No Blues for NHL as Game 7 sets Stanley Cup ratings benchmark

St. Louis boring? Not when their team just won the Stanley Cup. 

Who needs the Chicago Blackhawks?

That’s the sentiment NBC Sports and the NHL are having Thursday in the light of record-setting ratings between teams in the 10th and 21st-largest television markets.

The St. Louis Blues clinched its first-ever Stanley Cup championship (much to the chagrin of some Blackhawks fans) defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1 at TD Garden, avenging a 1970 series loss to the same team (swept 4-0.) The Blues entered the league in 1967 in the first NHL expansion effort.

Game seven of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues scored the highest rating for a non-Olympic hockey game in the United States in the last 25 years, earning a 4.9 household rating and 8.94 million viewers, up 2 percent in rating from the last Game 7 (Bruins-Canucks) in 2011.

You would have to go back to the 1960s and 1970s to find higher-rated Stanley Cup Final games, including a Blackhawks-Montreal Canadiens Game 7 on CBS in 1971 (12.41 million) and Game 6 between the same two teams on NBC in 1973 (9.41 million), both prime-time games. Those numbers are even more remarkable given both games were blacked out locally in the Chicago market (the Canadiens clinched on Chicago’s home ice both times.)

In St. Louis, the Blues’ victory earned a 41.8 household overnight rating and 60 share for Tegna’s KSDK, the highest-rated Blues games in the history of the market with records dating back to 1989 when the market was first metered. In Boston, the game drew a 30.2 for NBC-owned WBTS, down 20 percent from Game 6 of the 2013 Blackhawks-Bruins matchup. It should be noted in 2013, NBC was on a different station in Boston (now independent WHDH.) In a complicated move, NBC shifted its affiliation to an existing Telemundo station on January 1, 2017. NBC and Telemundo share Comcast as a corporate parent.

The Boston rating also fell far short of WBTS’ record, a 55.9 for the New England Patriots’ appearance in Super Bowl LII.

In Chicago, the game earned a strong 6.2 household rating for NBC 5 (WMAQ-TV), the highest non-Blackhawks contest in the market in eight years. Game 7 had no other local sports competition as the Cubs played earlier in the day and the White Sox were off.

Among adults 18-49, Game 7 earned a 2.7 rating, easily clearing the rest of the broadcast network competition, including ABC’s much-hyped premieres of game shows Press Your Luck and Card Sharks (both with an 0.9). But ratings for the duo did give ABC its most watched summer Wednesday (excluding sports) in five years. 

Since 2010, any record-breaking news involving ratings have mainly dealt with the Blackhawks, as the team’s resurgence has helped the league. But since the team’s fortunes have ebbed since 2016 (including being swept in 2016 and 2017 in the first round and being completely absent from the playoffs the last two years), the league has held up fine, as NBC notes this is the most watched Stanley Cup Playoffs in nearly two decades and the most watched Stanley Cup Final since 2015 when the Blackhawks won their last Cup to date against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The entire Boston-St. Louis series averaged a 3.0 household rating, up 11 percent from last year’s final between Washington and Las Vegas.

Ratings from Canada were not available, but it is understood the Raptors’ appearance in the NBA Finals has led to record-breaking viewership numbers for basketball north of the border – making it likely the Stanley Cup Final could be outdrawn by the NBA Finals for the first time ever. Since this post regarding the Raptors’ broadcast rights, both Rogers and Bell Media have made NBA Finals games available on their respective over-the-air networks CityTV and CTV 2, with Thursday night’s Game 6 airing nationwide on CTV.

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

Chicago radio ratings: 101.9 The Mix dominates

Hubbard Hot AC station puts on a clinic

The May Chicago radio book showed perhaps for the first time since WGN’s glory days as a local radio station totally dominated, completely bulldozing the competition.

As reported by Robert Feeder Tuesday morning, Hubbard’s WTMX-FM (101.9 The Mix) put on a clinic during the just-completed May PPM survey – not only finishing first overall, but also sweeping the morning, midday, and afternoon drive dayparts by finishing first in total numbers.

Even in the evenings where WSCR-AM led with Cubs games, WTMX was still in the top ten, finishing in a tie for eighth place. In addition, WTMX swept the ratings in the key demos finishing first in adults 18-34, adults 18-49, and of course its target audience of adults 25-54, according to analysis done by Research Director and published by radio trade All Access.

WTMX is a Hot Adult Contemporary (Hot AC, or Adult Top 40)  station, meaning they play mostly pop hits, but without hip-hop, R&B, and the “bubblegum” pop songs and is targeted mainly to women 25-54. Historically, contemporary music stations in Chicago haven’t topped the ratings charts (with the exception of WGCI and WVAZ) due to WGN-AM’s dominance.

But in recent years, WTMX has surged thanks in part to it’s wildly popular morning show, Eric In The Morning and it’s previous incarnation, The Eric And Kathy Show – and maintained its dominance even with Kathy Hart’s departure.

WTMX is even adding programming for late-nighters: on Monday, the station launched The Mix New Music Club, showcasing new pop music Monday-Thursday from midnight until 1 a.m.

The other big takeaway was in the Top 40/CHR race, leading into the most important time of year for these stations with younger audiences out of school for the summer. After being neck-and-neck, iHeartMedia’s WKSC-FM (Kiss 103.5) expanded its lead over rival WBBM-FM (B96) by a wide margin. Fueling the increase was the surge in popularity of The Fred And Angi show (Christopher Frederick and Angi Taylor) while the new B96 morning show with Gabe Ramirez and Nina Hajian remains stalled at the starting gate.

Outside of the Chicago area, the biggest story was in New York, where the outgoing WPLJ scored a 24 percent share increase from April, finishing in 13th place – their best performance in nearly two-and-a-half years. WPLJ closed its doors at approximately 7 p.m. ET on May 31 handing off the reins to the Educational Media Foundation, who promptly flipped the station to K-Love as WPLJ’s final week (May 27-31, which was not included in this month’s PPM ratings) featured a ton of on-air reunions, including the return of former personality Scott Shannon. The festivities reminded many of the former WLUP’s send-off in March 2018 when they were met with a similar fate. 

For more, follow T Dog Media on Twitter (@tdogmedia) and Facebook. 

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

Media Notepad: WTTW exec exits after long run

And… James Holzhauer’s final Jeopardy scores in ratings; Gov. Pritzker honors Rockford local show; Viewers skip Red Line.

The man who helmed the Window To The World has called it a career.

