Friday, November 30, 2007

Coasting to the finish line. Not!

Observing the last two weeks of America's Next Top Model and last night's Survivor, all I can say is this: I hope Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were watching. See what getting all smug gets you? Isn't that right, Heather, Lisa, and James? Hopefully, Brady and the rest of the Patriots will join you guys on the couch located on Overrated Lane and Loser Court. Get your popcorn ready, because your show is over.

Tribune Watch: Company get waivers from FCC to keep its properties

Which paves the way for the sale of the Tribune Company to Sam Zell. Those waivers will allow it to keep the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV and WGN-AM - permanently. As expected, both Democratic FCC commissioners voted against the waivers (never mind that most Chicago Democrats supported the deal - including Senator Dick Durbin.)

If you want to tell the Trib how you feel - or sing to them how you feel, head to the Chicago Media Action Holiday Sing-A-Long at the Tribune Tower on Dec. 7 from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

And while they're at it, those carolers should also stop at City Hall, the Cook County Building, and the State of Illinois Building on the way so they can sing to the Mayor, County President, and the Governor as well.

Chicago voted best radio market

The Infinite Dial Radio Blog rated Chicago the best radio market in the country. Not exactly my opinion (that's for sure), but at least somebody's giving us props.

As we say in Chi-Town, vote early and often...

WNBC goes off the wagon

NBC owned WNBC-TV in New York has decided to accept hard-liquor ads after 11 p.m. (except during Saturday Night Live.)

A New York station can do it because they don't have the holy rollers (i.e. Rev. Pflager) that Chicago has (of course, Comcast SportsNet and the former FSN Chicago has been accepting hard-liquor ads for years. Who is the sponsor for Blackhawks Post-Game Live again?)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

AMPTP offers WGA a digital proposal

The AMPTP has offered the WGA a "Digital Plan" regarding payments of residuals from new media (i.e. the Internet, DVDs, etc.). The WGA says it will take four days to think about it, and come back to the bargaining table Tuesday.

UPDATE: The Writer's Guild has indicated that it has rejected the offer. which basically means, were back at square one.
updated at 2:37 p.m on 2007-11-30

Eddie Webb gets the afternoon shift at the Loop

Eddie Webb is back at WLUP and back in the afternoon time slot at the classic rocker, where he brought ratings success among men 25-54 to the Loop from 1998 to 2000. He later left for a gig at XM Satellite Radio, but returned to radio with gigs in Las Vegas and Boston.

Webb begins in January, filling the slot vacated by Zakk Tyler, who was dumped from the station a few months ago.

WWOR gets hammered at license-renewal hearing

New Jersey residents complained about Fox's New York station, WWOR-TV - a station whose facilities and operations are based in Secaucus.

Many local groups are challenging the license renewal of WWOR, claiming the station doesn't serve the New Jersey communities it was intended to.

Around one hundred residents filled a lecture hall at Rutgers University Wednesday night at the station's license renewal hearing, and station officials faced criticism from residents, activist groups, and New Jersey's U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg. Also present at the meeting were the two Democratic FCC Commissioners, Michael Coops and Jonathan Adelstein.

Among the complaints: The station focuses more on New York stories than New Jersey ones, and those stories that are focused on New Jersey are usually on crime, and there's not enough information on the state's communities.

WWOR officials defended their operations, which at one point, showed a video of the station's New Jersey coverage.

Originally headquartered in Times Square, WWOR physically relocated to New Jersey in the mid-1980's. Fox bought the station from Chris-Craft industries in 2001. The station was a UPN affiliate until 2006, where the net folded and became a My Network TV affiliate.

Original owner RKO nearly lost the station's license in the early 1980's when parent company General Tire was embroiled in a corporate mistrust scandal (RKO however, did lose its license to operate WNAC-TV in Boston [now WHDH]. ) Thanks to New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley, RKO was able to hold on to the license by relocating it from New York City to Secaucus. RKO sold WWOR to MCA/Universal in 1986.

The station later increased public affairs and local programming targeted toward the state (though programs produced at WWOR such as The Howard Stern Show, The Morton Downey Jr. Show and the trashy Richard Bey Show weren't exactly what you would call "public affairs".)

WWOR was also once a Superstation on the same wavelength as WGN and WTBS, but was shut down in 1997.

The station recently struck a deal to carry two Knicks and Rangers games each this season, and to carry a handful of New Jersey Nets games this spring.

Sight Seen: A cameraman recording the proceddings at Rutgers had masking tape over the NY portion of the "My 9 NY" logo on the camera (this has been since retracted by the New York Times, as WWOR's cameras have just "My 9" on them...) And shortly after the meeting, a picture of the New York skyline on WWOR's website was changed to the George Washington Bridge, one of the the main arteries that connects New York with New Jersey.

updated at 5:30 p.m. on 2007-12-07 (New York Times retraction)

WCIU grabs "Scrubs"

Good news for local fans of the TV series Scrubs: WCIU-TV has acquired the second cycle of the hit NBC comedy from Disney/ABC Domestic Television beginning in the fall of 2009. The move means the program will stay in broadcast syndication and not head for an exclusive deal on cable, which many off-network sitcoms have recently done (i.e. Home Improvement, Just Shoot Me, Full House, etc.)

Scrubs currently airs on Comedy Central and WGN (outside of the Chicago market) while locally, the program airs on Fox-owned WPWR-TV.

WCIU recently acquired Everybody Hates Chris for fall 2009 and acquired the second cycle of Carsey-Werner's That '70's Show for next fall, in addition to Debmar's Tyler Perry's House of Payne.

WPWR meanwhile, has acquired NBC Universal's The Office for 2009.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Internet radio at death's door again?

This comes after Yahoo! and AOL are considering shutting down their Internet radio operations after a 38 percent increase in royalties to air their music. Both are reportedly losing money, as well as other operations, and with still no firm agreement on a model that will work for Sound Exchange and web carriers, Internet radio once again may be on the road to extinction.

Hold on just a minute: Didn't the large webcasters and the major labels come to an agreement last August? What is going on here? It looks like the major webcasters made a very bad deal - one that could put them out of business. And thus, have no one to blame but themselves for letting the deviants at Sound Exchange take them for a ride.

The local station beat outside of Chicago

Interesting tidbits from the world of broadcast TV:

- New Jersey residents aren't happy with New York area WWOR-TV and accuse the Fox-owned station of backpeddling on its commitment of public service and giving the residents of the state the short shrift. WWOR is the only commercial VHF station in New Jersey. The FCC will hold a hearing tonight in Newark regarding the station's license and to question whether or not the station has been serving New Jersey accurately.

WWOR has been accused of being nothing more than a dumping ground for programs that flopped on sister station WNYW-TV. WWOR has traditionally trailed its New-York based competitors in the ratings and has struggled even more so in recent years, with overall ratings often coming in behind Spanish-language television stations. Not helping was the closure of UPN and the arrival of My Network TV, whose telenovelas last year were ratings bombs.

WWOR has been based in New Jersey since the 1980's, when it was sold by RKO (remember them?) to MCA/Universal.

-Marc Berman's Programming Insider newsletter reported today that Judge Judy beat Oprah in New York Monday, with Judy earning a 6.4/15 on WCBS-TV at 4 p.m. Maybe Oprah shouldn't have endorsed Barack Obama for President (main rival Hillary Clinton is, after all, a New York Senator.)

- No surprise here: Former WBBM-TV GM Bill Applegate, who now holds the same capacity at Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO-TV in Cleveland, is embroiled in a lawsuit regarding the wrongful termination of a former managing editor, who is suing the station and its execs for retaliation against him after he complained about an anti-Semitic mark directed toward him by a station employee. WOIO contends he was fired for poor work performance. The lawsuit has now gone to trial .

- Tribune-owned Fox affiliate WXIN-TV in Indianapolis will simulcast its morning newscast on sister station and CW affiliate WTTV effective January 2, replacing a mix of infomercials, paid religion, and syndicated programming.

- A major upset in Denver: CBS-owned KCNC-TV is on its way to beating NBC affiliate KUSA-TV for the first time in many years. The last time KCNC beat KUSA in the November ratings (excluding the Olympics) was in 1990, when KCNC was a NBC O&O and KUSA an ABC affiliate.

