Wednesday, April 30, 2008

T Dog's Think Tank: Oh, stop your crying

XM and AOL have ended their partnership as advertised, effective today. AOL signed a deal with CBS Radio a few months ago, and is scheduled to go into effect tomorrow, but you likely won't see any CBS Radio content on AOL Radio for another month or so.

But in AOL Radio's blog, they claim the reason they broke up with XM is because AOL is moving to an advertising-based model (which means commercials), and XM is sticking with its subscription-based model (some XM channels streamed for free on AOL), and also claim the RIAA and SoundExchange's increase in royalty rates forced them to go to CBS.

Not only that, according to, AOL tried to insert ads into XM's Internet streams, as the two shared the royalty rates to stream on AOL, and it was part of the reason why the two broke up and AOL sought a deal with CBS.

Hold it. Didn't AOL and other large webcasters make a deal last August? So why is AOL complaining about it? They make a very bad deal on Internet streaming rates and now they are whining? Please spare me. They let SoundExchange and the RIAA rip them off and now, AOL is playing the victim. Now, I am definitely not a fan of the greedy twin terrors, but AOL and other large webcasters should have known what they were getting into before making such a bad deal like this. Now, they look like total fools.

And the end result? AOL is now an advertising-based format rather than a subscription one. In other words, it's no different than terrestrial. Why bother listening when you can tune in to regular radio to hear the same songs and commercials? Some alternative.

While yours truly said this is the AOL-CBS deal is a bet worth taking and could help Internet radio, I don't like the arrogant stance AOL has taken on this, saying they had to go to CBS to keep its streams alive, when they could have made a better deal with the greedy twin towers to keep XM at reasonable rates. Instead, AOL comes off as a bunch of stupid hypocrites, claiming poverty on this issue while they have been nickeling and diming people for years. Big Media will never learn, will it? No wonder they screw up everything they get their hands on... network television, local news, cable, the television syndication business, terrestrial radio, and now Internet radio. You name it, they manage to screw it up.

AOL Radio is nothing but a bunch of crybabies. Yours truly doesn't feel sorry for them at all. Congratulations on selling out to terrestrial radio. Both of you, the RIAA, and SoundExchange all deserve each other. Good riddance.

There's something about playoff season

Ratings for both the NHL and the NBA playoffs (despite the lack of the Knicks and Bulls) are up from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Ratings for the NBA playoffs are up 20 percent on TNT with a more than 30 percent increase in key demos, and is up 47 percent on ESPN, with a 79 percent jump in the men 18-34 demo. Teams in the playoff hunt this year include the popular Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, along with teams with amazing playoff runs, including the New Orleans Hornets (formerly Charlotte Hornets) and the Atlanta Hawks (which tied the Celtics 2-2 in the quarterfinal series as of this writing.)

The NHL meanwhile, has set records on Versus, thanks to the presence of new stars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin. Ratings are up across the board in households and male demos from last year's quarterfinal rounds.

Paula's off the wagon again

She criticizes Jason Castro for the two songs he sung in round one of American Idol... only problem is... he sung only one! Oh, Paula... you've got to lay off those three-martini lunches...

The WB lives online relaunches as well; The CW announces new name for its Saturday morning lineup

The WB died in the merger with UPN to form The CW two years ago, but now the frog is being resurrected online.

Time Warner announced Monday it is relaunching The WB brand online along with a revamped KidsWB website. The WB launches as a beta this week and is going live in August.

The new targets women 16-34 and feature shows that were popular in the demo, including Angel, Buffy, and Gilmore Girls. The site also features programming from Warner Bros. library, including Friends, The OC, and Veroinca Mars. Original programming is also planned for the website, as well as a partnership with social-networking site Facebook.

Meanwhile, has relaunched, which now places its emphasis on classic Warner Bros. and Hanna-Barbera programming and characters, running the gamut from Bugs Bunny to George Jetson. The previous incarnation of the has shifted to a new website called, to feature the network's new Saturday morning lineup this fall by 4KidsTV, which replaces the Kids WB lineup on CW affiliates.

CW's Saturday morning lineup is being re-branded as CW4Kids on May 24 with the programming changes taking effect in September, in a deal announced last October. Most, if not all of the current Kids WB programs are expected to be replaced. Some fare like Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue has already been removed from the schedule.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

WPWR acquires "Law & Order: SVU" strip

Fox-owned WPWR-TV has acquired Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a nightly strip from NBC Universal Television Distribution beginning in September 2009. SVU is already airing twice in syndication every weekend, where it has done exceptionally well.

This comes as WPWR and nine other Fox-owned My Network TV affiliates are experiencing success with Law & Order's sister show, Criminal Intent.

In addition to WPWR and Fox's nine other MNT affiliates, the strip version of SVU has also cleared eighteen of the top twenty markets, in a 50/50 barter deal (7 minutes national ads/7 minutes local ads).

Criminal Intent meanwhile, has grown in the national ratings (1.3 in September to 1.5 in April) and has experienced ratings growth in New York at WWOR-TV. No word however, on whether or not NBC Universal will bring the series back to syndication after its contract expires with stations in 2009.

WGN, WPIX, KDAF sign deal with LATV

Three Tribune-owned stations - WGN-TV in Chicago, WPIX-TV in New York, and KDAF-TV in Dallas have signed deals with bilingual digital network LATV. The Hispanic-targeted network is landing on one of the digital subchannels of each of the three stations.

LATV replaces The Tube on these channels, which ceased operations last September.

With the new adds, LATV now airs on digital sub-channels in 26 markets, reaching 32 million households across the U.S., including KJLA-TV in Los Angeles and KTVU (Channel 2.2) in San Francisco.

Chicago radio's Winter book results

The winter books are here, and according to Arbitron (click here to see daypart info):


WGN-AM: This could be the beginning of a long reign for longtime leader WGN-AM on top of the radio hill in Chicago, as the station fended off WGCI to remain numero uno in Chicago's Winter Arbitron book, and is expected to remain number one throughout the spring and summer, thanks to Cubs baseball.

WGCI-FM: The station finished first in every key demographic across the board, and is Chicago's number one music station.

WBBM-AM: The all-news outlet finishes a strong third overall.

WVAZ-FM (V103): The Urban AC outlet yo-yos up in this book, finishing fourth.

WPPN-FM: Feel the passion! Spanish Oldies never sounded so good, with this Univision outlet finishing fifth overall, with its highest share ever, and bested WOJO-FM for top Spanish station in Chicago.

WZZN-FM (True Oldies): Finished 11th overall, matching last year's numbers.

WFMT-FM: The classical outlet scores its highest 12+ rating in over a year.

WXRT-FM: Highest rating in over a year, finishing 17th overall.

WCFS-FM (Fresh 105.9): Finished 20th overall, a marked improvement over what was on WCKG - but more notably, finished in the top ten middays in key female demos.

WCPT-AM : The progressive talk station doubled its number in the ratings from last book.