As first reported by Robert Feder, Dan Soles is stepping down from powerhouse public television station WTTW after 24 years on the job. His most recent position was senior vice president and chief television content officer of the position.

The move comes as the station is looking to revamp the station’s focus, including a new strategic three-year plan for both WTTW and classical music station WFMT (98.7 FM.) Exactly what is in that plan has yet to be revealed.

During his tenure, Soles oversaw programs such as Chicago Tonight; Check, Please; and other projects. Soles final day is June 28; a replacement has yet to be named.

Despite an internet leak which saw James Holzhauer lose Monday, Jeopardy scored huge in the overnight ratings, scoring a season high.

As tweeted by a Fox Sports executive, Jeopardy earned a 10.1 Nielsen household rating (no share was posted) coming within striking distance of the game two overnight household rating of the NBA Finals. This came despite Monday’s episode being leaked online Sunday night, which helped fuel rumors of Holzhauer’s defeat. The story was on the front page of several TV trade websites, including TVNewsCheck.

Ratings for Monday’s episode in Chicago, where it airs weekdays at 3:30 p.m. on WLS-TV were not available.

In addition, Jeopardy easily beat game four of the Stanley Cup Final, and a Holzhauer episode Thursday outdrew game one of the NBA Finals in Philadelphia.

Jeopardy executive producer Harry Friedman was not happy about the leak, and said someone performed the action in-house. He said whomever leaked the video would be dealt with.

As you recall, Holzhauer was defeated Monday by Chicagoan Emma Boettcher (you can read the details here on how she did it.) The University of Chicago librarian retained her Jeopardy championship Tuesday, playing almost the same way Holzhauer did.

Can’t wait for Man Of The People’s Pat Tomasulo’s on-air rant on why Illinois isn’t honoring him for his show: a Rockford TV game show has caught the eye of Governor J.B. Pritzker as last week, the state’s highest official praised high school quiz show The Bergstrom Stateline Quiz Bowl, which airs on Nexstar-owned WTVO (ABC) and WQRF (Fox) in the nation’s 135th-largest market.

Also praising the show were Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger and congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

In addition, the show received a proclamation from the State of Illinois, presented by state senator Steve Stadelman on May 17.

Airing for the past five seasons, Stateline Quiz Bowl has had more than 1500 students from fifty high schools across Illinois participate. In addition to Rockford-area schools, educational institutions from other areas who have participated include Peoria, Champaign, Quad Cities, and Chicago (the Chicago DMA borders Rockford to the west.)

“Aside from local news, you don’t see a lot of TV stations producing 40 straight weeks of a locally originated show like this,” WTVO-WQRF general manager Kelly Lattimer told TVNewscheck, who reported this story.

Similar high school quiz programs have aired around the country – most notably It’s Academic from NBC-owned WRC-TV in Washington D.C., who holds the Guinness Book Of World Records for the longest-running game show, dating back to 1961 (a local version appeared on WMAQ-TV aired during the 1960s and 1970s.) Another high school quiz show – this time focusing on African-American culture called Know Your Heritage – has aired on numerous Chicago TV stations sporadically from the 1970s through the 2000s.

This comes as Nexstar is set to close on a deal to buy Tribune Media, who owns WGN-TV in Chicago, where Man Of The People airs. The deal would give Nexstar a presence in almost every DMA in Illinois, though it is not known if there’s any plans to expand Stateline Bowl Quiz to other Nexstar markets once the deal closes.

So is Pat Tomasulo next in line to get a proclamation from the state for Man Of The People? We shall see (not likely.)

Everybody off: The Red Line has reached the end of its line. The eight-hour miniseries set in and filmed in Chicago finished its run May 19 on a quiet note, with a 0.3 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, far below what regularly-scheduled CBS programming earned in the time period. During its four-week run, Red Line averaged a lowly o.35 rating in the demo, ranking it as one of the lowest-rated series on television. In the demo, Red Line drew fewer viewers than recent shot-in-Chicago flops Chicago Code and APB.

However, the series did fare a bit better among total viewers, averaging 3.88 million viewers throughout it run. But viewership declined week-to-week from 4.8 million in its first week to 3.38 million in its final week.

Red Line had numerous strikes from the start. For one, the scheduling – two hours a week for four weeks at the end of the season screamed burnoff as it really had no chance. Second, the series was on opposite American Idol on ABC, where even a weakened edition of the show destroyed it in the ratings. Moreover, HBO’s final season of Game Of Thrones and Fox’s Sunday night animation lineup also beat Red Line decisively.

Red Line dealt with the aftermath of a police shooting of an African-American doctor by a white cop as its major plot, and it may have hit too close to home as Chicago viewers who simply stayed away from the show, given recent real-life events such as the LaQuan McDonald case and the Jussie Smollett saga dominated the headlines. Despite decent reviews and strong talent behind the scenes (Greg Berlanti, Ava DuVernay), Red Line was quite mediocre, with over-the-top acting and predictable, if not gripping storylines.

Though it was a “limited series” making any renewal prospects slim-to-none, it is off to the train yard for The Red Line, where it would be remembered for very little if anything at all.

(Editor’s Note: CBS officially canceled “The Red Line” on Friday.)

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

It’s over: James Holzhauer’s “Jeopardy” winning streak ends

Impressive streak ends at 32 games, falls short of Ken Jennings’ winnings record

(An earlier draft of this story appeared on T Dog Media’s Facebook page Monday afternoon.)

James Holzhauer’s Jeopardy winning streak abruptly ended Monday ending at 32 games after he was beaten by a Chicago contestant, no less.

The former Naperville resident-turned-Las Vegas gambler entered the day only $60,000 or so away from beating Ken Jennings’ winnings record set in 2005. In Monday’s show, he faced off against research engineer Jay Sexton and Emma Boettcher, a Chicagoan who is a University of Chicago librarian.

The game was tight going into Double Jeopardy, but Boettcher took the lead over Holzhauer when she answered a Daily Double correctly, and he trailed going into Final Jeopardy. In fact, Boettcher nailed both Daily Doubles correctly.

Holzhauer answered correctly in the final round, but bet only $1399 – not enough to overtake Boettcher, who also correctly answered the Shakespeare question.

And thus, Holzhauer’s streak ends at 32, winning a total of $2,462,216 – and that includes the $2,000 consolation “prize” he won.

Holzhauer’s streak provided a huge ratings boost for the veteran game show produced by Sony and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. During his streak, Jeopardy topped all syndicated shows scoring ratings the show hasn’t seen in years. It is important to note however, Jeopardy has always been in the top ten-rated syndicated programs, dating back to before Holzhauer and Jennings even thought of trying out for the show.