Hallmark, CBS hook up

Hallmark Channel has snapped up the cable rights to several off-network programs owned by CBS Television Distribution. Among them include Cheers, I Love Lucy, and 7th Heaven.

I Love Lucy and Cheers currently air on TV Land. Viacom owns TV Land and once owned the rights to Lucy and Cheers, but those went to CBS after the 2006 split that saw both companies go their separate ways.

Locally, both sitcoms air on classic television-formatted WWME-TV, or Me-TV, and is not affected by the cable sale.

Four more games! Four more games!

Comcast SportsNet and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced four additional home games to be televised in March and April, in addition to the eleven they have already announced (one of them has already aired.) One game includes a visit from the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks (nee "Mighty") on March 5. All games will be shown in high-definition, a huge selling point for hockey.

The home games are sponsored by Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Chevy Deals, which also sponsors the pre-game shows. The post-game shows' sponsorship are handled by Crown Royal (not the cola, but the - well, let's just say it's a drink that's a lot harder than RC.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Score big with Bender

He's not Devin Hester (that's for sure), but his return is a touchdown for long-suffering Futurama fans.

Futurama is back with the equivalent of four all-new episodes in stores today on DVD titled Bender's Big Score. Taking the same tack Family Guy used to thank its fans for helping bring back the show to network television two years ago (in the home video release of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story), Twentieth Television is releasing new episodes of the series on home video and those same episodes will run on Comedy Central next year.

Comedy Central also acquired the rights to 72 existing episodes of the Sci-fi animated comedy that are currently running on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. The program's successful ratings there, as well as healthy DVD sales, has helped keep the show in the geek spotlight.

It's also possible that a off-network syndicated run may be in the cards, since local stations are struggling with the lack of sitcoms coming into the marketplace (hey, one can hope...)

Futurama ran on Fox from 1999 to 2003, and was pushed around the schedule a lot, often landing opposite 60 Minutes on Sunday Nights. The program was created by Matt Groening - the same person who created another animated series yours truly can't think of right now... D'oh!

Network notes

News and notes from the world of network TV:

- NBC has picked up the back nine episodes of Chuck (good move!) and Life, ensuring them with a full season each, assuming the writers' strike ends soon.

- Twiggy is out and Paula Porikzova is in as one of the judges when America's Next Top Model returns to the air late this winter with cycle 10, which also sends the show back to New York. Twiggy really never fit in among the program's judges and had a hard time filling Janice Dickinson's shoes (or heels) as her replacement. Dickinson abruptly left Top Model after cycle 5.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Take that, Stewie!

Yes, it's true - Eric Cartman introduced the Colorado Buffaloes during a college football game airing on ABC this weekend (pretty funny stuff.)

Next thing you know, Bart Simpson will introduce the Chicago Bears on next week's Fox telecast against the New York Giants (I would have said Homer, but he would just mess up the names... D'Oh!)

Arbitron delays PPM rollout

Arbitron has delayed its controversial Portable People Meter until September 2008 for several markets including New York and Chicago. The delays are being instituted because of kinks that have to be worked out in the system, including better measurement of minority audiences.

Food Network cancels 'Emeril Live'

Bam! And the show goes to TV heaven. Or hell, depending on your point of view.

John Drury dies

A melancholy happy trails to John Drury. The former WBBM-TV, WLS-TV and WGN-TV news anchor who retired in 2002, lost his battle with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. He died last night at the age of 80.

Drury got his started in television at Milwaukee's WTMJ, where he was a staff announcer. He began anchoring the news at the station shortly thereafter.

He came to Chicago in 1962, as a reporter for WBBM. He later joined WGN's newscasts in 1967, shifted to WLS in 1970, back to WGN in 1980, and finally returning to WLS for another stint in 1984, where he co-anchored the market's top-rated 10 p.m. newscast until his retirement in 2002.

John Drury's return to WLS in 1984 was part of a turnaround strategy at the station instituted by then-general manager Dennis Swanson - bringing familiar faces to the station's newscasts in order to boost ratings. WLS was mired in last place in news at the time.

The move finally paid off in 1986, when the anchor team of John Drury and Mary Ann Childers knocked WBBM's Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson out of the number one slot at 10 p.m. With a few exceptions, WLS has been at the top ever since.

The final work he performed for WLS was on September 10, 2002, when he hosted a prime-time special on how Chicago changed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

- Here is the obituary for John Drury on WLS' website.

- John Drury's death comes twenty years to the day another Chicago icon passed away - Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago's first African-American mayor - died in office. Mr. Drury was at WLS-TV co-anchoring the station's 10 p.m. newscast at the time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

WMAQ hit with kids' programming fine

Still on holiday, but this news is important since this involves FCC action against a local TV station:

WMAQ-TV, owned by NBC Universal, was hit with a $10,000 fine from the Federal Communications Commission for failing to publicize the "existence and location" of its children's TV programming reports.

Click here for more details.

Also on the FCC beat, former CBS O&O KUTV in Salt Lake City has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle an outstanding complaint against the station for airing a controversial episode in 2004 of Without A Trace. The complaint was filed by the Parents Television Council.

CBS recently sold the station and six others to Four Points Media Group, which was formed by Cerberus Capital Management. The deal is expected to close in the next two weeks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The 2007 T Dog Media Blog Turkey Awards

With the Pumpkin Pie Awards for Excellence

Welcome to the second annual T Dog Media Blog Turkey Awards. Once again, we're here to serve up the disasters in media in 2007.

I have twenty turkeys to hand out... so let's get gobbling!

And this year's awards go to...

- The Chicago Bears. A Super Bowl hangover this year. And especially Rex Grossman. Please, somebody end this torture. I do not want to see this "quarterback" anymore! (UPDATE: The Bears did win on Sunday, beating Denver 37-34 in OT, thanks to Devin Hester's two touchdown returns. He is definitely NOT a turkey. The Bears' playoff hopes are still alive.)

- FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Let's see... wants to regulate cable, ram ownership rules into law, lift the cross-ownership ban, and for all intents and purposes - mailed in his performance at the Chicago FCC hearing in September. The number one turkey of the year as far as I'm concerned.

- The Cubs. For a wonderful three-and-out performance in the playoffs this year (wait...they were in the playoffs?) At lest you outlasted Viva Laughlin, another fall turkey.

- The White Sox. At least the Cubs made the playoffs... What's your excuse? Great job on failing to get Torii Hunter. Are NBC executives running this team?

- The Bulls and the NBA. Wonderful start. Hey, are you guys still planning that Grant Park celebration in June? And how the NBA moving out of Seattle to Oklahoma City? Great move, David Stern. Your TV ratings are already in the toilet. Speaking of which, what about those Knicks? Have fun with your Orlando Magic-San Antonio Spurs NBA finals next June.

- The Miami Dolphins. 0-10. If Miami sports fans (if any) wanted bad football, they would have asked for an XFL team instead.

- ESPN. The only thing worth watching is Pardon the Interruption (when Dan LeBatard isn't on.) A Hot Seat segment today on the once-hip SportsCenter featuring Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith was classic must-flee TV.

- The Parents Television Council. This communist group wants to dictate what's good for everybody. It's called an off switch, you bastards. Use it.

- The CW. In a ratings free fall its second season, with junk like Online Nation, CW Now, and the tired Beauty and the Geek. Dawn Ostroff, it's time for you to go.

- Jay Mariotti. Just Because.

- Amy Jacobson. Appearing at the Stebic house in a bikini? Classy journalistic move. How about a career suicidal one?

- WBBM-TV. A perennial ratings laggard. And how does it reward it's GM? A contract extension. You sure the CW isn't running this station?

- Adam Buckman. A one-time respectable journalist for Electronic Media turned into Jay Mariotti Jr. for the New York Post. At least he's there and not here.

- TV Critics. 24 the second worst show on television? Can you say vendetta?

- Grey's Anatomy's three-part ferry arc. What the heck was that?

- The WWE and Vince McMahon. A "War of the Worlds" storyline which had Vince McMahon step into a limo - and it explodes! Only problem was, a real-life death occured two weeks later when Chris Benoit killed himself and his family. And so Vince magically re-appears, as if nothing happened. And the rest of the world goes back ignoring WWE Wrestling as usual.

