The 2015 T Dog Media Turkey Awards

south-park-s04e14c02-picking-a-turkey-16x9It’s that time of year again!

Welcome to the 10th annual T Dog Media Turkey Awards – awarding the worst in media, sports, and life in general. We have 22 turkeys to hand out, so let’s get going!

Chicago Media. Here’s an idea! Let’s run the video of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald over and over again so we can boost our sorry ratings! And at the same time, the family of the victim has to relieve this nightmare over and over again. In response to the atrocious coverage of the McDonald case – which included predicting the possibility of protests like it was a damn weather forecast, here’s another idea: maybe community leaders should urge the FCC to yank the licenses of the five local news stations here. The FCC action won’t happen, but it’s a thought.

The Chiraq Nonsense. Keep it here for your complete coverage about people whining over a name of a movie.

WGN-TV. During a story about the Yom Kippur holiday, the station mistakenly put up a Nazi symbol – one most offensive to the Jewish faith.

Chicago Tribune. For passing off Tom Skilling’s vacation as “Breaking News”, which yours truly called them out for.

Chicago Tribune Editorial Board. To Kristen McQueary in particular, who wrote a piece hoping Chicago would suffer the same fate New Orleans did after Katrina wrecked havoc on the city.

Mancow. As long as this imbecile is on the air here, he’ll always be on this list. What a puke.

Cumulus. Let’s see… you completely rig a morning show contest so you can bring Mantard back on the air, you employ a Kevin “Pig Virus” Methany wannabe in Jan Jeffries to run WLS-FM into the ground; and oh, your stock price is worth less than the price of a Jolly Rancher, forcing the already incompetent Dickey Brothers out. Congrats, you’ve replaced iHeartMedia as the worst radio chain the country. And I didn’t think that was possible.

Donald Trump. How can an racist, idiotic retard be eligible to run for public office? Oh, right.

Bruce Rauner. For wasting million of dollars in TV ads to break the recent stalemate down in Springfield where the state still has no budget. Money well spent.

Chicago Blackhawks. This team hasn’t made this list in years – and not to take away from their Stanley Cup Championship, but the way management handled Patrick Kane and his rape allegations during a September press conference left a lot of be desired. It was so “Chicago Way-ish”.

Chicago White Sox. Thanks for another forgettable season.

Philadelphia 76ers. When they made the list last year, they were 0-15. This year, they’re 0-16. What an improvement!

Harold McReynolds. During the MLB playoffs, his commentary made people actually yearn for Tim McCarver.

Bastard Executioner. From the normally sharp Kurt Sutter (Sons Of Anarchy), this FX drama was a dud from the start. Over and out after one season.

Heroes: Reborn. Saying this reboot was a bad idea is like putting butter on a biscuit.

Wicked City. Bonnie and Clyde were antagonists and were interesting (real-life) characters. The antagonists in this show were more like cardboard cutouts with no personality. Season’s first cancellation.

Truth Be Told. An awful, unwatchable NBC sitcom – oh wait, there’s plenty of those.

CSI: Cyber. Already a waste of airtime when it debuted last spring, a recent open showed a man getting attacked by a power drill.

Life In Pieces. Four stories, one ending – hey didn’t Seinfeld do this? And a whole lot better?

The Muppets. Thought setting this classic in a more adult setting would generate lots of laughs. Boy was I wrong.

Best Time Ever. Yours truly likes Neil Patrick Harris, a very talented guy. But this went off the rails quick. More like Worst Time Ever.

People who use terms like “Too much TV” and “Peak TV”. Your plane is boarding.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Broadcast Networks, Chicago Media , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tyra Banks exits “FAB Life”

the_fab_hosts_a_lDeparture comes after only two months on air

Guess Tyra Banks wasn’t cut out for the “Fab Life”.

After just two months as lead host and executive producer, the former supermodel and host of America’s Next Top Model is bailing out of the sinking ship known as The FAB Life, to focus on her recently-launched cosmetics line.

In a statement, Banks said the following:

“This is a very difficult decision, but necessary. I will be devoting more time to my new, growing cosmetics company, TYRA Beauty, which is expanding faster than anticipated, as well as overseeing my company’s other entertainment ventures. I will, however, continue to support the growth and success of FABLife and greatly admire my fellow co-hosts and the talented production team behind the show.”

The decision to leave comes as ratings for the daytime syndicated talk show strip continue to be disappointing. Debuting on September 14, FABLife – which has a lineup of mostly ABC owned-and-operated stations and affiliates (including WLS-TV in Chicago), is trailing behind fellow freshman Warner Bros.’Crime Watch Daily and barely ahead of NBCUniversal’s cheap-to-produce Crazy Talk, in both households and women 25-54. Ratings for FAB have actually been decent in Chicago and in New York City, according to a report last month in the New York Post.

Reports surfaced in the same Post article on some backstage turmoil involving Banks as she often clashed with higher-ups at Disney-ABC Domestic Television Distribution, who produces and syndicates the show. Banks missed some tapings earlier this month, due to her hectic schedule.

Even though yours truly gave FAB Life a passing grade on Twitter, critics have been less generous. During an appearance at the TCA Press Tour last summer, Banks didn’t really seem to be upbeat about the show. Little wonder FAB Life received atrocious reviews.

With Banks’ departure, FAB is left with only four hosts: Chrissy Teigen, Joe Zee, Lauren Makk, and Leah Ashley. Banks plans to serve as executive producer until next month.

Banks’ exit also means her salary comes off the books with no one taking her place, making the show a little bit more cost-effective. But even though Teigen has a strong Twitter and Instagram following, Banks’ has stronger name recognition, and was sold to stations based on it. Making things more iffy, Teigen is expected to go maternity leave soon, as she is expecting her first child with her husband singer-songwriter, John Legend.