Last Thursday in Philadelphia, a James Holzhauer-fueled episode of Jeopardy even outdrew game one of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors. Both aired on ABC-owned WPVI.

As alluded to by yours truly on Twitter – in a tease without giving anything away (even I didn’t know the final results until tuning in to Jeopardy Monday afternoon), Montgomery, Ala. viewers were the first to see Holzhauer’s defeat since local CBS affiliate WAKA-TV airs Jeopardy at 9:30 a.m. – an odd slot for the show given the show airs mostly in early fringe (late afternoon) and prime access (6-8 p.m.) slots in most markets. In Chicago, Jeopardy airs at 3:30 p.m. over ABC-owned WLS-TV.

Perhaps the last viewers to find out James Holzhauer’s fate is in San Diego, where Jeopardy wasn’t scheduled to air until 9:30 p.m. Monday night on NBC-owned KNSD-TV. That’s because NBC is airing game four of the Stanley Cup Final between the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues at 5 p.m. local time, bumping Jeopardy from its regular 7:30 p.m. time slot.

This isn’t the last we’ll see of James Holzhauer: he is expected to participate in Jeopardy’s “Tournament Of Champions” sometime next season – and this is already awesome news for Sony, CBS, and local stations who carry the show.

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

Wolves’ Calder Cup games to air on WCIU


(Editor’s Note: This story was updated on May 31 with new information.)

At a time when Chicago’s pro sports teams are removing games from over-the-air broadcast television for one reason or another, the Chicago Wolves have decided to go the opposite route when it comes to their team in the Calder Cup finals.

The American Hockey League franchise announced Thursday it has struck a deal with WCIU and its sister station The U Too (WCUU/WMEU) to carry the entire series against the Charlotte Checkers, the Carolina Hurricanes’ farm team.

On Friday afternoon, the NHL Network announced they are carrying all Calder Cup games using the Wolves’ feed, with the series also being streamed on Games two and three and five through seven are also being carried on SiriusXM’s NHL Network Radio on channel 91.

Locally, the first game is Saturday at 5 p.m. Chicago time at Charlotte on WCIU. The rest of the series will be on The U Too as scheduled:

Game 2: June 2 at Charlotte 5 p.m.

Game 3: June 5 vs. Charlotte 7 p.m.

Game 4: Thurs, June 6 vs. Charlotte 7 p.m.

Game 5: Sat, June 8 vs. Charlotte 7 p.m.*

Game 6: Thurs., June 13 at Charlotte 6 p.m.*

Game 7: Fri, June 14 at Charlotte 6 p.m.*

*= if necessary

The U Too is carried on over-the-air Channel 26.2 and 48.1 (in HD.) and on all cable and satellite carriers with the notable exception of DirecTV.

Founded in 1994, The Wolves have been one of the most successful minor-league franchises in hockey, being successful at a time when the cross-town Chicago Blackhawks stumbled on the NHL stage. The Wolves have won two Calder Cups (in 2002 and 2008) and also won two Turner Cups in the former International Hockey League.

The Wolves were also instrumental in putting their games – especially home contests on television at a time when the Blackhawks weren’t doing so, striking a deal with WCIU to carry Saturday night games during the franchise’s first two seasons. Since then, the Wolves have been carried on Comcast and in the last few years, rights have been split between Fox’s My Network TV affiliate WPWR and The U Too.

This fall, WCIU becomes a CW affiliate and The U Too is being rebranded as “The U”, WCIU’s current moniker.

Please follow @tdogmedia on Twitter and on Facebook.

Various , , , , ,

‘Family Feud’s” Canadian expansion

“Family Feud” is heading to Canada, but no Steve Harvey.

Classic game show to get Canadian version. But I have news about James Holzhauer! (keep reading below; does contains spoilers.)

Question: What American game show in getting its own version in another country?

Show me Canada!

Good answer.

Fremantle Media and the CBC announced Wednesday it is launching a new prime-time version of Family Feud north of the border this fall. The new Canadian version is being hosted by comedian Gerry Dee, and while no date was announced, it is expected to premiere sometime in November.

The news does not affect Canadian showings of the syndicated American version of Family Feud hosted by Steve Harvey, now airing on CityTV weekday afternoons. The format has been sold in 71 international markets.

Family Feud Canada is being stripped four nights a week (Tuesday-Friday) at 7:30 p.m., a time where most game shows are shown in the “prime access” slot in the Eastern and Pacific time zones of United States, before prime-time. Generally known for airing mostly Canadian programming, the last time CBC aired game shows were the American versions of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! from 2008 to 2012.

From the 1950s to the 1990s, CBC aired a handful of American programs on its schedule, including WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart, The Golden Girls, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Dallas among others. The former three’s reruns were also stripped in early fringe (afternoons.)

He keeps winning on this show not named “Family Feud”.

Family Feud Canada is part of CBC’s announcement of its 2019-20 slate Wednesday as part of its upfront presentation in Toronto, with six new shows  on its main network and two shows on CBC’s streaming portal, Gem.

The last time there was a remake of an American game show for Canadian audiences was an one-off edition of Deal or No Deal for Global hosted by Canadian host Howie Mandel, but was never picked up as a series.

Here in the states, Feud ranked third among syndicated programs for the week ending May 19, behind only Judge Judy and Jeopardy, whose Teachers Tournament has kept winning contestant James Holzhauer off the show. As a result, the programs ratings slipped out of the top spot, but second place is still very good. Holzhauer returned to the show this week and of course, resumed his winning ways where as of this writing, has won 30 games and a row and amassed a total of $2.3 million and change in winnings.

Keep in mind the way syndicated shows are tabulated, Feud’s ratings – and those for Judy – include extra runs that counts into their national ratings given both shows airs as much as four times a day in some markets. In Chicago, Feud airs weeknights 5 to 6:30 p.m. on WPWR-Ch.50.

ABC’s summer prime-time version of the show (Celebrity Family Feud) returns June 9.

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

Toronto Raptors head to the NBA Finals – but not on Canada’s broadcast networks (updated)

NBA Finals only on cable in Canada despite Raptors’ appearance

The Toronto Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in their 24-year history as they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday night, winning the Eastern Conference Finals four games to two. They now play the defending champion Golden State Warriors Thursday night.

But while American viewers can watch the NBA Finals on ABC, it’s a different story for Canadian viewers. In fact, they might want to consult TV Guide to find out what game the channel is actually on.