- Clear Channel. Let's see. For firing Melissa Foreman at WLIT and replacing her with Whoopi (who recently got canned), and for firing Crazy Howard McGee and replacing him with the unlistenable Steve Harvey at WGCI. Yep, another banner year of Turkeys for Clear Channel and Darren Davis in particular (at least he got rid of Delilah...)

- Heroes. - A hangover from last year's successful season - much like the Bears. This year has been mostly a letdown, with inconsistent storylines and bad special effects. You sure Rex Grossman and Kristen Bell aren't dating? (at least the series is now back on track. Same can't be said for the Bears.)

- Cavemen and Viva Laughlin. Yeah, who saw this one coming? (Sorry, you two will have to split the award as we're trying to keep this list to twenty.)

- And of course, to the greedy corporations and the studios in particular for short-changing the writers who are out on strike. You guys are the biggest turkeys of all. God bless the Writer's Guild.

But hey, why just dwell on turkeys? Yours truly has decided to also hand out some Pumpkin Pie awards. And yours truly loves Pumpkin Pie...

- To Rocky Wirtz. Thank you for bringing the Chicago Blackhawks back from the brink of extinction by improving the team's marketing efforts and foremost, putting home games on TV. The game of hockey (and the NHL) thanks you.

- To South Park. This past season (except for an episode or two) was the best since the early years, with the focus on the stories and not on one individual (namely Butters... the Meg Griffin of the show)

- To The Simpsons and the rest of Fox's Sunday night lineup. Last Sunday's episode aside, the yellow-skinned clan continues to make America laugh. Here's to nineteen more seasons.

- Samantha Who? According to some, this show is reminiscent of Malcolm in the Middle's early years. A surprise ratings smash, and Christina Applegate is relieved that she finally got to shed the Kelly Bundy image (all right, this show isn't really a favorite of yours truly, but let's give credit where credit is due.)

- To Radio-Info. Last year, it was on the Turkey Awards list, this year it deserves a Pumpkin Pie award for an improved site, thanks to the arrival of Tom Taylor (an Inside Radio alum), who revamped it with a better look, an improved front page, more radio news, and better moderation of the message boards.

Happy Thanksgiving!

updated 1:11 am on 2007-11-26

Knicks, Rangers games return to WWOR

New York's WWOR is borrowing a page from its old WOR days - by signing a deal to bring the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers back to the station - though for two games each.

The Rangers games that are scheduled to be televised are at the home against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 25, and Dec. 16 against at home against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Knicks games are the Dec. 30 matchup against the Chicago Bulls (Chicago viewers can watch the game on Comcast SportsNet), and March 30 against the Atlanta Hawks.

The games are being produced for WWOR by MSG Network, which holds the rights to both teams.

WWOR in the past (in its superstation days) carried Rangers and Knicks games (from 1966-89), as well as Mets, Devils, and Islanders games. The stations currently carries a handful of New Jersey Nets and New York Yankees games, produced by the YES Network.

WCIU snags 'Chris'

Weigel Broadcasting's Chicago independent WCIU-TV scored another urban sitcom coup by acquiring CBS Television Distribution's Everybody Hates Chris. The program will air in off-network syndication as a strip beginning in the fall of 2009, assuming the CW renews the show for next season.

WCIU is likely to pair Chris with Debmar's Tyler Perry's House of Payne, another urban sitcom that's currently airing on TBS. Both programs are scheduled to air in either early fringe and/or prime access.

In addition, Fox-owned My Network TV affiliates also purchased Chris to pair with Payne in New York (WWOR), Los Angeles (KCOP), Dallas (KDFI), Washington D.C. (WDCA), and Houston (KTXH.)

CBS' CW affiliates have purchased to show to air in Philadelphia (WPSG), Atlanta (WUPA), Detroit (WKBD), and Miami (WBFS, which is a My Network TV affiliate.)

Kurtis and Jacobson to teach course at Columbia College

Former WBBM-TV anchors Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson are reuniting to teach a graduate level class at Columbia College on a lecture course regarding local journalism. Starting in January, both men will serve as professors.

Click on this link to see Kurtis and Jacobson speaking together at the Chicago History Museum last March, as part of the "Chicago Treasures" series on famous local individuals. Both talk about the stories they covered in the past and television news in Chicago today.

Kurtis and Jacobson were paired together at WBBM in the 1970's and 1980's, where they ruled the local news ratings roost (until 1986.) Also in Feder's column today:

- Goodbye WCKG, Hello WCFS: The new call letters for WCKG-FM is WCFS, Which stands for "Chicago's Fresh". The call letter change should take effect in the next couple of days. WCKG flip to Adult Contemporary from FM Talk on Nov. 5.

- The death of Chicago's first African-American mayor will be examined in a special hosted by Beyond the Beltway's Bruce Dumont. Remembering Harold airs this Sunday (Nov. 25) at 10:30 pm on City Colleges-owned PBS affiliate WYCC-TV (Channel 20), on the twentieth anniversary of his death. Washington died in office in his second term on November 25, 1987.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Twentieth TV renews all of its court shows

Despite their mostly sub-par performance, all three of its daily courtroom strips - Judge Alex, Divorce Court, and Cristina's Court have been renewed for the 2008-09 season. (i.e. the move keeps other syndicators at bay with their upcoming courtroom shows - Sony introduced Judge Karen last week.)

SportsCenter reviewed

Larry Dobrow of Ad Age reviews ESPN's SportsCenter, and he tells what we already know about: It's an hour (or more) of excessive hype, constant product plugs, and some anchor yelling "Say hello to your little friend!", plus "The Ultimate Highlight" presented by some shoe or sports drink company.

Oh, and don't forget "Who's Now", which sent this once-cool show barreling over the shark.

Yes, Larry even went there and said he ain't going backbackbackbackback anytime soon to watch SportsCenter. Boo-yah!

Networks to use original episodes creatively because of strike

They are running out of fresh episodes, and the countdown is now underway to indefinite reruns and new episodes of reality shows non-stop. The writers and producers have agreed to return to the bargaining table next Monday, so keep your fingers crossed.

If you want a laugh, scroll down to the comments section at the end of the linked article. The Drudgies are at it again. Their idiotic rants makes Jay Mariotti's Sun-Times columns look like Pulitzer Prize winners by comparison.

They are clearly aiming for their second straight WPIMTW award...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fox rocks on Sunday

Its' hot Sunday night lineup trumped the American Music Awards on ABC and the New England Patriots-whatever team lost to them on NBC (however, the AMAs scored its highest ratings in three years, no doubt owing its success to female viewers, who are the biggest mainstream music fans.)

Fox's Sunday night lineup in up 23 percent in adults 18-49 from a year ago.

Some thoughts:

- What's this? No more Comic Book Guy? The Simpsons dropped the ball on this episode last night when they abandoned the funny comic book store plot mid-episode for another inane Homer and Marge marriage-in-crisis plot. You sure it wasn't this episode that was affected by the writer's strike and not Family Guy? This episode was a huge disappointment.

- Speaking of Family Guy, this was the first episode without Seth MacFarlane's involvement (at least behind the scenes), and it sure showed (though funny in several spots.) Fox's comedies were huge winners last night, but in name only.

- And please NBC, no more Patriots games. They are dominant, but watching this team dominate opponents week after week is boring (and the audience agrees with yours truly.) Unfortunately, next week NBC is televising the Eagles-Patriots game and which the Patriots will win by 120 points.

- And I don't want to see any more of Rex Grossman, either.

- And nobody wants to see CW's Sunday night lineup. Some advice: Move Life Is Wild to Monday, cancel the abomination that is CW Now and hand the night back to affiliates. The CW was the Buffalo Bills last night, getting blown out. Pathetic.

(What about Everybody Hates Chris and Aliens in America, you ask? What about them. South Park draws more viewers than these two shows. What do you think should happen to them? Bye. But knowing the CW, they'll be renewed for six more years.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Partying like it's 1998

It's been a great year for animated prime-time shows - The Simpsons were a success at the box office and continues to be so on TV in its 19th season; Family Guy continues to roll on thanks to its new found success in syndication; Adult Swim continues to be a strong draw among young males; and even shows like Drawn Together and American Dad are finding new audiences.