With FAB Life losing their number one attraction – and another due to maternity leave, a second season of this show may be in doubt. However, syndicators have been very slow to announce new programming for next fall (just Harry Connick Jr.’s daytime show so far), so if FAB Life gets renewed for a second season, it won’t be because of strong ratings, that’s for sure.

Syndication, Television , , , , , , , , , ,

Cumulus shifts radio stations to NBC Tower

NBC_Tower_070723It’s an end of an era at the Merchandise Mart.

Cumulus Media, the owner of WLS-AM/FM and operator of WLUP-FM and WKQX-FM announced Wednesday they are consolidating their operations in their new home at the NBC Tower next year, as first reported by Robert Feder.

Both WLS stations are at 190 N. State St, where they have been for 25 years. WKQX has been based in the Merchandise Mart since 1948 when it was known as WMAQ-FM, co-owned by NBC with its AM counterpart and WNBQ-TV (which changed to the WMAQ calls in 1964.) WKQX went through call letter and format changes in its 67-year history at the Mart, including two stints as an all-news station and two stints as a Hot AC outlet. WKQX is currently in its second stint as an alternative rock outlet.

When NBC divested its radio division, WKQX (sold to Emmis) remained at the Mart while WMAQ-AM (sold to Group W, which later merged with CBS) moved to the NBC Tower with the NBC-owned TV station in 1989, after 60+ years at the Mart. CBS Radio closed WMAQ in 2000 and moved WSCR-AM to the 670 frequency. WSCR now resides in the Prudential Building.

Come March 1, both WLUP and WKQX will temporarily relocate to 190 N. State until the NBC Tower offices are ready.

In other local Cumulus news, WLS-FM announced it is moving Dick Biondi from his late-night 11 p.m.-2 a.m. shift, (move was criticized by many fans) to weekend mornings from 6-10 a.m. Saturdays and 7-10 a.m. on Sundays. Biondi, 83, first started his Chicago radio career at WLS-AM in 1960.

Chicago Media, Radio , , , , , , , , , ,

When Trump had a game show

Donald Trump and Jimmy Cefalo in 1990 game show flop Trump Card (Warner Bros.)

Donald Trump and Jimmy Cefalo in 1990 game show flop Trump Card (Warner Bros.)

Trump had a game show? It’s true. His name headlined a flop in 1990-91 

These days, real estate mogul Donald Trump is grabbing headlines as a Republican Presidential Candidate – for better or worse, but 25 years ago Trump had his own game show.

Yes, he actually had a game show – well, his name was slapped on one.

Here how the deal went down: In 1989, Trump and officials from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution created a syndicated game show that would be taped at one of Trump’s casinos, the Trump Castle at Atlantic City (now the Golden Nugget.) The show would be based on a long -running UK game show Bob’s Full House and was sold at the 1990 NATPE convention in New Orleans for the 1990-91 television season.

The program premiered on September 10, 1990 – but in a crowded field with three other game shows: debuting the same day were the revivals of Tic Tac Dough and The Joker’s Wild (these versions are both in the T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame) and The Quiz Kids Challenge. Yet another game show, The Challengers with host Dick Clark, debuted a week earlier.

Trump Card was hosted by former Miami Dolphins player and current Dolphins radio play-by-play announcer Jimmy Cefalo. The game was simple: contestants answered questions to fill in a bingo card. In the second round, contestants were given a “Trump Card” to use to slow progress of their opponents. First contestant to fill their card won and advanced to the bonus round where they had 45 seconds to answer questions in a linear fashion on another card.

Unlike the first three game shows mentioned above, which were stuck in late-night slots on some stations (Both Joker’s and Tic Tac aired locally on NBC-owned WMAQ from 1:30 a.m.-2:30 a.m.), Trump Card had better time periods, airing in key early fringe (afternoon) and prime access (6-8 p.m. ET) time slots. In Chicago, Trump aired at 11 a.m. weekdays over CBS-owned WBBM-TV.

But like all the other new programs, Trump underperformed its lead-in and year-ago (1989) time period rating and share. As a result, the show was either downgraded to lesser slots or canceled altogether. How poorly was it received? In St. Louis, ratings doubled when CBS affiliate KMOV yanked it from its 6:30 p.m. time slot after four weeks to 2 a.m. and replaced it reruns of Love Connection. Yes, reruns.

Ratings also doubled in Hartford, when Fox affiliate WTIC replaced it and Challengers after three weeks with reruns of Star Trek: The Next Generation at 7 p.m. Then-CBS affiliate WITI in Milwaukee dropped Trump from its 6:30 p.m. prime access slot and returned Entertainment Tonight to the time period.

Other stations decided to chuck the show altogether, including then-CBS affiliates WJBK-TV in Detroit and WAGA-TV in Atlanta. In November 1990, Trump Card earned only a 1.6 household rating – which would actually be a hit in today’s fragmented atmosphere.

The chain reaction of downgrades and cancellations continued, not only to Trump Card, but to all the new game shows. Quiz Kids didn’t last through the calendar year. Tic Tac Dough was canceled in March 1991. Joker’s Wild – which was one of the worst game show remakes ever – was replaced by a new version of $100,000 Pyramid in January 1991 in some markets. Trump Card actually held on to its 11 a.m. slot here as ABC-owned WLS-TV moved Challengers to 2:30 a.m. and filled its former 3 p.m. slot with Inside Edition, where it remains to this day.

In May 1991, Warner Bros. finally pulled the plug on Trump Card. According to Electronic Media, the show only scored higher ratings than Tic Tac and weekly shows Video Challenge and The Krypton Factor, meaning no 1990-91 freshman game shows made it to a second season. There would not be another new syndicated hit game show until Hollywood Squares returned to the air in 1998.