That’s because the NBA deal with the Raptors in Canada is very, very complicated.

In Canada, there is no over-the-air broadcast partner for Raptors games, local or national. When the team entered the league in 1995 with the Vancouver (now Memphis) Grizzlies, private broadcaster CTV became the teams’ first national broadcast partner. Global and the CBC have also aired Raptors games in the past.

But in recent years, the Raptors have been regulated to cable TV even as the team has grown more successful. In an unusual deal, Raptors games are aired on numerous multiple networks.

That’s because the team’s television rights are owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Raptors and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment is majority owned by Canadian media conglomerates Bell Media and Rogers Communications. Bell owns CTV, cable sports network TSN and French-language equivlant RDS; Rogers owns broadcaster CityTV and SportsNet, the latter formerly owned by CTV – meaning the rights to Raptors games are split between TSN and SportsNet, with each carrying 41 regular-season games.

And so, the Raptors’ NBA Finals telecasts are being split with games one, three, five, and seven airing on SportsNet; games two, four, and six air on TSN. Moreover, the odd-numbered games aren’t airing on the regular SportsNet channel because of conflicts with Toronto Blue Jays games, but on SportsNet One a “category C digital cable and satellite specialty channel” as defined by the CRTC, available only in six million homes. However, SportsNet does plan to make the games available to viewers on its regional sports channels in the East (Quebec eastward), Ontario, West, and Pacific regions.

Split networks for a major seven-game sporting event isn’t new: in 1995, both ABC and NBC wound up splitting the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians as part of the disaster known as The Baseball Network, a joint consortium of the two networks and Major League Baseball which lasted only two years. In the first year of the deal, the 1994 strike wiped out the playoffs and World Series, forcing the two networks to share the 1995 fall classic in a move that wasn’t well received.

For non-cable or satellite Toronto-area viewers – or for those who can’t keep up with where the game is on every night, residents can still access the games through a very strong over-the-air antenna to pick up Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW as the market lies directly across Lake Ontario as both cities can pick up each other’s TV signals. WKBW is also carried over some Toronto cable systems, but is being replaced by either TSN or SportsNet’s feed because of Canada’s sim-sub rules.

As for American ratings, the perception of a Canadian team in the finals could be a ratings disaster in the minds of some, given the weak numbers the World Series put up in 1992 and 1993 when the Blue Jays were in as Canadian ratings don’t count in the U.S. But Golden State are the defending champions, and while ratings are likely to be down – more due to the Golden State fatigue factor than anything else (and no LeBron), the 2019 NBA Finals aren’t going to be the ratings disaster some pundits are making it out to be. Plus, the presence of Raptors superfan Drake (a well-known Toronto-born recording artist) and the amazing play of Kawhil Lenoard may be enough to keep even casual viewers tuned in.

You can look for my ratings predictions in the Programming Insider sometime later this week.

In an update to this story, Rogers’ over-the-air CityTV and Bell’s CTV 2 have agreed to air NBA Finals games, making it accessible to more Canadians.

Various , , , , , , ,

Newsflash: Clueless member of the media writes about media

Credit: WPSC-FM in Wayne, New Jersey.

McQueary’s piece on radio is a complete waste of time and space, as she is a member of the same political party who helped deregulate radio – leading to piped-in out-of-town voices in the first place. 

Every once in a while, you have those who work in the media who write about the media, proving how completely clueless they are about how the business works.

The latest example of this came Saturday in an absolutely inane article written by Kristen McQueary of the Chicago Tribune and an occasional guest host on WIND-AM about local radio targeting of all people syndicated host Bobby Bones, whose show airs locally over country station WEBG-FM, known as Big 95.5 and owned by iHeartMedia.

While she does have a couple of good points – particularly about syndicated shows replacing local shows, the article comes off as smug and elitist, acting like she is an all-around media expert, of which she is not (she is a member of the completely irrelevant Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, which gave us such gems as this.)

Even though she rightly gripes about syndicated radio programs replacing a local show, her article seems to be tailored to those living in smaller markets such as Tulsa or West Palm Beach where there is an abundance of syndication.

Believe it or not, there are actually very few syndicated morning drive programs in the Chicago market as stations here actually invest in live and local morning programming from Eric Ferguson on WTMX to Lin Brehmer on WXRT, whom she does praise. As you recall over a decade ago, WGCI replaced Crazy Howard McGee’s local morning show with Steve Harvey’s syndicated gabfest, which didn’t turn out well. When Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) decided to move Harvey’s show to the more demo-compatible V103 (WVAZ-FM), WGCI could have replaced him with another syndicated show such as The Breakfast Club from sister station WWPR-FM in New York. Instead, WGCI  returned to a live and local morning show (since replaced by another local effort, hosted by Kyle Santillian and Kendra G.)

In addition to Bones, there are only three other nationally syndicated radio morning shows in Chicago airing on full-signal English radio stations: V103’s Harvey, ESPN 1000’s Golic & Wingo (though the station is live and local after 9 a.m.) and Power 92’s Rickey Smiley. I’m curious why McQueary didn’t target Smiley or Harvey in her pointless rant – or maybe “urban” radio to her doesn’t count as she doesn’t seem to have a lot of compassion for the Chicago area’s black population, as an idiotic piece she wrote from 2015 attests (Yes, Bill Maher and Joe Walsh aren’t the only ones who get a pass for racist talk.) McQueary is just another symptom of a lack of racial diversity in media, in Chicago and nationally – just look at CBS both behind the scenes and on-camera (Survivor, specifically) and tell me differently.

Kristen McQueary slammed Bobby Bones’ syndicated radio show, telling us what we already know – it sucks.

While she basically made the same point I made in 2007 regarding Harvey, there is a major difference – while McGee was beloved by his audience and scored high ratings, the show Bones replaced was a low-rated and pathetic local effort by Big 95.5, hiring a duo from the world’s worst media market in St. Louis (never mind what I said here about Chicago radio in 2015) in an effort to connect with Chicago listeners – something McQueary failed to mention in her piece. For the record, Bones isn’t faring any better, so Chicago listeners have made their choice, making her piece even more pointless.

But here’s the most interesting part: McQueary is a well-known conservative, and for years, Republicans on the FCC have pushed for deregulation in the media industry, which is still a hot topic. Radio was deregulated in the 1990s, allowing companies to swallow up one another, leading to the rise (and financial fall) of conglomerates Clear Channel and Cumulus. Local voices were replaced by naturally syndicated content and voice-tracking, leading to a bland, unspectacular product – a far cry from what radio used to be in the 1950s through the 1980s, when it was more free-wheeling and fun. Many people in radio lost their jobs and the workforce shrank.