But what about South Park, you ask? What about it, indeed: It recently earned its highest ratings since 1998, and is the top original scripted cable series in three key male demographics - not to mention the program scored its highest adults 18-49 rating in seven years, thanks to outstanding episodes like the three-part "Imaginationland" and "Guitar Queer-O" (which drew 4 million viewers).

South Park is scheduled to return with new episodes to Comedy Central in March.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fox to proceed without McFarlane for new "Family Guy" episodes

Get your jet skis ready, because there's gonna be a show.

Fox is apparently proceeding with the production of new Family Guy episodes, without the input of creator Seth MacFarlane, who is on strike with the rest of the Writer's Guild, and has refused to work on the series. The first of those "strike affected" episodes will air, starting this Sunday.

MacFarlane provides many voices on the show, including Peter, Brian, and Stewie.

There is no word if Fox will replace MacFarlane's voice on the show for the time being.

This is not the first time this has happened:

- In 1962, Daws Bulter (best known for voicing Yogi Bear) stepped in for Mel Blanc to do the voice of Barney Rubble on a few episodes of The Flintstones after Blanc was involved in a major auto accident, which left him hospitalized for weeks and unable to work.

- Phil Morris stepped in for Eddie Murphy to voice Thurgood Stubs on The PJs for a few episodes after Murphy reportedly refused to work on the show because of a dispute with Fox over the program's time period scheduling.

- John Kricfalusi was the voice of Ren on Ren & Stimpy, a series he created for Nickelodeon. He was fired from the show in 1993 after repeatedly clashing with the network over the program's content. Billy West, who already voiced Stimpy on he show, also took over the voicing chores for Ren. (Kricfausi however, did return to work on Ren & Stimpy when it returned to TV via Spike a few years ago.)

- West and Scott Innes both did the voice of Shaggy in the first few Scooby-Doo direct-to-home video movies when Casey Kasem (who regularly does the voice) wasn't available.

Worst People In Media This Week - 11/16/07

I know I'm supposed to award this on Friday, but it's a blowout in the race for the award this week (a blowout so large, even FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the Sun-Times' Jay Mariotti couldn't compete - plus it's a slow news day), so I might as well award it now...

To the pricks who came onto James Hibberd's fine blog on TV Week (and to a dick named Jimmy in particular) and blasted me and all the other bloggers who write about TV and radio (how ironic) -Congratulations! All of you right-wing political hacks win the Worst People in Media This Week award for your short-minded attempt to rip us media fanboys and fangirls. The post was about fans of many TV shows who are showing support for the writer's strike. The link to this story was reportedly posted on The Drudge Report, a somewhat right-leaning website.

Yep, the direct descendants of the Parents Television Council came IN OUR HOUSE and trashed us. It's like the Packers coming to Solider Field and blowing out the Bears (something I hope doesn't happen when the two meet Dec. 23.) The Drudgies (or dummies) are who we thought they were, and we let them off the hook!

In the words of the great philosopher, Frank Barone (played by the late, great Peter Boyle on Everybody Loves Raymond): "I'm giving you the finger... in my mind!"

Here's a message to all of you TV and entertainment business-hating assclowns - do all of us a favor and go back to the Sludge Report website and stay there.

WPIMTW Scorecard: PTC, Tyra Banks, Prince, AMPTP, Drudgies: one each

A reminder about commenting on posts


Don't ask for much, but yours truly wants to make a simple request to the readers of this very blog:

Several recent incidents here and a few other media-related sites in the blogosphere has led yours truly to crack down on commenters who are out there just to cause trouble and have no interest in the subject whatsoever.

If you want to comment on a story, please keep it free of personal attacks and spam and make sure it pertains to the subject matter only (except if you want to say how great the blog is... well, that's okay. If you want to promote a TV or radio show, that's cool, too - as long if it is related to the post.) Criticize me if you want, but at least keep it clean and on topic.

Don't mean to be harsh, but we're trying to maintain a professional image here, and yours truly doesn't want this site to turn into a free-for-all where it gets out of hand and the comments on the blog end up with people insulting each other's wiener size.

Swearing, trolling, spamming, racial slurs, drive-by potshotting (i.e. picking a post at random and commenting on something that's not related to it), and other misconduct will not be tolerated.

Failure to comply with this simple request will result in your comment being deleted in addition to future banishment from this site.

And the robot from Lost in Space will come after you and smack you upside the head with those long arms of his, like he did with Dr. Smith every week.



Terence Henderson

Chairman of The T Dog Blog, Inc.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another courtroom show. Yay.

(And no, it's not Anna Nicole judge Larry Seldin. Hey, it could be worse... )

WCIU-TV acquired yet another courtroom show, this time it's Judge Karen from Sony Pictures Television, which now has cleared 45 percent of the country. Judge Karen is Karen Mills-Francis, an administrative judge from the Miami area, where she have served on the bench since 2000.

Maybe she can issue an order outlawing any South Florida sports team from subjecting their fans through such torture each time any one of them plays...

Local TV show gets canned in the K.C.

The new version of local TV - you know, the one in which advertisers pay money to have their product or service plugged on the show - has taken a hit with the dissolvement of Kansas City Live, KSHB-TV's low-rated one-hour infotainment program. The Hour Magazine clone, which airs at 10 a.m. on the Scripps-owned NBC affiliate, is being replaced with the fourth hour of Today (which now airs it at 11 a.m.) and the 11 a.m. spot is being filled a newscast.

KSHB ranks fourth overall in the Kansas City market, but at least upgraded its syndicated lineup over the years (by acquiring Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!) The station was a Fox affiliate until September 1994, when the Fox-New World deal sent NBC packing from WDAF-TV (then a New World station) after 45 years and landed at KSHB.

What were KSHB's syndicated programs when it first became an NBC affiliate in 1994? Reruns of Full House and Who's the Boss? in the afternoon and The Simpsons in prime access at 6:30 (Homer & Co. now airs on sister station KMCI-TV.)

63 percent of public back striking writers

In a poll conducted by Pepperdine University, 63 percent of the public are backing the writers in their dispute with the studios, who had only 4 percent. 33 percent of the people surveyed in the poll were unsure.

In other strike news:

- NBC has pulled out of the upcoming Television Critics Association tour in January because of the strike (and to save some bucks.)

- In lieu of new episodes of your favorite scripted shows, what do you get? Newsmagazines!

- If you watch the end of Two and a Half Men, you'll notice a vanity card for Chuck Lorre Productions before the Warner Bros. logo, which has a bunch of information to read. At the end of a recent episode, he had just three words from Episode 195: "United We Stand." To read it (and the rest of the vanity cards from other episodes of Two and a Half Men and his other series, Dharma & Greg without the use of Tivo), click here.

- Bill Koenigsberg, who is president and CEO of Horizon Media, is interviewed by Media Life, and he talks about comparisons of this writer's strike and the last one in 1988, and how this strike will hurt the media business even more, given today's vast choices in video programming.

A dark horse in the off-network race

While Two and a Half Men tied the weekly CSI: Miami for top off-network show, there is a surprise strong performer in the race: Warner Bros.' other new off-net sitcom, The George Lopez Show.

The sitcom, which aired on ABC until this past season, averaged a season-high 2.7 household rating in the latest Nielsen report. Lopez's performance is strong thanks to runs on Nick-at-Nite and strong performances in urban markets like Chicago, where WCIU has beaten The Simpsons at 10:30 p.m. on a few occasions with the show.

Meanwhile, Twentieth's Family Guy notched a 3.9 national rating, while CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond averaged a 4.2.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Happy Trails

My apologies for just getting around to these stories, but a belated happy trails to two notable Chicagoans:

Jimmy P. Stagg, a discjockey who worked at the old WCFL in the 1960's and 1970's, who helped shape Chicago's Top 40 wars with WLS back in the day. He passed away last week from cancer at the age of 72. He was noted for his interviews with The Beatles, as he traveled with the group during their historic 1964 and 1965 tours. Mr. Stagg also interviewed Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra.

A belated happy trails also to Donda West, mother of international superstar Kanye West, who died Sunday at the age of 58. Ms. West was an academic and chairwoman of the English department at my alma mater, Chicago State University (and whom I often saw on campus.) She retired in 2004 and moved to Los Angeles to be closer to her son. Ms. West returned to Chicago recently to promote her new book, "Raising Kanye: Life Lessons from the Mother of a Hip-Hop Star."