Odd thing is – even with his name on the show – Donald Trump appeared in only one episode of Trump Card – the premiere (which you can view below.) Even if he made more appearances, it wouldn’t have made a difference as viewers stuck with tried and true favorites Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, and Family Feud – all continue to this day, though Feud did have a four-year break. Blame Trump Card’s failure on too much competition in the game show genre at the time and a format not exactly enticing.

Donald Trump, of course, would find greater success fourteen years later with The Apprentice for NBC and its spin-off, Celebrity Apprentice. The former drew an average of 20 million viewers a week in its first season.

But with Trump Card, It just goes to show you not everything with the Trump name turned to gold.

(Buzzerblog and Wikipedia contributed to this report.)

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

T Dog’s Media Notepad: Colbert to follow Super Bowl

p10703384_b_v7_abAlso: Bears score on the field in the ratings in Chicago; Wicked City dies.

How bad is broadcast prime-time programming is this year? So bad, they can’t even get a prime slot after the Super Bowl: CBS announced Wednesday it has given the post-game lead-out to a live edition of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on February 7, marking the first-time a late night talk show is leading out of the Super Bowl.

CBS had some ideal choices for the huge slot: the recently-launched Supergirl, The Big Bang Theory, Limitless, and Survivor, who launched its Australian OutBack edition after Super Bowl XXXV. But CBS went with Colbert, and Is also planning a new Late Late Show With James Corden the same night, after local news.

In the past, networks would launch new programming after the Super Bowl, but only three shows hit: The A-Team, The Wonder Years, and Family Guy, though the show struggled initially and was actually canceled twice. Nets then started using veteran shows, hoping to give them a boost. Airing a late-night show on Super Bowl Night isn’t without precedent – a episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live aired the night of Super Bowl XXXVII, but after local news and an episode of Alias.

ChicagoBearsHelmet2– And prime-time programming is dealt another embarrassment: despite hitting a season low, the Monday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers dominated the ratings, beating all broadcast prime-time shows both locally and nationally. Despite featuring two subpar teams, the game drew 11.4 million viewers, down 7 percent from last year’s Giants-Colts matchup a year ago, and drew a 4.2 adults 18-49 rating.

In Chicago, the game drew a 10.2 rating for WCIU and a 12.1 on ESPN. In San Diego, where the game started at 5:30 p.m., CBS affiliate KFMB drew a 19.6 and an 11.7 for ESPN.

In other Monday night rating news, NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Dancing With The Stars defeated CBS’ heavily hyped Supergirl, with the latter falling to a series low 1.7 in adults 18-49 – down 45 percent from the 3.1 it premiered with just two weeks ago. Guess more people would rather see people sing and dance than watch a well-crafted story.

maxresdefault– The end has come for ABC’s Wicked City. The critically-maligned show about a serial killer and his girlfriend stalking L.A. in the 1980’s finished with a 0.4 adults 18-49 last Tuesday, a historic low for the network. ABC canceled the show Friday, though it did so while much of the world was focused on the Paris attacks. Wicked City is the season’s first cancellation.

Keeping the program on the schedule would continue to do damage to ABC affiliates’ late newscasts. In Chicago, WLS is in a dogfight with WMAQ in the 25-54 demo at 10 p.m. though has a two-point lead over the NBC-owned station in households.

This comes as the major networks are reluctant to cancel poor-performing shows – even if it means hurting the overall network average. A cast member of NBC’s Truth Be Told tweeted a picture of the set being torn down, but the network continues to refuse comment on the show’s fate. NBC slashed Truth’s episode order to ten recently.

– Speaking of which, an item in a recent Think Tank noted the Fox soap Pasadena disappeared after a few episodes in 2001 and never heard from again. Turns out Fox did return the drama to the schedule to finish out its run in July 2002 according to Wikipedia, but most viewers were preoccupied with some hot new show called American Idol

Meet WLIT’s newest DJ. He’s a seasonal worker. (Credit: Chicago Business Journal)

– It begins… iHeartMedia’s Hot AC station WLIT-FM is jingle bells station WLIT-FM. Beginning Thursday, WLIT started playing Christmas music to the delight of many and to the consternation to others. WLIT always dominates by far in the next two ratings periods, sometimes by a near 2-to-1 margin. Since Christmas music disrupts listening patterns and tends to draw ears away from other stations (except for a few formats), look for the next meaningful ratings period in January.

Other notes for further reading:

Chicago Tribune bids adieu to several dozen staffers as they take buyouts

It’s official: Cubs head to The Score next spring

Milt Rosenberg out at WCGO-AM (1590)

Jon Hansen exits DNA Info Chicago to join WCIU’s You And Me In The Morning

Broadcast Networks, Chicago Media, Local TV (Chicago), Radio, Sports, Television

Think Tank Express: Chicago, you have a problem

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

With corruption, high taxes, and gang violence, Chicago has become an international embarrassment and may never recover 

If you’ve read this blog for the last ten years, then you know yours truly doesn’t just write about the media business. I’ve also written about Chicago and its image problems.

The latest international embarrassment came last week when a nine-year old was gunned down by gang members in the city’s Auburn Gresham neighborhood, the same area where yours truly graduated from high school 25 years ago, Leo High.

The murder angered community leaders and the such. But the murderer hasn’t been caught.

To no one’s surprise, the crime has caught international attention, which crimes of this stature usually does now from Chicago. But Len Cannon, an anchor reporting the story for Tegna-owned CBS affiliate KHOU in Houston asked where was the outrage over this senseless killing (You can click here to see the full video.)

So how come no news figures on any of Chicago’s news stations ask similar questions? Where are the Walter Jacobsons? The Len O’Connors? Why is the outrage coming from a local news station in Houston and not here?

