Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Tube shuts down

Digital music video channel The Tube has ceased operations. The network, which was seen over WGN's second digital channel here in Chicago, has been struggling financially since its launch. The Tube suffered a huge blow last year when original partner Sinclair Broadcasting pulled out over a dispute regarding three-hour FCC mandated children's educational programming on the music channel.

The Tube's other partners were Tribune Broadcasting (owner of WGN) and Raycom (owners of WOIO/WUAB in Cleveland.) The music channel was broadcast over the digital sub-channels of their owned stations.

No word on what will replace The Tube on WGN's second digital channel.

The final music video played on The Tube was Woke Up This Morning (Chosen One Mix) by A3 (how appropriate), at 10:55 p.m. (CT). It was the theme to The Sopranos, a program that ended its run last June with its infamous "fade to black" ending.

After the music video was played, The Tube did exactly that.

updated 12:11 a.m. on 2007-10-01

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wide Open West, RCN strike deal for Big Ten Network (updated)

In a huge victory for the Big Ten Network, Wide Open West, which serves much of Chicago area (the same territory as Comcast), has signed a deal with the fledging sports net to carry the network on an expanded basic cable package in the eight states where there are Big Ten schools.

Later in the day, BTN also struck a deal with RCN Cable, which serves Chicago's lakefront from Rogers Park on the north to Hyde Park on the south. RCN will also carry the sports net on expanded basic.

BTN is already being carried on Dish Network and Direct TV, as well as many smaller cable operators.

This no doubt will put even more pressure on Comcast, Time Warner, and Charter - the three major cable operators that still refuse to carry the network on their systems.

So come on you three - what are you waiting for? For you all to lose business?

updated 2:22 on 2007-09-29

Returning shows dominate on Thursday

Thursday's ratings race showed established returning shows picking up where they left off - grabbing lots of viewers. Here's a quick analysis (all times Central):

7 p.m: Four of the five shows had something to crow out, with Survivor winning in adults 18-49 and total viewers. NBC's hour-long season premiere of My Name Is Earl also did well, particularly among men. Fox's 5th Grader and CW's Smallville also did respectively well, at least with staying on course with year-ago ratings levels. Ugly Betty on the other hand, dropped substantially among total viewers and adults 18-49. Freshman hangover?

8 p.m. - CBS' CSI and ABC's Grey's Anatomy : CSI won in total viewers (24.85 to Grey's 20.48), but Grey's won in adults 18-49 (8.7 to 8.0). NBC's The Office and Fox's Don't Forget the Lyrics! also did respectively well, with The Office notching a 5.1 in the 18-49's, and improving over Earl's lead-in.

9 p.m. CBS' Without a Trace won in 18-49's and total viewers, defeating ER handily. ABC's new Big Shots (not a click to pick), did finish second, but was down substantially from its Grey's lead-in in total viewers and in 18-49's. Do we need to see Christopher Titus in another show after Titus? Sorry, Stacy Keach will always be your dad to me.

Copps against Tribune, XM/Sirius deals

Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps has voiced his opposition against two pending media deals: Sam Zell's acquisition of Tribune and the XM/Sirius merger. Tribune would need a waiver from the FCC so the deal can go through - and that Tribune can keep it radio/TV/newspaper combo intact in Chicago.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

No broadcast TV for Cubs playoff games - unless they go to the World Series

The Daily Southtown lays into Major League Baseball, calling the new deal that puts most playoff games on cable TV isn't friendly to fans, particularly to those of the Chicago Cubs, whose team may make the postseason, and fans without cable or satellite are out of luck.

When ESPN had the rights to the divisional series in the past, they let local stations in the markets playing in the games to simulcast this feed, but that won't happen this time as new rightsholder TBS has exclusive rights (Fox still has rights to one of the championship series and the World Series.)

While the Daily Southown's stance is dated (circa 1986), they do have a point. But don't forget that Fox dumped part of the postseason so they can run their regular programming (and to please ad buyers.) And ratings for playoff baseball have fallen over the last several years, making that attraction much more lucrative. I guess the Southtown forgot to point that out...

If there is any consolation, The NBA and NHL have the majority of their playoff games on cable, and the ratings have stunk.

Wilkos leads first-run syndicated rookies...

with a huge, huge, gigantic 0.9 rating. Meanwhile, Family Guy finished ahead of Friends and Seinfeld among off-network sitcoms and finished only behind Everybody Loves Raymond, whose rating fell thanks in part to downgrades by several stations (including WGN-TV here) into the wee hours because of an expiring contract that comes next spring. In other words, Raymond is in "lame duck" status on these stations.

Keep in mind, though that cable runs are a part of the numbers for all of these shows, and Turner (through TBS and Adult Swim) run "Family Guy" a lot.

Warner, NBC O&O's come to long-term deal

It doesn't give them TMZ, but it does give the ten O&Os a new talk show hosted by Chicagoan Bonnie Hunt for fall 2008 (with the exception of WCAU in Philly); a renewal for Extra through 2012; and a renewal for Ellen through 2011. Both programs air on NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in Chicago.

"Private", "Bionic" score

NBC's Bionic Woman scored an upset over ABC's Private Practice in the 18-49 demo, 5.5 to 5.1 (though Private drew more viewers, 14.24 to Bionic's 13.59.) CBS' Criminal Minds also was strong in the 8 p.m. (CT) time period, so that may be bad news for CW's Gossip Girl and Fox's Kitchen Nightmares, both turning in less than spectacular ratings in week two of their existence.

Otherwise, Dancing With the Stars dominated the ratings (as usual) while America's Next Top Model and Deal or No Deal's better days seem to be behind them. You also have to ask why Fox did not slot Back to You between Sunday powerhouses The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Steve & Garry reunite on TV

Current WCKG hosts and radio legends Steve Dahl and Garry Meier (both have separate shows at the station) appeared together on WGN-TV's morning news today, promoting a charitable event they are co-hosting with the Sun-Times Susanna Hoffman and Gilda's Club Chicago on Friday called "A Night of a Thousand Noogies" at the Park West (it's located at 322 W. Armitage.)

A letter to Jay Mariotti

Usually yours truly doesn't devote a space here to attack someone (yeah, right), but I have to give attention to Jay Mariotti's latest column from the Daily Onion regarding the death of Chicago Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz...

From: T Dog

To: Jay Mariotti, Chicago Sun-Times

Dear Moron:

Who do YOU THINK YOU ARE when you tell us how to behave? Sure, people are cruel, and yes, unfortunately people are going to say nasty things on talk radio about someone's death. But I can't control their emotions, and neither can you. All of this means that for the first time in decades, Hawks fans actually have some hope after seeing Wirtz drive this franchise into the ground for the last forty years. Yes, the comments are cruel, but there is nothing you can do about it.