And guess who supported deregulation of the radio business? Yep, Republicans – the same party she supports.

McQueary also throws in some lame jokes about liberal talk WCPT-AM (“being the opposition”) and Chicago being over taken in popualtion by Houston, never mind Nielsen Audio doesn’t measure market size by city population but by metropolitan area (Chicago is the nation’s third-ranked radio market nationally; Houston ranks sixth), proving her lack of knowledge about how radio works. McQueary’s piece comes off as hypocritical – no surprise coming from her elitist, wine-drinking suburban soccer mom bubble. Really lady, nobody gives a damn about what radio station you listen to. I certain the NAB types will eat this article up given they’re just as hypocritical as she is.

Look, you don’t have to know about radio in order to be on the radio – just be entertaining. But if you’re going to write about the medium (and this includes television too), you better bring your A game. If McQueary is talking about radio like if we Chicagoans are living in Roanoke or Youngstown, then maybe she should relocate to either of those two cities – then she would really have something to complain about. Anyone want to help pack her bags?

For more, follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia and on Facebook.

T Dog's Think Tank, Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rahm Emanuel, Todd Stroger get new gigs

Emanuel, Stroger proves former politicians can really network well in getting media gigs

Did you really think we were really getting rid of Rahm?

On Tuesday, the former Mayor of Chicago announced he lined up two new gigs: one with ABC News, where he is going to be a paid contributor and an political analyst for Good Morning America, and on the print side, he will pen a column for The Atlantic.

A spokesperson for The Atlantic said their publication would be “the primary home for Emanuel’s writing.” The former mayor has already written a few articles for the publication.

Emanuel is no stranger to the tube. He has made numerous appearances as a pundit on ABC’s Sunday morning public-affairs program This Week, including one on May 12. Emanuel has also shown up on CNN in the same role. In 2014, he appeared in CNN’s eight-hour docuseries Chicagoland, described by many as an infomercial for Emanuel.

This comes as Emanuel’s second term ended on Monday as new mayor Lori Lightfoot was sworn in.

Emanuel isn’t the only former politician who was hired by the media recently.

As reported by Robert Feder on May 14, Midway’s WVON-AM hired former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger as co-host of their morning drive show alongside Maze Jackson. During his time as Board President, Stroger made numerous unpopular decisions, including an infamous tax increase which led to his ouster in the 2010 election by current board president (and recently defeated mayoral candidate) Toni Preckwinkle, who had a tax increase controversy of her own.

Of note in this blog’s first year (when this place was known for snark more than anything else) T Dog Media dinged Stroger, tying him to the over-the-hill medical drama Grey’s Anatomy (yes, it’s still on the air.)

In recent years, several politicians have carved out second careers in the media, notably as radio talk show hosts. WVON employed convicted felon and former 20th Ward Alderman Clifford Kelley until March, when he announced his retirement. Another former alderman and convicted felon was hired in 2009 when WGN-AM gave Jim Laski a show. In 2013, WIND-AM hired former congressman Joe Walsh for their afternoon shift.

Now that he’s on the payroll, you wonder if ol’ Rahm could work his way up the corporate ladder, with Disney/ABC giving him his own syndicated daytime talk show. Let’s hope and pray Tamron Hall’s upcoming show does well because I don’t think anyone can stand seeing Rahm interviewing Kim Kardashian and doing fashion segments.

Various , , , , , , , ,

25 years ago: The deal heard around the world

25 years ago this week, Fox’s Rupert Murdoch changed the TV world by inking a deal to trigger the biggest affiliation switch in history. 

It goes back to what happened on December 17, 1993.

The networks were complaining about paying too much for sports – the NFL in particular – as the packages were losing money and looking to pay less in the next contract.

Enter Fox. The then-seven year old network best known for Bart Simpson, Al Bundy, and “90210”decided to jump in the bidding for the next NFL package. With a bid of $1.6 billion for NFC games from Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch over CBS, the NFL awarded the then-fledgling network the rights – stunning the broadcasting world, ending the Tiffany Network’s 38-year hold on the sport. Fox was willing to take a loss on the deal in order to build up its network, who expanded to seven nights a week in 1993.

Fox’s station lineup was made up of mostly UHF stations as during the analog era, didn’t have the same signal strength as VHF stations. And Fox was looking to upgrade its affiliate roster – not to mention keeping current affiliates in the fold and away from new offerings from Paramount and Warner Bros., who were starting up new networks as the fin-syn rules (which kept the studios from owning broadcast networks) were expiring.

Enter New World Communications, run by financial magnate Ronald Pearlman. The then-22 year old company produced movies and a few TV series, such as daytime soap Santa Barbara and The Wonder Years. In 1993, the company purchased a majority stake in SCI Television – billionaire George Gillett’s old station group, giving them control of six stations including CBS affiliates WJBK in Detroit, WAGA in Atlanta, and WJW in Cleveland. In May 1994, New World purchased the Argyle Television and Great American (formerly Taft) Broadcasting groups, with four stations each. New World also purchased another station, CBS affiliate WTVT in Tampa.

In negotiations that were kept secret, Fox announced on May 23, 1994 that it acquired New World. But then came the bombshell – as part of the deal, New World agreed to switch twelve of the fifteen stations it owned to Fox – eight of them belonging to CBS in a huge blow to owner Larry Tisch. Now, there have been affiliation switches before, i.e. Atlanta’s WSB jumping to ABC from NBC in 1980, Milwaukee’s WITI dropping top-rated ABC for CBS in 1977 in a contract dispute, or Miami’s WSVN losing NBC to WTVJ. But this was something on a whole new level – twelve stations switching to the same network – all at once.

The announcement shocked everyone in the business – particularly those who were affected by the changeover. New World’s local news operations went from working with one of the prestigious Big 3 networks to one with little history and known for more youthful programming. But New World believed this was the right thing to do – especially given how CBS wasn’t able to attract young viewers.

According to the book “The Fourth Network: How Fox Broke The Rules And Reinvented Television” by Daniel M. Kimmel, negotiations moved at a quick pace, and New World wanted compensation for losing network daytime programming (Fox didn’t program the daypart) with Fox agreeing to invest $500 million in the company and each agreed to produce syndicated programming for each other (which turned out to be the ill-fated Garbielle Cateris and Mark L. Walberg talk shows.)

