Friday, August 31, 2007
For more on Nine-FM, check out the T Dog Media Blog Think Tank that will be posted on Saturday about the stations (it was to be posted today, but recent events changed that, a.k.a. "rewrite".)
NBC Universal's content accounted for 40 percent of the sales of iTunes video product, including popular shows like The Office and Heroes.
This happened coincidentally with NBC Universal 's announcement that it has named its new video venture with News Corp. called Hulu. The venture is designed to compete with YouTube and offer downloads from the NBC Universal and Twentieth Television studios.
It's just a reminder that content is king in Hollywood and the studios control the content, and they are the king.
Official press release from Apple
Tuesday's Brewers-Cubs game on Comcast SportsNet drew a 8.1 Nielsen rating, easily outranking other fare on both broadcast and cable in the Chicago area. On Wednesday, The Red Sox-Yankees game on the YES Network drew a 7.6 rating in the New York City metropolitan area, drawing an average of 767,000 viewers. The Yanks are averaging a 4.6 rating this season.
With both popular teams now in the pennant races this fall, it just gives another headache to network TV programmers who continue to find it difficult for their new fall series to get sampled.
On a somewhat related note, Sam Sylk was let go last week as morning personality at Urban Contemporary WUSL-FM (Power 99) in Philly. His morning show finished behind WPHI and rhythmic outlet WRDW-FM (Wired 96.5), owned by Beasley. Sam Sylk was afternoon personality at WGCI for a few years.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
As mentioned before, new to the schedule are The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Cosby Show, and Cheers (which is now airing on sister WCIU.) Bonanza and Taxi (debuts 10/1) are also joining the weekday schedule, and T.J. Hooker (William Shatner's "other" series) and 21 Jump Street runs on Saturdays. I Love Lucy and Dick Van Dyke invade Black & White Saturday Night, the non-color programming block that airs on - Saturday night.
The new schedule kicks off on Sept. 17, with the weekend schedule coming Sept. 22.
-As noted before, Family Guy will air at 6:30 and 10, and Two and a Half Men will air at 6 and 10:30.
- Teacher vs. student - The Steve Wilkos Show will air at 2 p.m. -up against Jerry Springer on WPWR-TV at the same time. Wilkos was the bouncer on Springer breaking up the fights.
- Degrassi: The Next Generation will be stacked on weekends, running from 8:30 a.m to Noon Sunday mornings beginning Sept. 9 (Why? Do we need any more My Wife & Kids reruns?)
- In a surprise, Friends is only airing at 11:30 p.m. The program has been double-runned on the station since its syndication debut in 1998.
- In the lame duck portion of the schedule, Everybody Loves Raymond moves to 12:30 a.m. and 1:00 a.m. (Raymond moves to Fox's duopoly next spring) and Will & Grace's second run gets knocked down to 3:30 a.m. An infomercial has replaced Home Improvement at 3:00 a.m., whose contract to WGN (local and superstation) expired last week (all other local station deals for the show expired three months ago.)
TMZ gets a late fringe slot at 11:35 p.m., replacing a second run of Malcolm in the Middle (Malcolm is running multiple times a day on FX starting this fall.) TMZ is also airing on sister station WPWR at 6:30 p.m.
Sony's new Judge David Young court show landed the 1 and 1:30 afternoon slot, pushing Cristina's Court to WPWR at 9 a.m.
Editor's Note: The station's news director was fired on Friday (8/31/07) after five months on the job.
Updated 2007-09-04 at 09:23
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The article notes that there are no new shows that feature predominately black casts this fall on the broadcast networks. The only programs that have such casts this fall are all on the CW's Monday night lineup: Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, and The Game. Despite low overall (and declining) ratings, all three still rank in the top 10 in black households, and that's just enough to keep each of those shows on the air.
Also on the TBS beat: Jonathan Katz was tapped to become the general manager of the local WTBS in Atlanta, which will split off from the national TBS Oct. 1 to become WPCH-TV, or Peachtree TV.
Fox-owned WFLD is changing the name of its 7-9 a.m morning show back to Good Day Chicago, the original name of the morning newscast which launched in June 1993. After a slow ratings start, the show changed to Fox Thing In the Morning in January 1994 when Bob Sirott came on board and changed to Fox News In the Morning after he departed.
Fox should sign her up for her own reality TV show where she tries to become an anchorwoman at a small-market TV station. Wait a minute...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Meanwhile, the arrival of two new game shows - Twentieth's Temptation and Program Partners' Merv Griffin's Crosswords - hope to revive interest in the genre. In the last seventeen years, only three game shows have succeeded - Hollywood Squares, Family Feud, and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire - all either revivals of past shows or syndicated versions of network ones.
In the fall of 1990, five game shows debuted in syndication and all failed. Among them - revivals of Tic Tac Dough and The Joker's Wild and a game show hosted by Dick Clark called The Challengers.
Fifteen years ago, a widely anticipated revival of You Bet Your Life, hosted by Bill Cosby, tanked instantly and lasted only a year.