And now you have the nerve telling us how to behave, particularly after you have made a living being rude, crude, and outright distasteful?

And when was the last time you wrote anything about the Blackhawks anyway? When it's convenient for you? You paint Jerry Reinsdorf as the city's worst sports owner, but yet he has seven championships and we get to see Bulls and White Sox games on home TV, while you have barely mentioned Wirtz or the Blackawks and their struggles over the past two years.

Maybe you should have attended last week's FCC hearing here in Chicago and see why the public in general is fed up with big media. You, and well as all of Chicago's major media outlets and their cronies, regularly do a disservice to our city with your crap.

You, Skip Bayless, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Steve Harvey... it doesn't matter. As long as big media gives them a platform to say THEY are right and WE are wrong. WE the public, who reluctantly pay your salaries.

You represent big media to a lot of Chicagoans, and people don't like being told how to do this, or how to do that. Big media is the "parent" and we are their "children". It doesn't work like that. Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy was right when he said on Saturday that newspapers were garbage.

You are producing nothing but a propaganda machine with your "column" and your "blog". You and your paper are an embarrassment to Chicago. I'm certain when you drop dead, there will be far more negative comments about you after you die than for Mr. Wirtz (believe it or not.) I, and a lot of other Chicago sports fans, can't wait for that day.

T Dog

T Dog's Think Tank: We are pissed

The FCC came to Chicago last Thursday, for public hearings on media consolidation and diversity.

The whole thing was webcast for the world to hear on the FCC's website, and yours truly hooked it up to listen for eight hours. Eight loooong hours...

The FCC was there at Operation PUSH, and if you listed to the webcast- hell, you'd think Bears QB Rex Grossman was one of the commissioners. Grossman and the FCC have a lot in common - both apparently suck at their job.

We're just about as happy with the media as we are with the CTA. Both are run by pomous windbags who don't seem to care about the public. And both are in broken-down condition.

Media consolidation over the past decade has been blamed for the rise in taseless programming in prime-time (mainly of the reality kind) to layoffs at media outlets, from less local programming to voicetracking at radio stations.

All of this and more was complained about Thursday night. With the event held at Operation PUSH, you know racial overtones were the order of the day. Of course, with Chicago being one of the most segregated cities in the nation, this came as no surprise as the issue of race (from the Grant Park Children's Museum to O.J. to McNabb to the Jena 6) dominated the headlines all week.

Many complained about how the local media treats the areas of the city's West and South Sides, both with almost predominately African-American neighborhoods.

On the local news, it is not uncommon to see it start off with stories about crime from these parts of town, which has been the case for decades. Every time you turn on the news, or log on to the city's two newspapers' websites, you see stories about who got murdered, shot, or raped. One murder reported on one of the papers' websites recently even got the location wrong. What is the point of this? To drive web traffic? For TV ratings?

You are correct, Oh great one!

And the media bias even extends into the South Suburbs,which are being portrayed as "economically struggling", even though Flossmoor, Olympia Fields, Richton Park, Country Club Hills, and Matteson are among Chicago suburbs with the highest incomes, with many of those high-income earners African-Americans. Is racism at work here? Well, duh?

Then there was the issue of minority hiring at these outlets and the way minorities are treated there. One lady who spoke at the hearing claimed that she is being racially harassed at a TV station she works and had to file a complaint with the EEOC.

Another issue was minority ownership. Chicago is the largest major market with the fewest minority owners in the country. The only black radio station owner in town is Melody Spann-Cooper, who owns Talk outlet WVON-AM, and broadcasts on 1690-AM through a sub-leasing deal with Clear Channel. The historic Chicago Defender is on life support and now run from Detroit. The new media incentives on the paper's website heralded by publisher Roland Martin (such as video and podcasts) were disassembled after he left. Many are calling for the restoration of the minority tax certificate, which was abolished in 1995.

There were a host of other issues as well. There were complaints about radio, particularly with many local independent artists and labels, slamming local stations for refusing them airplay. One even charged the industry with payola, with an artist claiming that a local mixer at a station was charging them $25,000 for one play. Others complained about the same songs being played repeatedly and too many commercials. Even old-school rapper KRS-One called out WGCI.

And to top it off, radio is giving talentless hack Britney Spears a shot to return to her former glory. You know you smell a rat when her single Gimme More has been declared a "success" by a dying medium. You don't know which one is more desperate. Even in her decrepit condition, she can get on the radio while more deserving independent artists can't. That rat must be paying for Spears' freight.

And yes, there were complaints about cable TV, from lack of a la carte to how minorities are portrayed on BET and VH1.

Hispanic broadcasters didn't go unscathed, either. One Hispanic individual complained about the domination Univision had over the Spanish-speaking market; others complained about NBC Universal's ownership of Telemundo, and layoffs at its WSNS-TV in Chicago.

And there was the subject of the Iraq War. Many complained about how news have become nothing but propaganda machines - not allowing contradicting views of the war. Many want the Fairness Doctrine restored.

And there were more complaints, from the lightning to how many minutes people got to speak.

But there were defenders of the media there as well. Many TV and radio stations trotted out their employees and charitable organizations that works with these companies. Former WGCI boss Marv Dyson blamed radio's problems not on consolidation, but on the "me too" attitude that plagues the medium. He supports consolidation, but not until a significant amount of minority ownership has been achieved.

But one thing that irked yours truly were the number of those praising the corporations that owned these media outlets - people who are truly hacks. The lone exception was WGN-AM host John Williams, who made a good point about the radio station losing its localism if it was forced to be sold off .

As you know, The Tribune Co. is in the process of being sold to billionaire Sam Zell, and he needs FCC approval to keep his properties - WGN-AM, WGN-TV, and the Chicago Tribune - intact. While the cross-ownership rules bar one company from owning a radio, TV and a newspaper in one market, Tribune's combo was grandfathered in - they owned the properties before 1975 when the rule took effect.

Zell got support from many prominent Illinois politicians, including Democratic senator Dick Durbin, and chances that the Tribune will be busted up is unlikely.

The interesting thing about the meetings Thursday is what wasn't brought up. The XM/Sirius merger for one - how is this going to effect customers of satellite radio? What about the shoddy reporting of the Sun-Times- who like the rest of the media- don't give a damn about Chicago. Who else could give Jay Mariotti a prominent position at the paper so he can use it for personal attacks?

Or WGCI's firing of morning personality Howard McGee for syndicated lout Steve Harvey? A clear example of getting rid of a local voice for one from New York and one who doesn't know much about Chicago, despite having a local show here in the mid 1990's. McGee's firing came despite the fact he was number one in adults 18-34 demo for his morning show.

