The Media Notepad: Cubs, White Sox regular season prime-time ratings fall


Also: Bears renew local deal with Fox; My Network TV also renews; “MeToo’s” odd connection to Chicago TV

Despite defending their World Series title from last year, ratings for prime-time Cubs games declined last year, according to a report in Forbes. The Cubs earned a 4.4 Nielsen household rating, down 9 percent from last year. Forbes did not specify what network received credit as Cubs games aired this season on WLS-TV, WGN-TV, Fox, FS1, and NBC Sports Chicago. The Cubs ranked seventh overall.

On the other side of town, the Chicago White Sox’s rebuilding effort is not paying off in primetime as expected. The White Sox finished 28th out of 29 teams with a 0.88 rating, down 8 percent from last year – only ahead of the Oakland A’s. The White Sox’s number puts it on par with most syndicated programming in the Chicago market.

Last year’s AL champion Cleveland Indians finished first with a 9.2, surging 30 percent from last year while the Kansas City Royals ranked second with an 8.4. The Yankees success paid off nicely with a huge 56 percent jump year-to-year, landing in ninth place. The biggest decline? The Miami Marlins, finishing 26th with a 1.3 rating, down 30 percent.

As for the National League Championship series between the Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Game 1 Saturday did an 18.1 locally on TBS; game 2 did a 19.3. Both however, were down from last year when the Cubs faced the same team. Nationally, Game 2 the game drew 6.8 million viewers. [link]

As of this writing, the Cubs are down 3-0 in the series.

The Chicago Bears announced this week an extension of their relationship with the Fox duopoly of WFLD-TV and CW affiliate WPWR-TV for another five years. The new deal continues non-nationally televised pre-season games for the team and the renewal of Bears GameDay Live and Bears Gamenight Live on WFLD. The deal also renews weekly magazine show Inside The Bears, which airs on both stations year-around.

In addition to the above, the Bears are adding a new postgame show and a half-hour weekly Friday night program next season, plus draft-related specials, a season-preview show, and a season wrap-up show.

The team produces all of their product for the Fox duopoly, with the exception of Fox 32 kickoff, which is produced by the station. Most regular-season Bears games airs on WFLD as its parent network has rights to the National Football Conference games, but in recent years, more of those telecasts have been flexed to and/or scheduled for CBS, including this Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Even though several Fox O&Os have dropped the branding, My Network TV has been reupped by the station group through 2020. The programming service currently is cleared in 97 percent of the country, with 181 stations on board.

My Network TV “checkerboards” five off-network series: Law & Order: SVU on Mondays; The X Files on Tuesday; Dateline on Wednesday; Law & Order: Criminal Intent on Thursday; and American Ninja Warrior on Friday. Four of the five series on My Network TV’s lineup are from NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution, with X-Files the lone Twentieth show on the schedule.

As reported by Broadcasting & Cable this week, Dateline has improved the time period rating and share of the previous Wednesday occupant, the now-canceled (at least in syndication) Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.

Even though the block is fed in pattern to stations from 8 to 10 p.m. ET, many stations delay or break up the block for newscasts (the case with WDCA in Washington D.C.) or other syndicated programming (Los Angeles’ KCOP and Philadelphia’s WPHL.) Since WPWR became a CW affiliate last year, the start of My Network TV’s programming block has been delayed until 9 p.m.

As”MeToo” became a hashtag for women to discuss sexual harassment on social media, the phrase has an uncanny connection to Chicago TV. A few years ago, there was a local digital subchannel called MeToo – as a spin-off of classic TV diginet MeTV. Launched by Weigel Broadcasting in March 2008, MeToo – like MeTV, was a classic TV destination available on WCIU digital channel 26.4 and low-power WMEU-CA. Weigel closed the channel in December 2014 so the frequency could become an affiliate of Weigel’s new Heroes & Icons diginet.

The odd part about this is MeToo once aired reruns of The Cosby Show – and continued to do so after allegations of Bill Cosby’s treatment toward women came to light. The show was dropped in the format change.

The MeToo hashtag was created by actress Alyssa Milano recently to encourage women to share stories on sexual harassment in light of allegations made by several women against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was fired from his own company and was expelled by his peers at the Academy. The controversy has shook Hollywood to its core, with many people – both women AND men – sharing stories of sexual harassment, sexual assault, unwanted advances, and even rape. Last Friday, many women took part in a Twitter boycott staying off the social media platform for the day after actress Rose McGowan’s account was suspended after she tweeted out a private phone number.