WSCR-AM (The Score) and WMVP-AM (ESPN 1000): The Score finished first among men 25-54 in a tight race with ESPN 1000. Both sports stations are winners in my book.

Steve Harvey: WGCI's morning show ranked first among teens and second among Adults 25-54 and Adults 18-34. Clearly benefiting from WGCI's loyal audience.

Doug Banks: WVAZ-FM's new afternoon show busted out of the gate, finishing second among Adults 25-54.

Eddie, JoBo, and Erica: WBBM-FM's (B96's) long-running morning show ranked second among the 12-24 demographic, behind Steve Harvey. A winner, don't you think?

Eric & Kathy: WTMX-FM's long-running morning show continues its dominance among the lucrative female 25-54 demo in the mornings.

Steve Dahl: WJMK-FM's (Jack) new morning man finished eighth overall and even better among men 25-54.


WOJO: Once Chicago's top Spanish-language station, it fell behind WPPN and WLEY.

WLIT-FM (Lite FM): Back to regular AC music and down to 16th place.

WLUP-FM (The Loop), WJMK : Slides to 21st and 22nd place respectively, with mediocre numbers and for WJMK, a mediocre format despite the presence of Dahl in the morning.

WKQX-FM (Q101): Another rock station that can't get arrested in the ratings.

WILV-FM (Love FM): Down to 23rd place, with no purpose or direction whatsoever. With apologies to Marc Berman, tick-tock - the cancellation clock is ticking!

Nine-FM: Let's face it... This station will never catch on.

Overall, Chicago radio was a winner in the recent Winter book, with some morning shows gaining listeners. Whether you love it or hate it, you can't deny the local radio business is in better shape than the TV business right now, with ratings down for both networks and local stations and the return for many hit shows, thanks to the Writer's Strike.

Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, "Ratings Info",

Friday, April 25, 2008

"Soul Train" derails

Music awards show is also gone -for now. But a Soul Train Movie is in development

In the post below, I mentioned the fate of U.S. Farm Report, one of two programs which were left hanging after the shuttering of Tribune Entertainment. Now the other shoe has dropped for the other show.

The Soul Train Music Awards was canceled this year, apparently a casualty of the recent Writer's Guild strike and the closing of Tribune's syndication operation. But major African-American artists have stopped showing up to the awards show over the years, perhaps earlier sealing its fate, and the fact many stations in recent years have aired the awards show tape-delayed in late fringe or overnight time slots.

Don Cornelius, the creator and executive producer of Soul Train, said he hopes the awards show returns next year.

As for the show itself, it is indeed official - the program has ended its long run, with the last installment airing in 2006. However, a Soul Train movie is in development, and could hit theaters in 2009.

There is a report that Trifecta Entertainment has picked up the rights to reruns of Soul Train, which have been running in syndication since June 2006. But the company has not been able to confirm or deny this, since the company's website does not mention the show. Trifecta earlier picked up the rights to another former Tribune property, American Idol Rewind.

Thought: While Chicago's TV production is more known for Oprah, Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, and other shows, some people don't know that Soul Train began its life in Chicago in 1970 at WCIU-TV as a daily strip. The program went into weekly national syndication in 1971, when production moved to Los Angeles, and ran an amazing 35 years. I practically grew up watching this show in the 1970's and 1980's, and it provided a window into black culture no other show could (remember the Soul Train scramble board?). Among the many people who danced on Soul Train include football players Fred Williamson and Walter Payton, and future pop and R&B star Jody Watley.

Don Cornelius was one of the hardest-working individuals in this business, producing this program and its various specials - but he usually wasn't recognized for it. And that's a shame. He deserves as much recognition as Bill Cosby for positive African-American contributions to the television industry. Cornelius was host of Soul Train until 1993, when he decided to stay behind the camera.

Soul Train motored on after other music programs like American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and The Midnight Special have passed on. Unfortunately, the changing nature of the both the music and television businesses (and not for the better) have caught up to Soul Train, and became a victim of mostly late fringe and overnight time slots in many markets in recent years. Soul Train may be gone, but the spirit of "Love, peace, and Soooooooooooul!" and "The hippest trip in America" lives on.

"U.S. Farm Report" ends run

If you're looking for U.S. Farm Report at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, you're out of luck... forever. Unable to find a syndicator to replace now-defunct Tribune Entertainment, the producers of the 33-year old agriculture series have decided to end production (3rd item).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jimmy's hosting a talk show

Jimmy Fallon is succeeding Conan O' Brien in the post-Tonight show slot effective in 2009, according to sources. NBC plans to announce the former Saturday Night Live star's new gig at its upfront presentation (yes, they are having another one) on May 12.

O' Brien is succeeding Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show next year, and plans to move the show from Burbank, Calif. to Universal City, Calif.

Oh, that Jim Elia!

The week of April 25, 1983 was quite memorable. Harold Washington was elected Chicago's first African-American mayor, yours truly celebrated his 11th birthday - and then- Cubs manager Lee Elia's went nuts on the team's fans!

In an article in today's Tribune, Teddy Greenstein talks about how Chicago news stations were jockeying to get a tape of a rant that would rank as perhaps the most memorable in Chicago sports history (check out what Mark Giangreco said about his cell phone... those things were huge back in the day.)

The story also reveals how then WMAQ-TV sports anchor Chet Coppock handled a rather rude request from former WBBM-TV sports anchor and Chicago Bear player Johnny Morris (Morris wasn't really remembered much for his charisma, or lack thereof.)

Yours truly remembers when this happened, and it cerainly generated an OMFG moment (before it was known as OMFG.) A Lee Elia like-rant certainly wouldn't air on TV today (even bleeped), as the Parents Television Council and the FCC would definitely have a stroke...

To hear the rant, click here. (WARNING: Contains strong language. Listener discretion is advised. But you already knew that, right?)

WBBM-TV's newscast ratings update

CBS-owned WBBM's 10 p.m. ratings after the recent anchor changes have remained flat from February, according to today's Sun-Times. Despite the moves, the station is still in its third-place behind its other network O&O rivals. However, Channel 2 points out it has received positive e-mails and phone calls from viewers about the changes.

Today begins the May sweeps period, which ends on the 21st (the same night of the American Idol finale.)

WLS-TV's Cheryl Burton attacked downtown

And the violence is spreading to the Loop as well - WLS-TV reporter Cheyrl Burton was attacked along with five other people as a mentally ill man was wondering around the Loop, striking people with his fist randomly. Police have the person in custody.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

WGCI stops the hits to address Chicago violence

Doing what they should be doing when a community in is crisis, WGCI-FM abruptly stopped playing music this afternoon and evening to address the shootings and killings that has plagued Chicago's minority communities over the past week. The impromptu move came after five people were gunned down inside a house on Chicago's South Side this afternoon.

WGCI invited leaders from the African-American community to talk to callers and discuss their stories, and try to increase the peace in some of the city's worst neighborhoods.

The shootings and killings have also brought something Chicago's leaders clearly didn't want: A national public relations nightmare, especially with the city competing for the 2016 Olympics.