And of course, what about former WMAQ-TV reporter Amy Jacobson appearing at the Stebic house last July wearing a bikini, caught on tape by rival WBBM-TV, which was there in the neighbor's yard only to embarrass her. WMAQ didn't do itself no favors, by firing Jacobson.

XM/Sirius aside, all of this demonstrates that Chicago is sick of big media, their antics, and the way they treat our communities. We are tired, mad as hell, and we are not going to take it anymore!

The sad part about all this is the FCC (at least the commissioners not named Adlestein or Copps), looked like they were hardly interested. They acted like we were a bunch of whiny individuals who need to get a life.

Bullshit. Chicago's residents - from all walks of life - all colors, all religions - want better from the companies who serve us through the public airwaves - the airwaves WE OWN. The FCC mission is to make decisions regarding telecommunications that serve the public interest, not major corporations.

While the FCC is hell bent on answering for right-wing groups like the Parents Television Council on indecency, it won't do a damn thing for anyone else, particularly minorities, who clearly lack representation in media and is a more pressing issue. You guys are not doing your job.

Let me cut to the point: either do your job to serve the public interest, or we'll elect politicians in 2008 who will no doubt replace you.

To listen to some of the testimony from the hearing (and KRS-One calling out WGCI), click here (thanks to

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

FCC to challenge profanity decision in U.S. Supreme Court

Our country's freedom of speech and the First Amendment hinges on this.

Dumber and Dumber

Which one of these assholes deserve the Worst Person Of The Week award for making racist comments this week? Bill O'Reilly or former Top Model winner and Joilet's own Adrianne Curry? (It looks like a tie. And personally, I'm glad Ms. Curry left here. How about you getting over getting screwed by Tyra?)

Go Bionic

Tonight's picks to click (you at home select yours):

Check out the most buzzed about show of the season - Bionic Woman. It's a remake of the 1970's TV show that aired on ABC and NBC. (I would put this as the pick to skip, because remakes of shows usually suck. But I give this show the benefit of the doubt. But it better deliver in the ratings.) Also check out Dirty Sexy Money on ABC at 9 p.m. (CT).

Picks to skip: Private Practice, the Grey's Anatomy spinoff with Kate Walsh, and Life, whose life will likely be short. Mikey's a detective? He hates everything. He likes it! He likes it! You can put those two on the board, no!

Fox pulls "Nashville"

If you had Nashville in the dead TV show pool, you win. Was it even on the air? Fox barely promoted this show. Repeats of K-Ville takes the Friday night 7 p.m. slot for now.

Bill Wirtz dies

The Chicago Blackhawks owner dies at 77. Rather than type something here, I'll just guide you to this link. It sums up my thoughts, exactly. And here's a Think Tank (the first one I wrote) you can read from last year on the Hawks and the NHL.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

"Family Guy", "Men" show growth in Week 2 (corrected)

In what may be encouraging signs for Warner Bros. Two and a Half Men and Twentieth Television's Family Guy, ratings for both off-network programs in syndication are up from the previous week in metered markets, ever so slightly. Both look like they're keepers.

Law & Order: Criminal Intent scored a 1.0/3 as a strip in off-network syndication in its first week, down 9 percent from its lead-in, but flat from year-ago time periods.

As for new first-run shows, TMZ and Steve Wilkos slipped in the ratings a bit, while Merv Griffin's Crosswords, Temptation, and Judge David Young are stagnant.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit led new weekly shows in syndication with a 1.4/3. However, the others - The Dead Zone, Cold Case, and ReGenesis - turned in less than impressive results.

Program RTG/SHR

w/o 9/17 w/o 9/10

TMZ 1.4/3 1.5/3
Morning Show 1.1/4 1.1/4
Steve Wilkos 1.0/3 1.1/3
David Young 0.8/3 0.8/3
Crosswords 0.8/2 0.8/2
Jury Duty 0.6/2 -------
Temptation 0.5/2 0.5/2


Two-Half Men 2.3/4 2.0/4
Family Guy 2.0/4 1.9/4
Criminal Intent 1.0/3 --------
George Lopez 1.0/3 1.0/3
Reno 911 N/A 0.6/2


Law-Order:SVU N/A 1.4/3
Cold Case N/A 0.7/2
Dead Zone N/A 0.6/3
ReGenesis N/A 0.6/1

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Mediaweek, Broadcasting & Cable

( This is an corrected version of this post at 9:54 p.m. The earlier post had "Family Guy's" numbers in the wrong place and Judge David Young's name misspelled. I apologize for the errors. If you spot an error, let me know in the comments section. Thanks- T.H.)

Reap the rewards

Tonight's pick to click (you at home select yours):

-Reaper. This is a show that is check-out worthy. It's a dramedy (yes, it's a term we haven't used since the Molly Dodd days) about a big-box employee who works for the Devil. Literally. You can read more in Maureen Ryan's review of the show here. Should be a hoot.

Meanwhile, the pick to skip is Cane. It's a new drama about the sugar industry. Yep, the sugar industry. In other words, it's Dallas with sugar instead of oil. While the program has a mostly Latino cast, Resurrection Blvd. it's not.

Cane, you can put it on the board, no!

Last night's results- click here for the household ratings and adult 18-49 numbers (when they are available)

- Chuck (which whored out to KISS-FM for a day) and The Big Bang Theory got off to a good start in adults 18-49, with Chuck's ratings increasing in the second half-hour.

- Dancing With the Stars dominates yet again, number one show for the evening.

- Journeyman's journey may be short.

- The Bachelor really needs to go away like a bad toothache. It lost half of Dancing's lead-in.

- Fox's Prison Break and K-Ville took at hit, with K-Ville dropping 30 percent week-to-week in 18-49's.

- Heroes' season premiere was up from last year's debut (up 10%), but last night's episode was somewhat disjointed. Did Rex Grossman join the writing staff, or something?

Side note: While Dancing With the Stars won easily among women 25-54 (10.3/23), Heroes also scored among men 18-34 with a 7.8/20, while Dancing managed only a 2.5/6 in that demo. Only more proof that us guys hate sissy shows like Dancing With the Stars and The Bachelor. Go Heroes!

updated 10:28 pm

Monday, September 24, 2007

Picks to click: Three new shows debut tonight

Check out Chuck and The Big Bang Theory, both of which got mixed reviews. They are my picks to click for tonight (you at home select yours), as well as Heroes. On the other hand, skip Journeyman, as there have been many time-travel shows on the tube over the years (Quantam Leap, Time Trax), and this one isn't necessarily better. Journeyman - you can put it on the board, no!

Orlando TV news laden with crime

Orlando Weekly's Jeffrey Billman watches the local news for three weeks in Orlando and comes away with that amazing observation. Of course, if you watched local news anywhere in this country for the last 20 years (particularly in Chicago), it wouldn't surprise - or amaze anyone.