In a jaw-dropping piece posted Wednesday, former Chicago Tribune and current Variety TV critic Maureen Ryan shared her own story of sexual assault in the industry.

For the record, this post is not meant to trivialize the subject, but to point out the strange coincidence the MeToo campaign has to Chicago TV. As for the hashtag, this is a good conversation to have and is long overdue. It’s too bad it took a scumbag like Harvey Weinstein for this discussion to take place. This type of behavior should not be tolerated at anyplace, anywhere, or anytime.

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The Fly Jock grounds for good

Tom Joyner announces retirement – in 2019

One of radio’s most venerable personalities is calling it a career as Tom Joyner announced Tuesday he is stepping down from his radio gig in 2019, as reported by several publications, including Radio Insight and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Posting to Tuesday morning, Joyner didn’t specifically mention the “R” word, but laid out what things would be coming ahead, asking listeners what were their favorite moments of the show and asking listeners what memories they had from the show.

“As we take things to the next level, personally and professionally, we’ll be in celebration mode with more guests, more parties, and more opportunities to Meet Every Listener, Joyner noted. “We’ve touched a lot of lives and we love and appreciate the millions of people who are part of the TJMS family. So much has happened since we went on the air in 1994…good and bad…and we all went through it together.”

Black America Web is run by Reach Media, who owns and syndicates The Tom Joyner Morning Show. 

A native of Tuskegee, Ala., Joyner got his start in radio in nearby Montgomery. Joyner came to Chicago in 1978 when he landed at WVON-AM, but was known locally for his work at WJPC-AM and later WGCI-FM as afternoon personality. Joyner flew back and forth daily between gigs in Chicago and Dallas as morning personality for KKDA-FM, becoming the first radio personality to hold simultaneous jobs in two different markets and earned the moniker “The Fly Jock” and “The Hardest Working Man In Radio” and did so from 1985 to 1993.

Joyner launched his own syndicated morning show via ABC Radio Networks from Dallas in 1994 with WVAZ-FM (V103) on board as one of the first stations in the country to sign on. Joyner used the show to promote several platforms helping the African-American community, including health-related issues, black colleges (Joyner himself attended Tuskegee University, an HBCU), and encouraging African-Americans to register and vote. Joyner was creative in labeling his missions, including Party With a Purpose, Little Known Black History Facts, and the Fantastic Voyage cruises. Joyner also hosted on-site remotes called “Sky Shows”, where he would do his show on location from a large venue. Joyner did several of these shows in Chicago from the Regal Theater and the Chicago Theater. His last appearance in Chicago was in 2009.

Joyner even brought back the old-time radio soap-opera in It’s Your World. In 2005, the radio show launched a short-lived TV spinoff.

Recent years however, haven’t been too kind to Joyner’s show. In 2009, V103  canceled TJMS and replaced him with Steve Harvey, moving over from WGCI. Joyner later shifted to signal-challenged WSRB-FM (Soul 106.3), but was dropped recently due to low ratings leaving Joyner without a home in Chicago. Joyner also lost several key affiliates in other African-American markets such as Baltimore, and had to fight off retirement rumors in 2015. A few TJMS personalities defected including J. Anthony Brown and Sheryl Underwood.

In a recent victory, Tom Joyner returned to the air in Dallas to the same station who booted him off due to a format change. Currently, 80 stations carry Joyner’s show, down from 115 in its heyday. With his contract up at the end of the year, the news suggests Joyner signed a “final” two-year contract to stay on until 2019.

Still, you can’t deny the fact Tom Joyner contributed greatly to radio – more so than other personalities. While some radio personalities goof off, sound annoying, spew hate for the sake of spewing hate, or have “no personality” (Seacrest), Joyner was on the air making a difference for the African-American community through his program. His actions further illustrates the power of radio – and no one did it better than Tom Joyner.