New World Pictures, circa 1990.

The Fox affiliate meeting in June 1994 was not really a fun place to be. Instead of Fox running a victory lap (acquiring football and upgrading its affiliate lineup), existing stations were angry accusing them of a lack of loyalty, fearing their station could be next. Meanwhile, some industry observers were accusing CBS owner Larry Tisch of not stepping up to the plate to invest in New World when they had the chance.

The big three networks success of finding replacements were various: some were straight swaps as CBS and NBC quickly nabbed the former Fox affiliates in Cleveland and Kansas City; other markets such as Detroit, Tampa, and Phoenix had more complicated three-way swaps; and a few markets were just difficult – CBS wound up buying a low-rated UHF station in Detroit (WGPR), and nearly didn’t have an affiliate at all in Milwaukee as they made a last-minute deal with independent WDJT mere days before the December 11 deadline. The situation was even more dire in Birmingham, Ala. where ABC had to sign two stations to replace WBRC-TV (their switch didn’t take place until September 1, 1996.)

As the months wore on, the New World stations prepared for the switch with Cleveland first up September 3 and Kansas City September 12. Affected stations hired extra personnel to man phone lines to answer calls from confused viewers. Network stars such as David Letterman, Dan Rather, and Connie Chung pitched in to help cut promotional spots for new CBS affiliates.

Stations not involved in the swaps boosted their promotional budgets touting they were staying with the same network partner. Eventually, CBS being downgraded to UHF in a few markets took its toll as for one week in 1995, CBS finished fourth in overall viewers behind ABC, NBC, and Fox. The switches were complete by the fall of 1996, and ex-CBS stations who lost football were glad to have it back.

The Fox-New World deal even had an effect on markets who weren’t involved. The aforementioned Scripps-ABC deal and a CBS-Group W deal sent the three major networks to new homes in Baltimore (in the case of WBAL, back to NBC); speaking of the CBS-Group W deal, it had wide-ranging implications with 1995 affiliation switches in Boston, Denver, and Salt Lake City – not to mention CBS trading WCAU to NBC (with KYW going to CBS) in Philadelphia while in Miami, where NBC dumped longtime affiliate WSVN when it bought WTVJ-Ch. 4 in 1987 (the switch took place in 1989), CBS returned to the Ch. 4 position it occupied – as WFOR, knocking WTVJ to the weaker Ch. 6, formerly known as CBS-owned WCIX (the call letters are now used by a station in Champaign.)

By 1997, the major networks had grown tired of paying compensation to affiliates to carry their programming as costs surged, and Fox was no different. Rather than continuing to pay New World in comp, parent News Corp. decided to buy the 80 percent of New World it didn’t own, thus making New World stations Fox O&Os, giving them 22 stations covering a little over a third of the country (non-Fox New World stations in Boston and San Diego were sold off long ago.)

It was the acquisition of NFC Football that led New World’s stations to strike a deal with Fox. This is from Fox’s first NFL season from 1994, Fox Box and all. (Awful Announcing)

Since then, there has been major changes in the network-affiliate relationship with the balance of power shifting to the networks. The first example of this was in 2001, when NBC broke up with San Francisco’s KRON after it was outbid to buy the station, affiliating instead with San Jose station KNTV, now an NBC O&O. A year later, Jacksonville’s top-rated WJXT broke up with CBS over “reverse compensation”, a model pioneered by The WB and what all the networks were shifting towards. Networks were making demands with affiliates due to rising costs (such as the NFL and the cast of Friends‘ pay raises) and started limiting program pre-emptions. All of this while broadcast groups were seeing a rise in “retransmission consent”, i.e. cable and satellite companies paying stations to carry their signal. Soon after, the networks wanted a piece of that, too.

Since 2008, there have only been a handful of switches, in San Diego (twice), Boston (again), Raleigh, Indianapolis, Peoria, South Bend, and even Chicago involving The CWtwice (there was also an affiliation switch between Spanish-language networks in 1989.)

The television landscape is of course, far different today than it was in 1994; the advent of digital television put UHF and VHF stations on the same footing, though this hasn’t helped CBS stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where their local news still trail their competitors by a large margin. CBS-owned WWJ in Detroit and ABC affiliate KDNL-TV once had news operations but were dismantled due to low ratings. And Fox’s standing has improved in numerous markets, including Atlanta, Cleveland, and New Orleans (where an affiliation deal with former ABC affiliate WVUE was made separately through a deal with the former SF Broadcasting.) Broadcasters’ eroding shares were an issue in the 1990s due to the expansion of cable and satellite TV and is an even bigger issue today, thanks to streaming services and DVRs.

Of course, this hasn’t stopped Rupert Murodch from making more earth-shaking deals. In 2001, he bought the Chris-Craft station group, the core of UPN, giving them duopolies in top markets such as New York, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis, adding UPN affiliate WPWR in Chicago a year later (UPN and The WB would later merger to become The CW.) In 2007, he sold some of the old New World stations to a new company called Local TV, who was swallowed up by Tribune. And recently, he sold the 20th Century Fox film studio to The Walt Disney Company for $71.3 billion, retaining only the Fox entertainment network, Fox News, Fox Sports, FS1, FS2, and the Fox O&Os to form a new company called Fox Corporation.

And CBS has been rejuvenated due to reacquiring the AFC packages of games in 1998, then bringing young viewers back to the network in 2000 thanks to the successful launch of Survivor, leading the network to return to the top of the ratings in total viewers with hits CSI, Everybody Loves Raymond, Two And A Half Men, The Mentalist, NCIS, and The Big Bang Theory. But the person who guided CBS to success – Les Moonves – was ousted recently due to a sexual harassment scandal.

As the business faces a whole lot of challenges in the 21st Century, it helps to look back at what helped shape the business today. Whether you love or hate Rupert Murdoch – and there are plenty of people in both camps – you have to give the man a lot of credit for taking chances no one else would make. Fox wouldn’t be where it is today if he hadn’t made any of these moves. And the industry is better off for it.

For a market-by-market breakdown of each New World market affected by the affiliation change, click here to go to T Dog Media’s Slideshare page.

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

Marquee Sports hires McCarthy to run new network

Launch on track for February 2020

After hiring him as a consultant, the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group announced Tuesday the hiring of Michael McCarthy as the general manager of the new Marquee Sports Network, scheduled to launch next February.