Friday, September 21, 2007

So they covered it after all...

It turns out some media outlets did report on the FCC public hearings that took place last night:

From WBBM-TV: Hundreds Line Up Speak To FCC About Media Rules

From Fox News Chicago (WFLD): FCC Hearing Attracts Hundreds in Chicago

WMAQ-TV also mentioned the hearing last night on its' 10 p.m. newscast.

Meanwhile, Presidential candidate and Illinois Senator Barack Obama is calling for the FCC to scale back media consolidation and reduce the length of TV station licenses. He's also calling for more diversity in media ownership. An aide to Obama read a statement from him before the meeting.

TV week is reporting that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin met with the Tribune editorial board before the meeting (perhaps that's why he was late?) to discuss the cross-ownership rule. Sam Zell is buying the Tribune Co. and would like to keep the media properties intact.

New weekend anchor at Channel 2

One could wonder if the announcement yesterday hiring of Mai Martinez as the new weekend anchor of WBBM-TV's weekend newscasts coincided with the FCC hearings on media diversity scheduled on the same day- or the fact that they are broadcasting Saturday's Mexican Independence Parade (don't ask about her qualifications.)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Live blogging the FCC hearings

12:30am It's finally over. Thanks for hanging in with us.

12:05 am
A Korean television station (WOCH) is now being talked about.

12:01 am (now 9/21) Just a thought:
Where was Mancow? Too busy filing another lawsuit?

Did the author of that book just swear? The FCC will fine him personally. That $8 million for you.

The corporate shills and charity cases are gone and the real people are back. This hearing is supposed to be for the people, not the corporate hacks. What they do for charity has nothing to do with what we're talking about here. Totally shameful.

The complaints are back. We're back on track!

10:44 pm
Welcome home, Eric Monte. And what he's telling is the truth.

10:40 pm
I like to hear somebody rip Mariotti at this hearing. Where is Ozzie, anyway?

10:32 pm
Broadcasting & Cable has a story up right now on Patric Verrone's comments. Plus, B&C's John Eggerton on his blog is writing about how media ownership is getting knocked "for a loop".

WGN-AM's John Williams is now speaking (and former "Good Times" writer Eric Monte coming up.)

Now it's Clear Channel's turn.

Third speaker in a row for WFLD. What's going on here?

Finally! a station other than WGN-TV/AM getting praised (It's WFLD-TV. )

9:58 pm
The Rev. Jeanette Wilson gets it... More African-American shows (and not of the clown kind) are needed.

9:55 pm
Enough with the praise of WGN! I smell a rat...

9:40 pm Just a thought:
Where's Nine FM? They are Mr. local, aren't they? They could've been here flaunting their "localism". Another wasted opportunity by Harv and the boys.

9:35pm Don Jackson of Central City Productions is now speaking, and he's talking about his educational game show, Know Your Heritage getting bounced off ABC-owned WLS-TV and had to pay to get on another station, Fox-owned WPWR-TV (and WPWR just bounced his show out the door.)

Don't know the speaker's name, but RIGHT ON BROTHER!!!! And all the FCC cares about is shielding children from bad language, not bullets.

Jesse Jackson did make it after all. He was in Louisiana earlier today for a rally for the Jena 6 - the six black students who unjustly went to jail in small-town Jena, La. And Rev. Jackson points out that it was black radio - not the mainstream media (too obsessed with O.J.) that alerted the nation about this travesty.

Among the radio hosts that were down there included Tom Joyner and Michael Baisden.

9:06pm Patric Verrone of WGA west is now speaking, and as a writer myself, he's damn right about writers being forced to integrate products into their scripts (like when employees from the sitcom The Office have to work at Staples for a day) and he's asking the FCC to require the networks to disclose product placement in shows. I hate it when commercialism creeps into the creative process.

9:03 pm
Radio and Records has a story up on their website on today's hearing here in Chicago. Commissioner Martin was late?

8:54 pm
Nothing to do with the hearings - well, maybe it does - According to All Access, a station in Peoria (WXMP-FM) flipped from Adult Contemporary to a lame syndicated oldies format called "Hippie Radio" today. Three jocks and a few staffers are out of work as a result.

8:43 pm
Great speech by Ciff Kelley. He is dead on. Here is the Sun-Times article (the home of "Can you handle more Mariotti?") he was referring to.

The second panel is about to be seated. One of the panelists scheduled to participate is WVON host Clifford Kelley.

8:06 pm
What is with all these WGN employees taking the mic? Isn't the comments forum supposed to be open to the public? You know, the part of the public who doesn't work for a media outlet?

7:55 pm
WGN-AM's Orion Samuelson has spoke, and he's talked about agriculture and the media. Another WGN-AM personality, Kathy O'Malley is now speaking.

Just a thought: By the way, where's Mayor Daley? Where's his representative? Is he somewhere playing the race card? (har, har.)

The public is now commenting to the FCC, and boy, they are pissed. From police brutality to the Iraq War, they are giving them the FCC an earful. That is, if they can stay awake long enough to listen.

Siliva Rivera of WRTE-FM talks about negatively about a mega company targeting the Hispanic community that owns the TV station, the radio station, and the record company. I wonder what company **cough** Univision **cough**, excuse me, what company she's talking about?

The owner of one of Chicago's black newspapers - Dorothy Leavell of The Chicago Crusader - What a speech! She rocks!

Marv Dyson is speaking. And the crowd gasped when he mentioned that is people with the "me too" attitude is to blame for radio's problems, not consolidation.

WREX-TV/Rockford General Manager John Chadwick just spoke. Rockford has a symphony orchestra?

Among the panelists being introduced are (old school) hip-hop artist KRS-One, former WGCI boss Marv Dyson and WVON-AM president Melody Spann Cooper. The panelists will be speaking for five minutes at a time (and KRS-One just called out WGCI! Holy crap!)

5:37 pm:
Commissioner Deborah Tate spoke about young people are changing the way media is consumed through the Internet and blogs.

5:32 pm:
Jonathan Adelstein, another Democratic commissioner, is speaking. And he is talking about racial stereotypes in the media precipitated by big media corporations, among other things.

5:23 pm:
One of the Democratic commissioners of the FCC, Michael Copps, is now speaking, and he's stressing the need for more diversity.

4:38 pm:
The FCC hearings being held today will air on public-access channel CAN TV on October 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check your local listings to find the channel number for CAN TV in your area.

Kid Nation fianlly airs

And as of this writing, it's still on the air (it actually did well in the ratings). But it was light on the ads. And to no one's surprise, most critics hated the series.

Meanwhile, Back to You and Kitchen Nightmares rocked in their debuts, but Gossip Girl tanked losing from its lead-in and underperforming from year-ago time period levels.