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Trump’s tweets about NBC, broadcast networks draw fire

Trump makes threat, urging to have their broadcast licenses challenged

In the “probably saw this coming department”, President Donald Trump sent out a tweet Wednesday morning stating NBC should have “its license challenged” because of what he perceives as the unfair way the network covers his administration. He repeated the threat while holding a press conference with the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump was incensed about an NBC report on the administration increasing the nuclear arsenal, dismissing it as “fake news”, which he accuses the major news networks of (except Fox, naturally)

The President later “doubled down” on his earlier tweet, extending the threat to all broadcast networks.

As a lot of you know, networks are do not have “licenses”; broadcast, over-the-air television and radio stations have them with the FCC. NBC however, does own eleven television stations including WMAQ here in Chicago. NBC also owns stations in other large markets, including WNBC New York, KNBC in Los Angeles, and WRC in Washington, D.C., where the White House is. NBC also owns stations who are affiliates of sister Spanish-language network Telemundo, including Chicago’s WSNS.

NBC’s parent company is Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable operator, who bought the network in 2010. Trump starred in NBC’s Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, but both shows were not produced by or owned by the network.

The tweets were widely condemned as an attack on the First Amendment, including from National Association of Broadcasters chief Gordon Smith, himself a former Republican congressman. “The founders of our nation set as a cornerstone of our democracy the First Amendment, forever enshrining and protecting freedom of the press,” Smith said. “It is contrary to this fundamental right for any government official to threaten the revocation of an FCC license simply because of a disagreement with the reporting of a journalist.” .

Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey also criticized the comments and wants FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to pledge there would be no license action. Recently, Pai said he would protect the interests of the First Amendment – no matter what administration was in power in the White House. However, he has been silent on the latest controversy involving Trump in the media.

Also criticizing the President included journalist trade organization RTNDA and former FCC Commissioners Al Sikes and Michael Copps.

License challenges are fairly common, though more so in the 1970s’. But license revocation for a television station is rare: to date, only five stations received the television equivalent of the death penalty, including one in Boston who lost their license twice. The last time the FCC did so was in 1990 when in a confusing and complex case, disqualified WSNS’s license in relation to its defunct ONTV subscription service.

On Saturday, Trump attacked late-night hosts making fun of him, saying there should be “equal time”, referring to the action taken when a candidate is running for office. Some interpret this as Trump wanting the Fairness Doctrine to return, abolished thirty years ago by the Republican-led FCC under the Reagan Administration.

The latest swipes at the industry tell us President Trump has a complete total disdain for the media – not to mention the First Amendment as his attacks on major networks and journalists continue unabated. He really has no idea on how the industry works. The electorate voted him in to run the country – not the media business. And he’s not doing a good job even at that.

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Bears, Cubs rule Monday evening

Bears game up in the ratings from last MNF appearance 

The Bears MVP: Luke Skywalker?

Monday was a great day for Chicago sports fans as the Cubs and Bears played in meaningful games.

The Cubs played Game 3 of the National League Divisional Series between the Cubs and the Washington Nationals and the Bears played the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football with rookie Mitch Trubisky getting his first career start – and the hype surrounding it no doubt helped the Bears draw their highest local rating of the year.

According to Nielsen, the Bears – who last year had a Thursday night game against the Packers get outrated by a competing cubs game, had the upper hand in the local ratings as the prime-time game on ESPN and WGN drew a combined 23.3 household rating – 10.6 for ESPN and 12.7 for WGN. For the over-the-air portion, the rating for WGN is a significant improvement – up a whopping 90 percent over the 6.7 rating WCIU earned last October 31 (Halloween night) when the Bears were last featured on MNF, also at home against the Vikings. In total, the combined rating in Chicago was up a tremendous 118 percent from last October 31 (10.7) – the lowest local rating for a Bears game in 20 years.

Nationally, the Vikings-Bears game drew 10.28 million viewers and a 3.7 rating in the adult 18-49 demo.

Viewership was also helped by the introduction the new trailer for the highly anticipated new Star Wars movie The Last Jedi, shown at halftime during the game on ESPN and at Soldier Field. Star Wars of course, is produced by Lucasfilm, Ltd. – a subsidiary of Disney, who ESPN is a sister…well you get the drift.

You can tell ESPN play-by-play man Sean McDonough was less than thrilled about introducing the trailer while commentator Jon Gruden was nowhere to be found. Don’t you love corporate synergy?