Maybe local stations are more concerned about expanding their newscasts and ranking in more political revenue than providing in-depth analysis on issues like Chicago’s violence epidemic – and no, wall-to-wall coverage of Spike Lee’s Chiraq movie – another embarrassment to Chicago – doesn’t count. The National Association of Broadcasters goes on and on about how great broadcasters serve their communities but yet stumble on urban issues. It’s a crock of bullshit. As I said before, local stations need to EARN their licenses.

So it goes on and on. Yeah, yours truly has railed against this before – read here, here, here, here, and here. Oh yeah, and don’t forget this. Of course this is a place where more people are outraged over Garry Meier’s unemployment, WGN Radio management, and what Cheryl Scott is wearing on-air than more important issues. Where corruption runs rampant and not only in politics. Where else can a has-been fucktard like Mancow can get on the air again and be hypocritical about it?

Chicago is a national laughingstock and no one here cares… all you have to look and see how Chicago has lost more African-American TV homes than any other large market – sliding from second-largest to fourth in the last ten years – even behind Washington D.C. African-Americans are heading for the exits as the city’s black community continues to lose more and more clout.

And it won’t be long before other aspects are felt. Tourism is already down. Radio stations’ revenue is down from a year ago. And more and more people are leaving the Chicago area, which would no doubt have an impact on ad revenue in the future. Look at Detroit, St. Louis, and Cleveland and ask me why smaller markets in the South are pulling in more revenue than they are.

But what can you say? Yours truly has said it for ten years. There is nothing much more left to be said. Read my previous articles on Chicago’s image. Just slap today’s date on the post, there is no difference.

Chicago Media, Journalism, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Heroes: Reborn” should’ve stayed dead


This useless reboot tells you all you need to know about the state of broadcast network prime-time television

Didn’t I tell you? Didn’t I?

Didn’t I tell you the new Heroes: Reborn would be a disaster?

I told you – right here in this space in February 2014 – about how bad an idea rebooting Heroes was. And it turns out I was right (don’t celebrate this fact, for the love of God.)

Yours truly was willing to give the show a second chance, and I did. Heroes: Reborn did drop on September 24 as advertised and as you would guessed, ratings aren’t impressive. After starting at a 2.0 Adults 18-49 rating, the series has plunged to a 1.1 – a nearly 50 percent drop. And the number is even lower than its ill-fated 2009-10 final season.

So what do we have so far… Evos – there are a lot of them. Then there are these multiple black guys who look like Arsenio Hall chasing these Evoses around, showing up in the most unexpected places – it’s like something from a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Then there’s a Japanese girl who is trapped in a video game – reminds me of those stupid QuestWorld CGI sequences from 1996 flop The Real Adventures Of Johnny Quest, another reboot that never should have happened. And then there’s Mr. Bennett, who is looking for his daughter Claire (Hayden Panettiere, who is not in this revival) who died and is looking for answers – with a gun of course. No one wants to see Bennett running around acting like he’s Jake Doyle from Republic Of Doyle, a Canadian series with far better acting and writing.

There are two Illinois kids on the show, but they’re useless since they can’t make Gov. Rauner or Mike Madigan permanently disappear. Oddly enough, one of them – who is a high school freshman – is Claire’s son. My, they grow up rapidly. He must’ve grown up in the time it takes to get from O’Hare Airport to the Clark/Lake station on the CTA Blue Line.

After watching eight episodes, it’s time to declare this show a failure, both ratings-wise and creatively. The bad acting, writing, and special effects are in Heroes: Reborn just as they were in the original series.

I’ll spare you any further thoughts – last year’s piece was sufficient enough. You can read it for my thoughts on Tim Kring and the show.

And NBC thought this was a good idea to bring this show back?

As long as the broadcast networks continue to employ dum-dums in the executive suites instead of innovative people, this is going to be the norm as broadcast primetime network TV continues its march to the afterlife.

Grade: D-.

Broadcast Networks, Television , , , , , ,

T Dog’s Media Notepad: WMAQ may add more news

Formerly known as T Dog’s Groovy Grab Bag, T Dog’s Grab Bag and The Grab Bag and maybe 100 other ridiculous names

NBCOTS_Vector– Is WMAQ looking to add a 4 p.m. newscast? A report on Monday suggests several NBC-owned stations may be looking to add another hour of news at 4 p.m. in 2016 in order to take advantage of the influx of political advertising headed to local news stations.

Currently, Warner Bros.’ Ellen occupies the 4 p.m. early fringe time slot on WNBC in New York and KNBC in Los Angeles, and at 3 p.m. on WMAQ in Chicago. WMAQ airs the long-running Extra at 4, leading into a local newscast at 4:30 p.m. Extra generally airs in prime access (7 or 7:30 p.m.) in other NBC O&O markets.

The NBC-owned stations recently passed on Harry Connick Jr.’s new syndicated daytime show, which went to Fox. Connick is distributed by sister company NBCUniveral Television Distortion.

With The Meredith Vieira Show likely ending this season and the NBC O&Os yet to pick up a replacement, all signs could point to an afternoon local news expansion, which would shift Steve Harvey and Ellen an hour earlier in some markets. Since WMAQ would not have room for Extra, the show could head for another outlet. Not all NBC-owned stations carry Extra; the magazine show is airing on non-NBC stations in San Diego and Washington D.C.

the real– Fox Television Stations announced it has renewed daytime talk show strip The Real for two more years, taking it through the 2017-18 season. The show has done best in urban markets where Fox owns stations, but was actually downgraded in a few markets. The series, from Warner Bros. Television, airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on Fox-owned WFLD and at 8 a.m. on sister station WPWR.

download– Fox has also renewed its pact to carry My Network TV’s programming service for the next two seasons, also taking it through the 2017-18 season. Since switching over to a format predominantly featuring drama repeats, ratings have grown and the venue has become profitable. MNT recently added Walking Dead reruns to its lineup.