Considering all the promotion Gossip Girl was given by the CW, this performance has to be disappointing (and this was my "pick to click".)

Local nut at it again

The Daily Onion's Jay Mariotti this time is slamming WSCR's Dan Bernstein.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Congress introduces indecency bill

Several Congressmen introduced introduced legislation called the Protection Children from Indecent Programming Act, which "requires the FCC to maintain a policy that a single word or image may be considered indecent in enforcing regulations concerning the broadcast of indecent programming over the public airwaves."

So, where is the anti-gun legislation to protect our children?

No wonder Congress and politicians in general are so despised.

FCC hearings set for Chicago Thursday

Tomorrow's Federal Communications Commission hearing on media ownership at Operation Push is going to be a spectacle, no doubt it. It's an endless debate that will no doubt be exhaustive.

As you know, the FCC has been traveling the country gauging public opinion on media ownership. Chicago will no doubt be the agency's toughest test, since it is home to a lot of activist organizations, from Operation PUSH (the venue where the hearings will be held tomorrow night) to various others like Chicago Media Action.

The FCC can expect an earful from numerous individuals, including media executives, community groups, and public interest groups.

The discussions will focus on consolidation in the media industry, which has happened since the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed, deregulating the industry and its impact has been felt from local news to diversity to the type of programming that airs on television and radio today, much of it salacious.

The big issue that will be definitely brought up is Sam Zell's acquisition of the Tribune Co., and whether or not its WGN-AM-TV-Chicago Tribune combo should be broken up.

To see what's on the agenda Thursday evening, click here.

-Can't make it Thursday evening? The hearing will also be streamed on the FCC's website; click here to access the audio/video page (you must have RealPlayer to listen to the stream. Don't have RealPlayer? You can download it for free here.)

More Mariotti = More crap

The Chicago Daily Onion (a.k.a the Sun-Times) is giving so-called sportswriter Jay Mariotti a blog, of sorts, with "Mariotti 24/7", asking us if we can handle more Mariotti.

Of course the answer is no, but the Daily Onion (yours truly has been banned from commenting on their blogs), tries to force junk on their readers that will drive them away. Great business move. The self-destruction of the Sun-Times continues.

Peachtree TV's new schedule

As noted before, WPCH, or Peachtree TV will premiere on Oct. 1. in Atlanta, replacing WTBS. To see the new schedule, click here (note that the schedule may change.)

WPCH will take over WTBS' dial position over-the-air channel 17 and cable channel 7, while the national feed of TBS will become available for the first time in the Atlanta area on channel 39 on most cable systems, channel 247 on DirectTV, and channel 139 on Dish Network.

Peachtree will also air 45 Atlanta Braves games, beginning in April 2008.

Notable moves:

What's in: Temptation, Family Guy, Fraiser, 24, Mad About You, Nanny, Montel (in 2008), infomericals in late-night hours

What's back (from the old TBS days): America's Funniest Home Videos, The Jeffersons, Sanford and Son, All in the Family

What's out: Everybody Loves Raymond, Dawson's Creek, Yes Dear, Saved by the Bell

The lowdown: You have Family Guy double-run in access (7-8p), King of Queens on in early fringe (5-6), and Fraiser scattered around several late night time slots on various days (what's up with that?) Popular repeats of Friends and Seinfeld are being run from 6-7 p.m. The station will air movies in prime-time and a lot of them on weekends.

The big surprise: WPCH didn't secure local rights to Everybody Loves Raymond; the show is now broadcast TV exclusive to WATL, at least for now.

What's yours truly would like to see: While this isn't a bad schedule, I think WPCH should add TV classics The Andy Griffith Show, I Love Lucy and/or The Lucy Show, and Perry Mason. These shows were a part of old-school WTBS and all still get solid ratings in syndication.

There's no word on the fate of the station's Saturday morning children's E/I and public affairs programming.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Small webcasters sign deal with SoundExchange

Twenty-four small webcasters have signed deals with SoundExchange to continue to stream. The agreements to pay royalty fees are in effect until the end of 2010. The rates they will pay basically are the same ones they have been previously been paying, and lower than the rates Copyright Royalty Board set last spring. Ah, the art of negotiation. It works!

Schedule set for Chicago FCC hearings

The hearing is taking place at Operation PUSH in the Kenwood nieghborhood at 930 East 5oth Street, near Washington Park on Thursday. Rev. Jesse Jackson is expected to appear, though he is also expected to appear at a rally in Louisiana earlier in the day.

To download a schedule for the evening's events, you can click here (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.)

First week results in syndication

The first week results for the new programs (and freshman off-network shows) in syndication are in the book:

Program RTG/SHR
9/06 TP Lead-in

First- Run:

TMZ 1.5/3 2.0/4 1.8/6
Morning Show- Mk-Jul 1.1/4 1.5/6 1.9/7
Steve Wilkos 1.1/4 1.2/3 1.0/3
David Young 0.9/3 0.9/3 0.9/3
Crosswords 0.8/2 1.3/4 1.0/3
Temptation 0.5/2 1.1/3 0.6/2


Two and a Half Men 2.0/4 2.3/4 2.0/4
Family Guy 1.8/4 2.0/4 1.9/4
George Lopez
0.9/3 0.9/3 0.9/3

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Mediaweek


- Despite bad reviews, TMZ is tops among syndicated rookies and may get an even bigger boost - thanks to the website becoming the first to snare an audio tape featuring O.J. Simpson during a robbery attempt.

- Steve Wilkos is up 10 percent from his lead-in and is flat from year-ago time period rating and shares, which is a good start.

- The national rollout of Morning Show with Mike and Juliet is tied with Steve Wilkos for second place, but since the program is on opposite Regis & Kelly in most markets, it's getting whacked (in Chicago, it has to face Regis & Kelly AND Oprah. Yikes!)

- The two new game shows are still struggling to find an audience.

- Judge David Young is flat all around. Could be better, could be worse.

- Two and a Half Men and Family Guy are both holding their lead-ins, which is a small victory for both shows. Let's see what the national ratings bring.

- With some weak time slots (it's on in overnight hours in New York), George Lopez isn't exactly burning up the charts. But it's holding it's lead-in and year-ago time period rating.

Monday, September 17, 2007

WLS-AM drops in the trends

We usually don't report on the trends (the Summer book doesn't come out until October), but this is worth noting - Citadel's talk outlet WLS-AM dropped to fourteenth place with a 2.8 - the lowest rating in more than a decade.

Let's not read too much into this - keep in mind that WLS is still stronger now than it was in the late 1980's, when it was still playing music and was regularly stinking up the joint (it's average share in 1988 was around a 1.3.)