Can they play defense? Stormtroopers invade Soldier Field during halftime of Vikings-Bears game. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

Despite ranking lower than the Bears game, the Cubs earned an impressive 13.0 rating on TBS locally, despite a 3 p.m. start time and running through the early fringe/prime access time period (as we say in the trade.) Also helping the number was many people were off due to the Columbus Day holiday Monday. Keep in mind the early fringe/prime access slots have lower HUT levels than prime-time.

National ratings for the Nationals-Cubs game were not available at press time.

The results on the field were mixed: the Cubs won the game over the Nationals 2-1; the Bears lost to the Vikings 20-17 as Minnesota won on a field goal, thanks to Trubinsky’s interception in the opposing team’s red zone. While the Cubs take a 2-1 lead in the playoff series, the Bears dropped to 1-4 on the young season. Maybe they should’ve use some of those stormtroopers on the field.

As for the also-rans…that is, Monday night’s prime-time schedule using national final ratings among adults 18-49, The Big Bang Theory was the top show of the night at 2.9, but lead-out 9JKL plunged to a 1.4, losing half of its lead-in. Kevin Can Wait had a 1.2, down by half from its season premiere two weeks ago. NBC’s Voice held steady from its premiere week rating at a 2.4.

Two new shows improved from their lead-in: The Good Doctor (2.0) improved 54 percent from its Dancing With The Stars lead-in, while Fox’s The Gifted (1.2) did likewise from Lucifer up 33 percent- encouraging news for both.

Finally, The CW started off its season – at last – with the season premiere of Supergirl and the debut of the surprisingly critically-panned Valor. Unfortunately, both series placed a distant fifth for the evening  – that is, if you don’t count Ion, Univision, or Telemundo.

And you’d think I would conclude this piece without posting the full Star Wars trailer? Here it is:

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T Dog’s Media Notepad: B’s rule

Jonathan Toews greet fans before Thursday’s game at the United Center. (

News on Blackhawks; Bob’s Burgers, and Bethenny Frankel. Oh, and the soda tax is dead.

Are you ready for some hockey? Chicagoans sure are. Thursday night’s home opener against the Stanley Cup-defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins drew a eye-opening 5.1 Nielsen household rating for the newly renamed NBC Sports Chicago channel (formerly CSN Chicago). The number is impressive given the amount of competition in the Chicago market Thursday, with football on CBS, Will & Grace on NBC, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy on ABC and playoff baseball on FS1 (Yankees-Indians.)

The game capped off a full day of coverage for the NBC-owned regional sports network, which included a red carpet ceremony outside of the United Center, an extensive pre-game and postgame show. In addition, a “Breakfast With The Blackhawks” event was streamed by the channel on Facebook Live.

And the final you ask? The Hawks thrashed the Penguins 10-1 to the delight of 20,000+ happy humans (as sidelined Hawks TV commentator Eddie Olczyk would say) at the United Center and the viewers at home. The real test comes as several Hawks games will be up against Cubs postseason games.

As for the rest of the competition nationally, Will & Grace slipped week-to-week to a 2.0 adults 18-49 rating, but remained the top entertainment program of the evening, while Scandal fell hard for ABC (1.4) and The Orville slid even further to a 0.9. The Patriots-Buccaneers game on CBS won the night in total viewers and 18-49.

With the repeal of the Cook County Soda tax all but a certainty, those annoying ads – both pro and con – are finally being taken off the air much to the delight of Chicago television viewers and radio listeners everywhere. The momentum shift came when Cook County commissioner John Daley changed his position on the tax, and several others followed. Set for repeal on Tuesday, the unpopular tax hurt businesses in Cook County and sent people out to collar counties (such as Will or DuPage) or Indiana to do their shopping. The tax was even a point of contention for WFLD-TV GM Dennis Welsh, who did an editorial on it.

The campaign – fueled by outside interests on both sides – filled Chicago airwaves for weeks – unusual for a non-election year. The pro-tax side certainly bought more airtime – more than $4 million fueled by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg according to reports.

The ads – especially those funded by Bloomberg – appeared mainly on local news and some syndicated programming. But in the last few days, the commercials popped up in more venues, including sporting events, Empire, YouTube, Hulu, and even online – in one case along a Chicago Tribune story about the soda tax.