Originally created as a replacement for UPN after the network merged with The WB to create The CW ten years ago, My Network TV debuted with nightly English-language telenovelas which were quickly replaced with reality TV fare. My Network became a programming service in 2009, excluding them from nightly ratings reports.

NBC– For the first time in history, none of the broadcast networks aired a sitcom on Monday night since CBS’ The Big Bang Theory returned to Thursday night this week, replaced by Supergirl. But never fear, comedy fans: beginning in January, NBC is scheduling two new sitcoms in the first hour of prime-time MondaysSuperstore and Telenovela, beginning January 4. Both shows – starring America Ferrera and Eva Longoria, respectively, will each have a special showing after The Voice with Superstore previewing Nov. 30 and Telenovela previewing Dec. 7.

ChicagoBearsHelmet2– Speaking of sitcoms…in what is bad news for “The Home Of The Bears”, Fox-owned WFLD is not scheduled to air any more Bears games in November. That’s because the NFL decided to flex Nov.16’s Bears-Rams game from St. Louis to CBS from Fox. The move was part of a larger announcement by the NFL for the following Sunday, flexing out Kansas City-San Diego out of Sunday Night Football and flexing in Cincinnati-Arizona, both teams with strong records.

CBS also holds the rights to air Broncos-Bears on November 22. The Bears play the San Diego Chargers this Monday night on ESPN and WCIU.

The loss is noticeable is the Bears games against the Vikings (Nov. 1) and Rams were the only ones on WFLD’s schedule for this sweeps month, which needs the games to promote the station and its ratings-challenged newscasts. Plus, WFLD is the official “Bears” station anointed by the team, which carries their propaganda – er, I mean programming. Despite a subpar performance on the field, the Bears still draw more viewers than any program in the Chicago market. A bad football team outdrawing most prime-time programming? Stop being so surprised.

-Resident assclown Mancow Mueller – who only got his current WLUP morning job because his Cumulushit bosses are even more retarded than he is, boasted to the Chicago Tribune recently he moved into a $2 million home in the North Shore suburb of Winnetka. This wouldn’t be newsworthy only given he took a shot at Chicago again. Like he did two years ago in a similar article, he whines about the parking, Obama voters (seriously…still?), the mayor, and the city’s morals. His whining plays out like a rerun of Everybody Loves Mancow… crank up the laugh track!

Of course he would talk about how bad Chicago is given it’s “The Chicago Way” atmosphere that gave him his current job at “The Loop” in the first place – thanks to a scam of a “morning show contest” his idiot bosses concocted so he could “win”. This shameful display lead yours truly to declare Chicago radio “the worst in the country”. Ratings for his garbage radio show are… you guessed it, in the toilet.

If Manshit hates Chicago so much, then maybe the fucking hypocrite should give up his job and his lofty paycheck at WLUP, based in the Merchandise Mart – in CHICAGO, but you know he won’t. Manclown should talk about “party girl vomit”… because he is vomit. What a fucking asshole.

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Star Trek” returns – for a price










The legendary series returns to the airwaves – but on CBS’ SVOD service

The Starship Enterprise is back in business. But if want you get on board, it’s going to cost you.

CBS announced Monday it was rebooting Star Trek, which would be the seventh television incarnation of the franchise.

But there is a catch.

It you want to see Star Trek, you would have to subscribe to CBS’ All Access subscription video on-demand service, which is $5.99 a month excluding taxes (which would apply in Chicago.)

All Access streams CBS’ large library of TV product, including your local CBS affiliate in some areas.

The premiere would air on CBS in January 2017 before heading to All Access exclusively. CBS already streams all other Star Trek television shows on All Access and on other platforms.

The new Star Trek series is also being distributed on multiple platforms and television internationally.

Using a new Star Trek show to bolster a platform isn’t new: Paramount used the premiere of Star Trek: Voyager to launch UPN in 1995. UPN was also home to Star Trek: Enterprise.

The decision to move the new Star Trek to a digital platform continues a trend of premium content heading to streaming services, rather than the traditional broadcast or cable route. It’s not known if the new Star Trek would be offered to broadcasters or cable networks in the States, though today’s announcement doesn’t seem to indicate that.

According to a statement released by CBS, the new Star Trek “will introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966.”

Alex Kurtman has been named Executive Producer of the project. He co-wrote the 2009 Star Trek movie and 2013 sequel Into Darkness with Roberto Orci, who is not part of the revival.

Star Trek celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, premiering on September 8, 1966 on NBC. The reruns’ popularity helped spawn several motion pictures, an animated series, and several TV sequels, including Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

The new Star Trek is not related to the new theatrical scheduled for release in the summer of 2016, Star Trek: Beyond. Since CBS and Viacom split from each other in 2005, Viacom’s Paramount Pictures has the rights to produce and distribute the Star Trek theatrical product; CBS and CBS Television Distribution own the rights to all Star Trek TV series. Viacom acquired Paramount in 1994 and CBS in 2000; CBS spun off Viacom in 1971 due to newly minted fin-syn rules at the time.

SciFi, Tech/New Media, Television , , , , , , ,

T Dog’s Think Tank: It’s canceled! Or is it?

"THe Muppets" is a ratings joke, but the joke's on us" it got picked up for three more episodes. (ABC)

“The Muppets” is a ratings joke, but the joke’s on us: it got picked up for three more episodes. (ABC)

Networks now playing games with viewers

Remember a few years ago when radio was tagged as a dying medium?

Now you can give the title to broadcast networks’ prime-time TV programming.