New versions of The Price is Right (a nighttime version of the daytime show) and Match Game failed to take off in 1994 and 1998, respectively.
Both Crosswords and Temptation premiere Sept. 10. (Crosswords will air from 2-3 p.m. locally on WMAQ-TV; Temptation will air from 1-2 p.m. locally on WPWR-TV.)
Also on tap are two new courtroom shows: Sony's Judge David Young and Radar's Jury Duty, and the first off-network drama to premiere in syndication as a weekday strip in several years, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Other off-net premieres include CBS' Half & Half, and Warner's George Lopez.
-Sinclair's WPMY has Family Guy interspersed with The Simpsons, creating a two-sitcom block. Family Guy is slated to air at 6:30 and 7:30 each weeknight, leading out of Bart & Co. Law & Order: Criminal Intent airs at 11 p.m. on WPMY.
- Sinclair's other station, Fox affiliate WPGH, will air Two and a Half Men at 6 and 7 p.m.
- TMZ, the new anti-celebrity magazine show, airs at 4 and 10:30 p.m. on WPMY.
- Independent WBGN (I've never heard of them either), rolls out Martha Stewart Living, Blind Date, Jury Duty, Degrassi, and Reno 911! (Reno 911! will air weeknights at 11 on WPWR-Channel 50 here beginning Sept. 10.)
- Yet another courtroom show, Judge David Young from Sony Pictures Television, premieres at 1 p.m. on Sept. 10 on CBS-owned (and KDKA sister) WPCW-TV.
- Weekends: WPCW has Cold Case (which is also being cleared in syndication on CBS-owned WBBM-TV here); WPMY has nabbed UFC Wired, Whacked Out Sports, and 24 repeats. Cox's NBC affiliate (WPXI) has Law and Order: Special Victims Unit in syndication.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Watch out Homer Simpson, you're not the only one who can go on forever: Viacom and Comedy Central renewed veteran comedy South Park until 2011 (its fifteenth season) - but wait, there's more: Comedy Central and the creators of the show agreed to create a South Park hub to spread the show's material to the Internet, mobile phones, and other media.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker also get considerable raises from the deal from their salaries and guaranteed advances from other ventures of the show, including DVDs, merchandising and syndication (Lionsgate's Debmar-Mercury distributes South Park in broadcast syndication.)
The pact also calls for the creation of South Park Digital Studios, which will focus on the digital animation of the show and other new animated projects.
South Park's first-run episodes draw an average of three million viewers per episode. A new season of episodes begin with a tentative date of Oct. 7.
- Read the official press release on South Park Studio's website by clicking here.
- Want to read a story about how the show is put together? This is a interesting read yours truly found on the Apple website on how South Park Studios puts together a typical episode. To read the article, click here.
And keep in mind in the conference's decision to take their third-tier games off of broadcast television to form this network. Siding with the Big Ten reeks of hypocrisy.
It's easier to talk when you're apart of big media, because you feel you can speak for the rest of us. You're on your way to becoming The Chicago Daily Onion, which resides across the street.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
UPDATE: The ad community responded and many came into defense of the ad, pretty much proof that either the public has lowered its expectations on everything (look at our state government in the wake of last week's floods in the Chicago area - or the government in general with Katrina two years ago) - or Garfield simply has something up his behind (earlier, he misspelled "sexist" and had "sexiest" in his review. Somebody needs to go back to school...)
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Like the team this season, the ad campaigns have had numerous misses, including the inane Southside Board of Touirism ad campaign at the beginning of the season (to tout what, the nearest Harold's Chicken Shack?)
A disappointing 2007 season has resulted in declining ratings and attendance numbers. Ratings for White Sox games on Comcast SportsNet are down 50 percent from a year ago and broadcast TV ratings are down 37 percent from that same time frame. While the broadcast ratings are somewhat competitive, they trail those of summertime prime-time fare on the broadcast networks, which consists of reruns and first-run reality shows - most of them declared rating disappointments.
A recent prime-time game on WGN averaged only a 1.9 rating, worse than the CW programming on the station.
Not helping the White Sox is that many televised sporting events are coming off a down year in the ratings. The NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals both recorded record lows this year, and ratings for NASCAR have slipped as viewers have abandoned sports programming for the Internet, video games, home video options, and other television programming.
Meanwhile, the Cubs surging success has resulted in a ratings increase for the team's television broadcasts, with an intriguing storyline (whether or not the Cubs can hold on to first place) -hooking loyal fans and bringing in casual ones. When a team loses, casual fans are the first to go, usually to other entertainment options.
Sports marketing specialists note that there are no advantages to being a one-hit-wonder club.
In other words, the 2005 World champs will likely become more of a trivia question or a segment of a VH-1 special in the same vain as Sean Kingston's singing career - the person solely responsible for Ben E. King turning over in his grave.