Yours truly will address the local and national media's handling of the violence in a future Think Tank.

CW launches racy "Gossip Girl" campaign

Originally posted on April 11, but now with update!

It's the giant douche and turd sandwich thing again... You guys just want to keep the Parents Television Council in the news, do you? Awaiting PTC press release, feigning outrage...

And here it is...

NBC, NHL agree to one-year deal extension

And both ought to thank Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (and the Outdoor Classic in Buffalo) for this, as well as other young upcoming stars in the league (like the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.)

While ratings are still low, they are up 33 percent in the key male 18-49 demo and up 11 percent in households. NBC is continuing its Sunday Game of the Week next season, in addition to playoff games and at lest three Stanley Cup Final games in prime-time.

NBC exercised its option it had in its current contract to extend the deal one more year.

Superstation WGN in for makeover

The national version of WGN seen on cable systems and satellite (except in Chicago, where Superstation WGN is seen only on satellite), is in for a major Extreme Makeover-type overhaul. Specifics weren't mentioned, but Superstation WGN is scheduled to be re-launched in May, but the changes may only involve imaging, and not programming.

WGN went national in 1978, linking national cable viewers with the Chicago Cubs, Bozo, and the station's newscasts. Since the Syndicated Programming Exclusivity Rule (or Syndex, for short) went into effect in 1990, WGN had to draft a national schedule for its cable viewers, since most syndicated programming on the local station no longer could be carried on cable systems.

This drove WWOR out of business as a superstation, ceasing operations in 1996 to cable viewers and in 1999 to satellite viewers (WWOR is still available to broadcast, cable, and satellite viewers in the New York City area.)

In October, Turner split the national and local feeds of former superstation TBS, with Atlanta viewers getting a new channel in WPCH-TV, leaving WGN as the only true superstation left.

Currently, the national version of WGN carries mostly B and C -type syndicated fare, including Funniest Pets and reruns of Sister, Sister, but still carries Chicago sports (but only a handful of Chicago Bulls games), and WGN's noon and 9 p.m. newscasts and local specials.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Gossip Girl", "Deal" tank

Despite all the hoopla - for Gossip Girl and its racy ads and pulling the program from the Internet, and for Deal for having President Bush appear - neither did well with Girl pulling in only 2.5 million viewers (even pulling in fewer viewers than MTV's The Hills, which drew a little over 4 million) and Deal matching a season low among adults 18-49. The biggest winners? ABC's Dancing With The Stars and CBS' comedy lineup (except for Big Bang Theory.)

WFLD gets Bears pre-season games and a whole lot more (updated)

Once again, the Chicago Bears have a new broadcast partner. And it's with a Fox.

This time, and for the first time, Fox-owned WFLD-TV will carry pre-season Bears games and is the new official television station of the team. WFLD outbid the previous carrier, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV. The move also means Spanish-language games broadcast over NBC's WSNS-TV is also ending.

WFLD's slogan is "All Bears. All Day". Their coverage begins this Sunday with Bears Draft Night Live, at 10:35 p.m.

The Bears will produce three pre-season games for WFLD, as well as a Sunday morning pre-game show and a 10 p.m. wrap-up show during the football season. The new Sunday lineup includes the station's Fox Kickoff Sunday, which moves to 10 a.m.; Bears Game Day Live which keeps it at 10:30 a.m. (the same time slot it head on WMAQ); and Fox's pre-game show at 11 a.m. On Sunday nights, WFLD's local sports wrap-up show (The Final Word) stays at 10 p.m., while Bears GameNight Live airs at 10:35 p.m.

The new five-year deal also gives WFLD significant exposure at Soldier Field, at off-season events, and on the Bears' website. The move makes sense, given the majority of Bears games air on the station through Fox's NFL coverage of the NFC. The move is a huge boon for WFLD, since the station has had a difficult time making inroads against the other established network-owned stations in Chicago and WGN-TV.

Pre-season games airing on WFLD will be repeated on sister station WPWR-TV the next day. WPWR is also expected to pick up the lone NFL Network game featuring the Bears on the schedule, which the team faces the New Orleans Saints in December.

updated 4:48 p.m. on 2008-04-23 (to add TVWeek link)

Monday, April 21, 2008

About WGN's 60th Anniversary Celebration...

Good thing you didn't take my advice. Yours truly did watch WGN's celebration and it turned out to be well done. Jim Belushi actually did a decent job of hosting (yes, I'm surprised myself) - though he was a little wooden. Personally, I would've prefered Dean Richards or Bill Murray, but Belushi did an alright job.

(This blog praising Jim Belushi? OMFG! What is going on here? And the F stands for "fool".)

While the special covered material that has appeared on other retrospective WGN specials in the past, it is still great to see those clips from yesteryear (and there were some that didn't air during the 50th Anniversary Celebration, which aired in 1998.)

Ironically, WGN didn't mention its ties to The WB or The CW. As you recall, the WB and UPN shuttered their doors in 2006 to form The CW. WGN was a founding affiliate of The WB in 1995 and aired popular WB shows like Dawson's Creek, 7th Heaven, Smallville, and The Jamie Foxx Show.

And as far as syndicated programming goes (understandable why they didn't air any clips - quite expensive to acquire), the station was home to everything from Space: 1999 to Charles In Charge, and from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. What could've have been cool was if WGN aired those wonderful Andy Griffith promos during the 60th Anniversary Celebration from the summer of 1989 when Griffith was up against The Cosby Show at 6 p.m. (one of the promos was set to Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives.")

Artie Lange, Tavis Smiley return to their respective morning shows

Remember when Artie Lange and Tavis Smiley respectively left the Howard Stern and Tom Joyner morning programs? Well, Lange returned to Stern this morning and Tavis was a "guest" on the TJMS last week and is going to be back again tomorrow.

Yeah, those second chances in radio (wink, wink...)

Debmar-Mercury switches ad sales for "South Park"

Cartman. A Twentieth Television Production.

Debmar-Mercury has replaced Tribune Entertainment with Twentieth Television as national advertising representative for syndicated reruns of South Park, meaning Twentieth will now sell the national barter ad time for Cartman and friends, effective immediately. Tribune helped clear the off-Comedy Central sitcom in several markets in 2004 and 2005.

But the ironic thing here is, South Park is now under the same ad sales roof as is its hated off-network animated arch-rival - Family Guy, which Twentieth not only sells the ad time for, but distributes and produces as well. Twentieth also handles another animated sitcom, King of the Hill (The Simpsons, Twentieth' s main animated off-network series, is now sold for cash, with no barter time involved.)

Meanwhile, don't count the Tribsters out just yet.

According to Variety, Tribune is exploring the possibility of returning to the syndication business, just months after the company shut down its operations after 25 years. This time, Tribune would handle off-network and first-run sales of programs from third-party producers instead of doing original programming (as it has done the last few years.)