As more and more viewers are shifting to streaming services to watch their shows, the Big Five certainly aren’t giving a reason for viewers to stick around – renewing shows with a 1.0 adults 18-49 rating and instead of canceling shows, the nets are now “cutting the episode orders”, with gives lame-duck shows a chance to complete their airings- even If it means losing more viewers in the time slot, week after week.

You can hear media buyers just partying in the streets over this. “Since when does a 0.9 adults 18-49 merit a full-season pickup?” one media buyer fumed to Media Life regarding Fox’s renewal of The Grinder.

For the first time in recent memory, we are now in November and there isn’t one freshman prime-time show canceled.

Call it “The Jericho (or Lonestar or Playboy Club) Effect” – networks don’t want the negative publicity associated with officially canceling a program these days – no matter how bad it is. Networks canceled the above-mentioned shows early and faced criticism from TV critics and viewers, despite the small audiences they attracted. In Jericho’s case, fans sent CBS bags of peanuts to the network (the show did return to the air, only to bomb again.)

Yes, it makes no sense that a universally-loathed program like Truth Be Told would get its episode slashed to ten instead of just yanking the show, but the networks aren’t taking any chances.

This means once the episode orders run out, that’s it. What little fans of the show will pester the networks on when the show is coming back, but hope they go away.

There is precedent: Fox yanked soap Pasadena after a few episodes in 2001, put on hiatus and never was heard from again. NBC never officially canceled Deal Or No Deal when it disappeared from the network in 2009, although the syndicated version was officially canceled a year later.

What you are seeing here is basically the new realities of linear (or “live”) television – more and more viewers are time-shifting or putting off watching shows (thru streaming services, DVRs, etc.) for many reasons – and they keep increasing. For one, blame lifestyle changes: many viewers are coming home from work later (in addition to going to work earlier.) Yes, those days when can you clock in at 9 and clock out at 5 are over – well, for most of us (not yours truly.)

And then there’s competition from other linear programming – programming that’s actually live. The presidential debates have drained viewers away from prime-time programs, drawing 25 million viewers an airing. The Chicago Cubs’ playoff run has also siphoned away viewers – even a hot show like Empire wasn’t immune to Cubdom. In fact, Cubs’ playoff games far and away drew more viewers than any prime-time show in the Chicago market, even outdrawing the pitiful Bears. All this did was push more and more viewers to the DVR or streaming services.

But the overall consensus is, this year’s new shows have been creative disappointments. Despite a huge marketing push, The Muppets revival has fallen flat, and its new format just doesn’t work. Scream Queens is doing well among young females, but the show seems like one of those forgettable late-night theatricals WGN-TV airs overnights on the weekend.

Heroes:Reborn actually has held its own in the ratings, and the show’s quality has been mixed at best (I’m just as surprised as you are.) And while Supergirl flew out the gate in its premiere (3.1 rating), there is no guarantee viewers will stick around. Meanwhile, nine new shows were picked up for either extended episode orders or the full season.

And as more viewers exit live prime-time television viewing, more and more marketers are using C3 and/or C7 data to accurately measure audiences.

All in all, it just goes to show you how pointless traditional ratings are these days. With shows like Grandfathered getting renewed with a 1.0 rating, what difference does it make? The fear is network prime-time might up like the first-run syndicated business when it comes to ratings – no one will care. A lot of syndicated programming earns a sub 1 rating and somehow keeps getting renewed. For instance, magazine series OK TV is in its third season and is earning a 0.3 household rating. Right This Minute is still chugging along despite no clearances in New York City and Chicago, the first and third-largest markets, respectively.

And don’t ask how Comics Unleashed, with its bargain-basement ratings, remains on the air.

We’re not far off from the day the only way a show can get canceled is achieving a 0.0 rating – or as they say in the biz, “hash marks”. And even that may not be enough. You know the business is in trouble when the major networks are asking Byron Allen – the man who knows how to keep programs with a 0.2 rating on the air – for advice.

It’s exactly what Barnabas said on Dark Shadows when someone threatened to kill him: “You can’t kill me – I’m already dead.”

No kidding.

Broadcast Networks, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Meredith Vieira” on the way out? Probably.

Meredith VieiraSoon, we might be saying so long to Meredith Vieira’s daytime talker.

Why you may ask? The former 60 Minutes correspondent and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host’s show received yet another downgrade Friday when ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston announced it was shaking up its early fringe lineup, moving Ellen from 4 p.m. to 3 p.m. to make room for another hour of news.

As a result, Meredith is shifting to 2:05 a.m. in the nation’s seventh-largest market.

A spot check done by yours truly on Meredith Vieira’s website shows at least 15 markets airing the show in overnight or early-morning hours, ranging from a 2 a.m. slot on Pittsburgh Fox affiliate WPGH and on NBC affiliate WSFA in Montgomery, Ala. to a 2:37 a.m. slot on WTHR in Indianapolis to 6 a.m. on WLMT in Memphis. The late-night/early morning clearances are not helping its national rating.

In bigger markets, the show has better slots, but is underperforming. Meredith as you would guessed, is cleared primarily on NBC-owned stations, including WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Airing at 1 p.m., the show has finished behind Maury and Tyra Banks’ new lifestyle show The FAB Life, itself having ratings problems as the New York Post reported Friday.

In the most recent syndication ratings report, Meredith has a 0.9 household rating, essentially flat from the previous week and not much change from a year ago (women 25-54 numbers were not available.) The show would had to improve in the ratings to at least have a shot at a third season.

How bad is it? Vieira’s show is tied with Trifecta Entertainment’s Judge Faith, a program cleared on mostly independents/CW affiliates as opposed to Vieira’s mostly network affiliate clientele.

Midway through its first season, Meredith introduced a panel segment titled What’s Hot Now, gabbing about the hottest trend of the moment, or whatever. To say it’s not working is a huge understatement. Yours truly has seen a recent episode (a same-day rerun at 1:35 a.m.), and the program is kind of drab and not really interesting. For Christ’s sake, Meredith is having John Edward on Thursday, the one who did a show over ten years ago called Crossing Over. John Edward?

