like a cramped office.

The station's newsroom and some equipment were damaged by fire, smoke and water damage.

Here is a report from WNBC on the story.

He Gone?

Hate to interrupt your Memorial Day, but here's something more interesting than the ants getting into your potato salad: Reports are circulating that NBC has canned its entertainment president Kevin Reilly and is being replaced by former William Morris agent Ben Silverman. This comes as NBC is stuck in fourth place and its prime-time fall schedule could make it fifth (That's a stretch, but given the tepid reaction from media buyers, it might as well be.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

Idol helping late news on Fox affiliates

While Fox has become very competitive with American Idol, Fox affiliates' prime-time newscasts - which usually trail the big three network stations in any given market - now often beats them on nights when Idol is on, particularly in adults 18-49. WBFF is an example of this - the Sinclair-owned Fox affiliate in Baltimore beats market leaders NBC affiliate WBAL-TV and CBS-owned WJZ-TV on nights when Idol is on.

In Chicago of course, we use remotes more actively here than the rest of the country, and we usually click away from The Ten.

Rosie to leave "The View". Now.

You've seen the headline before, only this time it's now instead of June. This comes after Rosie got into a very heated argument with her "good friend" Elisabeth Hasselback on the show Wednesday on a quite decisive topic.

Can't say I told you so...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Ten's ratings problem exposing problems at another station

WFLD-TV's new 10 p.m. newscast called The Ten is clearly struggling in the ratings - but the program is skewing younger, and is exposing problems at crosstown rival WBBM-TV with their 10 p.m. newscast.

According to an article in the Sun-Times today, The Fox-owned station's newscast has surprisingly beat the CBS-owned station's late newscast in the household ratings on some nights since the newscast debuted on April 9. In the newscast's target demo of adults 18-49, ratings are even with WBBM.

However, in the most important demo for news, adults 25-54, WFLD's newscast has not done well. It is behind the rest of its competition. That could hurt the station's billing at 10p.m., since stations' earn more revenue in the 25-54 demo in news than 18-49. The newscast is earning less than half of what reruns of The Simpsons previously earned in the time period

Also, WFLD's newscast has finished behind reruns of Sex in the City on WGN-TV and The King of Queens on WCIU-TV, and WGBO-TV's Spanish language newscast in households at 10 p.m.

Yes, even Bart is watching The King of Queens.

WBBM meanwhile, is down 30 percent in households from a year ago. This comes despite CBS' successful prime time schedule and the Bears' Super Bowl appearance in February (CBS carried the game.)

ABC-owned WLS-TV, meanwhile, continues its 10 p.m. news dominance, thanks in part to hot ABC shows like Dancing With the Stars (which outdrew American Idol locally on Tuesday Night) and Grey's Anatomy.

WMAQ-TV is second at 10 p.m., and should be grateful, given NBC's prime time struggles.

Here is a ratings chart on how the 10 p.m. races are shaping up. All are household numbers. Each ratings point equals 34,308 households and share are percentage of TV sets in use.

WLS (ABC) News 10.2/18
WMAQ (NBC) News 6.9/12
WBBM (CBS) News 4.0/7
WGN (CW) Sex in the City 3.4/6
WCIU (Ind.) The King of Queens 2.6/5
WGBO (Uni) News 2.1/5
WFLD (Fox) News 1.9/3

Sources: Nielsen Media Research, Robert Feder, Chicago Sun-Times

Station officials don't want to admit it, but WBBM's pairing of Antonio Mora and Diann Burns is a total bust. Only time will tell if this pairing will continue. Given that ratings for CBS' other local newscasts in New York (WCBS) and Los Angeles (KCBS) are improving, there are no excuses for WBBM's newscasts in Chicago at 10 p.m. to continue to perform poorly like this.

As for The Ten, it has a long way to go to catch up to the established leaders - or should I say "leader", but Roger Ailes has a long leash - and is willing to stick it out.

Idol finale slips 19 percent from last year

Just 29.5 million tuned in to last night's Blake-Jordin showdown, down from 36.4 million last year. Among adults 18-49, Idol nabbed a 11.1, below its season average.

In Chicago, Idol nabbed a 28 household share, but it was outdrawn by Dancing With The Stars with a 30 household share.

But to put it all in perspective, this year's NFC Championship Game between the Bears and the Saints drew a 74 share locally. Super Bowl XLI, which had the Bears taking on the Colts, drew a 77 household share.

Take that, Idol! (Though Dancing is no better.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thank God it's over

The winner of American Idol (if you care) is.....

But we all know who the real winner of Idol is: Sanjaya.

The best part of this is we don't have to hear about Paula or Simon until January.

But it would be even better if we didn't have to hear from Paula, Simon, or this fraud of a show ever again.


Who will it be tonight? Blake or Jordin on Idol? Aw, who cares? Judging by last night ratings, more and more people are taking that same position.

Yeah, a colorful cast of characters. Paula. Simon. Sanjaya. Where's Elvis and his gun when you need him?

(Update): Just how many worn-out pop songs the contestants are going to sing tonight?

WMAQ-TV, WTTW form partnership

NBC-owned WMAQ-TV and PBS station WTTW have teamed up to present a documentary on Italian-Americans that will premiere during the Memorial Day weekend.

And They Came To Chicago: The Italian-American Legacy, a special tracing Italian-American history in Chicago, is being narrated by native son Joe Mantegna and will air on WMAQ Sunday Night at 11:05 p.m. and again on Memorial Day at noon. Then, an expanded version will air on WTTW on June 5 at 7:30 p.m., during the station's pledge period. Viewers will have an opportunity to purchase a DVD on the special.

The two stations are collaborating on the project through special events, streaming video and historical information on each of the station' websites.

Small webcasters may get a break in royalties

It looks like the congressional heat is getting to the RIAA and Sound Exchange... The dastardly duo has offered a deal to small webcasters to roll back royalty rates back to 2005, with the proposal earning AFTRA's apporval. (And the RIAA and Sound Exchange still thinks that Congress is on their side...)

CTV gets the NFL

Private Canadian broadcaster CTV has acquired the rights to air NFL games for a three-year term, beginning this fall.

The Canadian NFL package was previously held by Global, another private-owned broadcaster.

The deal includes the next three Super Bowls, all playoff games, and the weekly 1 p.m. regular season game, which usually features teams in American border cities (mainly the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks.)

Cable rights to nighttime NFL football games (Sunday Night Football, Monday Night Football, and NFL Network games) are held by CTV-owned sports net TSN (which is part-owned by ESPN.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bachelor's is a hit again.... Aw, hell naw!

Last night's finale of The Bachelor: Officer and a Gentlemean finished No. 1 in the ratings last night (in its time period) with 13 million viewers and beat the much-hyped 24 and Heroes
season finales.

Well, here we go....

-Who's watching this crap? Cubs fans? They're used to watching mediocrity....

-Given this nation's obsession with Anna, Paris, and Britney, nobody's surprised.

-The Bachelor's success proves we're a nation of idiots. After all, look who we put in the White House....