“We’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mike and his proven ability to drive results over the past several months at Marquee,” said Crane Kenney, who is president of business operations for the Chicago Cubs. “With his combined sports and media background, Mike is the right person to bring our network online and deliver unprecedented Cubs coverage for our fans.”

The news comes as Sinclair recently won the bidding for Disney’s 21 regional sports networks for $10 billion.

McCarthy credentials are quite strong: he served as president of MSG Network, home of the New York Knicks and New York Rangers where during his tenure, won 75 Emmy Awards and instrumental in launching the careers of play-by-play personalities Gus Johnson, Doris Burke, and Mike Breen. McCarthy also was vice chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Blues and COO of the Milwaukee Bucks.

In a statement, McCarthy said: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the launch of the first independent regional sports network for the Chicago Cubs. The recent transformation of this iconic brand is incredibly impressive and the next big effort to better serve Cubs fans is the launch of Marquee. For years, I watched the Cubs become a nationally recognized brand. For that reason, I’m honored and intensely motivated by the confidence the Ricketts family, Sinclair and the Cubs have placed in me to add to the incredible broadcasting experience enjoyed by fans for the past 70 years.”

Barring any changes, Marquee will be the exclusive home of all non-Fox and non-ESPN Cubs games as the team’s contracts with ABC-owned WLS-TV, Tribune’s WGN-TV, and NBC Sports Chicago all expire at the end of this current season. It also likely means no more  over-the-air games on free TV.

So far Sinclair and Marquee have yet to strike any carriage deals with cable and satellite providers and has also yet to outline any streaming plans, but it’s early. But a glimpse of how the network would be run came Monday when Kenney in an exclusive interview with The Athletic said the team would likely have a more “hands-off” approach when it comes to Marquee, meaning Sinclair would basically have operational control of the network.

Marquee’s layout is similar to Charter’s Sportsnet LA, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ cable channel – pre and post game shows, an “all-access” magazine show, and replays of classic games. Let’s hope Marquee is available in more homes than SportsNet LA currently is, as the channel still doesn’t have any deals outside of Charter’s cable systems.

Various , , , , , , , , ,

Upfronts review: More legal dramas, less multi-cam laughs

Patricia Heaton (right) returns to TV in “Carol’s Second Act”. (CBS)

Also: fewer new shows

The 2019-20 season is going to be more dramatic and less comedic.

That’s the analysis of the five major network’s fall schedules, containing perhaps the fewest number of new shows in memory.

The major networks don’t really invest in pilots anymore, thus there are fewer programs to look at as replacements. Ratings aren’t really important as they used to be either, given we’re in a new era of streaming amid dwindling shares for broadcast television networks. This is one of the reasons why networks are slow to cancel programs in the first place – giving them more time to find their footing. For one, The CW rarely axes shows these days.

With that said, here are the trends to look for:

– In the 1990-91 season, there were 34 new fall shows spread out among four networks – and Fox had yet to expand to every night. By comparison, there are only 15 new shows spread out among five networks for the 2019-20 season – less than half of the number nearly thirty years ago. Quite a change in the streaming era.

– There are some new shows with some oddball concepts: you have a show featuring a baker falling in love with a supermodel (midseason entry The Baker And The Beauty); a sock salesman falling in love with his Nigerian nurse after a heartattack (Bob Hearts Abishola) and NBC’s Perfect Harmony, where a Princeton music professor helps out a small-town choir.

– Everyone wants to be in the legal profession: CBS has All Rise in a sort-of-reboot of L.A. Law, while an ABC midseason drama (For Life) has a prison inmate becoming a lawyer in prison so he can fight for his fellow inmates.

– Even though counter-programming is basically dead in the DVR/streaming era, one battle to watch is CBS’ Survivor and Fox’s Masked Singer airing opposite each other on Wednesday nights.

– Comedy is hard: there are numerous sitcoms inter weaving serious situations into the show – in addition to Bob, this list includes fellow CBS newbie The Unicorn (friends help deal with wife’s sudden passing) while NBC’s Sunnyside has a politician’s career going south after being busted for public intoxication and winds up being hired by undocumented immigrants.

– With The Big Bang Theory gone and the 1980s/1990s sitcom reboot craze all but kaput, once again the number of multi-cam sitcoms are at dangerously low levels. On the fall schedule, CBS has four and ABC just one, with none on NBC and Fox at all (though Will & Grace and Last Man Standing return midseason.) At this rate, look for multi-cam sitcoms to be extinct soon.

– And speaking of reboots, not a single new “retro” project is on the networks’ schedule, meaning this craze may be over with, thank God.

Will these new fall schedules generate any interest among viewers? Likely not, but it doesn’t really matter. As long as advertisers and media buyers continue to drop large sums of money to reach viewers – and over-the-air broadcast network television has the greatest reach of any medium outside of radio – then the network TV business will be fine, no matter what kind of junk they put on the air.

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

“Dish Nation” renewed; “Millionaire” axed

Millionaire runs out of lifelines as game show comes to an end

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.)

Friday was the ultimate final answer for the fate of two long-running syndicated shows.

According to TVNewscheck, Dish Nation was renewed for an eighth season, taking the show through September 2020.

“Yeah eight seasons,” said Stephen Brown, Fox’s executive vice president of programming and development told TVNewcheck’s Paul Greeley in his Marketshare column. “We are kind of hitting that, ‘oh we are part of the fabric of your lives every day’. Which is a great thing, a great indicator for the longevity of the show.”

The series features morning radio personalities who “dish” on pop culture and celebrities. When Dish Nation originally premiered in 2012, it featured jocks from numerous cities, including Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill of New York City’s WPLJ-FM (Shannon left WPLJ in 2014 and his former station was sold to EMF and is flipping to K-Love om June 1st.) After numerous format and personality changes, Dish now features Rickey Smiley from his Atlanta-based syndicated radio show and Frank Kramer and Heidi Hamilton, morning personalities from Cumulus’ KLOS-FM in Los Angeles.

Also appearing on Dish is Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Porsha Williams, who isn’t heard on Smiley’s radio show (she is currently on maternity leave.) Adding her was the right move as Dish received a not-too-friendly review from this site when it first premiered. But the series is entertaining if you’re into celebrity gossip and is a good distraction from the non-stop political stuff on other channels.

Keep in mind the material you see on Dish Nation isn’t heard on their respective radio shows.

Dish Nation has been a bit forgotten, given the series does not receive national Nielsen ratings and airs in a variety of  dayparts on 116 stations including all the Fox O&Os, including WFLD-TV here at 2:30 p.m. weekdays. But the show is doing well in the markets it airs in, such as Philadelphia where it airs in prime access (7 p.m.) on Fox-owned WTXF.