WLS, WGN clear new weekend shows

New weekend off-network hours that are making the rounds for syndication in 2008 have cleared Chicago stations.

Boston Legal, the Emmy-award series from Twentieth Television, has cleared WLS-TV in Chicago for weekend runs next fall, as well as fellow ABC O&O's in Los Angeles (KABC), San Francisco (KGO), and Houston (KTRK). Other stations clearing the hour include Scripps' WXYZ-TV in Detroit, NBC-owned KXAS-TV in Dallas, and Washington's WJLA-TV.

Meanwhile, a Weather Channel series called Storm Trackers from Litton Syndication has cleared WGN-TV in Chicago. Stations buying the show have the option of incorporating their local meteorologist into the program as hosts. Which means that Tom Skilling, the WGN meteorologist, may be the host of Storm Trackers here in the Chicago area (which is likely the case since his weather reports bring in huge ratings nightly for WGN's newscasts.)

Storm was also picked up by stations in Los Angeles (KCBS/KCAL), Atlanta (WSB), Tampa (WTSP), and Phoenix (KPHO).

WGCI drops to 5th in first fall Arbitrend

Usually don't report on trends, but WGCI is continuing to pay for dropping Howard McGee and replacing it with Steve Harvey's morning show.

It was a bad trend for Clear Channel, with just two of its stations showing an increase and WLIT bottoming out to an all-time low. The station recently flipped to Christmas music.

But the unlikely winner was WCKG - which just flipped to Adult Contemporary as Fresh FM. Mistake?

FCC proposes to end cross-ownership ban

In the top 20 markets. And as predicted, all hell is breaking loose.

Meanwhile, the Tribune co. may get short-term waivers to keep its TV stations and newspapers in Chicago and other markets.

A message from yours truly

To: Our Readers

Over the last fourteen months, I have had the pleasure of writing about TV and radio to you, and we've had some fun along the way.

But let me tell you something. When people - notably those who hate the media business (radio and TV) and say I'm wasting my time writing this blog, I say to you:

Get a life. If you don't like TV, or any other faucet of the media business - then get to stepping. I don't want you here. This site is not for you.

I target this blog for media professionals. I noticed how hard it is to find anything related to Chicago media on the web, other than a handful of message boards. That's why I started this blog. It gives me a chance to write about media in Chicago and in other cities, and also dispense my knowledge about the subject.

But every once in awhile, we get people on here who don't have a clue or care about this business, or think I'm overrated. Look, if you want my cred, read the sidebar.

If you like what I have to say, fine. If you disagree with me on a particular subject, that's also fine. I respect your opinion. But don't tell me I'm wasting my time writing a blog about a subject I enjoy writing about and has followed for a long time. I'm a media geek, and I am happy to admit that. Remember, this is a tongue-in-cheek look at the media business, in a satirical way. But I write about serious issues in the business as well.

Blogs do serve some purpose, particularly on issues the mainstream media ignores, like Jena 6 and the battle over royalty rates for internet radio. The people who don't believe in them are usually part of the establishment - you know who I'm talking about. The political hacks who have nothing else better to do other than to tell other people what to do. They are complete losers.

What do you want to me to write about? A stupid political blog? We all know politicians suck, especially in these parts. Another blog about how much Chicago sports suck? Do you really care what I think who should be the Bears' starting quarterback? Why write about something that's out there already? I tried writing about sports on The Sporting News site, and it didn't exactly work out.

I enjoy writing about television and radio, especially the history of it in Chicago and other places, like Detroit and Milwaukee. It fascinates me. I even wrote a play about a Detroit radio station (that I wisely abandoned.)

If you like the blog, thank you, and I appreciate you visiting the site. If you don't, then with all due respect, you can go somewhere else for your Chicago media news (good luck finding it.) You have no obligation to be here. Remember, I don't make a dime off this site. I chose to keep this site ad-free. I write this blog because I am a media fanboy and enjoy writing about it, and it's fun. But when it's stops being fun and becomes an endless chore - and it's becoming dangerously close to that plateau, thanks to covering the recent writer's strike - then yours truly will hang up the pen and find something else to do.

I don't and won't apologize for anything here, unless an error is made, in which it will be corrected. I tell like it is, and if it is too hot for you here, then leave. I'll still speak out on many media issues, but I 'll keep the negativity to a minimum, and won't respond to the haters - and at the same time, return to the original vision I had in mind when I launched this blog on September 18, 2006 - to make this a fun place again, and be the wackiest and zaniest media blog in all of Chicago - while informing people at the same time. Thank you.


Terence Henderson

Chairman of The T Dog Blog, Inc.

P.S. I have disabled comments on this item, as the message speaks for itself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Hawks win on ice, but lose in the TV ratings

Last night's first Chicago Blackhawks home game against the Detroit Red Wings averaged a household rating of 0.8, according to Nielsen Media Research.

While that number seems disappointing (after all, it's hockey), it was an improvement over the 0.4 rating it has averaged so far this season, it tied an October 31 game against Dallas for the season high (0.8), and among adults 18-49, it earned an 1.1 rating.

The rating was hurt by a Bears overrun (32.9 household rating), and a competitive Sunday Night Football game on NBC (12.1 household rating), not to mention Fox's popular Sunday night animation block, which is always a young male draw.

The next home game to be televised will be November 30 against the Phoenix Coyotes, which is a Friday night, where the competition is not as intense.

By the way, the Hawks won 3-2 over the Red Wings (yes!), and the Bears beat the Oakland Raiders 17-6 on a late fourth quarter touchdown pass by Rex Grossman (yes, that Rex Grossman.)

They like us... They really, really like us...

An item on James Hibberd's blog on the writer's strike has turned the comments section to a free-for-all, attacking writers and bloggers, and yours truly in particular:


Wow, T Dog, is that professional writing? It is so impressive. Question: If a script falls in the forest and no one hears it it does it deserve a residual?

Yours truly shot back:

Gee Fred, was that a compliment? Or are you a Cubs fan? (Cubs fan = stupid)

Ah, there's nothing like using the "Cubs" word to show someone's stupidity (and this White Sox fan uses it a lot.) Of course, it works just as well if you use "Republican" to describe the same idiot.

Cubs fans, Republicans, right-wing, Bush, Daley, Blago, Madigan... what's the difference? It all screams 35 I.Q. to me. And that goes for the m-- (WATCH THE HAWKS TAKE ON THE PHOENIX COYOTES LIVE FROM THE UNITED CENTER, NOV. 30 AT 7 PM ON COMCAST SPORTSNET -FAN'S BEST FRIEND.)

Message modified by administrator at 11:41 am on 2007-11-13.

Raycom buys Lincoln TV for $583 million

Lincoln TV, the former Jefferson-Pilot station group, was sold to Raycom for $583 million. The group includes CBS affiliates WBTV in Charlotte and WCSC in Charelston, S.C., and NBC affiliate WWBT in Richmond, Va.

Lincoln's sports production unit was also sold, and will be folded into Raycom Sports. Lincoln (and its predecessor Jefferson-Pilot), was responsible for syndicating a package of ACC and SEC college basketball and college football to broadcast TV stations in the South.

Raycom will have to sell one of its stations in Richmond because it already owns CBS affiliate WTVR because of duopoly restrictions (WWBT is number one in total-day ratings and news; WTVR is number three.)

Lincoln also sold its radio stations in Charlotte (WBT-AM-FM and WLNK-FM) to Greater Media.

WTHR GM departs

Rich Pegram has resigned from NBC affiliate WTHR-TV in Indianapolis after 13 years. The move comes as WTHR is trying to fend off rival CBS affiliate WISH-TV for the number one slot.

During his tenure, WTHR went from a fourth-place laughingstock (a stigma it had since it signed on in 1957) to a top-rated news leader, a move that was cemented in 1999, when it dethroned WISH for the city's news crown.

But WISH's ratings have surged lately, thanks to CBS' strong prime-time lineup and is the regular-season home of the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts (CBS has the contract to AFC games and the Colts are an AFC team.)

WTHR is stuck with a struggling NBC prime-time lineup, which places fourth nationally.

There were reports that Pegram did not take too kindly to new management at Dispatch Broadcast Group, which owns WTHR and top-rated CBS affiliate WBNS-TV in Columbus, Ohio.