This scenario is similar to what happened to the New York Islanders after the team won four Stanley Cups in the early 1980s. The team slid into oblivion in the next decade after numerous losing seasons, in which attendance plummeted and television ratings were turned into hash marks, while watching the arch-rival New York Rangers (The Chicago Cubs of hockey -in popularity at least) win a Stanley Cup in 1994 and maintain a loyal fan base, despite eight consecutive losing seasons a few years afterward.
Not only that, the New Jersey Devils, another New York area team, won three Stanley Cups from 1995 to 2003.
The Islanders are still struggling at the box office and in TV ratings to this very day (Of course, it doesn't help when the team's logo was briefly changed into the Gorton's Fisherman a few years back.)
Then again, so is the rest of the NHL - including the Blackhawks, which the White Sox are now trying to stay ahead of in fan popularity - yeah, that says a lot.
So the lesson learned here is, who ever lands the marketing account for the White Sox - don't go into the frozen foods section of the grocery store looking for ideas.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Reville Entertainment, whose former president Ben Silverman is now co-chairman at NBC, is producing the show along with MGM Television. MGM holds the rights to the series, inherited when they acquired The Samuel Goldwyn Company, the original syndicator of Gladiators. Current WMAQ-TV sports personality Mike Adamle co-hosted the series, which ran from 1989 to 1995.
An interesting question is, a show that wasn't good enough for network prime-time in 1989 is now suddenly good enough for prime-time in 2008? (Yours truly was a big fan of American Gladiators back in the day, but something's wrong when the networks are looking in the syndicated scrap heap for ideas on prime-time programming. Can a revival of the ill-fated 1985 syndicated series Star Games be too far behind?)
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Large webcasters will also not be required to provide DRM-like technology to prevent ripping (or copying) of webcasters' streams, at least for now.
Small webcasters meanwhile, were offered a carry through of the old rates until 2010, from SoundExchange. They have until Sept. 14 to come to an agreement.
UPDATE: Some small webcasters are reportedly rejecting SoundExchange's offer - those than earn $1.2 million in annual revenue or less - a discounted rate of 10%-12% of annual revenue. Some small webcasters say that isn't good enough.
(Updated 10:36 AM on 2007-08-24)
CHICAGO -- The National Weather Service in Chicago has issued a tornado warning for portions of Cook and DuPage counties.
The warning is in effect until 4 p.m. CDT.
At 3:09 p.m., NWS radar indicated strong rotation in a severe thunderstorm near Winfield, moving east at 50 mph.
A second warning was issued for Will County near Elgin, after a spotter reported a funnel cloud. NBC5's Brant Miller said the cell is near Wayne, and the warning will be in effect until 4 p.m.
A tornado was spotted by an amateur radio operator near the Bolingbrook area. The cell that produced the twister will be near Tinley Park and Flossmoor after moving through the southwest suburbs of Joliet.So, Elgin is near Will County? Isn't Joliet a suburb itself? And one other station website reported that a roof was torn off a building at Sauk Trail and Cicero Avenue in Steger, when it was actually in Richton Park.
I'm suspecting Lauren Jones from Anchorwoman finally landed a job with one or even two of the Chicago TV stations as a news writer....
And you thought the Baltimore Orioles had a bad night...
UPDATE: Anchorwoman was canceled today, marking the first time Fox has yanked a show after one episode since The Rich List last year. The show will be burned off at Fox.com.
The One and Out Club:
You're in the Picture (CBS, 1961)
Turn-On (ABC, 1969)
Co-Ed Fever (CBS, 1978)
South of Sunset (CBS, 1993)
Public Morals (CBS, 1996)
Lawless (Fox, 1997)
Who's Your Daddy? (Fox, 2005)
Emily Reason's Why Not (ABC, 2006)
The Rich List (Fox, 2006)
Thought: She Gone! So what new show this fall may last one episode? Taking bets now on Cavemen and Kid Nation...
Trivia: You're in the Picture's lone air date - January 20, 1961 - was also the same day John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the country's 35th president.
(Updated at 6:18 p.m.)
The long-running game show, hosted by South Lawndale/Little Village native and Columbia College alum Pat Sajak and letter-turner (or toucher)Vanna White, will be taping at Navy Pier in March of 2008 for three weeks' worths of shows that will air during next May's sweeps.
This the third time Wheel has taped in Chicago. The other times were in 1991 and 2002.
The CBS-distributed program, which airs on ABC-owned WLS-TV here, is Chicago's most popular syndicated program by far. Wheel often outdraws most prime-time programming on the networks locally, including all programs on The CW and My Network TV. Wheel has won the 6:30 prime access slot in Chicago for 23 years and is instrumental in WLS-TV's dominance in local ratings over the last two decades.
For more information about auditions and tickets to the Chicago tapings, click here.
Wheel of Fortune, which debuted in 1975 in daytime on NBC, was created by the late Merv Griffin.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Ha. There are about one hundred of them in contention for that title. But the one that may win (non-Flavor of Love category) is Anchorwoman, a new short-term show airing on Fox tonight.