-This was the hottest topic on Chicago radio today. Dumb, meet dumber....

-Then again, it wasn't as bad as the fake Donald Trump vs. Rosie O'Donnell wrestling match on WWE Raw back in February....

-It wasn't mentioned on Entertainment Tonight.... they're too busy covering CBS shows.

-The next edition of The Bachelor will feature 25 women who are pursuing Kevin Federline. (It's not true, but knowing the people who run the TV business - it's bound to happen.)

Elroy Smith resigns

Elroy Smith, one of Chicago's - and the nation's most successful urban radio programmers - has resigned from Clear Channel Chicago after a fifteen-year run in the Windy City. Smith ran WGCI-FM until last March, when he was replaced. Smith was previously WVAZ-FM's program director.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Big 89 Rewind

WLS-AM is rewinding back on Memorial Day for a trip back to the days when it was "The Rock of Chicago."

The Big 89 Rewind will feature former jocks Larry Lujack, Tommy Edwards, John Landecker, Fred Winston, Chris Shibel, and Jeff Davis (hey, where's Brant Miller?)

The event will start at 5a.m. and will end at midnight.

WLS-AM was the market's Top 40 powerhouse in the 1960's and 1970's - with Larry Lujack's morning show a popular draw in the late '70's (Remember Animal Stories?) The station had a very spirited - and legendary rivalry with fellow Top 40 station WCFL-AM in the early '70's.

In the 1980's, however, the station lost its Top 40 crown to WBBM-FM (which flipped to the format in '82), but still ranked in the top 10. In 1986, owner ABC Radio shifted its Top 40 focus to sister station WYTZ-FM, and started cutting back on music for more talk, while ratings continued to drop. It shifted its music focus to middle of the road and AC around 1987 and dropped music altogether on August 23, 1989, when it became an all-talk station, which it remains today.

Here's your brand new car! Not!: One infamous alumnus was overnight DJ Mike McDonald (not related to the Doobie Brother.) In 1988, he teased one listener by awarding her shiny keys to a brand new car, which there was not. He was subsequently fired.

Illinois lawmakers support Zell

Media activists suffered a huge blow recently as it has been learned that most Illinois politicians won't be on their side in the battle to divest Tribune's properties in Chicago.

A letter signed by 14 Illinois lawmakers - on both sides of the political aisle - urged the FCC to waive restrictions on new Trib owner Sam Zell, who needs the agency's approval to transfer broadcast licenses in order to take the company private.

Currently, federal restrictions forbid a company to own a radio station, a TV station, and a newspaper in the same market unless grandfathered in. Tribune was allowed to keep all three in Chicago because it predates the 1975 law.

The group, which includes Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), urge the FCC to act on the application as soon as possible.

This action could also spur a battle to get rid of the rules, which many feel are outdated because there are so many media choices available to consumers today as opposed to 1975.

Check and mate over the activists. As powerful as these pols are, Tribune will get those waivers and those restrictions are about good as gone.

XM out

XM Radio is currently experiencing service and repeater outages, because of a software upgrade.

Given this and the Opie & Anthony debacle, we may not have to worry about a merger in the satellite radio business, because there may not be a second company to merge with.....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

T Dog Media Think Tank: Grow Up, Chicago

I have a feeling we're going to lose that Olympic bid.

And we have the usual people to thank. North. Ozzie. Mariotti. CBS Radio. The Sun-Times. Daley.

It was worst enough when 5 people were shot on a CTA bus (one of them died) on the South Side and a 7-year old was killed in East Chicago (Ind.), all caught in the crossfire of gang violence recently, and both stories made national headlines.

And now this - and one that would wind up being the biggest Chicago media embarrassment since Jerry Springer set foot in WMAQ-TV's news room.

Link: Radio daze: Guillen tunes in, lashes out

For one thing, the staff at WSCR-AM knew they should have used the dump button on The Mike North Show, or at least, put it on delay. They did neither. The management at CBS Radio should be held accountable, and if WSCR gets fined by the FCC, they deserve every bit of it. Have they learned any lessons from the Imus debacle?

And as for Ozzie, he should have known better. Period. As a White Sox fan, I love him to death. As a person writing this think tank for media professionals, he needs to grow up and stop embarrassing the South Side - we already have Englewood for that. (No offense to the people of Englewood.) Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith has proven that someone can manage a team successfully with class - why can't he?

Ozzie's not going to apologize, so if Mike North loses his job over this, and the FCC fines the station, they should sue Ozzie and take him to the bank. I know I would.

And yes, those snakes at the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association will seize every opportunity to get publicity out of this.

And don't get started on The Sun-Times and Mariotti. They are an embarrassment enough.

This pretty much reflects the sad state of business in both radio and baseball. One, is a dying medium that is losing listeners due to inept decisions in management (commercials, bad music, Imus, etc.) Another is a dying sport whose television ratings (and attendance) get lower each year, has a major steroids problem, and not to mention Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's homerun record.

And as for Chicago, this couldn't have come at a worst time when the city's image is suffering worldwide, with bad publicity from the shootings, some Bears' fans cruelness toward the city of New Orleans, and local politicians who think it's more important to rid foie gras from the streets instead of guns.

And to top it all off, with Ed Vrdolyak getting indicted last week, we were subjected to clips from the "Council Wars" days, when he argued with his arch nemesis, former Mayor Harold Washington, which coined Chicago "Beirut on the Lake."

Even the Imus story got a Chicago connection when Rev. Jesse Jackson got involved.

How are we supposed to land an Olympics if we have people - from gangbangers running around with guns, to radio hosts who can't keep their mouth shut, from newspapers who sell the city out for a buck to sports figures who can't keep their mouth shut, from inept management from all levels of local government to our local media outlets -to rabid fans who get carried away - who act like complete idiots?

There are too many people who get carried away with their emotions over everything from Cubs-Sox to politics, and it makes the Chicago area look bad around the world. But does anyone behind this care? Hell, no. Improving the city's image is farthest from these people's minds.

We're already known for Capone, Mariotti, Jerry Springer, racial segregation, and massive corruption. If Daley thought Chicago was a laughingstock only because of a foie gras law, he'd better think again. Obviously, he hasn't lived here 50-plus years.

There are people in other cities in this country who would rather see a foreign city land the Olympics than Chicago. Think about that for a moment. So much for American pride. I guess it stops when it comes to Chicago (and probably San Francisco.)

Chicago, we're supposed to be a world-class city. Act like it.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More trouble for CBS Radio? (And for Ozzie?) (Updated)

It looks like the post-Imus effects have finally hit Chicago.

And not surprisingly, A.J. Pierzynski is involved.

According to Chicagoland Radio and Media, there could be trouble for Ozzie Guillen and Mike North. (The audio is available at

Mike North maybe getting a call from a Mr. Mason, and I don't mean Perry.

And I wonder how long it will be before we hear from Rev. Pflager on this....

It looks like we have the perfect storm brewing.

But I know one thing: There was more excitement this morning on North's show than there was at the network upfronts all week....