Already, WISH and ABC affiliate WRTV are already gaining on WTHR so far in the November sweeps period.

Trivia: A lot of people knows this already, but it's worth noting - late-night talk show host David Letterman was a weatherman at WTHR (then called WLWI-TV) in the 1970's. WTHR was an ABC affiliate until 1979, when WRTV owner McGraw-Hill switched its WRTV and KGTV in San Diego from a struggling NBC to ABC, leaving WTHR with the NBC affiliation. Then, as it is now, NBC is in the network basement. But don't look for an affiliation switch anytime soon at WTHR.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stewie should've killed this guy instead

Note: If you didn't see this show, don't click on the link, as it contains a major spoiler.

All right, Stewie didn't kill Lois. But somebody did die on another show on Fox's Sunday night animation block.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Worst People in Media This Week - 11/10/2007

Notice how the title changed?

Instead of the the nominees fighting it out for the award (Prince for threating to sue fans' websites for copyright infringement and the studios for threating legal action against its showrunners for walking off the job to join the writers on the picket line), let's call it a tie and give them all the award.

To Prince and the AMPTP - Congratulations, you both win the Worst People in Media This Week award.

WPIMTW Scorecard:

PTC, Tyra Banks, Prince, AMPTP: 1 each

Strike may affect local stations' bottom lines

The current writer's strike in Hollywood may further hurt TV stations' bottom lines, which are already reeling from a soft ad market and tight spot ad inventory.

Stations, especially network affiliates, need fresh programming in the last hour of prime time to lead into their late local newscasts. With network programming likely to go into reruns the longer the strike progresses, ratings will decrease and may hurt stations' late newscasts.

Local news makes up as much as 40 percent of a station's revenues.

The strike might not hurt longtime news leaders who have loyal viewers (like WLS in Chicago or WSB in Atlanta), but may wind up hurting stations who are in last place in news and need the prime-time lead ins the most (WBBM in Chicago or KPRC in Houston.)

Moreover, stations in smaller markets (particularly below the top 50) are the most likely to be hit the hardest. Those stations still rely on the old diary system for ratings, where audience is measured only four times a year (November, February, May and July.) It may be hard to estimate the local ratings based on national numbers because of the strike and the constant fluctuation of network schedules.

With the economies reeling here in Illinois and in other states such as Michigan, stations in small markets in these places will be hit particularly hard.

updated at 10:47 am on 2007-11-10 to add link from Broadcasting & Cable ("Stations feel glut of reruns").

Friday, November 09, 2007

Martha's back for season four

And they said it wouldn't last... Martha Stewart's syndicated daytime show has been renewed in 60 percent of the country, according to NBC Universal. The tally includes all the NBC-owned stations (WMAQ in Chicago) and station groups belonging to Hearst-Argyle, Belo, Fox, Fisher, Allbritton, and Clear Channel.

Writer's Guild Strike Roundup - 11/9/07

Writers Held Hostage: Day 5

- NBC is planning to lay off its Tonight Show and Late Night staff next week, but may rely on guests hosts on those shows beginning Nov. 19. Meanwhile, The Late Show with David Letterman will be in repeats next week.

- Ellen DeGeneres is under fire for crossing the picket line to work on her daytime talk show.

- Picketers staged a huge rally at Fox's L. A. headquarters on Friday, with the most shocking revelation: The network fired all Family Guy assistants on the third day of the strike. Picketers also hit News Corp. headquarters in New York.

- Meanwhile, 102 staffers on NBC's The Office lost their jobs this week, according to a grip who works on the show.

- California Governor Arnold Schwarznegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are turning up the heat to get the two parties back to the bargaining table.

- CBS and 20th Century Fox are sending are sending letters to show runners stating the following: "Either return to work or we will take legal action."

- Isn't it odd that TV Week's Strike Roundup is linking from rival publications Broadcasting & Cable and Variety? This strike is creating some kind of bizarro world.

Q101 dumps Morning Fix

After fourteen months on the air (and maybe a moral victory for Mancow), Alternative outlet WKQX (or Q101) has deep-sixed the The Morning Fix.

The station is dumping comedy elements from its morning show and is keeping a skeleton staff on hand to do traffic, weather, and sports and re-foucsing its efforts on music in the daypart.

The move comes after WJMK-FM hired Steve Dahl to do morning after the station he was on in the afternoons, WCKG-FM, flipped to Adult Contemporary on Monday. The move took the music element out of WJMK (Jack FM) in morning drive.

Alan Cox continues to host while Jim Lynam handles news, sports, and weather. Being let go from the morning show are Dave Ball, James Engel, Ginger Jordan, Michael McCarthy, and Aemilia Scott.

Ratings for Q101 morning show have been mediocre at best. The Morning Fix was created to replace Mancow Mueller, whose contract at the station was not renewed in July 2006.

Note: Driving home on the Calumet (or Bishop Ford, or Dodge, or Toyota or whatever the hell it's called) Expressway yesterday afternoon, yours truly noticed a billboard for Q101's Morning Fix featuring Bob Barker still up near 154th Street in South Holland. Since he retired last June, and the Morning Fix was retired today, it's time for that billboard to be retired too.

Um... That's Drew's job now...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Writer's Guild Strike Roundup - 11/8/07

Writer's Held Hostage: Day 4

- The Office will air its final completed episode on November 15.

- Another casualty of the strike: The Television Critics Association tour may be scrapped, to the delight of the networks.

- Bionic Woman, Reaper, and Men in Trees are on the verge of shutting down, perhaps for good, as all three are struggling in the ratings.

- And soap operas aren't going into reruns. At least not yet.

Hearst-Argyle not happy with NBC's performance

Hearst-Argyle (and probably a lot of station groups) aren't happy with NBC's primetime performance.

David Barrett, the CEO of the station group, says he's "disappointed" in the performance of the network, and its been a earnings drag on the company's ten NBC affiliates.

But don't look too much into this. It's not likely Hearst-Argyle will break with NBC anytime soon. This is not 1980, when affiliates were leaving NBC in droves because of weak ratings for weak primetime shows. Many Hearst-Argyle stations are still strong in news (like WBAL in Baltimore), and the stations are expected to reap a huge windfall thanks to the upcoming political season.

Plus, other factors have hit both television and radio hard, including decreases in spending in the auto category, plus the mortgage prime lending crisis and falling home sales have hit the economy hard, particularly in Chicago.

Keep in mind that CBS got hit hard in 1994 when eight New World stations switched to Fox. And CBS was the number one network in the 1993-94 season when that announcement came down.

Local station roundup

Let's see what's going on in local markets around the country:

-According to Nielsen, KETC-TV in St. Louis was the nation's highest-rated public TV station in October, even outperforming WTTW in Chicago. The station's total-day ratings were up 8 percent from a year ago and up 39 percent in primetime.

It's same to assume that this station outdraws Sinclair's weak-kneed KDNL-TV, which has been a ratings disaster since it became an ABC affiliate in 1995 in the New World-Fox affiliate deal, which shifted Fox from KDNL to KTVI. The station ended its low-rated newscasts in 2001.

- Fox-owned WFXT has gotten off to a good start with its new 11 p.m. newscast in Boston. Thanks to tons of promotion from the World Series (which the Red Sox won in 4), The new newscast scored with 89,000 viewers on its first night on the air Monday, which grew to 111,000 viewers on Tuesday. It's 10 p.m. newscast drew 223,000 viewers on the same night. Not bad for a former part-time religious TV station, which was once owned by Pat Roberston (and often drew hash marks for ratings.) It's signature program at one time was The 700 Club.

- And the network lead-in are determining the race for No. 1 in Houston's late-night news wars, which has Belo's CBS affiliate KHOU-TV in a heated race with ABC-owned KTRK-TV. The market has become even more competitive, since Local People Meters were introduced this month.

KTRK traditionally has been Houston's most-watched station, since at least the 1970's, but has been challenged in the last 15 years by KHOU, which has been a very strong second in that time frame, and has even knocked off KTRK in a few books.

Meanwhile, Post-Newsweek's NBC affiliate KPRC-TV lags behind both competitors, and is actually tied with Fox-owned KRIV for third place in households at 10 p.m. KPRC also trailed in key demos. KPRC is at a disadvantage, given NBC's lead-ins aren't as strong as the ABC and CBS stations.