KBIG dumps AC for Adult Hits

In a surprise move, Clear Channel's KBIG-FM in Los Angeles has dumped its longtime Hot Adult Contemporary format for an Adult Hits one, putting them in direct competition with CBS' KCBS-FM (Jack 93.1) and Emmis' KMVN-FM (Movin' 93.9)

Core artists include Beyonce, Christana Aguliera, and John Mayer.

Longtime radio personality Charlie Tuna (who is also a notable voice-over talent) was let go from the station today. He did the morning shift on KBIG.

The station is being re-branded as 104.3 MyFM (not affiliated with My Network TV or, which are both owned by News Corp.)

Emmy winners (updated)

30 Rock for Best Comedy (why?), The Sopranos for Best Drama (yawn), and The Daily Show for Best Variety, Music, or Comedy Series (yay!)

The Office also won an Emmy for Best Writing in a Comedy Series, while The Sopranos took home an Emmy for Best Writing in a Drama Series.

HBO led with 21 Emmys, while NBC had 19. The CW did not win any Emmys at all (were they even nominated?)

To view a complete list of Emmy winners, click here.

As for the show itself, well... let's just say the person that made the most controversial comments on the show wasn't Kanye West (who appeared in a bit that was quite funny), but Sally Field, who called for an end to the war in Iraq. She was bleeped on the show, as was Ray Romano (now, that's a surprise...)

Ryan Seacrest wasn't bad, and for those of you who want to criticize him, remember Bryant Gumbel a couple of years ago?

At least the Emmy didn't have a distraction like the Academy Awards suffered earlier this year when some "major" celebrity died.

So how it do in the ratings? Second lowest rated Emmys ever, only beating the 1990 show, which was also aired on Fox (which at the time, was referred to as the "coat hanger network" - as in mostly UHF channels.)

updated 9:32pm

Welcome to the second season

They said it wouldn't last...

They were WRONG.

We're back. And ready for more.

I'm Terence, your master of ceremonies, and welcome to the second season of The T Dog Media Blog. We're back, and ready to Rock the Casbah for season two.

This blog is targeted for media professionals, and we do a lot of serious stories in the business, and how they affect the industry, both locally and around the country.

But we also serve up some fun, too as many of our stories are offbeat reviews of the day's media stories, in television, radio, print, and the Internet. So, it's a 50/50 deal.

And yes, we do become quite opinionated on some of the posts, particularly when it comes to injustices, such as the unfair royalty fees that were being imposed of on webcasters and communist groups like the Parents Television Council, who are trying to impose their communist tastes on the viewing public. (See?)

And the Think Tanks are back too, but with a shorter name: From now on, they will be just known as T Dog's Think Tank. It is a serious thought piece written by yours truly, on major media issues.

There were no shortage of stories to cover last season. From Don Imus to Amy Jacobson, from Howard McGee's firing to Michael Richards, it was a wild ride. And this blog covered it all, thanks to hard working "staff" (which consists of me and... me.)

Yep, we developed quite an enemies list over the past year. We ripped the radio industry, the Sun-Times, Jay Mariotti, clueless network executives, the FCC, the RIAA, and numerous politicians. Yours truly has already been banned from posting on a few sites, including the Springfield Journal-Review and the Sun-Times. You think we're going to let up in our second season? Heck, naw!

But we made a lot of friends as well, and to them, I thank you.

And I also want to thank everyone who has stopped by in the past year to visit the blog. Your support is greatly appreciated. We will continue to improve the site to serve your interests.

Plus, feel free to comment on any story on this site, as long if its profanity-free and spam-free (if it's not, those comments will be deleted.)

And we are on Google! Type in "The T Dog Media Blog" in Google or Yahoo, and we will turn up.

So, without further to do, let's go to season two!


Terence Henderson

Chairman of The T Dog Blog, Inc.

P.S. To inquire about job opportunities at the T Dog Media Blog, don't. We're owned by the Fiction Corp., and they don't do a lot of hiring...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The season in review, Part II

Continuing our look back at the season that was....

Sam Zell wins Tribune auction (Apr. 2, 2007)

- The biggest media story in Chicago so far this year.

WLS-TV leader featured by Sun-Times (April 4, 2007)

- This post features The T Dog Media Blog Gold Club, a list of dominant local TV stations in their market, which includes WLS-TV in Chicago.

Let's Get into it. (Apr. 8, 2007)

- Let's not.

Is anyone really surprised? (Apr. 12, 2007)

- I wasn't, but a lot of people was.

Shut up already, Damn! (Apr. 12, 2007)

- The Imus controversy brings out the worse - and the mouth - in everybody.

Read This (Apr. 13, 2007)

- From Mark Roberts, who hits the nail right on the head...

Sniff 'n' S*** (May 3, 2007)

- My views on the state of the sitcom and the Blackhawks. At least there's some hope for one of them...

Grow Up, Chicago (May 19, 2007)

- And yes, we still act like a dysfunctional bunch of buffoons. No offense.

Bachelor's a hit again... Aw hell, naw! (May 22, 2007)

- Should we thank Hillary for this? So much for empowering women...

Howie Mandel heads back to daytime (June 11, 2007)

- A short bit on the history of syndicated game shows.

Mr. McMahon is dead. Dewey Defeated Truman, too (June 12, 2007)

- The dumbest wrestling angle of all time. Made worst when there was a real-life death in the WWE with tragic consequences.

Stupid is as Stupid does (Jun. 16, 2007)

- The top story on June 16, 2007 according to Channel 2's website: A baseball brawl at Wrigley Field. Slow news day?

Must Flee TV (Jun. 27, 2007)

- White Sox lose, viewers flee. Finally, something the CW and My Network TV can beat in the ratings that is not named the Blackhawks.

WTBS to become Peachtree TV (Jul. 1, 2007)

- A detailed history on WTBS and the future of the station, as it changes to WPCH-TV and splits from cable TBS.

NBC cutting originals on Fridays? (Jul. 5, 2007)

- Talking abut Friday night TV, where there hasn't been much to talk about lately.

The craziness ends here (Jul. 6, 2007)

- Howard McGee is axed at WGCI and Tom Joyner may be on his way out at WVAZ.

National Bingo Night to return? WTF? (Jul. 8, 2007)

- Ratings don't mean anything anymore. Do they? (If not, then cancel American Idol.)

What was she thinking? (Jul. 10, 2007)

- Amy Jacobson wasn't thinking. Neither was Channel 2. And Chicago journalism jumps the shark yet again.

Local media blows it again (Jul. 15, 2007)

- Another in our "blows it again" series...

Tom Snyder tributes (Jul. 31, 2007)

- A look back at the career of Tom Snyder.

The Viewer Alienation Plan (Aug. 8, 2007)

- Mostly applies to Channel 2, but you can slap that label to all TV news operations in town. Who watches this crap anymore?