Trivia: Twentieth Television's ad sales unit was formed in 1990 to sell national barter time for nightly magazine strip A Current Affair. Before that, Twentieth outsourced its ad sales of its first-run product to Orbis Communications and later LBS.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

New premium channel planned

In news which could shake up the cable landscape, Viacom, MGM, and Lionsgate have announced a new joint venture that will launch a new pay-TV channel and a companion video-on-demand service next year.

The new channel is expected to compete with Time Warner's HBO and Cinemax and CBS Corp.'s Showtime and The Movie Channel - which used to be under the ownership of Viacom before the split that sent CBS and Viacom their separate ways in 2006 (Showtime and Movie channel were also Viacom properties before the acquisition of CBS and Paramount Pictures.)

Sumner Redstone is chairman and controlling shareholder of both CBS and Viacom, which is the only link left between the two names.

T Dog's Think Tank: Worst debate ever?

You want to know what I thought of the Clinton-Obama debate? Worst. Debate. Ever.

If Comic Book Guy watched the debate Wednesday night on ABC, he would've said this:

"Worst. Debate. Ever."

Of course, he more was likely to be watching NBC and the 26 suitcase models on the "Spring Break" episode of Deal or No Deal. I'm surprised more people didn't, given the sloppy debate.

But certainly, the Obama-Clinton debate was more critically panned than an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies (yours truly didn't watch - this simpleton was too busy ogling the suitcase women from Deal on the other channel) - the first 45 minutes consisted of questions including Obama's link to Jeremiah Wright and whether or not he wore an American Flag label pin.

You got to be kidding me. An American Flag label pin? Who moderated this debate, ESPN's Chris Berman and Skip Bayless? (considering how ABC handled the debate, I was surprised the Mouse House didn't ask its sister cable network to lend those two louts to be moderators.)

But this article from TV Week tells you all you need to know. Look at the comments section. One person blasted Obama for not wearing the lapel pin and for not covering his heart during the national anthem.

So this is more important than the War in Iraq, escalating gas prices, rising unemployment, and the mortgage crisis? Okay, let's pass a law requiring every American to wear an American Flag pin! Totally ridiculous. And instead of issues, the debate is now more notable for creating the most annoying catch phrase in years - "Gotcha!" Did Chris Berman (the master of annoying catch phrases) create this one, too? Yours truly hopes this one doesn't go "all the way".

So its no surprise the same people who bring up these kind of issues are the same ones who don't have a problem with media consolidation - the ones who think this is a joke and don't take it seriously or don't care. The same people who want to avoid the real issues in this country and want to talk about tabloid ones instead, like whether or not Obama and Clinton are real Americans and if they are part of the KGB or KAOS. No, the establishment thinks it's more important to dodge problems they helped create.

And so, the debate attracted 10.7 million viewers. And many came away disgusted. In fact, the crowd booed Charlie Gibson as they went into yet another commercial toward the end of the debate (Why did ABC decide to sell ads during the debate in the first place?) Is it any wonder why people are so disinterested in politics? Thank you, Big Media. At, not one poster talked about Wednesday's bland debate (while yours truly bashed Top Model. Again.)

The debate moderators felt it was more important to discuss the candidates' gaffes for nearly an hour instead of an honest discussion regarding the problems facing America right now. I guess yours truly didn't miss anything, considering he saw this coming. Why should anyone sit there for two hours and have their intelligence insulted by the media's arrogance regarding politics?

And all we got out of it is a stupid catch phrase. Ay, carumba.

Did I mention those 26 models on Deal never looked sweeter as they did Wednesday night? Yeah, I may be a simpleton for watching the ladies - but yours truly was smart enough to stay away from a train wreck and decided to watch another one instead.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Survivor's" back, baby!

WARNING: Contains spoilers. If you haven't seen the episode, don't scroll down...

Although ratings are down slightly from a year ago, there's no denying Survivor is back from the dead.

If you can recall (here's hoping you don't), yours truly ripped the program for being too bland and predictable last fall (most of the profanity from that post is gone, too.) And yours truly also voiced some skepticism regarding Fans Vs. Favorites. But this cycle of Survivor has exceeded all expectations and is destined to become just as memorable as the first Survivor, set in Borneo.


If you saw Thursday night's episode, Ozzy (who was in the Survivor where they split the tribe among race), was ousted in a surprising power play led by Cirie who convinced players to vote for the biggest threat instead of Jason, who quit an immunity challenge on the word of other players who promised not to vote him out (dumb move.)

And the reaction from Eliza on the jury when all of this was unfolding at Tribal Council (she was ousted last week) was totally priceless.

Currently, Survivor is the best reality show on TV right now (much better than Top Model, which has become predictable and stale). However, keep in mind reality shows are cynical. What is up one cycle - could be down the next.

If you have missed Survivor this season, you've missed a lot. But we here at The T Dog Media Blog have your back. Click here and you can watch the episodes from this current season to catch up.

These guys have listened to Herman Edwards. They are here and they are playing to win the game! (though maybe Herm needs to take his own advice regarding the Chiefs...)

Friday, April 18, 2008

President Bush to appear on "Deal or No Deal"

No, not as The Banker (although that role suits him just fine...) but he'll be there via videotaped message on Monday's show. A simpleton of a President appears on a game show for simpletons. Make sense to me!

WFIE on the air during the quake

Check this out from Raycom's NBC affiliate in Evansville, Ind. No panic here...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Larry Wert promoted (updated)

WMAQ-TV general manager Larry Wert has been promoted to president, Central and Western region, of the NBC Local Media Division.

Among the stations Wert will be overseeing include WMAQ (which he'll continue in his role as GM) and fellow NBC O&Os KNBC-TV Los Angeles, KXAS-TV Dallas, KNTV San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, and KNSD-TV San Diego.

NBC also named a new GM for WNBC-TV in New York, with Tom O'Brien taking over from Frank Comeford, who was promoted to president of platform development and commercial operations.

UPDATE: Frank Whittaker, current VP of news at WMAQ, is now the new station director.

updated at 6:57 p.m.

PTC rips NBC "Family Hour" pledge

Regarding the peacock network's Thursday night comedies. And this after the organization praised NBC for setting aside the 7-8 p.m. hour (Central) for family shows. And what about last night's Deal or No Deal (another show they endlessly praise), which featured a rather raunchy Spring Break episode? If the PTC has to change their story, then this group clearly has no credibility (they never had any to begin with.)

As for the Emmy-winning 30 Rock, while the show is creative and out-of-the box (yours truly loves programming like that), these guys are no South Park (but its' close.) The animated comedy has done satire somewhat better than Tina Fey & Co., though give 30 Rock credit for trying, plus props for filming the show in New York City. Let's hope 30 Rock is on for years to come.

Now.... MILF stands for what? Not these ladies, unless I had a blindfold on...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Top Chef: Chicago called out for profanity

The usually solid cooking reality show is being criticized for its excessive use of profanity in this current cycle (and ironically, not from the PTC or Rev. Pflager), which forced the lead chef and judge on the show (Tom Colicchio) to apologize on his blog for last week's salty episode.