Of important note is Dish Nation is one of the shows Fox retained from the former Twentieth Television in the $71.3 billion sale of 21st Century Fox’s assets to The Walt Disney Company. Fox also plans to syndicate a new game show this fall 25 Words Or Less with former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Meredith Vieira.

And speaking of her former show, Millionaire was officially canceled Friday as expected, ending a seventeen-year run in first-run syndication and twenty years overall. Millionaire premiered on ABC on August 16, 1999 with Regis Philbin and was an instant hit, leading ABC to run the show three times a week. But when the series was upped to four times a week in the fall of 2000, viewers became tired of the show, and left the network on June 27, 2002.

At the same time, Buena Vista Television (now Disney-ABC) sold a syndicated version of the show featuring Vieira and became a decent, if not overall hit, spending ten years on WGN-TV’s daytime lineup (the series was originally sold to the CBS-owned stations including WBBM-TV, who aired Millionaire at 6 p.m. during the 2002-03 season.) The series underwent numerous host, station, and format changes over the years with Chris Harrison taking over as host in 2015, and relocated from the East Coast to Las Vegas a year later.

In recent years, the ABC-owned stations have been the group associated with Millionaire with WLS-TV finally airing the show last fall after years of holding out, albeit at 1:40 a.m. But on other ABC-owned stations, Millionaire and Right This Minute were expected to lose their time slots to Tamron Hall’s new syndicated talk show this fall, leaving both without a home. In the most recent ratings report, Millionaire placed a distant fourth behind Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, and Family Feud with a 1.6 household rating.

Right This Minute has been renewed for another season by Disney-ABC according to Broadcasting & Cable in a report Saturday on the ABC O&Os, but the show is likely to be stuck in overnight time slots on those stations. In an unusual syndication arrangement, WLS airs Minute at 2:05 am. while WCIU airs a different episode 25 minutes later at 2:30 a.m. It is not known if this arrangement would continue into next season.

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

The CW trots out their 2019-20 lineup

Only three new series on schedule

Arrow and Supernatural set to end

Excluding retiring series (Jane The Virgin, iZombie, etc.), The CW once again renewed everything on its schedule from this season as ratings aren’t really a factor when determining the fate of CW programs. Three years ago in fact, CW did renew everything on the schedule.

For next season, even a little-watched reboot of Dynasty was picked up.

Why? Credit (or blame) Netflix as more viewers discover these shows through the popular streaming service. But beginning this fall, all three of The CW’s new series won’t be on Netflix at all as the network has decided to shop the streaming rights to other services in the open market, getting more value from those rights. Veteran CW shows on Netflix are not affected by the move.

But linear remain just as important to The CW as streaming does, whether if it is through Netflix or The CW App. In addition to three new fall series, The CW is moving their affiliation in Chicago from Fox-owned WPWR to Weigel-owned WCIU beginning September 1 and rebranded as “CW26”. WPWR was a CW outlet for three years, inheriting the affiliation from WGN-TV.

Onto the schedule: there are numerous schedule changes on CW’s schedule this fall.Let’s start with Sunday, where veteran Supergirl is paired with the new Batwoman for an all-female superhero night.

All American moves from Wednesdays to the lead-off position on Monday, followed by the third season of superhero drama Black Lightning. Tuesdays have both The Flash and Arrow paired back-to-back with the latter ending its run after next season.

Wednesdays have Riverdale followed by a new drama Nancy Drew, an update of the classic teen-sleuth mystery novels (ABC aired a Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries show from 1977-79.)

Thursdays remain unchanged, though Supernatural is finally ending after fifteen years.

Charmed moves from Sundays to Fridays and is paired with Dynasty.

Being held for midseason is Katy Keene, which is a spin-off of Riverdale; In The Dark; Rosewell, New Mexico; and The 100, and of course, filler series such as Whose Line Is It Anyway?

For more details on The CW’s fall schedule, click here:




CBS unveils 2019-20 lineup

Five new series on schedule; eight overall

In advance of its upfront presentation Wednesday, CBS announced its 2019-20 lineup with one major omission: The Big Bang Theory, whose long run concludes Thursday night as America’s Most Watched Network (TM) needs something.

Some familiar names are returning to CBS – Patricia Heaton (from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly) are starring in new sitcoms while former Luke Cage stars Mike Coulter and Simone Messick (All Rise) star in new separate dramas for the network.

The Neighborhood leads off Mondays followed by Bob Loves Abishola  (the show’s title does have a heart symbol in place of “loves”, which I can’t generate on this blog), featuring Gardell as a compression sock salesman from Detroit (yes, you heard that right) who falls for his Nigerian nurse after suffering a heart attack.

Coming up next is new drama All Rise, about the lives of people in the legal profession in Los Angeles – similar in a way to L.A. Law. Mondays close out with Bull, whose renewal was controversial given the actions of star Michael Weatherly – something not lost on critics at the upfronts.

While Tuesdays and Wednesdays remain unchanged, Thursdays see a complete overhaul, thanks to the depature of Big Bang. The night leads off with Big Bang spinoff Young Sheldon, followed by The Unicorn, a single-camera comedy about a group of tight-knit friends who help their friend get over the sudden death of his wife (yes, this is a comedy.)

After Mom comes Carol’s Second Act featuring Heaton as a woman who raises her kids, got divorced, and retires from teaching – and decides to pursue a new career as a doctor. This is followed by new drama Evil, featuring Coulter as a mystery being explored about the origins of evil along the lines of science and religion (whatever that means)

Fridays have two set-in-Hawaii crime dramas airing back-to-back: Hawaii Five-O an Magnum P.I., followed by Blue Bloods. In an ironic footnote, Tom Selleck – who stars in Blue Bloods starred in the original Magnum P.I. in the 1980s. Now the his reboot of his old series now leads into his current series – all on the same network.

Sundays remains unchanged, though CBS announced the end of Madam Secretary with a ten-episode final season.

Midseason entries include dramas FBI: Most Wanted (a spinoff of FBI), Tommy, and comedy Broke. Several veteran series are also returning in midseason, including MacGyver, Man With A Plan, The Amazing Race, Undercover Boss (!), and the final season (thankfully) of Criminal Minds.

Left off the schedule are recent midseason duds Million Dollar Mile and World’s Best – neither mentioned in CBS’ press release of programming next season. There is no word on their status.

For full descriptions of all the new shows and schedules, click here.