Since weak NBC lead-ins are not a factor in many markets (NBC affiliates in Boston, Detroit, Washington, Seattle, Denver, Baltimore, and Milwaukee still win their late news), it is a factor in Houston.

At one time, KPRC was the market's second-watched station behind KTRK, but fell behind KHOU in the early 1990's, and with a few exceptions, hasn't rebounded since. At one time, its' 5 p.m. newscast not only finished behind its news competitors, but also behind Simpsons reruns and even a Spanish-language newscast (and I thought WBBM-TV's news operation was bad.)

And this just in: Anna Nicole Smith's mother (Virgie Arthur) is suing KPRC, Entertainment Tonight, and Howard K. Stern (not the Sirius jock) for libel. The suit alleges that Stern arranged for Smith to appear in an ET interview where the model stated that Ms. Arthur was complicit in Smith's childhood physical and sexual abuse.

Anna Nicole Smith died on Feb. 8, 2007 at the age of 39 from a accidental drug overdose.

KPRC airs Entertainment Tonight weeknights at 6:30 p.m. ET is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution, which was also named in the suit.

It keeps getting worse for this station. Oy Vey.

updated 9:20 pm on 2007-11-08

The sad part about this is... it makes Britney look good

(All right, I said a few months ago that I would never read or link to this guy's blog again... But the commentary about the latest Prince faux pas he wrote is straight on... Hey, even yours truly can make a misjudgement once in a while... Sorry, J.D.C. BTW, Mariotti still sucks...)

We have our first (and probably only) Worst Person In Media of the Week award nominee, in the non-WGA strike category. It's Prince, and he is suing his fans - yes, you read right - ordering fan websites to remove all pictures, images, lyrics, album covers, and anything related to his likeness. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Who does Prince thinks he is? The Governor of Illinois?

Another honor for Jerry

Here's another award The Jerry Springer Show can proudly put on its trophy case: People in a Chicago Tribune poll voted the rabid show the worst show on TV with 19.8 percent of the vote.

Gee, what a surprise!

A few years ago if you recall, Jerry Springer was voted The worst show in history by TV Guide - and proudly paraded the quote on the opening credits.

Here are the rest of the top ten:

2. Cavemen - 15.6
3. Mama's Family - 7.3
4. Cop Rock - 6.9
5. Small Wonder -6.6
6. Joanie Loves Chachi - 5.8
7. Ernest Angley Hour -4.0 (Ernest Angley? Who?)
8. Homeboys in Outer Space 3.9
9. My Mother, the Car - 3.6
10. XFL 3.4

For the rest of the list, click here.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The moving game

Look for more late-afternoon Bears games - like it or not.

No, the Chicago Bears did not relocate to L.A. (the way they played this season, they could've joined the writers, who are also out on strike.) But the NFL and CBS moved the Denver Broncos-Chicago Bears game to 3:15 p.m. (CT) from its original noon time slot. This comes after NBC "flexed" the scheduled Bears-Seahawks game out of prime-time to air a New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills game on Nov. 18, with Bears-Seahawks moved to 3:15 on Fox.

In fact, the Bears are on the late doubleheader slot for the next four weeks with two of those games - Oakland (Nov. 11) and Seattle - on the West Coast, where start times for NFL games are at 1:00 (PT). On Dec. 2, they have a 3:15 home game with the New York Giants.

This comes despite the fact the Bears are having a less-than-stellar season this year.

The reason is simple: The Bears are in the nation's third-largest market, have a national following, and other games on the docket those afternoons are even lamer. Plus, the Bears are not out of it yet - they still have a shot at a wild-card berth.

Plus, both CBS and Fox want stronger lead-ins to their Sunday night lineups, particularly in the largest markets, where the most viewers reside.

The teams that are doing well - New England, Indianapolis, Green Bay, and Dallas - have games airing on different days and different networks (namely NBC, ESPN and the NFL network.) For example, the Packers, Cowboys, and Colts all play on Thanksgiving this year.

The Bears have only five early (12:00 noon) starts on their 2007 schedule - the fewest in recent memory.

Also: In that same linked article, Dan Patrick's new syndicated radio show has landed the 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. time slot on WSCR-AM, "The Score".

updated 11:35 am on 2007-11-08

Writer's Guild Strike Roundup

Writers Held Hostage: Day 3

Note: We will only do one post per day on the strike. That way, all the strike news that breaks can be in one place, not all over the blog. Look for the roundup every evening around 9 p.m. (CT) or so.

- Was the WGA dumped by Hollywood executives to drop the DVD demands? Nikke Fine of LA Weekly has the details here.

-Fox has postponed the season premiere of 24 indefinitely, citing the strike as a reason. You can access the official press release and the rest of Fox's 2007-08 season plans on this guy's blog by clicking here.

- The cast of Grey's Anatomy walked off the set today, joining the writers on the picket line. Meanwhile, another ABC show, Big Shots, was interrupted by picketers while shooting on location.

- More causalities of the strike - ABC's Desperate Housewives (which wrapped today) and Pushing Daisies, NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and CBS' Rules of Engagement. Meanwhile, Eva Longoria Parker served pizza to striking writers, but they were not impressed (actually, they were pissed off.)

- And Fox's Family Guy may become an unexpected victim of the strike - creator Seth MacFarlane told Variety that this Sunday's episode is the last original one available to air. Meanwhile, South Park, rumored to be shut down because of the strike, aired a new episode tonight. The creators of that show - Matt Stone and Trey Parker, are known to make last minute changes to the script right before airtime.

- If the strike continues, scores to jobs -from writer's assistants to production managers - may be soon out of work.

- And viewers don't seem to care about the strike - thanks to ton of entertainment options and the ability to fill the schedule with reality shows, which doesn't use writers (union writers anyway.) The writer's strike is ranking right up there with a Florida Panthers-Carolina Hurricanes hockey game, which is not a good sign.

- And according to this Wall Street Journal article, advertisers don't seem to be concerned about the strike - yet anyway, thanks to the tight ad market and the all-important Christmas season coming up. But they might be concerned the longer this goes on.

Delilah out at the Lite (na na na na, na na na na, hey, hey, hey...)

Syndicated radio personality Delilah is out at WLIT-FM after seven years at the station. Her last show was on Monday.

Only one thing to say....

Excuse me.


Okay, where was I?

Oh, right. Her replacement is John Symons, late of WILV-FM and its predecessor, WNND-FM. He is bringing his Love Notes show to the station beginning on Thursday. Love Notes originated on WNND in 1997.

Symons will host Love Notes live Monday through Friday from 7 p.m. to midnight and on recorded voice tracks on the weekends (this move also mercifulfully brings the curtains down on the inane Saturday Night flashback party show, hosted by "The Girls".)

This comes after WCKG-FM flipped to Adult Contemporary on Monday, making WCKG and WLIT head-to-head competitors.

With these moves, particularly the removal of the inane Delilah from our airwaves, Chicago radio immediately just got better.

"Hey there, Delilah, get your dumb ass out the door..."

updated 8:41 am on 2007-11-07 to add information

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The ultimate season of loneliness

With the Bears and Bulls going down the drain and a writer's strike that seems to be getting worse by the minute, it's going to be a long, cold winter in Chicago. Only thing I can say is...

Go Hawks!

I can't believe I just said that. But it may be the only thing worth watching on TV (thanks to added home games) the rest of the season.

Writer's Guild Strike Roundup

Writers Held Hostage: Day 2

The latest:

- The walkout has shut down numerous shows in Hollywood until notice, notably sitcoms shot in front of studio audiences. Back to You, Two and a Half Men, 'Til Death and The Big Bang Theory have gone dark (however, CW sitcoms Girlfriends and The Game are reportedly still in production.)

- The Writer's Strike is fast becoming a political issue. Democratic presidential nominees Hilary Clinton and John Edwards joined Barack Obama in denouncing the strike.

- And advertisers are starting to getting a little p.o'ed about this whole thing - with reruns in the not-too distant future, it will put a squeeze on already tight ad inventory, and scatter buys could be yanked, which could lead to a rise in prices (which, no doubt they will pass on to you and me at the store. Which Chicago and Cook County set to raise taxes, those factors will make goods a hell of a lot more expensive.)