WFRV relaunches website

WFRV, the former CBS-owned station in Green Bay, and sister station WJMN-TV in Escabana, Mich. have relaunched their websites under new owner Liberty Media via Inergize Media. The new sites provides better weather coverage (including a Weather Alert that powers nine separate Doppler radar images), as well as improved video, news, and other features.

The websites are and

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Analysis on the new Fox and CW schedules

I decided to put the analysis of the Fox and CW schedules on this post instead of "burying" them after the announced fall schedules on separate posts. So here goes....

Fox: Because of post-season baseball and the return of American Idol and 24 in January, Fox's schedule next season is separated into two parts, with an emphasis on midseason.

The first part of the schedule will have six new shows introduced, with two new dramas, one new comedy (the highly anticipated Back to You), and three reality/competition shows. Fox will air less post-season baseball games from now on, with the bulk of the playoffs (except the World Series) now airing on TBS.

The second part will feature the return of 24 and Idol in their familiar time slots, with four new shows to make debuts, including a spin-off of the Terminator movie series (Sarah Connor), airing on Sunday nights, taking on Desperate Housewives, and another new comedy in The Return of Jezebel James.

Fox has axed The War At Home, along with The Winner (should have been titled The Loser), and insipid reality shows Nanny 911 and Trading Spouses.

Analysis: There is something to talk about with Fox's schedule. The strongest new shows on the schedule are Back to You and The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Unfortunately, they are not in time slots that could realize their best potential. Back to You leads off Wednesdays, while Sarah Connor is up against Housewives. It's a dumb move, throwing away a successful animated block at 8 CT.

Back to You (as well as 'Til Death) would be better off on Sundays, airing with The Simpsons and Family Guy. In a surprise move instead, we get another season of King of the Hill (it's 12th) and American Dad. Sunday nights will have four dramas going up against each other at 8 CT starting in January, potentially turning off viewers who aren't interested in watching such fare. Another reason why the networks are losing viewers to cable.

As for the rest of the schedule, the new K-Ville should be interesting since this show is based in post-Katrina New Orleans, and will be filmed down there (props to them.) And the red states get their own reality show in Nashville, based in Tennessee's largest market.

Fox will win the season in adults 18-49, thanks to Idol, House, and the Super Bowl. But this fall schedule (and the scheduling of new shows) could be better.

CW: The CW, formed last year due to the merger of the money losing WB and UPN networks, has only one new comedy (a trend at the other networks, except ABC) and one new drama (Gossip Girl) and a bunch of new reality/competition shows , all targeted to young-skewing females.

The new shows are Aliens in America on Mondays, and Gossip Girl on Tuesdays, replacing the now-canceled Veronica Mars. (Kristin Bell of Veronica will be the narrator, much like Ron Howard was on Arrested Development.)

Beauty and the Geek, meanwhile, will now run twice a season instead of once a year, and takes over Gilmore Girls' old time slot on Tuesdays.

The CW will have One Tree Hill and several reality shows - a mother-daughter pageant and Farmer Wants A Wife, and a search of yet another Pussycat Doll at their disposal at midseason. (I guess the Dolls are planning to about to have as many members as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.)

Analysis: I have mixed reservations about CW's new schedule. The CW has a strong premise in Gossip Girl and should have no problem drawing viewers in its' key demo. It gets the coveted post-Top Model time slot. I smell a hit.

The CW is also making a good call by airing syndicated-like low-cost magazine shows on Sundays.

The Reaper also looks promising, from Clerks creator Kevin Smith, but will it meet the reaper on Tuesday Night like Veronica Mars did?

For anyone who thinks that Aliens in America is going to be another wacky sci-fi comedy like 3rd Rock From the Sun, think again. It's not about aliens from outer space - it's about a 16 year-old boy whose mom sets him up to be friends with an exchange student. It sounds stupid. Like 3rd Rock From the Sun.

Ratings for the Monday comedy block have sagged, even in African-American homes where ratings have dropped due to tougher competition from Heroes, Prison Break, and 24. Like King of the Hill, Girlfriends should have been put out to pasture long ago and The Game never should have been born to begin with.

And why is The CW's still airing Top Model encores on Sunday night? (At least they're not running repeats of The Game. Oh, wait...)

The CW ranks behind Univision in the ratings, as well as the big four. It will have to improve in its second season to please shareholders - or they may be in trouble. Judging from this lineup, they are in trouble.

One could wonder if Sam Zell, the new owner of the Tribune Co. - whose company's stations are mostly CW affiliates - was in the audience during the CW's upfront presentation. If he was, he'd probably popped a lot of those Tums. And that was before the Pussycat Dolls' performance.

Fox's new lineup for fall and beyond

Courtesy of Broadcasting & Cable:



9:00-10:00 PMK-VILLE



9:00-10:00 PMHOUSE


8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PMTIL DEATH

9:00-10:00 PMBONES






BAND (working title)

9:00-10:00 PMNASHVILLE (working title)


8:00-8:30 PMCOPS

8:30-9:00 PMCOPS




7:00-8:00 PMTHE OT (NFL post-game)



9:00-9:30 PMFAMILY GUY



(All Times ET/PT)


8:00-9:00 PMK-VILLE (January)/PRISON BREAK (Spring)

9:00-10:00 PM24



9:00-10:00 PMHOUSE


8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PM’TIL DEATH



8:00-8:30 PMBACK TO YOU

8:30-9:00 PMTHE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (working title)

9:00-9:30 PMAMERICAN IDOL Results Show

9:30-10:00 PMTIL DEATH




FRIDAY (Spring)

8:00-9:00 PMBONES



8:00-8:30 PMCOPS

8:30-9:00 PMCOPS



SUNDAY (Spring)




8:30-9:00 PMFAMILY GUY


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CW's new fall schedule

From USA Today: (All times ET/PT - CT and MT subtract number by one - new shows in bold)

7 - CW Now
7:30 - Online Nation
8 - Life Is Wild
9 - America's Next Top Model (repeat)

8 p.m. -Everybody Hates Chris
8:30 - Aliens in America
9 - Girlfriends
9:30 - The Game

8 - Beauty and the Geek
9 - The Reaper

8 - America's Next Top Model
9 - Gossip Girl

8 - Smallville
9 - Supernatural

8 WWE Smackdown

Opie & Anthony to stay on WCKG

Despite the fact that Opie & Anthony made cruel sex references to Condi Rice, Queen Elizabeth, and First Lady Laura Bush on the XM-only portion of their radio show, CBS Radio has decided not to suspend the duo since the comments didn't air on that portion of the program.

Opie & Anthony airs weekdays from 5 to 8 a.m. on WCKG-FM.

Also in Feder's article, WFLD-TV news anchor Tamron Hall may be headed for New York to take a job anchoring NBC's weekend editions of Today. Her contract with WFLD expires at the end of the month.

She would fit in perfectly with the rest of the "boobs" at the fourth-place network.

CW gets real

The CW is doing what MyNetworkTV decided to do earlier this season to boost ratings: load up on reality.