Maybe we swear a lot in Chicago because, well, let's see... high taxes, inferior transit service, lousy city services, Daley, and of course - the program that pioneered bleepfests - our own Jerry Springer.

Hmmm... Maybe the chefs on this show have a point. You think they can settle this on Springer? Daley better hope the Olympic Committee aren't regular viewers of Top Chef.

Collins, Lujack honored by different HOFs

The late Bob Collins was nominated to the Radio Hall of Fame in a long overdue move, while another Chicago radio legend (Larry Lujack) gets his induction into the National Association of Broadcasters' Hall of Fame (scroll down.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Nooooooooo, boyeeeeeeeeee!

You know the sign of the apocalypse is coming when Flavor Flav gets a sitcom on My Network TV and Perez Hilton gets his own three minute celebrity segment on WBBM-FM's already unlistenable Eddie & JoBo morning show.

Send in the clowns...

WLS-TV wins TV Week award

In the magazine's TV Managers of the year, Midwest division -apparently, being number one for 22 years (as well as capitalizing on your competitors' mistakes - and there are a lot of them) doesn't hurt, either. And yours truly thinks this is obviously the right choice.

Dominant ABC affiliates in Philadelphia (WPVI-TV), Dallas (WFAA-TV), and Atlanta (WSB-TV) and NBC affiliate KING-TV in Seattle also won big in their respective divisions.

Monday, April 14, 2008

WCIU gets "Punk'd"

But it's no trick: WCIU-TV acquired the rights to air MTV's Punk'd with Ashton Kutcher to strip five nights a week beginning in September from Trifecta Entertainment. The proram cleared 80 percent of the U.S. with WNYW-TV in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles also on board.

This comes as Trifecta and Litton Entertainment announced a strategic partnership last week which brings together both syndicators' sales operations to maximize sales for their expanding slate of series. Trifecta is handling ad sales while Litton will handle domestic distribution, but both companies are expected to continue to operate independently under their own monikers.

"Desperate Housewives" comes back with a mighty thud

Hitting a season-low in the money demo (adults 18-49) for an episode that was ... well, let's just say the Housewives writers should have stayed on the picket line. But the big story here is a first-run episode of The Simpsons beat Oprah's Big Give in the ratings last night head-to-head. D'oh!

Wild romps in ratings

The beast known as American Idol has finally fallen - at least in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

A Minnesota Wild NHL playoff game topped Idol last Wednesday night with Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Colorado Avalanche earning a 11.3 household rating and a 22 household share on independent KSTC-TV with Idol on Fox-owned KMSP-TV nabbing a 10.3/19.

The Wild game surged to a 16.0/33 from 10:30-10:45 p.m.

Meanwhile, The Twins beatdown of the White Sox earned a 8.9 household rating on My Network TV affiliate WFTC (certainly higher than the MNT programming that usually runs there) while a NBA game featuring the very lackluster Timberwolves on FSN North bottomed out with a 0.1 household rating and 0 share.

And you thought the Bulls were awful... Don't you wish the ratings were that bad here? (it'll certainly send a message... wink, wink.)

And if you read the comments section in this story and here, be thankful the Blackhawks didn't pick WPWR-TV (Channel 50) as their over-the-air partner, as fans clearly don't want to sit through promos for fourth-rate programming.

The Wizard of Oz (corrected)

Look! It's Oprah behind the curtain...

Harpo Productions is preparing for a launch of a new talk show in September 2009 featuring Dr. Memhet Oz, who regularly appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The launch is being prepared the same way Dr. Phil was launched in 2002.

Keep in mind that CBS Television Distribution is launching a talk show this fall featuring not one but five doctors: simply called The Doctors.

CORRECTION: On April 9, this post incorrectly stated that CBS Television Distribution was involved in the possible launch of the new project regarding Dr. Oz. Harpo is currently shopping the project through several syndicators with Twentieth Television and Disney mentioned as possible homes for the talk show. CBS is not involved with the Dr. Oz project at this time.

The T Dog Media Blog regrets and apologizes for the error.

All together now... D'oh!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

T Dog's Think Tank: Can you smell what the mayor is cookin' ?

Usually the T Dog Media Blog doesn't devolve into local politics since this is a media blog (it says that in the name!) and not a political one. But yours truly can't pass up an opportunity to take this on since it involves those wonderful bedrocks of journalism, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times (yes, I'm being sarcastic...)

Last Friday, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago blasted the Tribune and Sun-Times for criticizing his plan to move the children's museum to Grant Park and selling the naming rights to the venue to an insurance company.

So, Da Mayor blasts Big Media for criticizing his plan for Grant Park.

Oh, now he gets it. Did he just fall out of a tree or something?

Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain, or in Daley's case, the idiot. The only time he criticizes Big Media is only at his convenience - when they rip a self-serving idea of his.

Listen to his comments, from Friday's Daily Onion - um, I mean Sun-Times:

"They're advising me what to do with the city and they're going right in the tank. I love that. The Sun-Times is in there, too. This is unbelievable. They're giving us advice constantly on how to run the city," [while] their stock is going down,".

"They're [The Tribune] selling Wrigley [naming] rights. They want to develop the whole area, tear Wrigley Field down and build high-rises. It's like, aren't they in Chicago? Don't they know they have elected officials? They have community groups out here? No. Talk about arrogance."

Another typical clueless politician. Is it any wonder why the public hates them so much? If Mayor McCheese cared to do any research on why both newspapers' circulation are declining, it's because of market forces, not because the city's residents are critical of the rags' thinking. At least give the people of Chicago some credit. And arrogance? Oh, boy! Daley wrote the book on it. He makes Vince McMahon look like a responsible human being (yeah, I'm stretching it a bit.)

Let's face it: Daley could give less than a rat's ass about media consolidation, or the dwindling number of media voices in the marketplace.

While yours truly is not a fan of the Tribune or Sun-Times or their sometimes ludicrous editorials (the Tribune seems to have a problem with warm weather in January), I am also not a fan of pols who use the issue of media consolidation to only benefit themselves and their "causes", which in this case, is a stupid children's museum (It's all about the children. Yeah, right.) Daley's more powerful than the Trib and Sun-Times put together anyway, so what's he complaining about?

Where was Daley on the night of Sept. 20 last year when the FCC was in town at Operation PUSH discussing media consolidation and its effect on the city's residents?

He was nowhere to be found.

Did Daley say anything when the Tribune was sold to Sam Zell and the FCC let the company keep the paper, TV station, and radio station?

He didn't say a word.

So if anyone thinks Daley is going to join the bandwagon against media consolidation, they are only fooling themselves. There's a better chance of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone heaping praise on Family Guy than Daley taking up any cause. He and other politicians only care about themselves and whine like children when they don't get their way.

And since he's pushing a children's museum, don't be surprised Daley is the first person honored with a statue at the place since he acts like a child.