The program features Lauren Jones, a former WWE diva, Barker's Beauty, and current aspiring actress working for a ratings challenged CBS affiliate.
No, it's not WBBM-TV (Channel 2) or WOIO-TV in Cleveland (home of a one-time semi-nude Sharon Reed) - though it could've been....
It's actually CBS affiliate KYTX-TV in Tyler-Longview, TX - market number 111 - a station in the heart of George W. country, where traditionalism is the rule.
If you need any proof that local news (and network programming) has become a joke, this is it (although she does look hot.... You know yours truly will be tuning in....)
Note: Fox's affiliate in Tyler-Longview - KFXK-TV is carrying Anchorwoman, according to the station's website. Surprise, surprise...
WMOR-TV in Tampa adds Family Guy to schedule
Walt Belcher in the Tampa Tribune is reporting Hearst-Argyle's WMOR-TV in Tampa-St. Petersburg is adding Family Guy this fall in addition to Reno 911 and Law & Order: Criminal Intent and is also adding The Office in the fall of 2009. The independent station, once known as WTMV and (former WB affiliate) WWWB, also is adding Dead Zone and Chappelle's Show for weekend play.
Also in that article, Belcher mentions the Family Guy live table-reading in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hilton during the TV critics' press tour. The cast performed the X-rated version of the series 100th episode named "Stewie Kills Lois".
The cast is coming to the Chicago Theater on Sept. 14 to perform the same table read with two shows, at 7 and 10 p.m. For ticket information, click here.
Family Guy Live also has performed at the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and has also performed in New York.
On a personal note, The T Dog Media Blog wants to say thank you to the cast and crew of Family Guy for coming to the Windy City to perform the table read. Yours truly will be there on the 14th. Freakin' Sweet!
Family Guy airs on WGN-TV here in Chicago weeknights at 6:30 and at 10 beginning Sept. 10.
(updated at 1:15pm - wrong draft was posted earlier)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Comcast has pushed the NFL Network into a pay-tier with other sports channels -like CSTV and NBA TV for example, while Time Warner isn't carrying the football network at all.
Meanwhile, the Big Ten Network does not have any deals with any major cable operators, and has only a deal with Direct TV and a few small cable operators, like Buckeye Cablesystem in the Toledo area.
The real culprit is money of course - The NFL and Big Ten want the cable operators to pay more to them - in which the cable operators would have no choice to pass that cost to subscribers.
As for the Big Ten Network (BTN), the network is holding hope that a deal can be reached on August 30, when the network launches.
(Minor rant: Ed Sherman of the Trib singles Comcast out but not the area's other cable operators, or Dish Network, who aren't carrying BTN either. Why are you just singling out Comcast, Sherman? They made fun of your mama, or something?)
Meanwhile, here's more on the new WPCH - the former WTBS in Atlanta. The station is adding House of Payne (in 2008) and The Montel Williams Show, which it is acquiring from ABC affiliate WSB-TV, which previously aired at 10 a.m. This is the first talk show WTBS/WPCH will air since the ill-fated Ask Rita in 2004 and last fall's Megan Mulually Show.
The switchover begins on October 1, so make your plans...
But what about Chicago, you ask? Well, if there is any info on Chicago local TV fall lineups, yours truly will post those as soon as I can get them. Here's what I know thus far (or what I haven't covered in any other post:)
Coming to WWME-TV (Me TV) : The Dick Van Dyke Show (at 7 p.m. and 10:30 p.m beginning 9/17), The Cosby Show, Cheers
Coming to WGN: Degrassi: The Next Generation (8:30a - Noon Sundays, beginning 9/9)
Coming to WPWR: Temptation
Archive post: WTBS to become Peachtree TV
Updated at 11:38 on 2007-08-26
Here's the official press release on HSM2's success via TV Barn's Aaron Barnhart...
Monday, August 20, 2007
Here's a thought: Move The Insider to WBBM-TV (Channel 2) since CBS owns the show and the program airs in access (from 7-8p) on some CBS-owned stations including WCBS in New York and KCBS in Los Angeles. Put it on at 6 p.m. No one is watching Channel 2 in that time slot anyway since they're airing something called a newscast, and no one will notice the difference between the two.
Many stations are using the time slots that were once reserved for off-network sitcoms are now being filled by newscasts and other first-run syndicated programming. For example, Fox-owned WTTG in Washington, D.C. announced this week they are launching a new 6 p.m. newscast on Sept. 10., and possibly the new tabloid magazine show TMZ at 6:30. At one time, the station carried a block of off-network sitcoms from 5 to 8 p.m.
Another Fox-owned station, WJBK in Detroit, will return to the news game at 11 p.m. on Sept. 24.
WFLD-TV here in Chicago recently launched a 10 p.m. newscast that is beating WBBM-TV's news show in some key demos.
But moreover, stations are using news because the costs are low, and they don't have to hand over money to a syndicator, or share the show with a cable network. Plus, with the presidential candidates expected to spend record amounts of money on television ads, stations now have a valid excuse to expand newscasts, since politicians often target news-oriented programs to spend dough on their campaigns. Some station groups, like Fox, are aggressively expanding their newscasts to take advantage.