The second season for the CW will feature three new reality shows, scheduled to debut in midseason. Beauty and the Geek will now run regularly on Tuesdays, replacing the now-disposed of Gilmore Girls.

A new drama, Gossip Girl, will take the coveted Wednesday night time slot after Top Model. Barring any last minute changes, One Tree Hill will return in midseason.

Thursday and Friday remains unchanged. Mondays are also unchanged, but with the new Aliens in America taking the place of All of Us.

Pretty much like rock radio in Chicago, The CW's shows would be higher-rated if they measured the message boards instead.

CBS' new schedule out

CBS has five new shows on its fall schedule, but the most interesting one by far is the show Kid Nation. It's a new Lord of the Rings-type reality show that features 40 kids - yes, 40 kids who rebuild and run a ghost town in New Mexico with NO adult supervision.

CBS also picked up one new comedy (Big Bang Theory) and three dramas - including one about a private detective who is also a vampire (Moonlight).

The Amazing Race and The New Adventures of Old Christine will return midseason, and a new Drew Carey game show (The Power of 10) will air in June 2008 (Why so long?)

Here's CBS' new fall schedule (All times Eastern. Central and Mountain time zone readers, you're know what to do...)


7:00-8:00 PM 60 MINUTES

8:00-9:00 PM VIVA LAUGHLIN (N)

9:00-10:00 PM COLD CASE

10:00-11:00 PM SHARK (NT)






10:00-11:00 PM CSI: MIAMI


8:00-9:00 PM NCIS

9:00-10:00 PM THE UNIT

10:00-11:00 PM CANE (N)


8:00-9:00 PM KID NATION (N)


10:00-11:00 PM CSI: NY


8:00-9:00 PM SURVIVOR


10:00-11:00 PM WITHOUT A TRACE (NT)



9:00-10:00 PM MOONLIGHT (N)

10:00-11:00 PM NUMB3RS




10:00-11:00 PM 48 HOURS: MYSTERY

Analysis: This schedule is more interesting that ABC's or NBC's, that's for sure. CBS seems to be stepping away from its procedural dramas like CSI and ordering projects based on unusual concepts.

Cane is a drama that features a primarily Hispanic cast, a rarity in network television these days. Moonlight is a Dark Shadows-type drama that should belong on Fox - it seems out of place (remember Central Park West?). Kid Nation is a program that the whole family could watch, and is a well-thought proposition. However, the title could scare off the 18-49 demo (A lot of single viewers and childless couples), and may be perceived as a kids' show (After all, it does have Kid in the title.)

One notable move is Without A Trace moving back to Thursdays to finish off ER. No problem there. Shark goes to Sunday after Cold Case.

Overall, a strong fall schedule for CBS with a competitive program every night of the week.

Isn't It Ironic, Part III: doesn't Kid Nation also remind you of that Simpsons episode where the students of Springfield Elementary were stuck on that island?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

'Veronica', 'All of Us' done

CW renews five shows; Fox renews 24 for two more

Reports are circulating that The CW has canceled Veronica Mars and All of Us, both third-season shows. Barring a last-minute miracle, Veronica is all but done.

What is official is that The CW has renewed Girlfriends and The Game (both will likely retain their Monday slots despite poor ratings) as well as a trio of dramas: Smallville, Supernatural, and One Tree Hill.

The CW is also expected to air two magazine-type shows on early on Sunday evenings.

Meanwhile, Fox has picked up an additional two seasons of 24.

'Jericho', 'Class' dismissed

Late news: CBS has reportedly axed Jericho, Close to Home, and The Class. They did renew How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement, but no word on The Old Adventures of New Christine.

Opie & Anthony supeneded by XM

The TV Upfronts are hardly generating any interest, and once again, the TV industry is being upstaged by a dying medium whose "stars" mouth off at the wrong place at the wrong time! Guess the TV business isn't the hottest place to be right now. You think it's time for Janet to flash another breast? [Fred Flintstone voice:] Oh boy...

(When I referred to "dying medium", I referred to terrestrial radio, mistakenly in the sense of Opie & Anthony, since they have three hours on CBS Radio, but now the definition may be more fitted to satellite radio and television as well....)

The Opie & Anthony show has been suspended for 30 days by XM Radio after jokes made by a character named "Homeless Charlie" about Condi Rice, Laura Bush, and Queen Elizabeth, led to outrage by people (mainly almost everybody) who don't listen to the show....

The skit aired primarily on a pay channel on XM, called an XL channel (means an channel with explicit language and situations.)

Meanwhile, CBS Radio, which airs three hours of a sanitized version of O&A, hasn't decided yet on a temporary replacement. Just a few days ago, the company fired JV & Elvis from one of its' New York stations after airing a skit that offended many Asians.

ABC announces new fall schedule

ABC announced its fall slate of programming today at its upfront presentation. The alphabet network picked up seven new dramas, four new comedies, and a new reality show from Oprah Winfrey, which will debut midseason.

With the exit of According to Jim and The George Lopez Show, this marks the first time since the 1970-71 season that there will be no sitcoms shot in front of live audiences on the fall schedule. (Jim might not be dead, though: the show's fate has still not been determined.)

Lost, of course, will return in January without interruption.

Here's the lineup as follows: (All times Eastern and Pacific. Central and Mountain time zone residents, you know the drill...)

8:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars"
9:30 p.m. "Sam I Am"*
10:00 p.m. "The Bachelor"

8:00 p.m. "Cavemen"*
8:30 p.m. "Carpoolers"*
9:00 p.m. "Dancing with the Stars the Results Show"
10:00 p.m. "Boston Legal"

8:00 p.m. "Pushing Daisies"*
9:00 p.m. "Private Practice" * (spin-off from Grey's Anatomy)
10:00 p.m. "Dirty Sexy Money"*

8:00 p.m. "Ugly Betty"
9:00 p.m. "Grey's Anatomy"
10:00 p.m. "Big Shots"*

8:00 p.m. "Men in Trees"
9:00 p.m. "Women's Murder Club" *
10:00 p.m. "20/20"

8:00 p.m. "Saturday Night College Football"

7:00 p.m. "America's Funniest Home Videos"
8:00 p.m. "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition"
9:00 p.m. "Desperate Housewives"
10:00 p.m. "Brothers & Sisters"

* Designates new programs


ABC is sticking with its strategy of targeting female 18-49 demos, which are numerous in major markets like Chicago (where WLS-TV's schedule - including prime-time - is a dominant No.1.) Notable night here is Wednesdays, which will be an all-drama night (harking back to the mid-'80's when The Fall Guy, Dyansty, and Hotel occupied Hump Night.) Tuesdays are also madeover at least in the first hour with two new comedies, Cavemen and Carpoolers.

ABC is keeping the status quo on Sunday, while Mondays will see Cashmere Mafia, Notes from the Underbelly, and October Road move in when Dancing and Bachelor take their mid-winter breaks. Thursdays remains the same with the exception of the new drama Big Shots, which gets the plum Grey's Anatomy time slot. (Men in Trees moves to Fridays to lead off the night.)

On Saturdays, ABC will have college football for the second straight year, hoping they can squeeze in many Notre Dame road games as they can.