So the next time Daley opens his yapper about the media, he should take advice from former wrestler The Rock... Know your role and shut your mouth!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tavis Smiley out at the TJMS

No, he didn't have a meltdown like Artie Lange did on Howard Stern's show yesterday. But longtime contributor Tavis Smiley has exited from The Tom Joyner Morning Show. The reasons are coming to a "he said, he said" situation: Smiley said he left because of other commitments (he hosts a nightly show on PBS.) But Joyner said the real reason Smiley left because he was hating on Presidential candidate Barack Obama too much, and listeners lit him up like a Christmas tree.

PTC to Hip-Hop: You're next

The boisterous group is now targeting MTV and BET, in a really pathetic attempt to act like they care about the African-American Community (but it might not help given the Parents Television Council is also targeting the equally grating Tyra Banks and her "reality" show.)

Can you tell them apart?

Cartman and J.R. Ewing. Separated at birth?

Television has a rich history of evil TV characters fans love to hate. From J.R. Ewing to Montgomery Burns, their scheming ways have made memorable storylines.

So what happens when you combine J.R. and Burns and toss in a little Archie Bunker, and what do you get?

The perfect heel character in Eric Cartman from South Park. Much like J.R. back in the day on Dallas, Cartman has become the star on the animated Comedy Central series, as this NPR article explains - succeeding in his evilness where other characters (notably Stewie Griffin from Family Guy and Dr. Smith from Lost in Space) have failed.

Artie Lange out at Howard Stern's show

Yep, he gone. And the biggest surprise here is the incident wasn't staged.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Newest inductee into The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall of Shame

You don't need a ceremony to be the newest inductee into the T Dog Media Blog TV Hall of Shame - all you have to do is debut a new show that's bad right off the bat - and get canceled after one episode. And that's exactly what happened with CBS' Secret Talents of the Stars.

Enter the The T Dog Media Blog TV Hall of Shame (at your own risk!) and scroll way down.

Tough year for CBS... First the Kid Nation debacle, then Viva Laughlin, ratings for Survivor and Big Brother are starting to sag, the layoffs at CBS-owned radio and TV stations, and now Katie Couric may be leaving. Hate to be Les Moonves right now!

Katie Couric out at CBS?

According to the Wall Street Journal. CBS denies the reports, but look - we all know the handwriting's on the wall when you get beaten in the ratings by reruns of According to Jim (ugh.)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Inside the CBS job cuts

"The message being sent is, if you succeed in your job, you succeed in your craft, look out! You're too expensive."

- Tom Petner,, quoted in "CBS layoffs signal in a financial squeeze on TV stations" article in the Los Angeles Times today.

That quote can be attributed to any industry these days, but nowhere where it rings more than true is in TV journalism. This article looks inside the recent CBS job cuts, which eliminated 160 jobs in 13 markets over the last few weeks, including 18 at WBBM-TV in Chicago.

With the cuts, it may be harder for the struggling station group to attract viewers to its newscasts - for one, KCBS-TV in Los Angeles fell 40 percent in household ratings in February for its perennial last-place 11 p.m. newscast, compared to the same time month in 2007, thanks in part to the writers' strike. KCBS recently cut long-time anchors anchors Harold Greene and Ann Martin.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

'XRT format lands in L.A.

Bonneville's new acquistion, KRBV-FM (100.3) didn't change its call letters, but the station once known for Scott Shannon's "Pirate Radio" and "The Beat" is now known for "The Sound".

KRBV launched an Adult Album Alternative (a.k.a AAA, or Triple A) format on Tuesday, similiar to heritage outlet WXRT-FM in Chicago and Bonneville's WDRV-FM, The Drive (listed on R&R as a Classic Rock station.) 

Core arists include Bruce Springsteen, Los Lonely Boys, Talking Heads, The Police, and The Doors.

Meanwhile, the syndicated fare which used to be on KRBV before the switchover (when it was known as Urban AC- formatted V100) has moved to KDAY-FM, and it includes programs from TD Jakes and Donnie McClurkin, as well as KRBV's events, including "The Taste of Soul" and "Superfest". KDAY also picked up a new syndicated midday show featuring Monique (The Parkers) beginning this summer. 

It's like rooting between a giant douche and a turd sandwich

America's Next Top Model is under fire again - this time from the Parents Television Council, for nudity. The title of this post pretty much says it all.

"Ellen" coming to town

The hokey daytime talk show will be in Chi-Town for one day during May sweeps, taping an episode on May 3. No word on any guests (forget Oprah and Jerry), but I'm certain a Chicago Cub or two may show up. The show is likely to tape at NBC Tower, given Ellen's affiliate here (WMAQ-TV) airs the program at 3 p.m. each weekday.

Ellen has been gaining on Oprah in the ratings the last few months, and was recently upgraded to 4 p.m. in New York at WNBC (until the fall).

Suggestion: Here's a guest for Ellen's Chicago visit... How about Steve Dahl? He'll put a stop to any disco dancing nonsense she may try...

Support your local TV critic

A vanishing breed in the business nowadays, TV critics are being the odd individuals out in newspaper cutbacks (with an example being the recent departure of Sun-Times critic Doug Elfman.) If this keeps up, we might not have enough critics to participate in the semi-annual TV Critics' Poll in TV Week...

While Hollywood may be happier over this, a local perspective is clearly being lost - although many critics write about the same programs over and over, while ignoring what's going on in their local market, which is unfortunate. The Arizona Republic TV critic (Bill Goodykoontz) is the best example of this, who is the absolutely the worst (or was - they moved him to the pop culture beat.)

Monday, April 07, 2008

The force won't be with us

A special Star Wars Deal or No Deal edition is scheduled to air April 28. As a Star Wars fan, this saddens me. Thank goodness I won't be home this night to participate in the funeral. Is there anything on earth this game show hasn't destroyed? What's next, a special Simpsons edition? I can see it now, with Mr. Burns as The Banker. Excellent.

Spike gets "Married" (and mysteries, too)

More cable news: Male-oriented cable network Spike has acquired the rights to air all 259 episodes of the former Fox comedy Married... With Children beginning in September in a deal worth $12 million.

Married... was Fox's first-ever prime time series (premiering on April 5, 1987), and was the first Fox sitcom to be sold in syndication.

The deal with Sony Pictures Television is for five years with the Viacom-owned cable network paying around $50,000 per episode. Spike plans to run the show in daytime, early fringe, and late fringe time periods.

The program currently airs on FX, but also had a few local broadcast deals, including Fox's duopoly in Los Angeles (where it ran as much as four times a day at one point) and WCIU-TV here in Chicago.

All of those existing contracts end in August, as Spike picks up exclusive rights to the show, plus streaming rights on and 40 six-minute "webisodes".

Spike also acquired the rights to Unsolved Mysteries, the former NBC and CBS series once hosted by Robert Stack. Chicagoan Dennis Farina will host the new wraparound segments, which will update the stories. Mysteries moved to Lifetime in 2000, where it ran repeat and first-run episodes.

Trivia: Married... With Children (1987-97) was a raunchy family comedy you can pretty much call the "Family Guy" of its day - hated by TV critics, parents (namely a Michigan housewife), and many others - but loved by fans.