No decision has been made for a third season of Meredith, but it’s looking unlikely. With the FOX-owned stations acquiring NBCUniversal’s Harry Connick Jr.’s show for next season, NBC once again will have to look to fill a time slot. Is Access Hollywood Live still on the air? It’s not on in Chicago at the moment, but a return could be possible.

Syndication, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cubs-Mets score for Turner Sports

New York Mets players celebrate after Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. The Mets won 8-3 to advance to the World Series. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP) ORG XMIT: NLCS281

New York Mets players celebrate after Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the Chicago Cubs Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Chicago. The Mets won 8-3 to advance to the World Series. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP) ORG XMIT: NLCS281

Chicago ratings go on a roller coaster ride; ratings drop for fourth game 

The Chicago Cubs may have been swept out of the playoffs by the New York Mets, but Turner Sports was really the big winner in the series.

The National League Championship Series between teams from two of the largest markets in the country brought in a record audience for baseball on TBS.

According to Nielsen, TBS drew an average of 7.9 million viewers for the four-game series, up 55 percent in total viewers from last year’s comparable ALCS game on TBS between the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Royals. The Mets-Cubs series was the most watched LCS series on any network since 2010.

TBS drew the biggest audience of the series with Game 3, drawing 9.2 million eyeballs.

Locally, the Cubs series drew the largest audience for baseball in Chicago since the 2005 White Sox playoff run, which cultivated in a World Series Championship. But with the sweep, ratings trended downward as viewers bailed when it became clear the Mets were going to take out the Cubs quickly.

Wednesday night’s Game 4 averaged only a 18.9 household rating locally, down 25 percent from the previous night’s Game 3.

The series in Chicago tracked like this: 20.6 -> 19.0 -> 25.1 -> 18.9. The numbers were lower than they were for the 2003 NLCS series when the Cubs played the Marlins, but keep in mind the series aired on the Fox broadcast network as opposed to cable, and television ratings measurement was different back then.

Despite the sweep, the Cubs delivered strong ratings for two of its new media partners, WLS-TV and WBBM-AM (780 AM) and boosted those for its existing partners, WGN-TV and Comcast SportsNet. With the White Sox departing WSCR-AM (The Score) for WLS-AM next season, the Cubs will now shift to the all sports-talk station. The biggest loser of course, is WGN-AM, who wanted out of its Cubs contract and made what is now one of the biggest blunders in Chicago media history.

The New York Mets now meet the Kansas City Royals in the World Series beginning Tuesday on Fox. The Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays in a 1985 rematch of the ALCS. Just like in ’85, the Royals beat the Jays to advance to the World Series. The meeting between the two teams set record-ratings low for ALCS, thanks in part for all but one of the series airing on FS1 (aka Fox Sports 1.)

The 1985 ALCS and NLCS aired on NBC; the World Series on ABC.

(Updated at 17:20 on 2015-10-26)

Chicago Media, Sports, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

T Dog’s Media Notepad: Richard Roeper returns to Fox 32

Catching up on media news:

RichardRoeperSun-Times film critic Richard Roeper is returning to the Fox 32’s morning show: as first reported by Robert Feder Monday, Roeper has signed on as host of Good Day Chicago,  joining Corey McPharrin and Darlene Hill. Roeper will continue his role as film critic at the Sun-Times.

The signing comes as current host Jon Kelley is departing the show later this year.

Roeper was a contributor to GDC’s predecessor Fox Thing In The Morning. Roeper replaced the late Gene Siskel alongside Robert Ebert in At the Movies With Ebert and Roeper, and later moved to a show on Reelz Channel. He’s also appeared as a film critic on Windy City Live.

This latest move comes as WFLD is seeking to boost ratings for the perennially low-rated morning newscast.

Rick ODell F– WRME-FM (MeTV FM) has a new program director: longtime market veteran Rick O’Dell, who was named to the position on October 7. “The timeless hits and memorable music of MeTV FM are the music I grew up with. I love these songs. And most of them were on the playlist of WCLR when I was with them back in the day,” O’Dell said in a release. “I can’t wait to get started working with Neal [Sabin] and his incredible team.”

O’Dell was best known for launching the The Sunday Lite Brunch at WCLR/WTMX and moving it to former Smooth Jazz outlet WNUA, where it simply became The Sunday Brunch. After his 20-year career at WNUA abruptly ended in 2009, he became operations manager and program director for WLFM which coincidentally, occupied the same 87.7 FM frequency WRME does now. O’Dell also launched in 2012.

204px-Logo_Top_Model_America.svg– After 12 years and 22 editions,  the final call has come for America’s Next Top Model. CW and show creator Tyra Banks decided to end the show, amid ratings that are barely registerable. Top Model is currently broadcast TV’s third-longest reality show, behind Survivor and American Idol, which is also ending after this season.

Top Model spawned two Chicago-area winners throughout its run: eighth-season contestant Jaslene Gonzalez and first-season contestant Adrianne Curry.

Premiering on UPN in 2003, Top Model has endured countless controversies, including a lawsuit filed by Curry against the show. Many contestants have alleged their modeling careers weren’t flourishing after they appeared on the show. Ten years ago, Top Model writers sought representation through WGA West and wound up walking off the show.