Overall, ABC should have no problem keeping its competitive edge in the key 18-49 demo, although launching three new dramas on a Wednesday is a bit of a stretch. The fall schedule doesn't really look all that exciting, with no buzzworthy shows (In fact, the only buzzworthy show, Oprah's Big Give, isn't on until midseason.) The Caveman show is totally stupid - it's too bad comedy in the 21st Century is reduced to this. And once again, there is a glut of dramas, not one of them remotely watching.

And another question: Why is The Bachelor back?

Isn't it Ironic Part II: Oprah now has a prime time show on ABC - but her talk show is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution. You think Les is spending way too much time dealing with Imus and Opie & Anthony and CBS Radios' other problems to notice? Really bad non-move by CBS on failing to pick up Oprah's project - on a talk show they syndicate.

Oops, I forgot: Forgot to mention two other shows cut loose from ABC: The Knights of Prosperity and What About Brian. But most people forgot these shows were on the schedule to begin with.

Monday, May 14, 2007

O&O's grab 'Let's play Crosswords'

Two O&O stations, CBS-owned KYW-TV in Philadelphia and NBC-owned WTVJ in Miami have bought Program Partners' new game show Let's Play Crosswords for fall.

WTVJ's addition brings the number to six NBC-owned stations carrying the show this fall. NBC Universal is also selling the minute and a half of national ad time.

The moves bring the total clearance of the program to 85 percent of the U.S. New major-market clearances include Washington, D.C. (WJLA/ABC), Detroit (WDIV/NBC), Tampa-St.Petesburg-Clearwater (WFTS/ABC), Portland, OR (KGW/NBC), Columbus, OH (WSFJ/Ind.), Birmingham (WTTO/CW) and Greensboro (WXLV/ABC).

Other notable clearances include Grand Rapids (WWMT/CBS), Shreveport (KTBS/ABC), Burlington (WVNY-WFFF/ABC-Fox), Colorado Springs (KKTV/CBS) and Rockford (WIFR/CBS).

Meanwhile, Program Partners is previewing "new" full-length episodes of DaVinci's Inquest on YouTube, in advance of the program airing in broadcast syndication this fall. The episodes in question are actually a spin-off of the procedural drama and was originally called DaVinci's City Hall, which straggled for 13 episodes before being canceled by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. last year.

In the show, DaVinci becomes mayor of Vancouver, but is unable to lure the Grizzles basketball team back from Memphis....

My Name Is Earl

Earl Cole became the first African-American male and the second African-American overall (Vecepia Towery in Survivor: Marquesas was the first) to win the million dollar prize on the Fiji edition of Survivor last night, beating out two other African-American contestants - Cassandra and Andria "Dreamz" Heard.

It seemed a few members of the jury didn't want to give any of the final three the million - particularly Dreamz. But in the end, it was Earl - an ad executive originally from Kansas City, Kansas who now resides in California -who came out on top with a 9-0-0 shutout - a first in Survivor history. Plus, his name did not show up on the parchment once when it came time to vote someone out.

It's also the second time someone from the Kansas City area to win the million on Survivor. Danni Boatwright on Survivor: Guatemala won on December 11, 2005. (KC has had more Survivor winners than the Royals' World Series Championships. Oh!)

As for all of those who complained about Survivor dividing the tribes by race last fall: I wonder where are they now....

While it was a happy night for Earl, it wasn't for CBS: Last night's Survivor:Fiji finale was the lowest-rated ever.

Now it's off to China for Survivor's next installment.

- Isn't it ironic?: Earl Cole competed on Survivor this past spring, while the reality show was up against another Earl on another network: My Name Is Earl, which airs at the same Thursday Night 7 p.m. time slot on NBC. On that show, A character named Earl (Jason Lee) wins $100,000 from a lottery ticket, loses it when he gets hit by a car, and it comes back to him after he does good deeds on his "list".

Let's pray that Mr. Cole doesn't get hit by a car.

NBC's fall schedule announced

NBC new 2007-08 schedule contains five dramas, one comedy, and several reality/competition programs as the network is rolling it out today at the start of the network upfronts in New York.

Here is the official schedule from NBC (All times are Eastern - Central Time Zone readers just subtract a hour...):

SUNDAY (Fall 2007)

7-8 p.m. "Football Night in America"

8-11 p.m. "NBC Sunday Night Football"

SUNDAY (January 2008)

7-8 p.m. "Dateline NBC"

8-9 p.m. "Law & Order"

9-10 p.m. "Medium"

10-11 p.m. "Lipstick Jungle"


8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"

9-10 p.m. "Heroes"

10-11 p.m. "Journeymen"


8-9 p.m. "The Biggest Loser"

9-10 p.m. "Chuck"

10-11 p.m. "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"


8-9 p.m. "Deal or No Deal"

9-10 p.m. "Bionic Woman"

10-11 p.m. "Life"


8-8:30 p.m. "My Name Is Earl"

8:30-9 p.m. "30 Rock"

9-9:30 p.m. "The Office"

9:30-10 p.m. "Scrubs"

10-11 p.m. "ER"


8-9 p.m. "1 vs 100"/"The Singing Bee"

9-10 p.m. "Las Vegas"

10-11 p.m. "Friday Night Lights"


8-9 p.m. "Dateline NBC"

9-11 p.m. Drama Series Encores

Out the door are Studio 60, Crossing Jordan, Wedding Crashers, Thank God Your Here, Idenity, and Raines.

No word yet whether or not The Apprentice will be back.

Meanwhile, the peacock network will pick up a new workplace-oriented comedy, The IT crowd for midseason, and has signed former network star Jerry Seinfeld to star in 20 live-action "minisodes", a behind the scenes look at his new animated movie coming out for DreamWorks Animation called Bee Movie.

Analysis: You'd think NBC would come up with a more aggressive schedule than this. There is nothing to suggest that NBC will get out of fourth place next season. The New Bionic Woman is a good idea I guess - this show aired in the 1970's on ABC and NBC. Maybe it'll succeed where the original failed. As long as they stay away from the formula Night Stalker was using....

While Friday Night Lights is now actually on Friday, a family-targeted series should be airing at 8 ET - not at 10 ET. Families are not sitting around the TV at that time and definitely not on a Friday. And NBC continues to overexpose Deal or No Deal. If the new Singing Bee doesn't make it in midseason, we might see a third night of Deal or No Deal. Again.

As for the dramas - there's still a glut of them, but to NBC, it's better than scheduling more loser comedies.

To tally it all up: It's going to be another long year for NBC.

'Law & Order' to return; 'Criminal Intent' to fly flags for USA

Don't ever count out Law & Order.

Law & Order, currently the second-longest scripted program on TV today (only behind The Simpsons), will return for its 18th season on NBC. There were rumors about the show heading to TNT for new episodes, but that plan was scuttled.

NBC is also bringing spin-off Law & Order: Special Victims Unit for another season as well.

However, new episodes of another spin-off, Criminal Intent, will move to the USA network in September. Repeats of the show will also air in broadcast syndication daily this fall.