Merv Griffin dies (Aug. 12, 2007)

- A true class act passes.

Twista fires back at Pflager (Aug. 15, 2007)

- And Chicago media hits yet another low point.

Get out of town, Harvey (Aug. 16, 2007)

- And Chicago media hits yet another low point. Did I just say that?

Is the off-network sitcom dead? (Aug. 20, 2007)

- Yes.

Nine FM's not an alternative (Sept. 1, 2007)

- And perhaps that's why the station has no ratings or no advertising.

Another Chicago message board shut (Sept. 6, 2007)

- Even Charlie Brown thought this post was a snooze...

The Cutout Classics:

- A Think Tank on Grey's Anatomy and the WWE called Blew the Limo, Capsized the Ferry, was posted on June 25 and pulled hours later after news on Chris Benoit and his family's death became public. The Think Tank was never reposted.

- A post about Joel Hollander destroying CBS Radio was deleted after I criticized Felicia Middlebrooks and somebody in the comments section roasted yours truly on it (my response was too awkward and decided just to blow the post up)

- A post on the Blackhawks was deleted because it contained too much salty language.

- A comment left on the B96 Summer Bash post was cut after the poster ripped yours truly and I told her where to go. To Philadelphia.

The season in review, Part I

As we prepare to open season two of The T Dog Media Blog, let's take a look back at past posts from the first season, in two parts. Here is part one:

Welcome! (Sept. 18, 2006)

- We broke down and added Radio-Info to the sidebar, because it is a good source of radio and TV news - despite the nutballs that appear on the site. Couldn't find, nor plan to.

- Yes, this blog is still a work in progress, and According to Jim is still around.

Deporable! (Oct. 6, 2006)

- A forerunner to The Think Tanks I would later write, I blasted WLUP management for firing Cara Carrievau because she blasted the radio business. Some people I guess don't like brutal honesty.

Google buys YouTube (Oct. 9, 2006)

- And the free ride ends...

No cable required (Oct. 26, 2006)

- Law & Order: CI is sold into broadcast syndication and I explain why stations typically shun off-network hours as daily strips.

Next thing you know... (Nov. 1, 2006)

- The first time I criticized the Parents Television Council, but referred to them as "Prick Tofu" and a word that will get you punched out by a female. Whoops. Quickly changed it to "Crud".

Ladies and Gentlemen: Your Canadiates for Governor (Nov. 3, 2006)

- And I still say we would have been better off than who we have in there now.

... and don't hit your ass out the door (Nov. 7, 2006)

- And the odd thing about it, Federline would land a gig on One Tree Hill. Man, Hollywood sucks (and yes, I was wrong on #6 and #7. But not on #8.)

The 2006 T Dog Blog Turkey Awards (Nov. 22, 2006)

- Classic.

NHL, Hawks, Broadcasters need to get with program (Nov. 28, 2006)

- The first T Dog Media Blog Think Tank.

Second Chances (Dec. 20, 2006)

- Read this and you can see why I did not include this in the groupings of other Think Tank posts on the sidebar. Not my best piece of work...

The Toilet Bowl 10, The Excellent 10 (Dec. 2006)

- The picks for best and worst of 2006 (as yes, Grey's Anatomy received an honorable mention from me. That is, until...)

Radio industry blows it again
(Jan. 28, 2007)

- The "blows it again" phrase is commonly used around here...

Time's up, quack. Now get the hell off the stage. (Feb. 4, 2007)

- Dr. Keith Albow's show gets canned. Dr. Phil he wasn't.

Picture of the day (Feb. 12, 2007)

- The First Annual John Deere Tractor parade over the Eisenhower.

Idiot Fest 2007 (Feb. 13, 2007)

- It's about Donald Trump and wrestling, what else? (and yes, I swore here...)

Celebrity Comedian Smackdown (Feb. 15, 2007)

- Mr. UFC, Joe Rogan vs. Carlos Mencia (and yes, the link still works!)

It's official: Grey's Anatomy jumps the shark (Feb. 24, 2007)

- And the critics loved it! Credibility hit No. 1...

WFLD to launch 10 p.m. newscast (March 7, 2007)

- I explained why WFLD and other stations are expanding their newscasts (and yes, WGN did begin airing Family Guy at 10.)

No, we did not all turn gay (Mar. 14, 2007)

-The first (and only) T Dog Blog After Dark post explains further why guy's media choices are different than the gals...

You're on the clock (Mar. 30, 2007)

-Most inane idea we've ever tried at the blog. Talk about almost jumping the shark...

More coming up in Part Two!

And remember, death is not an option...

Borrowing a line from Steve Rosenbloom's blog... Tonight's Emmys or Chargers-Patriots? Both right now make you seem thankful for 500 channels...

How to make it on a 1.0

How do you make money on a syndicated show that averages a 1.0 rating? Find new revenue streams, an interactive element (like home shopping), and a tried-and true format (like game shows and courtroom shows.)

The 1.0 rating cutoff for syndicated fare is quite low - in 2002, Pyramid was dropped with a 1.9. The bar was even higher way back in 1986, when the nighttime version of The Price is Right (with Tom Kennedy) went off the air with a 6.0 rating.

This comes as open time slots are harder to come by, thanks to the hold established shows have in the marketplace, not to mention the continuing expansion of local news in many markets (despite reports that some stations are giving up on 5 p.m. newscasts - they are just switching them to 7 p.m. - an ouch for syndicators.)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Critics have their say on the new fall shows

The nation's TV critics were polled, and they nominated Pushing Daises as their click to pick, while they pegged Cavemen as their pick to make them sick.

Friday, September 14, 2007

FCC waives rules for Decatur duopoly

The FCC has waived a duopoly rule in the Springfield-Decatur-Champaign market, allowing Gocom Media, owner of Fox affiliate WRSP-TV in Springfield, to buy CW affiliate WBUI-TV from Acme Communications in nearby Decatur.

One of the reasons for the waiver is because WBUI is a failing station in danger of going dark and a money loser, and the FCC generally makes those exemptions in this case. The FCC prevents duopolies in markets where allowing a owner to own two stations would not leave the market with eight independently owned stations in a market.

TMZ on TV gets bad reviews

No surprise there, from the Chicago Tribune (is Steve Johnson an Internet critic or a TV critic this week?) and the Boston Globe. The TV version of TMZ is pretty much like a sitcom. And like most of today's sitcoms, the show isn't funny or entertaining.

"Family Guy" comes to town this weekend

Family Guy
and American Dad creator Seth McFarlane, who is doing Family Guy Live at the Chicago Theater tomorrow night, is interviewed by both the Tribune and Sun-Times and talks about Family Guy (of course), the FCC, and South Park's recent zing (in "Cartoon Wars") at his show, and comparisons to The Simpsons.