The saturation proves the system is broken – thanks to the Supreme Court ruling a few years back, lifting caps off political advertising. All this money for these campaigns could have gone to help victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (more on that below.) Instead, the pro-soda tax campaign – only meant to raise revenue for Cook County in the guise of “saving children” – and the anti-tax one went to fill local media outlets’ coffers – many of them already receiving loads of money from cable and satellite companies in the form of retransmission consent.

As I said before, stations are more than happy to take the cash from these special interest groups, even if it means driving viewers away – especially younger ones – to alternative platforms such as streaming and DVR use. That’s what we call “cutting off your nose in spite of your face.”

Grab those bunny ears because Bob’s Burgers is finally headed to the big screen: 21st Century Fox announced this week the quirky animated comedy is headed to a movie theater near you on July 17, 2020. No storyline or plot has been announced.

Show creator Loren Bouchard said: “We’re thrilled to be invited to bring “Bob’s Burgers” to the big screen. We know the movie has to scratch every itch the fans of the show have ever had, but it also has to work for all the good people who’ve never seen the show. We also know it has to fill every inch of the screen with the colors and the sounds and the ever so slightly greasy texture of the world of Bob’s – but most of all it has to take our characters on an epic adventure. In other words, it has to be the best movie ever made. But no pressure, right?!”

Assuming the series continues on Fox (a given since ratings are stable – the program’s season premiere earned a 1.3 adult 18-49 ratings) – and excluding kids fare, Bob’s Burgers would join The Simpsons, The X-Files, South Park, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force as active TV shows at the same time a full-length theatrical was released. The Flintstones had a theatrical release in 1966 with The Man Called Flintstone, but came only after the series concluded its run on ABC.

Bob’s Burgers premiered on January 9, 2011 and became a cult hit and a reliable performer for Adult Swim and in weekend syndication (rights are held locally by WCIU, who airs it Saturdays at 10 p.m.) The cast had a live touring show, stopping at the Chicago Theater in 2015 (a show yours truly attended.)

Recently, Bob’s Burgers won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Series.

Courtesy Margie Arbizo, Angel Arroyo JR and Nicole Duston (Us Magazine)

Finally, a tip of the top hat to former Real Housewives star, Skinnygirl creator, and talk show host Bethenny Frankel on her efforts to aid citizens of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria slammed into the U.S. territory recently, leaving the island with no food, no water, and no electricity – creating a huge humanitarian crisis. Get this: Frankel charted four planes of supplies to help with relief. In addition, her organization raised hundred of thousands of dollars for hurricane relief through her charity. Private entities and individual citizens have stepped up efforts while the Trump administration has failed to do so as the “President” was more interested in sparring with the mayor of San Juan and criticizing citizens for “their lack of effort”.

Other celebs stepping up efforts include Jennifer Lopez, Rosie Perez (both of Puerto Rican decent), Chicago’s Chance The Rapper, Pitbull, Jay-Z, and Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban. Other efforts included one by CBS Chicago, who held a telethon Thursday with proceeds going to the Red Cross, raising more than $4 million for hurricane relief.

Yes, the failure of her talk show has been documented on this blog (rather cruelly)  sometime back. But give credit where credit is due for Frankel and others stepping up where others.. i.e. the White House – have failed. Also notable is she has stepped up – as a former talk show host – more so than another former talk show host, one who used to call Chicago her home and has even more resources than Frankel does.

So how about it, Oprah?

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“South L.A.’s Team”: Chargers’ move to Hollywood isn’t successful so far

“South L.A.’s Team” is having a hard time drawing fans to their temporary home, the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.

Game against Eagles last Sunday was shoved onto little-watched outlet in Los Angeles.

The Chargers’ move to Los Angeles from San Diego couldn’t have been more disastrous.

Game three into this experiment, and the Chargers are only drawing around 25,000 fans per game in the 30,000-seat StubHub Center, a soccer stadium in south suburban Carson, Calif., thirteen miles south of downtown Los Angeles. Carson borders L.A.’s oddly-shaped Harbor Gateway neighborhood and is adjacent to suburban Compton and West Rancho Dominguez.

If you’re not familiar with Carson, the exterior fire house in the 1970s’ NBC drama Emergency! was actually Station 127 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department in the city, renamed the Robert A. Cinader Memorial Fire Station in honor of the show’s co-creator.