Friday, May 11, 2007

'Scrubs', 'Til Death' renewed

Buena Vista Television's Scrubs has been picked up for a seventh and final season by NBC, with only 18 episodes, according to TV Guide (a TV Guide blogger that is...). Meanwhile Sony's 'Til Death has been picked up for season deux by Fox, plus was able to sell ABC a new drama, Cashmere Mafia, from the creator of 90210 and Sex and the City.

Senate introduces webcaster bill

It looks like momentum to save Internet Radio is tilting to our side: Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) introduced legislation on Thursday to save the fledging medium. The Internet Radio Equity Act would vacate a recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board that would have boosted fees for webcasters anywhere from 300 to 1200 percent, essentially putting them out of business.

Similar legislation was introduced in the House a few weeks ago by congressmen Don Manzullo (R-IL - represents the Rockford area) and Jay Inslee (D-WA).

'Friday Nights Lights' to shine for second season

NBC picked up the struggling freshman show for another 22 episodes plus it will continue to film in and around Austin, TX.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Paula Madison takes new job at NBC Universal

Paula Madison is stepping down as general manager of NBC's KNBC-TV in Los Angeles to devote full-time to her duties as Vice President of Diversity. Ms. Madison became the first African-American to run a TV station in the nation's second-largest market, when she landed the position in late 2000. She also inherited the duties of regional general manager of two Spanish-language TV outlets when NBC acquired them in 2002.

KNBC has struggled in the ratings as of late, with ABC-owned KABC-TV re-establishing its dominance in local news and CBS-owned KCBS-TV making ratings gains, thanks to the acquisition of Dr. Phil, a talk show that once aired on KNBC. Not helping is NBC's lousy prime-time schedule, which has posted record-low ratings in the last several weeks.

Nine FM to do dance nightly

Dance Factory, a biweekly show spotlighting dance music that airs Friday and Saturday Nights on Nine FM, is now going to be "stripped" - seven nights a week.

Starting Monday, the Newsweb-owned triplecast -WKIE/WDEK/WRZA -FM, will strip Dance Factory weeknights and Sundays at 9 p.m and Saturday Nights at 8 p.m.

What's unusual is that Dance Factory skewes younger than the station target-demo, adults 25-54 with its Variety Hits format. The station usually competes with Hot AC outlet WTMX-FM (The Mix) and Mainstream AC WLIT-FM.

Station bosses insist that the programming change does not in any way mean that Nine FM is shifting from its "We Play Anything" format that airs during the day.

You can bet that the message board chatheads will be talking about (or more likely condemning) this change for the next couple of days.... Who says criticism of how a radio station is run is limited to the corporate chowerheads?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

T Dog Media Blog Think Tank: Ten years later....

Gather around my children, and let me tell you a story about when journalism jumped the shark....

A month ago, radio personality Don Imus was fired for racially insensitive comments about the mostly black Rutgers' womens' basketball team, and it opened a debate on race as well as an examination of the radio industry.

But it was ten years ago this month, that a somewhat similar situation (minus the race) opened a debate on journalism and the TV industry, one that still rages on today.

Talk show host Jerry Springer was asked by the management of NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in Chicago to deliver commentaries for the station's 10 p.m. newscast, a job he did at NBC affiliate WLWT-TV in Cincinnati for several years in addition to his anchoring duties.

After all, Springer was successful as a commentaor and news anchor at WLWT, which had the No. 1 news at 11 p.m. in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

Only problem was, he wasn't known as a trash-talk host back then as he was in 1997. Springer's talk show started in 1991 at WLWT and moved into Chicago's NBC Tower (home of WMAQ-TV) in 1992. Ratings started quite low.

A year later, Ricki Lake launched a raunchy-type talk show that drew in young female viewers in droves. She beat Springer decisively in the ratings, and his show seemed all but done.

As a result, Springer dumped the feel-good shows in 1994 and did more controversial topics and went after the same young female demo that Lake had. But Springer took it a step further. While Ms. Lake toed the line on fights and wild antics, Springer decided on a free for all format which featured all of that and the kitchen sink. Springer passed Lake in the ratings by 1997.

And so, in order to boost ratings for WMAQ's newscast,(which already ranked a strong second to ABC-owned WLS-TV's news - and to bring more young viewers to the station), General Manager Lyle banks and news director Joel Cheatwood decided to make Springer a part of the news team - as a commentator - at 10 p.m. starting May 5, the fifth night of the May sweep.

Carol Marin, then co-anchor of WMAQ's 10 p.m. newscast, objected. She complained to station management about the decision to put Springer on the news set. Finally, she decided that she has had about enough. She resigned on May 1, giving her final newscast that night. (Her fellow co-anchor, Ron Magers, left a few days later.)

Protests at the station soon followed, led by Rev. Michael Pflager, who leads the congregation at St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side. He believed management's decision to give Jerry Springer a commentator job at the station was wrong, given the content of his trashy TV show.

Springer lasted just two nights as commentator at the station. Both commentary pieces - one on free speech and another on the Catholic Church were roundly criticized. WMAQ's ratings at 10 dropped as a result of the controversy, and later that year, the station's management changed - with Larry Wert replacing Lyle Banks as the station's GM, and the exit of the station's news director, Joel Cheatwood.

So where do we stand ten years later?

Well, not much has changed. It's the same junk on the local news every night - crime, celebrity news, overdependence on weather (just ask anyone in KC), and plenty of network tie-ins, but not enough on issues people care about, like education and health care. And coverage of neighborhood issues are often exploited, providing little substance behind the stories. Nobody wants to see their neighborhood or town get dragged through the mud on a nightly basis. That's the prejudice we South Siders and South Suburbanites have to put up with every day.

And worst of all, the antics are turning off a new generation of viewers. Most people in the 18-34 demographic avoid newscasts (national and local) altogether, preferring to get their information on the internet and other alternative sources. Ratings for local news continue to drop as viewers are fleeing networks' prime-time schedules. WFLD-TV's lame attempt to speak to this audience, a new 10 p.m. newscast called "The Ten" is a joke that most young viewers see though.

Local news, especially in large markets, are an insult to the communities they serve.

And the cable news networks are no better. In fact, their "news" shows are about as bad as Springer's. Nothing but propaganda, shouting, insults, and put-downs. The only thing missing are the fights and the saucy topics. They promote uncivil discussions on polarizing topics because it earns them higher ratings and higher ad revenue. It's basically train-wreck television - like Springer's show. Much of today's discussions of issues has basically become people yelling to get their point across and telling someone he/she is an idiot if he/she doesn't agree with them.

Young people aren't interested in the shouting matches and polarization that has come to define politics these days. That's why they aren't watching the cable news channels.

This is occurring as civility has clearly left American politics (though here in Chicago, it vanished in the '80's when "Council Wars" began.)

Yes, it was like this on Geraldo and the Morton Downey Jr. Show back in the day. But at least watching those shows were at best, fun as they were parodies of themselves. Today's cable personalities don't even come close, as they take themselves way too seriously. Even Geraldo has sold out, shilling for CNBC and later Fox News, obviously needing someone to tell him what to do.