When the program was sold into syndication in 1990, NBC-owned WMAQ-TV became the first network affiliate in a major market to purchase a off-network sitcom for airing in "prime access" (6:30 p.m.) since the Prime Time Access Rule (PTAR) went into effect in 1971, which barred network affiliates in the 50 largest markets from airing off-network fare in the hour before prime-time (PTAR was repealed in 1996.) Fox was not considered a network at the time by the FCC, because it did not program more than fifteen hours a week in prime per the Financial Interest and Syndication Rules (fin-syn), which barred the Big 3 networks from the syndication business from 1970 until the rules' demise in 1995.

Married... entered syndication in 1991 and was a huge hit for WMAQ, but was dropped from the station in March 1995 due to a cost-cutting move, which sent the program packing to WGN-TV. The program airs on WCIU today.

The dysfunctional family influence of Married... has lived on in comedies ranging from Everybody Loves Raymond to Family Guy, from That '70's Show to The Bernie Mac Show. For better or for worse, the Bundys changed the way we looked at family comedies forever.

"Project Runway" moves to Lifetime

NBC sues to keep show on Bravo

In a move that surprises everyone in the industry, Lifetime snared the rights to Bravo's hot reality fashion series Project Runway, in a five-year deal with the show's production company, The Weinstein Co.

NBC Universal, the owner of Bravo, has filed suit against the move, saying it had the right of first refusal of the show, and claims it did not get an opportunity to match the offer.

Weinstein said the suit is "without merit".

Runway recently concluded its fourth season on Bravo March 5, where it drew 5.8 million viewers total and drew 4.3 million among adults 18-49.

Project Runway is hosted by former supermodel Heidi Klum.

The sad state of local TV

Last week's purge at the CBS O&Os is just another reminder of how tough things are going on the local TV level, especially in the newsrooms. This article from the Baltimore Sun details how things are really going in the market's local station community, where CBS' WJZ-TV laid off four people last week and ABC affiliate WMAR-TV axed three employees.

Strange thing about it, the GM at market leader WBAL-TV (NBC) says television viewing is at record levels...

T Dog's Think Tank: NBC encourging you to become a pirate

A deal was struck this week that may encourage people to join the Pirates.

No, not the Pittsburgh Pirates, though they need all the help they can get.

I'm talking about the world of download piracy.

NBC last week renewed Friday Night Lights for a third season. The critically-acclaimed drama has struggled in the ratings for the past two seasons on both Tuesday and Friday nights.

But there's a catch. A huge catch. The third season will appear exclusively on satellite TV service Direct TV in the fall while NBC will start airing the program in February.


That's right. NBC struck a deal with Direct TV for the satellite service to air 13 episodes, in order to share production costs.

This deal is not without precedent. Last year, NBC struck a deal with Direct TV to air the daytime soap Passions, which the peacock network canceled last season.

Your truly thinks it's great Friday Night Lights is able to come back for a third season. But I have some reservations about this deal.

Why? Well, for one thing, NBC could've put the program on USA or Bravo, for one thing, since NBC owns both networks. NBC already has new episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent on USA first with a later run on NBC. Don't know if that move would cut production costs, but if Monk and Psych can run on USA, then maybe Friday Night Lights could as well.

And then, think of all the poor saps who subscribe to Dish Network... No Friday Night Lights for you.

And so, fans who are shut out will now have to wait until February to watch Friday Night Lights.

Or not.

If new episodes aren't streamed on or Hulu this fall, viewers will likely resort to downloading the program illegally - via BitTorrent and other file-sharing services, which could erode NBC's viewership for the show when it comes back. The studios have been fighting against such activities, which amounts to piracy.

The bottom line is, NBC should have made a better deal than this. Now it's going to head to Direct TV, which shuts out the majority of the fans - many of which are now going to illegally download the show - making NBC Universal look like hypocrites, and further endangering the future of the show. Futhermore, this move undermines the studios' effort on combating piracy.

What is it with this Country Club mentality all of a sudden? Just because you don't have a certain satellite service, you're being shut out of your favorite TV show? Having just cable isn't good enough anymore? There should be a level of concern raised here.

But what else you expect from Ben "Bulls Ballboy" Silverman, with a 2008-09 lineup that is mediocre at best.

Some fans who don't have Direct TV are not going to wait around for Friday Nights Lights. They will find some way to get those episodes by any means necessary - except signing up with Direct TV. No one is going to get satellite or switch from cable just to watch a single TV show.

So the next time the major studios whine about illegal downloading and piracy, maybe they should whine to one of their own. After all, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Blame Canada

WARNING: Contains spoilers.

It's a time-honored tradition among animated comedies to rip on Canada, so it's no surprise South Park put the entire country on strike in last Wednesday's episode to poke fun at the WGA labour (yes, labour) mess.

When the South Park boys found out Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel (who's Canadian) was replaced by Jim Belushi, they quickly sprung into action (all right, I made that up - I just wanted to take another shot at According to Jerk boy...)

They made an video featuring Meg Griffin - oops, I mean Robert Barone - oops, again - I mean Butters, put it on a popular video website, and made a lot of money to give to Canada so they can settle the strike and watch new episodes of their favourite Canadian comedy, Terrance & Phillip (that's still on? Must be in its' 19th season...)

The boys later met with the World Canadian Bureau, whose initials - for some strange reason - were WGA.

Reaction to this episode was mixed at best, while yours truly thought this episode was somewhat disjointed (last week's episode with the title Major Boobage was actually funnier.) However, it got the job done when it took a shot at the WGA heads.

Did you catch this?: In a scene when the boys were channel surfing, they landed on a rather familiar show in which Cartman raced to the set and quickly turned it off. Guess he doesn't care for Wait Til Your Father Gets Home either... (LOL... was that Chris Griffin or Chet Boyle?)

It's King of this Hill

While the other animated comedies have been hit-or-miss this season (quite often on the miss side), there is one under-the-radar show that has been consistent.

Fox's King of the Hill is coming back for its thirteenth season with thirteen episodes. All the show's principals are returning, including creator Mike Judge.

Hill doesn't garner the same type of attention The Simpsons, South Park and Family Guy gets, but that's just fine with the cast and the show's fans.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Blackhawks sign with WGN-TV

The Chicago Blackhawks announced on Tuesday that the team's entire 82-game schedule will be shown on television.

And this is not - I repeat, not - an April Fool's joke.

The Blackhawks signed a deal with WGN-TV on Tuesday, making 20 or so games available to the Tribune-owned station, marking the first time since 1980 games have been made available to local broadcasters.

WGN plans to carry the games in HD, but there are no WGN Superstation broadcasts planned.

However, it is not known if some of the games will end up on WCIU-TV, which WGN produces games for on occasion. WGN plans to produce the 20 games.

The Blackhawks were courting WGN as well as WPWR-TV for a local broadcast outlet.

The deals reverses a long-standing policy regarding telecasts of home games, which were forbidden because of fear of affecting attendance. In recent years, only a handful of home telecasts were allowed, including all playoff games.