I guess you can call the Chargers “South L.A.’s Team”. Or not, given much of the crowd who comes to these games are fans of the opposing team.

Previously, Los Angeles was without an NFL team for 22 years after both the Rams and Raiders left in December 1994. Then in 2016, the Rams returned to L.A. after two decades and change in St. Louis, playing in a domed stadium built for them. Owner Stan Kroenke exercised a clause in their contract to leave the place, which is about as unimaginable as you think.

Meanwhile, the Chargers had stadium issues at their home, known as San Diego and later Jack Murphy Stadium before the name changed. After voters rejected a tax increase to build a new facility, the Chargers “bolted” back to Los Angeles, scheduled to share a stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, Calif. in 2020. The last time the Chargers played in Los Angeles as a home team was in 1960 as an American Football League team before moving to San Diego in 1961 and to Jack Murphy in 1967.

Until the new facility is built, the Rams are back playing at the L.A. Coliseum – their home from 1951 to 1979 when they moved to Anaheim Stadium. Like the Chargers, the Rams are having their own attendance issues.

Meanwhile, the Chargers have to settle for StubHub, a place more known for the LA Galaxy soccer team and boxing (which is in another part of the venue.) While a move to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl would have been a more logical choice, the venue reportedly flat out rejected the idea.

On Sunday, the Chargers played a “home” game against the Philadelphia Eagles, where fans of the green and white completely took over the place. Sirius/XM host and podcaster Ross Tucker noted it was an “epic fail”, as the team even ran out of press box food during the game. While in L.A., Tucker asked people who were playing the Chargers on Sunday – and no one knew.

And you think it’s bad now – wait until the Raiders come to town.

Not helping matters is what channel the game was televised on. Fox had rights to both Rams and Chargers game (Chargers are an AFC team, whose rights lie with CBS) and rather than have the end of the Rams game interfering with the start of the Chargers game on the company’s KTTV, Fox shoved the game to its owned sister station, KCOP-TV – once known as a UPN affiliate and was home to many Star Trek shows.

According to a tweet from KNBC sports anchor Fred Roggin, the ratings for the Chargers game tied for fifth among most-watched NFL telecasts in the Los Angeles market. Not helping is KCOP’s overall standing, with the My Network TV affiliate (remember them?) – usually finishing behind Univision’s KMEX and Telemundo’s KVEA, two Spanish-language stations in the ratings. Seriously.

Fox still uses the “My” branding in L.A., as it was abandoned in Chicago after sister station WPWR-TV became a CW affiliate. WPWR has aired Chicago Bears games in the past, before the NFL Network struck a deal with CBS and NBC to simulcast their games. KCOP also plans to air another Chargers “home” game later this season. CBS-owned KCAL, a sister station to KCBS, is airing this coming Sunday’s Chargers game against the New York Giants at 10 a.m. Pacific Time because the Rams play the Seahawks at 1 p.m. on CBS (and not Fox.) Of note, the ratings for the Rams have also been unspectacular.

There seems to be some kind of attendance curse when any team plays on the “south side of town” (ask any White Sox fan.) While the Cubs-White Sox crosstown rivalry is real and genuine, the new “Rams-Chargers” rivalry feels phony and staged. Even the “fights” at training camp between the two teams had a whiff of deception around it. “Pay your rent” chants? Give me a break. Even the Angels-Dodgers matchups this year – which featured fights in the stands and even a near-bench clearing brawl was for real – or what passes for real in Southern California.

The Chargers are finding this out hard and fast and with the team off to an 0-4 start, it is going to be much tougher to the Chargers to build a fan base in a city where football is historically an afterthought.

(Updated 2017-10-06 at 3:50 p.m. to add Chargers-Giants information.)

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T Dog’s Media Notepad: Megyn Kelly stumbles, bumbles in premiere

If you are employed during the day, be extremely grateful you don’t have to witness the battle of the mediocre at 9 a.m.: September 25th saw the premiere of Megyn Kelly’s new talk show on NBC competing with Live With Kelly and Ryan on ABC affiliates in most markets, including nine of the ten largest with programs actually tying each other with an identical 2.2 household ratings and 8 shares. In the top four markets however, Live came out on top over Megyn – including Chicago, here Live airs on WLS-TV and Megyn on WMAQ-TV.