- And here's an item on the effects of an prolonged strike, and it is not pretty. In other words, if you think TV is a wasteland now...

Home games on for Hawks

Hawks also looking for over-the-air broadcast partner

The Chicago Blackhawks and Comcast SportsNet held a press conference yesterday to announce the home-game schedule that will air on the regional sports net. Click here to view the official press release and the schedule.

The first of these games airs this Sunday, with the Hawks hosting the Detroit Red Wings at 6 p.m.

As you recall, new chairman Rocky Wirtz - son of late owner Bill Wirtz, reversed the long-time policy his father instituted in the 1950's on not televising home games.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Blackhawks are looking for an over-the-air broadcast partner to air a small package of games. If the Hawks can land a deal, it will mark the first time since 1980 that the Hawks air their games on a local broadcast TV outlet on a regular basis.

WGN-TV aired road games in the 1970's, and were briefly in discussions to carry the team's games during their Stanley Cup run in 1992. WSNS-TV (now a Telemundo affiliate) then took a shot at carrying those Hawks games, from 1978-80.

The package is reportedly being pitched to Fox-owned My Network TV affiliate WPWR-TV and Weigel-owned independent WCIU-TV.

WCIU already airs Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox games produced by WGN, which holds the local over-the-air broadcast rights. WCIU also carried Chicago Wolves minor-league hockey games on Saturday nights from 1994-96.

However, WPWR has been more aggressive acquiring sports product by carrying two Chicago Fire soccer games, airing IHSA football and basketball playoff games (and will do so again this season), and acquiring the local broadcast rights to air the Chicago Bears-Washington Redskins game that's airing on the barely-distributed NFL Network on Dec. 6.

This would actually buck a trend going on with many NHL teams, who left local broadcasters behind and have moved their games to cable exclusively. Teams that have done this in the past decade include the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings.

There are still some teams that have a broadcast/cable hybrid, including the Dallas Stars, who have games on both Fox Sports Net Southwest and My Network TV affiliate KDFI-TV, which are owned by Fox. The Minnesota Wild has games on FSN North and Hubbard's Minneapolis station, KSTC-TV.

updated 12:57 a.m. on 2007-12-15 (to add information that was recently discovered. Yeah, I know it's been a month since this was posted...)

Monday, November 05, 2007

It's Fresh

Anyone who had WCKG become Fresh 105.9 in the format pool - you win! The new Adult Contemporary format launched at 5 p.m. today.

The station's target audience is women 25-54 (or somewhere in between), the same as crosstown competitor WLIT, who switched to Christmas music on Friday.

According to, here are the first five songs played on the station:

5:00 p Beatiful Day - U2
5:04 p Because of You - Kelly Clarkson
5:08 p Street Corner Symphony - Rob Thomas
5:12 p Makes Me Wonder - Maroon 5
5:16 p Hero - Enrique Iglesias

And the station is attacking "The Lite" on the air. Cool! (Only in that sense.)

- Official station website (the station is streaming live)

- WCKG's Wikipedia entry

- Missed the format change as it happened? Click here to find out how it went down (thanks to Lance at

By the Way: I didn't know today's kids listened to Kris Kross' "Jump", a song that came out - in 1992. Boy, the research department was way off on this one!

updated 7:32pm on 2007-11-05

Writer's Guild Strike Roundup

Writers Held Hostage: Day 1

Here's the latest:

- The first fallout from the strike - the late-night talk shows have gone dark. There will be no more fresh episodes of Jay Leno, David Letterman, The Daily Show, or Stephen Colbert until further notice. Ellen DeGeneres did not tape her show today, showing support for the strikers.

- Noted people on the picket line: Tina Fey (30 Rock) in New York and Greg Daniels (The Office) in Los Angeles.

- Presidential canadiate Barack Obama (D-Ill.) shows his support for the writers.

- The first casualty of the strike may have happened: The remainder of Scrubs' final season may be scrubbed out.

- Production of CBS' Cane was shut down temporarily because of the invasion of striking writers.

- Can a strike save TV? Ben Grossman from B&C on why the TV industry - like radio - is in serious trouble.

Bears out, Patriots in

As expected, NBC has dumped the Bears-Seahawks game from Sunday Night Football on November 18 for what else? The undefeated New England Patriots against some team that will lose against them.

I guess NBC doesn't want another sinking ship on its schedule (it already has Heroes.)

Bears-Seahawks has been rescheduled for 3:15 p.m. (CT) on Fox.

Writers to strike after talks break off

Broadcasting & Cable

TV Week

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Worst Person in Media This Week - 11/02/2007

The T Dog Media Blog is about to hand out the second-ever Worst Person in Media This Week award, and we have many nominees.

First, we have Bill O'Reilly, with this inane blog entry on black firefighters. Then we have the AMPTP for continuing to screw over Hollywood writers, who are headed to the picket lines in the very near future. Another nominee is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who decided to protest the XM-Sirius merger, never mind that most minority groups (and this blog) actually endorsed the merger, believing it would provide more services to minority communities. And a late entry: Adam Buckman of the New York Post giving fans of Family Guy the middle finger by revealing spoilers to the 100th episode (and right back at you, buddy!)

And there's more... WCKG management's for the botched flip to Christmas music, Duane "Dog" Chapman for his racial slur, the FCC's Kevin Martin, and Jay Mariotti for being... Jay Mariotti.

Whew! That's a long list!

But this week, yours truly decided to award the Worst Person in Media - well, make that the Worst People in Media award this week to the conservative group The Parents Television Council, who came out this week with yet another pointless list on kids' prime-time favorites, never mind some of those shows on that list - in the "red light district", are not for kids. These guys are about as bad as Jesse Jackson when it comes to grabbing attention for self-interest.

Congratulations, Parents Television Council for what I am sure is the first of many Worst People in Media awards for you guys.

WPIMTW award scoreboard:

Parents Television Council: 1
Tyra Banks:1

"Heroes" and the Writer's Strike

James Hibberd of TV Week talks about both, and how they relate to each other. Of course, the recent shelving of the Heroes spin-off may have something to do with the program's lackluster second season more than anything else.

Entertainment Weekly said Heroes is struggling because of sloppy writing and “myriad worldwide locales that all look like the backlot of ‘M*A*S*H” and “mediocre special effects, plus, Urlacher isn't covering his opponents and the offense is giving up too many points and is turning the ball over too much. ”

Wait a minute... How did this become a conversation about the Bears?

Friday, November 02, 2007

WCKG backs out of Christmas format

WCKG planned to switch to Christmas music at 7 p.m. tonight. That is, until WLIT launched its all-Christmas format at 8:30 this morning.

Speculation centered on two Christmas formats competing for listenership.

But late this afternoon, WCKG abandoned that plan at the last minute. Instead, they are running Dahl clips, as they have been doing all week long, until at least Monday.

WCKG hasn't decided on what format they will launch on Monday.

Rant: I don't know about you, but this is ridiculous. CBS Radio is playing games with the public and we're getting burned by it. But you have to admit, it's a great way to build buzz.

On the other hand, with WLIT flipping to Jingle Bells and many who hate the whole concept have already found alternatives, WCKG missed a great opportunity to corral that type of audience. If they decided to ditch Jingle Bells and go Adult Contemporary, it should have been done at 7 p.m. tonight. Instead, it's an all Dahl clips show.

Is it Fresh? Is it Spanish? Is it something else? I don't know about you, but this failed stunt is one of the reasons why yours truly doesn't listen to radio much anymore. CBS management clearly doesn't know what they're doing. It's just more proof that radio executives are idiots.

I was going to award The Worst Person in Media award for this week, but with this and other crap that went on today in the media world (just see the posts below and you'll know what I mean), the nominees just keep on coming. Yours truly will have to think about it. The award will be handed out tomorrow.

By the way, WMYX flipped yesterday to the Jingle Bells format in Milwaukee. Merry Christmas. Sigh.

UPDATE: On Chicago radio message boards, it looks like some are disagreeing with me over my views over the situation. Some say it was brilliant for WCKG to crap out to force WLIT to switch to all Christmas early. I respectfully say no. That wasn't even the case here. Look, this isn't some plot outline from Survivor or some WWE program. Or is that all the radio business has become? A dumb ass reality show? Yours truly stands by his statement.

updated 10:47 am on 2007-11-02