On the other hand, CBS-owned WWJ-TV in Detroit, or Sinclair-owned ABC affiliate KDNL-TV in St. Louis don't have newscasts. Those low-rated news operations respectively shuttered in 2002 and 2001, and the owners of those stations have no plans to get back into the local news business in those markets anytime soon. Somehow, they claim that doing news is too expensive for them.
There have not been any successful off-sitcom stories in the past several years, and those that are currently running in high-viable time periods, like Seinfeld, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond, are concurrently playing on cable TV in those same early fringe, prime access, and late fringe time periods, siphoning off rating points from broadcasters.
And the current sitcoms now on the air on the networks are nowhere near the popularity of the three yours truly just mentioned.
Plus, the studios are now selling sitcoms to cable before they are offered in broadcast, with Twentieth Television selling My Name is Earl to TBS before selling it to any local station. Local station groups are now nothing more than also-rans to syndicators when it comes to off-network products. Is there going to be any interest in Earl when it is sold to stations? Twentieth may have to do what they did with Yes, Dear and Still Standing and take Earl out on an short-term, all-barter basis. That means that stations don't have to pay anything to get it, but have to surrender half of their available commercial time to the syndicator, and the syndicator sells that time to national advertisers.
It's just an example of how the studios now have more power over their product than ever before. There has been consolidation on both sides of the fence, (syndicators and station groups), and it drives the price up for everything, despite the lowered ratings.
Yes, my friends, it's getting ugly out there in TV land, and it's bound to get even uglier.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
One word to describe this: Phenomenon.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
And don't expect a return to the glory days of WTMJ news. The "If it leads, it bleeds" philosophy is here to stay.
The bigger question is, what the heck Twista's doing having a column in Red Eye to begin with (and not the Chicago Daily Onion?) Just how low big media is willing to go in Chicago? (maybe we should ask Amy Jacobson and Channel 2 that question...)
See, there's the problem. The producers obviously didn't know anything about comedy, or drama for that matter, given how this past season of 24 turned out.
This is the second time in a week a radio station's facilities were targeted by shooters. On Friday, a shooter took aim at a Peoria radio station's transmitter lines, knocking it off the air for hours (see post below.)
In the past, shootings have occurred outside of WQHT-FM (Hot 97) studios in New York, the most notable one between entourages of rappers 50 Cent and The Game.
It looks like working at a radio station has become one of the most dangerous jobs in America....
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Family Guy will air at 6:30 and at 10, replacing Everybody Loves Raymond and Sex and the City, respectively. The Family Guy slotting at 10 is likely in response to Fox-owned WFLD-TV dropping The Simpsons in that time slot last spring, to make way for an expanded newscast (Bart & Co. now air at 10:35.)
Sex and the City is expected to be relocated to 11 or 11:30p.m.
Family Guy could surpass WBBM-TV's slumping 10 p.m. newscast in the ratings. WFLD's newscast has equaled or bettered WBBM's newscast in certain demos and in households.
Two And A Half Men will air at 6 and 10:30, replacing According to Jim and Everybody Loves Raymond, respectively. Raymond moves to WFLD and WPWR in March. Jim is expected to move into an earlier time slot (between 5 and 6.)
WGN is also adding The Steve Wilkos Show to its daytime lineup, most likely airing at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.
This despite the fact that The CW renewed the sitcom for another season on Monday nights (it's not on WWOR's weekday fall schedule - scroll down to see). CBS Paramount has decided to end local station deals on Sept. 7, meaning it's going to be buried on BET's schedule for the next few years (Good luck on trying to re-coup that back-end, CBS.)
Like most female-targeted sitcoms that have historically aired in off-network syndication (Kate & Allie, Suddenly Susan, Caroline in the City, etc.), Girlfriends has not fared well in the ratings. The program has often averaged less than a 1.0 Nielsen rating.
Stations are being offered former UPN sitcom Half & Half as a replacement, which is being picked up by both WWOR and WCIU to fill Girlfriends' vacated time slots.
Meanwhile, weekly repeats of Star Trek: The Original Series move to WWOR Sunday nights at 11, beginning next month. Those repeats had been airing in the Big Apple on Mondays around 3 a.m. on WNBC.
Meanwhile, Nick's Noggin (the pre-school outlet) and The N (a teen-targeted outlet), which shared space on one channel, will be spitting up into two separate 24-hour operations on Dec. 31, with Noggin taking over the channel space now occupied by Nick GAS (Games and Sports for Kids), which ran out of GAS long ago (But hey, where else you get to see Get the Picture host Mike O'Malley circa 1991 before he put on weight and blew his career thanks to appearing on lousy prime-time sitcoms like Yes, Dear? )
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Mr. Griffin was a bandleader, singer, TV star, and a performer at KFRC-AM San Francisco before he became involved in the backside of the business.