WGN carried Hawks road games in the 1960's and early 1970's, including the Stanley Cup clincher in 1961. The Hawks also made stops at WFLD-TV and WSNS-TV before migrating to subscription TV service ON-TV in 1980 and later, SportsVision and SportsChannel Chicago. Blackhawks games currently air on Comcast SportsNet.

The move also marks a reversal of sorts as many NHL teams have left local broadcasters behind for exclusive cable deals. Among teams with exclusive cable TV rights include the Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and five of the six Canadian teams. (CHRO-TV in Pembroke, Ontario is the only local station in all of Canada that has a local broadcast deal with an NHL team - the Ottawa Senators.) Canadian teams though, are featured prominently on CBC's Hockey Night In Canada.

Teams that have a hybrid cable/broadcast deal include the Dallas Stars (KDFI and FSN Southwest), Minnesota Wild (KSTC and FSN North) and the St. Louis Blues (KPLR and FSN Midwest.) The cable nets usually produces the games for the local broadcaster.

Channel 2 shuffles anchor decks

In light of the departures of Diann Burns, Mary Ann Childers, and Mark Malone, CBS-owned WBBM-TV has realigned its anchor lineup. To read about the changes, click here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NBC announces new lineup for 2008-09 season

For the first time in 30 years, a network has made an early announcement of their fall line-up.

NBC announced its 2008-09 lineup early, which features several new (and old) programs, including a revival of Knight Rider and a spin-off of The Office, which it and the mothership are landing plush slots after the Super Bowl.

The last new show to launch after the Super Bowl was Family Guy in 1999.

The causality list included Bionic Woman (good riddance) and 1 vs. 100 (why, NBC?), while ER is ending after fifteen seasons next spring (thankfully.)

Among the notables items, Heroes returns on Sept. 15 with a three-hour extravaganza. Plus, a half-hour version Saturday Night Live will air in a Thursday night time slot for four weeks, with sketches skewered toward the Presidential election.

There are three sets of schedules: one for autumn 2008 (with only four new shows), one for winter/spring 2009, and one for summer 2009.

NBC changed its development process this year, forgoing expensive pilots and decided not to hold a traditional upfront presentation.

To see the new schedule and to find out what the new shows are, click here.

Welcome back, Allison!

Longtime WGN-TV anchor Allison Payne returns to the anchor chair at 9 p.m. beginning on Monday after suffering a series of mini-strokes that has kept her off the air for the last three months.

Tribune hires Compton for new TV post

Another hiring to report (now that's more like it...)

The Tribune Co. has hired radio veteran Sean Compton to senior VP of programming and entertainment for the 23-station Tribune group, which includes WGN-TV.

Compton replaces Marc Schacher, who is stepping down after 29 years with the company. Schacher was behind the Tribune group purchases of programs such as Friends, Two and a Half Men, Family Guy, and most recently, the new action hour Wizard's First Rule from Disney-ABC Domestic Distribution.

Brant Miller returns home

After the last few days, it's great to announce a hiring for a change!

WMAQ-TV meteorologist Brant Miller is returning to his roots at the frequency he used to work show. Miller has been hired as morning personality at Oldies outlet WZZN-FM (94.7) starting Monday, where he will hold down the 6 to 10 a.m. shift (Miller will continue in his meteorologist role at the NBC-owned station.)

Miller was evening personality at WLS-AM in its Top 40 heyday, beginning in 1977. Beginning in the mid-1980s, he was also heard on a simulcast with WLS-FM. He jumped to the FM side full time in early 1986 when WLS-FM split from its AM sister and became WYTZ-FM (Z95), a CHR/Top 40 outlet designed to compete more effectively with WBBM-FM (B96), which had the same format. He left the station in 1991 when WYTZ changed formats and joined WMAQ-TV as a part-time meteorologist (he also had a two year stint beforehand in the same role at WFLD-TV.)

Miller also hosted a local countdown show at WYTZ.

Even more layoffs at CBS

This is really getting sad...

- Chicago: This time, coming from the radio side: two female on-air personalities are out at WBBM-FM (B96) - overnighter Candi Gomez and midday jock Roxanne Steele, with their contracts not being renewed. A new personality from Miami is going to take Steele's place, while the overnight position is not being filled.

Anyone want to take any bets regarding Edde & JoBo's future at the station? Their contract is up in 2009. And right now, it's not looking so good...

- Los Angeles: KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV have sent longtime Los Angeles anchors Harold Greene and Ann Martin packing after their contracts expire later this spring, with two others from the on-air news team also out and union technical personnel are being offered buyouts.

Much like what happened here in Chicago with WBBM-TV, KCBS hired Greene and Martin from a popular ABC outlet (in this case KABC), and tried to rebuild their ratings with familiar personalities. Despite improved ratings, KCBS' newscasts trails still trails those of KABC.

Meanwhile, CBS News is laying off, with The Early Show losing five employees.

More layoffs at CBS O&Os

Back to serious business: The causality list at CBS just keeps on coming. In addition to the cuts at WBBM-TV on Monday:

- New York: WCBS-TV (which was home to "Black Wednesday" in 1996 when seven on-air personalities were laid off) dropped two correspondents, and canceled its Sports Sunday wrap-up show.

- Dallas: More layoffs at KTVT/KTXA, where several more were let go (scroll down) and there was nothing positive about public-affairs program Positively Texas getting positively canceled, with the market's first African-American female news anchor in Dallas (Iola Johnson) getted axed as well.

- San Francisco: KPIX-TV laid off fourteen people there, including veteran reporters Manny Ramos and Bill Schechner.

- Boston: Ratings-challenged WBZ-TV axed a whopping 30 employees, with the layoffs cutting across all departments, including the newsroom, interactive, promotions, sales, and engineering.

- Pittsburgh: KDKA-TV and WPCW-TV cut ten people (third item)

- Denver: KCNC-TV let six people go, with possibly more coming in the engineering department.

-Sacramento - KOVR-TV and KMAX-TV let two reporters go, as well as several other employees.

Our little prank for the day

Click on the image to see the little prank I pulled on April Fools' Day. This website "was taken over by Jim I think radio is dead Cramer." Oh, the horror!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

And another thing...

And on a personal note: The comments section in the Tribune over the Channel 2 layoffs has turned into a free-for-all, with yours truly joining in the fray (scroll way down. Flame war, baby!) Don't know how Family Guy and Adult Swim came up in all of this... but if yours truly is one of those responsible for sending the country downhill, I am so freaking proud of it. Obviously, the freedom of speech and the freedom of choice isn't important to a lot of people.

People like Kevin Martin of the FCC.

People like The Parents Television Council.

People like The American Family Association.

People who want to control the viewing habits of others.

People like those in Big Media.

And apparently, 98 percent of the idiots who post comments on the Tribune and Sun-Times websites (except those who bash Jay Mariotti.)

Now, you tell me who is really sending the country down the toilet.

So, if I am sending the country downhill, good. But keep in mind there is a man in the White House and his administration who has had an eight-year head start.