So, Where are they today, you ask? Ron Magers is now top anchor at 10 p.m. on WLS-TV's ratings dominant newscast. Carol Marin, after a failed attempt at a "serious" newscast at WBBM-TV in 2000 (a newscast more so geared to cultural critics than for anyone else) and at CBS News, is back at WMAQ-TV as a political reporter and is also on WTTW-TV's Chicago Tonight.

Joel Cheatwood recently joined Fox News Channel (appropriately), and Lyle Banks founded Banks Broadcasting to buy TV stations, but he wound up with only one - a poor-performing WB and CW affiliate in Wichita, KS, which he recently sold to Schurz Communications, which already owns CBS affiliate KWCH-TV in the market.

As for Jerry Springer? well, he considered running for office. That didn't work out, so he got his own political radio talk show, which aired on some Air America affiliates. He quit a few months ago, to focus more on his TV show and rebuilding his pop-culture status.

As for his talk show? It's still going strong, though ratings aren't as strong as they once were (but hey, we can say that for any show nowadays, can we?) The ratings have been trending up lately, though, and yes, all the trash-TV elements - the yelling, screaming, fighting, chair-throwing - it's all still there. A spin-off called The Springer Hustle is airing on VH-1 and is promoted nightly on Entertainment Tonight. Springer's as popular as ever. So much for the protests.

His show has also survived the Janet Jackson debacle at the Super Bowl three years ago, when the entire entertainment industry was under the microscope for racy material. While conservative groups singled out cable and the broadcast networks' prime-time programming for indecency, Springer's daytime show - which is by far more raunchy than any prime-time show put together - was largely ignored by these groups and came out unscathed.

Those cable talk show hosts on the news channels - though they personally hate Springer and his show, they should thank him. In fact, they owe it to him - if it weren't for his show, the cable news channels wouldn't have a blueprint to go on.

Yeah, thanks a lot Jerry. Thanks for nothing.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Utah's version of "Jerry Springer"

Interesting how Fox O&O KSTU labeled a debate between Fox News' Sean Hannity and Salt Lake City Mayor Democrat Rocky Anderson "Smackdown" - a debate on the Iraq War that turned into a debacle while a similarly-titled show, WWE Friday Night Smackdown, was airing at the same time on the CW on local affiliate KUCW-TV).

(Wait a minute. A Democrat in Utah? That's like a Cubs fan on the South Side, right Michael Wilbon?)

It appears people in Salt Lake City picked the real trash TV from the fake one. The only thing missing from the debate Friday night were the hookers and which brother slept with which sister.

And of course, Steve. You can't have a raucous debate without Steve separating the combatants (By the way, Steve, or Steve Wilkos, gets his own talk show this fall.)

How about this idea... A debate between Hannity and Mayor Daley here in Chicago. And here's the perfect place for it - the studios where Jerry Springer is taped. But of course it will never happen.... Hannity and Daley agree on too much. Plus, Daley doesn't debate. Just ask his recent mayoral opponents, whoever they were. You sure one of them wasn't Steve Wilkos?

Is "Family Guy" stealing from "The Simpsons"?

Dumb question, isn't it? Maybe Matt and Trey know the answer for sure....

And while youre at it, get a gun

Okay. So how soon we'll hear from Rev. Pflager on this one?

UPDATE: It has been since been taken down.

CSTV comin' to town

Comcast is adding college sports network CSTV to its digital sports tier on its Chicago and South Bend systems, beginning on June 27. Meanwhile, for those of you who live on Chicago's South Side, you better get your digital box by June 5 - that's when Comcast is converting its systems to digital.

Monday, May 07, 2007

"Medium" renewed

The NBC show produced by CBS (yes, you heard me), has been picked up for a fourth season. Now if they can only move it to the 9:00 p.m. slot (CT) after Heroes....

And the new Loop Rock Girl is....

April from Chicago, who is 24 years old, 5'9", and 32-24-34. She beat out 15 other girls who particatped in the classic rock station's annual model contest at 115 Bourbon st. in south suburban Merrionette Park (The bar is located right across the street on the border of Chicago's Mount Greenwood neighborhood, near 115th and Homan.)

April will be paid $50,000 to be the spokemodel for WLUP for a year. Past winners since the contest which recently returned after a 20-year hiatus included Crystal last year and Erica (not the one currently on WBBM-FM with Eddie & JoBo) in 2005.

As for the other girls in this year's competition- well, let's just say they have a burgeoning future as contestants on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader...

Lost to get lost in 2010

Starting in January, ABC's "Lost" will air 16-episode arcs for three years straight with no repeats. Last time they granted a three-season renewal to anything was to the inane Drew Carey Show. Will the quality continue to suffer? Stay tuned right here on Lame Duck Theater.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sniff 'n' S***

Diane Wets of Newsday says that tonight's "laugh n' sniff" promotion of tonight's My Name Is Earl is a joke (of the pathetic sense) and today's sitcoms are hardly the caliber of past Must See TV sitcom successes.

When you think about it, the state of the sitcom is pretty much like the state of the Chicago Blackhawks - Both had they're heyday, both are struggling, both are run by idiots who don't know what they're doing (in the sitcom's case it's network executives), both have few viewers (or fans), and both are on the verge of extinction.

How about a new sitcom featuring Hawks owner Bill Wirtz? Watch as hijinks ensue every week as Dollar Bill stumbles around drunk trying to run his pathetic hockey team and his pathetic family....

Oh wait a minute... I'm describing According to Jim. Nevermind....

CW cancels 'Gilmore Girls'

The girls are sent a packin' after seven seasons....

The program averaged a 1.8 ratings in the money demo (A 18-49), which is strong for the CW, but doesn't cut it for a REAL network (which it needs to be.)

As for who will replace the Gilmores- Let the speculation begin. Get your message boards ready...

Internet radio gets stay of execution (Updated)

Internet radio is safe - for now.

Larz is reporting on his website that The Copyright Royalty Board published its "Final Determination of Rates and Terms", and its notes that payments are due 45 days after the publication of the "final" determination. In other words, the payments are due on July 15, instead on May 15.

But keep in mind that there is work that still needs to be done. Internet radio isn't out of the woods yet. Contact your congressman and urge them to support the Internet Radio Equity Act (H.R. 2060)!

UPDATE: Here is a press release from (Adobe Acrobat or PDF reader required.)

Happy anniversary, B-96!

In honor of WBBM-FM's 25th anniversary as a Contemporary Hit/Top 40 station (which flipped from a downtrodden adult contemporary format on May 3, 1982), we dug up this gem - a commercial that aired shortly after the format was launched (it adopted the "B96" moniker a little bit later...)

B96 would be the station that would end the two-decades dominance of rival Top 40 outlet WLS-AM, which flipped to talk in August 1989.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Who's in your five?

Interesting notes from Feder's column today:

* The game show Let's Play Crosswords won't be done in Chicago after all. After the producers decided to shoot the program without a studio audience, Program Partners' new syndicated strip will originate in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, daytime soap star Ty Treadway has been tapped as host.