Griffin became inolved in television in the 1950's, when he hosted a game show called Play Your Hunch. He hosted The Tonight Show for a few weeks in 1962, in between Jack Paar's depature and Johnny Carson's arrival. He was also Paar's substitute host.
In 1965, Griffin launched his own daily syndicated talk show with Group W Productions, then moved it to a late-night slot on CBS in 1969, where he unsuccessfully competed with Johnny Carson. His talk show returned to daytime syndication in 1972, which was syndicated by Metromedia Producers Corporation, and later by King World Productions. That show lasted until 1986.
After his first daytime talk show effort was canceled by NBC in 1963, Merv Griffin created a game show for the network called Word for Word, via his new production company. In 1964, he created another daytime game show called Jeopardy!, one that would last on the network until 1975 and would run again in 1978-79.
In 1975, another new game game showed he created for NBC's daytime lineup, Wheel of Fortune, debuted on January 6 of that year.
In 1979, Griffin expanded his presence in first-run syndication by producing a weekly dance contest show called Dance Fever for Twentieth Television. That show ran for eight seasons.
In 1982, Merv Griffin Productions decided to put Wheel into nighttime syndication and struck a deal to syndicate the show with small syndicator King World Productions - a New Jersey based company only known at the time for selling Little Rascals shorts in syndication. The syndicated version of Wheel debuted in September 1983 in only half of the country, without New York and Chicago (those large markets would not come on board until January 1984.) The nighttime version became a surprise monster hit, and in the process, knocked Family Feud out of the number one slot in syndication. With a few exceptions, Wheel has been there ever since.
In 1984, Griffin and King World struck again by reviving Jeopardy! for syndication, and it has been the number two show since. Stations started pairing Wheel and Jeopardy! in prime access (7-8 p.m. ET) and it has been a winning combination for them (and King World) for more than 20 years. However, Griffin's and King World's bid for a hat trick failed the following year with the ill-fated game show Headline Chasers.
Griffin sold his production company to Coca-Cola owned-Columbia Pictures in 1986; Coca-Cola would spin-off its entertainment assets into Columbia Pictures Entertainment, Inc. in 1987. Columbia was sold to Sony in 1989 (Both Wheel and Jeopardy! are now produced by Sony Pictures Television and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.)
Griffin later produced another new game show scheduled to launch in syndication called Ruckus, a program that was tested on WNBC-TV in New York in 1991 in a weeknight 7:30 time slot. Ratings were subpar, and the host left because of a contract dispute. The project was subsequently dropped.
Griffin went into real estate, including purchasing and restoring the Beverly Hills Hilton, and he owned numerous other hotels, including Resorts Hotel & Casino, where Ruckus was taped.
Recently, Merv Griffin created another new game show called Crosswords, for Program Partners and the William Morris Agency that premieres in syndication Sept. 10 (locally on WMAQ-TV.) Griffin was a noted crossword fanatic.
Griffin also was a songwriter - he wrote the Final Jeopardy! theme and the second theme that was used on Wheel of Fortune from 1983-2000, called Changing Keys.
Update: Program Partners' executives said late today that the fall rollout of Merv Griffin's Crosswords would not be affected by his passing, and the name of the show (which has already changed from Merv Griffin's Let's Play Crosswords) will stay the same. You can read a statement from Program Partners' founders Ritch Colbert and Josh Raphaelson, embedded in a larger article about Griffin's death from Marc Berman in Mediaweek by clicking here.
Update 2: Phil Rosenthal from the Tribune has a story remembering Merv Griffin, noting an memorable episode of Seinfeld where Kramer tries to re-create The Merv Griffin Show - in his apartment.
Updated at 22:22 on 2007-08-12
Saturday, August 11, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
World News and Entertainment Tonight on ABC affiliate WSB-TV are traditionally the top-rated shows in prime access, with Wheel at 7:30 p.m. coming in second.
Jeopardy! has come in third in its 4:30 p.m. slot behind Oprah and Divorce Court.
Current time period occupant The Simpsons is expected to move to 11 p.m. It's likely to be a full hour (like it is now at 7 p.m.), and will replace repeats of Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond, which also air on WTBS. WPCH-TV is expected to carry the sitcoms exclusively in the Atlanta market this fall.
WXIA is scheduled to replace the 4:30 airing of Jeopardy! with another airing of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. Millionaire already airs at 4. Crosswords, a new game show from Merv Griffin and Program Partners, is scheduled to air at 12:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, WTBS is already starting the transition somewhat, with Still Standing replacing the no longer-syndicated Home Improvement at 3 p.m. (in Atlanta only.) Home Improvement still airs on TBS' national feed at the same time. Reruns of Diff'rent Strokes is now airing in Atlanta at 2 p.m., instead of Fresh Prince.
The national TBS last week started airing repeats of Just Shoot Me at 1 p.m.
updated and corrected on 2007-08-10 at 18:35. (Misstated that Jeopardy! airs in prime access on WXIA, when it does not. In other words, we've got to get our facts straight!)