Ratings have declined over the years, leading CW to scale back Top Model to a cycle a year and moving the series to Friday night. The series concludes December 4, but keep in mind a possible return down the road isn’t out of the question.

full– More Dr. Phil is on tap: the pop psychologist has renewed his pact with CBS Television Distribution for the next four years, taking him through the 2019-20 season. Since premiering in 2002, Phil became the top-rated talk show in syndication since 2010. Dr. Phil McGraw is also executive producer of The Doctors, now in its eighth season. McGraw and his son Jay are now developing a new first-run strip with Daily Mail UK, which could possibly replace Insider on some CBS-owned TV stations, but nothing has been finalized. Dr. Phil airs weekdays at 4 p.m. locally over WBBM-Channel 2.

download– Network TV news : Rosewood has been picked up for its back-nine – ditto for NBC’s Blindspot and ABC’s Dr. Ken; Fox cuts its order of Minority Report; and what is certain to send these two programs to summer burn-off status, NBC has cut the orders for new mid-season comedies Hot & Bothered and Superstore. Both programs seemed to be the best entries among the crop of this season’s comedies, but what looks good on paper…seldomly doesn’t show up as good on-screen.

Chicago Media, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cumulus fires Jan Jeffries

janjIt’s nice to have friends in high places… until they leave you in the lurch.

That’s what exactly happened to Jan Jeffries, the one-time radio personality who rose through ranks to an executive position at one of America’s largest radio chains. Cumulus fired Jeffries Tuesday, only three months after he relocated to Washington D.C. to run ratings-challenged Hot Adult Contemporary outlet WRQX-FM.

According to insiders, Jeffries had a close relationship with John and Lew Dickey, the brothers who ran the company. When the Dickey brothers were forced out a few weeks ago due to a board of directors revolt, there was speculation if Jeffries would remain in his position under the Mary Berner regime.

Jeffries was a one-time DJ and program director of the old WAGO-FM (now a simulcast of WBBM-AM on 105.9) in the mid-1980’s. When WAGO became Classic Rock WCKG, Jeffries jumped to WYTZ-FM, one of the many forerunners to the current WLS-FM. After a long stint in Atlanta, Jeffries returned to WLS-FM as general manager in addition to his corporate executive duties when Cumulus took over Citadel Broadcasting, WLS-FM’s owner at the time.

To say Jeffries’ time at WLS was a disaster is perhaps the understatement of the year. Despite success as an Oldies station, Jeffries blew up the format and switched to a rock version of Classic Hits, turned over almost the entire staff (on AND off-air personnel), and adopted an inane “less talk, more music” mandate for DJs who specialized in connecting with their audience. Ratings remained constant, but in recent months was getting beat by rival K-Hits (WJMK-FM).

In a way, Jeffries and WLS were like Roger Goodell and the NFL: the station maintaining a loyal (but eroding) fan base despite the quality going south.

There was speculation (on message boards) Cumulus would throw in the towel and switch to the company’s NASH-FM country format, itself having problems. While its unlikely to happen, the current sound structure at WLS-FM – with the “less talk, more music” mandate, repetition of songs, a lousy morning show and Dick Biondi still at 11 p.m. weeknights while evenings remain vacant due to John Landecker’s departure last summer –  leaves very little to be desired.

Don’t feel sorry for Jeffries – I’m certain he’ll be back soon, ruining yet another media outlet.

It worked for CNN when they hired Jeff Zucker.

Chicago Media, Radio , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cubs hit a ratings home run in postseason


Cubs clinch Division Series against rival Cardinals to advance; Mets or Dodgers are up next

This certainly has been one of the seasons to remember if you are a Chicago Cubs fan. The team’s postseason run is sending viewers to their TV sets as Turner Broadcasting – and local TV stations – even a few who don’t even carry games of the team -are benefiting.

The fourth game in the NLDS series between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals drew a 4.0 Nielsen household rating and drew 6.2 million viewers Tuesday in its early fringe/prime access time slot for TBS, up from game three’s 3.5 rating and 5.8 million viewers, opposite Monday Night Football.

In Chicago, the Cubs game Tuesday afternoon drew a 21.4 rating, down from a 23.4 rating the previous night, but chalk it up to Tuesday’s game airing in an earlier time period, where HUT levels are lower.

The Cubs-Cardinals playoff series – the first time both teams have ever met in the postseason – have showed ratings increases from last year NLDS games, and with the Cubs now advancing to the NLCS facing the large market Los Angeles Dodgers or New York Mets, ratings for TBS are bound to go through the roof.

mlb-nlds-chicago-cubs-st.-louis-cardinals-850x560TBS wasn’t the only beneficiary of the Cubs success – local Chicago stations also cashed in when the team advanced to the next playoff round Tuesday evening with three local stations pre-empting network programming to air postgame coverage in the locker room, and in and around Wrigley Field.

ABC-owned WLS-TV finished first in households among stations with postgame coverage, earning a 5.6 household rating and 9 share and a 2.6 among adults 25-54. WMAQ finished second with a 4.4/7 and a 2.2 in adults 25-54. WGN-TV finished behind both stations in both categories with a 2.7/4 and a 1.6, respectively.

WBBM-TV stuck with NCIS for the hour with cut-ins from Wrigley during commercial breaks. The plan did pay off among households, winning the hour with a 7.4 rating,  but finished with a 1.4 among 25-54s.  

Without the third-largest market, several primetime shows struggled nationally. ABC’s heavily-hyped Muppets – which was delayed until midnight in Chicago, finished with a series-low 1.3 rating in the 18-49 demo, finishing barely ahead of NBC’s Best Time Ever, which earned a 1.2, also a series-low. CW’s Flash beat both shows with a 1.4, decent by CW standards. Keep in mind prime-time programming is targeted to adults 18-49 (although that’s debatable.)

Seemingly, Chicagoans didn’t mind the pre-empted programming as complaints were scarce on social media. After all, it’s not every year the Cubs make it into the postseason.

Programming on the broadcast networks were also impacted by the Democratic Presidential debate, which drew 15 million viewers nationally for CNN Tuesday night. I guess politics does “Trump” all.