* The FreeFM (or FraudFM) slogan at WCKG-FM is gone. Anyone notice? No? I thought not.

* After WGN-TV launched a 5:55p.m. weathercast with Tom Skilling during Friends, WFLD-TV decided to launch a similar weathercast at the same time with Amy Freeze during Malcolm in the Middle.

So Tom Skilling gets to hang out with Ross, Rachael and the gang, while Amy Freeze is stuck with Malcolm's dysfunctional family. Gee, who wins there? I can see Lois yelling at Ms.Freeze for mispredicting the weather (and Ms. Freeze slugging Reese for coming on to her....)

Cablevision to go private

The Dolan family have decided to buy out Cablevision for a bid of $10.6 billion, which founded and currently controls the company.

Earlier this week, Cablevision sold off its stakes in FSN New England and FSN Bay Area to Comcast.

Cablevision owns the MSG Network and FSN New York as well as the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.

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Milt Grant dies

The bold station owner, who purchased WGBO-TV in 1985, passed away Saturday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

In the 1980's, he founded stations in Dallas (KTXA) and Houston (KTXH), and purchased WDCA in Washington, D.C., but sold them all to Gulf Broadcasting. In 1984, he founded WBFS-TV in Miami, and a year later, he purchased WGBO and WGBS-TV in Philadelphia (now WPSG).

The stations were not rating successes early on - particularly WGBO, which was completely hammered by other Chicago independents. Grant overpaid for syndicated programming, and as a result, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a year later, and the stations went into receivership three years later. The stations were taken over by Combined Broadcasting, which were actually a group of creditors. Combined sold the stations in 1994 and 1995 - WGBO to Univision, and WBFS and WGBS to Viacom (which has since spun-off the broadcasting properties to CBS.)

Today, WGBO is more successful as a Spanish-language station, compared to 15 years ago when it was a forgotten English-language also-ran. WPSG is a CW affiliate, and WBFS is hooked up with MyNetworkTV.

Up to the time of his death, Grant was still in the broadcast station business: he owned a handful of TV stations mainly in smaller markets in Alabama, Virginia, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dow Jones rejects offer from Murdoch

The Bancroft family has rejected an offer from News Corp. to buy The Wall Street Journal.

Good. We here in Chicago have seen first hand what Murdoch can do to a newspaper.

If he did buy The Wall Street Journal, I know what the front page story would be: "The Bears' Tank Johnson Gets Down and Dirty in Rap Video."

iVillage coming to Chicago

iVillage live, the fledging daily first-run strip that airs on the NBC O&O's, is coming to Chicago to stay. NBC Universal announced today that the show is moving its production facilities from Universal Studios in Orlando to the NBC Tower here in Chicago.

The interactive show will join Jerry Springer, Judge Mathis, the new Steve Wilkos show, and possibly Let's Play Crosswords at the Tower, which also houses NBC-owned WMAQ-TV.

iVillage has struggled in the ratings on the NBC stations in a daypart where they traditionally haven't fared well in.

The female-targeted show airs live weekdays at 11a.m. on WMAQ-TV.

Tom Poston dies

Best known for roles in Mork & Mindy, Newhart, and Family Matters, Mr. Poston dies at the age of 85.

The Sun-Times is a disgrace to Chicago

On a day we have immigration marches across the country and a pending veto by President Bush on the Iraq war expected to go down today, THIS is what the Sun-Times lead with this morning:

What utter crap. This paper is turning into a joke with each passing day. The way things are going, they will soon become a local version of The Onion. And The Onion is a more enjoyable read than the Sun-Times.

Is this going to entice people of the next generation to buy their paper? They're smarter than that. They smell a fraud a mile away.

Maybe those FCC hearings on media consolidation should be held here. In Tampa, residents are already giving the agency an earful on the incompetent job the local press is doing.

It seems like the Sun-Times is still being run by Rupert Murdoch, who bought the paper in the mid-1980's and sold it within two years.

Whoever is editor at the Sun-Times SHOULD BE FIRED FOR THIS. All they care about is moving papers and dumbing down Chicago. I pointed this out in a Think Tank piece last month about the paper's changes.

Let's Get Into It. How about jumping out of it and not over a shark like you guys usually do?

UPDATE: I left a message on the Full Court Press blog about this matter. You can access this by clicking here and scroll down until you see Terence and the time 3:20 p.m. in the byline.

UPDATE 2: I didn't realize I compared the Sun-Times to The Onion twice until I re-read the Think Tank piece I wrote about the Sun-Times. They should rename the Sun-Times The Onion: Chicago Edition.

Winter ratings (Updated)

Arbitron released the Winter Chicago radio ratings yesterday. Analysis:

* As Robert Feder points out, the stations that benefited the most were the black and Hispanic-targeted stations, taking 5 out of the top 10. WGCI-FM remains No.1 (In other words, don't write off hip-hop yet.)

*Urban AC WVAZ-FM (V103) was a big winner, moving up to fourth place.

*Top 40 WKSC-FM beat rival rhythmic outlet WBBM-FM (B96) by a tenth of a point. Expect these two to trade places for sometime to come.

*Oldies WZZN scored its highest ratings ever, landing in 13th place, and the highest for that frequency since at least 1990 (when it was CHR-formatted WYTZ-FM, or "Z95".)

*Rhythmic AC WILV-FM (Love FM) jumped to 18th, scoring its best ratings in a year.

*Drifting into loser territory: WLIT-FM continues to stink outside of the Christmas season, tied for 15th place. (Their new TV commercial is a ripoff of a former Love FM ad. - Feder also pointed that out this morning.)

*The stations that are talked about on the message boards the most - WLUP-FM (The Loop), WXRT-FM, WJMK-FM (Jack FM), WKQK-FM (Q101), and WCKG-FM (FreeFM) - are the least listened to in the books - all finished below 20th.

Maybe if they started rating on how many times these stations are talked about on message boards, all of those stations would be in the top five.

Notables among dayparts and demos:

*Spike O'Dell is No. 1, in AM Drive, but Felicia Middlebrooks & Pat Cassidy on all-news WBBM-AM is a close second.

*WKSC-FM's Drex made the top 10 and beat B96's fading (ratings-wise and creatively) Eddie, JoBo, & Erica morning show.

*WGCI's Tony Sculfield's No.1, but his ratings are down.

*WTMX-FM's Eric & Kathy continued its dominance in its core women 25-54, and WCKG's Steve Dahl continues to do well among men 25-54.

BTW, this is post No. 300! Yea!


The Chicago Bulls may not be burning up the ratings nationally like they used to (after all, this is a country that now would rather watch a bunch of cars race around a track all day), but they are a hit locally - Game 4 between the Bulls and the Miami Heat - a game that capped off a sweep of the defending champs -averaged a 10 rating in Chicago between Noon and 2 p.m., according to Nielsen, with the rating peaking at a 16 at 2:15 p.m.

Not exactly Jordan-era ratings, but big nevertheless.