WJBK-TV, the Fox-owned station in Detroit, is returning to the 11 p.m. newscast race effective on September 24 named The Edge.
WJBK had news in the 11 p.m. slot when it was a CBS affiliate, but was moved to 10 p.m. when the station was switched to Fox by then-owner New World in December 1994. The 11 p.m. newscast often finished far behind rivals NBC affiliate WDIV and ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV.
CBS discontinued its newscasts at its owned stations, WKBD-TV and WWJ-TV in late 2002, depriving WWJ of an 11 p.m. news show. WWJ airs reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond in that time slot instead.
WJJA is one of the few TV stations in the United States to be owned by an African-American.
Weigel already owns CBS affiliate WDJT-TV in Milwaukee, and a low-powered independent, WMLW. There's a possibly that Weigel may bring the successful "MeTV" format to Milwaukee. "MeTV" , a classic-TV format similar to TVLand (but much better executed), airs in Chicago on WWME-CA, a low powered TV outlet on Channel 23 analog and is on one of WCIU's digital subchannels.
WJJA is currently carrying a home shopping format. The station was approached by CBS in 1994 for affiliation after losing its 17-year home at WITI when that station switched to Fox. WJJA turned down the CBS affiliation, which went to WDJT.
Meanwhile, the Daily Onion is dismissing talk of a merger, while the Sun-Times' conference call to analysts on Wednesday was not exactly a warm, family-like moment. Of course, warm and family-like isn't the words to describe the Daily Onion. Yours truly would use some other choice words to describe the rag, but we can't use that kind of language around here....
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Happened to be downtown today and saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile pass through State Street. Well, it turns out that a few minutes later, that same Weinermobile was ticketed for parking on North Michigan Avenue, a Chicago no-no.
Fox affiliate WUTV is one of the few Fox stations in the top 100 markets that doesn't run news at 10 p.m, but runs Seinfeld instead.
New Orleans: WWL seems just as bit as dominant post-Katrina as it was pre-Katrina. Belo's CBS affiliate dominated news viewing and total-day ratings, but ratings are down across the board for all of New Orleans TV stations, due to all the changes that have occurred in the market since Katrina hit.
Hearst-Argyle's NBC affiliate WDSU was one of the market's biggest losers, with a locally produced nightly news show at 10:30 drawing fewer viewers than The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, which is delayed a half-hour. This is notable, given the fact that most NBC affiliates air Leno in-pattern at 11:35 ET/10:35 CT. In the past, KARE-TV in Minneapolis has delayed Tonight Show to run Cheers, while NBC stations in Milwaukee and Baltimore (WMAR) often didn't carry The Tonight Show at all when it was hosted by Johnny Carson.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Today, the plan seems to be still pretty much intact.
The CBS-owned turned in another pitiful performance in the recently concluded July sweeps according to Nielsen, with WFLD's new 10 p.m. newscast tying it for third among adults 25-54 and finishing ahead of WBBM in adults 18-49. The 10 p.m. newscast in households finished behind a weakened WMAQ-TV and the market leader, WLS-TV, and was down 31 percent in households from a year ago (you think it's time for WBBM to call Carol Marin back? Ratings for her newscasts at 10 were better than what they got now....)
The station's 5 and 6 p.m. newscast also took ratings hits, with the 5 p.m. newscast down 30 percent.
Of course, the Amy Jacobson debacle (not to mention an unpopular anchor change at 5 and 10) contributed to WBBM's downfall, eroding what's left of the station's credibility, which started to evaporate in the mid-1980's, when ratings started declining for WBBM's newscasts.
But there's more to this story about Amy Jacobson and the Stebic household. Ratings for late news, as well as all of local news - are down from a decade ago. People are getting their news from other sources like the Internet, but many- especially younger viewers - are fed up with what passes for local news these days and the select material they use for stories.
For example, a few weeks ago, a 17 year-old was shot in killed in a gang-related shooting in the affluent Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood. On the same day, a robbery and shooting took place at the River Oaks Mall in working-class Calumet City, which injured two people.
Guess what story got the most attention? While the Tribune and Sun-Times reported the Wicker Park/Bucktown shooting, it wasn't mentioned on any of the local news stations' websites, or on the air, but the Calumet City shooting received gords of attention.
Think about that. And that's one of the reasons why viewers are tuning out local news. But since news (and the mindless crime stories that come with it) is cheaper to produce than acquiring syndicated programming, and with demand from advertisers continuing to skyrocket -particularly from deep-pocketed political candidates buying ads for next year's elections - it's not going to make much of a difference.
Reel me in: In referring to Steve Johnson's reporting on WBBM-TV, Feder in today's column said that the Tribune used to cover local television. Um, if that is the case, then I assume Phil Rosenthal writes about fishing in the Tribune business section on page 3 every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Mmmmm, that's some good trout....