Family Guy Live! is playing at the Chicago Theater for one night only with two shows - one at 7 and the other at 10. The cast features Alex Borstein (who grew up in Chicago), Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry, and of course, Seth McFarlane.

-The season premiere of Family Guy is at 8 p.m. (CT) Sept. 23 on Fox (Tivo and VCR alert: The Bears are playing at the same time.)

-Family Guy also started its off-network run this week in syndication. The show runs Monday-Saturday at 6:30 and Sunday-Friday at 10 on WGN-TV.

-Family Guy: Volume 5 comes out this Tuesday on DVD.

-And yes, you can still catch Family Guy on cable on Adult Swim and TBS. Check your local listings for times as they do vary.

-Unfamiliar with Family Guy? The Tribune has a cliff notes' version.

WJBK, WDIV duke it out on Web

In this corner, it's Fox-owned WJBK-TV - in the other corner, it's Post-Newsweek's NBC affiliate WDIV - and they are boxing to see who will come out on top in the ultimate battle to become Detroit's ultimate website champion... (don't count out the spoiler, either - ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV.)

Both stations are upping the ante, including streaming their newscasts (WDIV streams its noon and 4 p.m. newscasts on the Web already, while WJBK plans to stream all of its newscasts online beginning with the debut of its 11 p.m. newscast on Sept. 24)

WJBK usually leads in the mornings, with WXYZ leading at 5 p.m. and WDIV leading at 11 p.m. The 6 p.m. race is a tight one with WDIV and WXYZ often in a very close race. CBS-owned WWJ-TV (say it with me, everybody) does not do news. 

With her, You - Can - Go - All - The - Way!

Sun-Times relationship expert Laura Berman is joining B96's Eddie & JoBo & Erica morning show (scroll down) every Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. to dispense advice (just be thankful it's Laura Berman doing this and not Chris Berman.)

Also on the contemporary-radio beat, a new night guy has landed at KISS (WKSC-FM) - Billy Hammond has landed the late night 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. shift at the Clear Channel station. Hammond's career included stints at sister station WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York and Sirius Satellite Radio.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New season in syndication: Day 3

For the three day-averages of the new first-run and off-network series in syndication, click here.

TMZ continues to lead the rookies in day three, but continues to be down from lead-in and year-ago time period.

Another new off-network show to tell you about, Reno 911!, averaged a 0.6/2, down 25 percent from year-ago time slots and lead-in (time periods are mostly in late fringe.)

And Media Life profiles Steve Wilkos in an article today (Oddville: it seems Wilkos tapes on the same set Jerry Springer does. Both shows are on against each other at 2 p.m. in Chicago.)

The incredibly shrinking Chicago Reader

The Chicago Reader, sold recently to Tampa-based Creative Loafing, is cutting the size of its free alternative weekly - and cutting back staff as well - they are asking its drivers to become independent contractors. This comes as the newspaper industry continues to struggle with declining revenues thanks to the move of classified ads to the internet portals like Craigslist, not to mention increased competition from Chicago Tribune's free RedEye and Time Out Chicago.

The printing of the paper is also changing presses from Chicago's Newsweb Corp. to the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel.

Poll: Americans hate TV more than ever

Man, if you thought radio was a dying medium... according to an AP poll, television is even more so.

Not only that, just 7 percent of respondents could name at least one new fall show.

I can hear the Prick Tofu Crud popping Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice corks now....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

VMAs draws 7.1 million

Up 23 percent from last year. At least we know now that Britney Spears' performance had a lot in common with the Bears' and Browns' performances on the same day - you know, that aroma you smell when somebody passes gas.

New season in syndication: Day 2

For results on the new first-run and off-network strips, click here.

To sum it all up, it may be curtains for Merv Griffin's Crosswords and Temptation sooner than we think, while I have one word about the ratings for the three new off-network sitcoms that debuted this week: disappointing.

Chances of XM, Sirius merger looks better

Make that much better. And it always helps to have Wall Street in your corner. Analysts are predicting that the XM/Sirius merger may go through as soon as next month, and it looks like the chances of the deal going though looks better than ever - inconceivable when it was announced last February.

The FCC however, said that it will review the merger as soon as the 180-day comment period by year's end. In order for the merger to go through the FCC and the Justice Department must approve the deal.

T Dog Media Blog Think Tank: Could XM/Sirius merger mean more consolidation?

Mancow sues Emmis and Q101

Erich "Mancow" Mueller has filed a lawsuit against Emmis Communications, his former employer who dismissed him last year as morning jock at the company's alternative rock station, WKQX-FM, or Q101.

The suit he filed was for $6 million dollars.

In the lawsuit, Mueller alleges that Emmis kept him from employing him on another radio station in the market (he nearly had a deal with Urban WPWX-FM); claimed that Q101 personalities made fun on the air and management made disparaging remarks about him; and sabotaged his efforts to lease studio space - he claims four handshake agreements fell though.

Check this out: A banner ad for his morning show on this industry web site claims that Mancow's program is still on in Chicago, even though it hasn't been on in this market for the past year (those numbers are dated from the Summer 2006 book.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tepid returns for new first-run and off-network strips (updated)

To no one's surprise, the five first-run strips that debuted yesterday got off to a mixed start, with only one (Steve Wilkos) up from its lead-in and all down from year-ago time period averages.

Here's a metered-market ratings rundown of the five new syndicated first-run strips from Monday:

Program Rtg/Shr Lead-in 9/06 TP Best performer

TMZ 2.0/4 1.9/4 1.9/4 St. Louis (KTVI): 5.2/10 at 10:30p
Steve Wilkos 1.1/4 0.9/3 1.1/4 Charlotte (WCCB): 3.3/11 at 2p
Crosswords 1.0/3 1.2/3 1.3/4 Tulsa (KJRH): 3.6/7 at 4p
David Young 0.9/3 1.0/3 1.0/3 Memphis (WLMT): 4.5/11 at 12:30a
Temptation 0.7/2 0.8/3 1.1/3 Dayton (WHIO): 2.9/11 at 1:30a

Source: Nielsen Media Research, TV Week

Meanwhile, the battle of the two off-network series between Two and a Half Men and Family Guy went down like this: Two averaged a 2.0/4, flat from lead-in, but down 13 percent from year-ago time period averages. Family Guy averaged a 1.9/4, flat from year-ago time period, but down 5 percent from year-ago time slot. Family Guy's ratings for its debut in syndication was higher than those of South Park in 2005, but well below those of fellow animated series The Simpsons in 1994 and King of the Hill in 2001.

Results for another new off-network sitcom that debuted yesterday, The George Lopez Show, were not available. Half & Half does not begin until next Monday.

To read a syndication cuts list for Family Guy, click here.

To read a review of one of those new first-run strips, TMZ, click here.