Upcoming CBS reality show KidNation is coming under such scrutiny, this show could join My Mother, the Car, Me and the Chimp, and Cop Rock in the TV Hall Of Shame.
Arthur Greenwald of TVNewsday (registration may be required) really lays the hammer down of what is likely to be one of television's worst shows of the upcoming season. One valid point he makes is that the Parents Television Council hasn't said anything (and won't say anything) about the horrid conditions children have to work under this show, but would rather raise a stink about a flash of Janet Jackson's breasts and someone dropping the f-bomb on TV.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Remember that T Dog Media Think Tank that featured a story on the WWE and Grey's Anatomy, but pulled because of Chris Benoit's death? A revised version will be posted on Friday. Fans of both deserve one another, no?
Fishman anchored his last newscast on July 30, and collapsed at his home on August 1, in which he was hospitalized with a serious infection.
Turns out they don't need them.
NBC stations in Boston, Milwaukee, and Baltimore won the 11 p.m. late news races, according to recent July numbers from Nielsen. Among the highlights:
Boston: NBC affiliate WHDH won the 11p.m. news race, but finished behind ABC affiliate WCVB-TV in all other news time slots. WCVB also won the 7:30 prime access slot with the local newsmagazine show Chronicle.
Pittsburgh: CBS' KDKA won all news time periods, except from 5 to 7 a.m., where it came in third. ABC affiliate WTAE came in second in most time periods, but came in first at 6 a.m. WPXI came in third at Noon, 5 and 6 p.m., but finished first at 7 and 7:30 with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! respectively, plus snuck into second ahead of WTAE at 11. The one surprise: Oprah finishing third at 4 p.m. behind KDKA's news and WPXI's Judge Judy.
Milwaukee: NBC affiliate WTMJ and ABC affiliate WISN traded time period dominance in a number of news slots. WTMJ won at 6 a.m., 5 p.m., and 10 p.m., while WISN won only from 5-6a.m. and at 6 p.m.
Orlando: Cox's ABC affiliate WFTV was No. 1 in all time slots. NBC affiliate WESH's late news was up 28,000 households from last year, but still finished third.
Baltimore: CBS' WJZ won at 4 p.m., over Oprah on NBC affiliate WBAL for the first time since February 2003. However, WBAL still won at 5,6, and 11 p.m. ABC affiliate WMAR-TV's ratings -for news and entertainment programming - continues to suck.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Friday, August 03, 2007
Chicagoans made the right decision.
The Cubs-Phillies games on Comcast SportsNet drew a 6.9 Nielsen rating in prime-time on Wednesday night (second item), making it the top-ranked network (broadcast and cable), beating the news coverage of the bridge collapse in Minneapolis on the cable news networks (whose coverage was subpar - the local streaming coverage on the Minneapolis' local stations websites was much better), and the inane Singing Bee on NBC.
The Cubs also outdrew the White Sox-Yankees game on WGN, in which the White Sox lost 8-1 (WGN would've been better off airing those America's Next Top Model reruns they pre-empted.)
Not only that, CSN scored a 9.8 rating with the game overrun at 10 p.m., topping all the network O&O newscasts.
Ratings for the Cubs have been going up, thanks to the team's successful run this season, bucking the trend of sporting events whose ratings were losing to subpar reality TV fare and DVR usage.
If the Cubs make the post-season, all those theories about sports telecasts losing rating points to other fare and fragmentation will be thrown out the window.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
According to Broadcasting & Cable, ABC affiliate KSTP was first on the scene just minutes after the bridge collapse, which occurred at 6:05 p.m. yesterday, with aerial views. Other stations joined in quickly, including CBS-owned WCCO, which is trying to pull staffers back from vacation and pulling together sources quickly.
The market's four news stations pre-empted network prime-time last night for continuing coverage of the disaster, which so far has claimed four lives.
Fox's KMSP, for one, went on the air at 6:15 and continued until midnight, picking up coverage again at 5 a.m. this morning.
Traffic on the four stations' websites soared last night, but the sites were still easily accessible, and the streaming video worked for the most part (KSTP's feed though, continued to drop and come back.)
(Information on link of bridge corrected on 2007-08-04 at 10:45. We apologize for the error.)
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
At the MoviesTV.com, will make more than 5,000 video reviews from Siskel, Ebert, and Siskel's replacement, Richard Roeper available, making it the largest collection on the web.
At the Movies, of course, was the TV show that Siskel & Ebert launched for Tribune Entertainment in 1982 after leaving PBS' Sneak Previews, where they gave their thumbs up or thumbs down.
Visitors can watch clips of their reviews as they gave them on Siskel & Ebert , the movie review program they did for Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC Domestic Television) after they left At the Movies in 1986. Viewers can watch clips of Ebert & Roeper as well, including recent shows which featured guest reviewers such as Jay Leno, Aisha Tyler, and others who have subbed for Ebert because of his illness.
Ebert & Roeper begins its 22nd season in syndication under Disney this fall. The program airs Saturday Nights at 10:35 p.m. on WLS-TV.