Live also topped Megyn in New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia, although Hot Bench beat both talk shows in New York.

The reviews for Megyn Kelly were brutal – perhaps the worst (or the best, depending on your point of view) came from The Washington Post’s Hank Stuever:The debut was like watching a network try to assemble its own Bride of Frankenstein, using parts of Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Ripa and whatever else it can find. The resultant lovely creature, dressed in a mauve, pussy-bow blouse and skintight pants, moved stiffly and waved her arms around in broad gestures in a bizarre attempt to generate excitement from an audience that was already standing and cheering as duly instructed. She interviewed people nervously and so awkwardly that they were cowed into giving monosyllabic answers. She also never missed an opportunity to talk about herself.”

Former Chicago Tribune and current Variety TV critic Maureen Ryan took issue with a segment on Chicago violence: “In a later segment on a nun who works with young people and bereaved mothers in a low-income neighborhood in Chicago, Kelly again never quite connected with her subjectsThe pre-taped piece had little depth — its talking points (i.e., the city is a ‘war zone’) reinforced a skewed and incomplete picture of Chicago as a place full of random gun violence.”  Viewers generally don’t seek out hard news pieces in the morning, and besides, this is your typical national/international news piece on Chicago violence only intended to score rating – and political – points.

There was also a segment involving the entire Will & Grace cast, which is better off not being talked about.

So the question is, what are you going to watch at 9 a.m.? Megyn Kelly, who once called Michelle Obama “a whiner” for speaking out against racism or Ryan Seacrest, who is annoying in every possible way, shape, or form. Don’t be surprised if most Chicagoans stick with WGN Morning News in the time period – until Sinclair takes over and they screw that up. Because watching Megyn Kelly and Kelly & Ryan go at it is like watching the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants battle for fourth place in the National League West this past season – you just don’t care.

If you watched WGN-TV lately, you’ve noticed a promo for a Chicago Bears game airing on October 9. Well, it’s true – WGN acquired the local rights to carry the Bears as they take on division foe Minnesota Vikings on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. It is the first time WGN has carried a regular-season Bears game since 2010, when they played the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Tex.

WCIU has carried Bears games in the past early in the season as ABC-owned WLS-TV (a corporate cousin of ESPN) wouldn’t take the rights due to Dancing With The Stars, always a popular draw in Chicago. But WGN became an independent station again last year, enabling them to bid on Monday night Bears games, though not in time as WCIU aired two Bears games last year in prime-time. With no more network commitments, WGN can once again air sporting contests without conflicts.

But the big problem now is – the Bears could come in conflict with game four of the National League Division Series between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals on TBS. The schedule hasn’t been set, but it’s likely the World Series Champs would play in primetime opposite the football game – creating headaches for Chicago sports fans – especially with Mitch Trubisky starting for the now-benched Mike Glennon.

The tabloid wars between CBS’ Daily Mail TV and Twentieth’s Page Six has once again declared a draw. According to B&C, both shows tied each other in their first full week on the air. Both shows had identical 0.7/2 metered market household ratings/shares, and Page out delivered Daily in the key 25-54 demo, 0.5 to 0.3.

Both shows are different in their approach: Page has a roundtable discussion led by host John Fuselgang with contributors (only one is from the New York Post’s Page Six column) focusing mainly on celebrity gossip; Daily has host Jesse Palmer and reports on celebrity news but has other features as well – on September 26’s show, Kevin Hart’s alleged mistress was interviewed. Also mentioned was the health-care bill battle.

Page Six has increased ratings in New York, Washington D.C. and Baltimore over year-ago time slots; Daily Mail TV improved the time-period share in St. Louis at noon on Tribune Fox affiliate KTVI. Daily Mail also won its time period in Atlanta over WSB-TV, and on Jacksonville’s WJXT, beat Fallon and Colbert at midnight.

Among national ratings for new off-network sitcoms, Sony’s The Goldbergs debuted with a 0.9; CBS’ The Game with 0.4.


Charles Brennan with Larry David on the set of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.

I guess the station’s call letters was a giveaway on what type of person he is: in a bizarre circumstance, a South Dakota radio station owner is forced to give up his outlet because of a change in state law regarding…payday lending. As reported by Radio Insight and Sioux Falls ABC affiliate KSFY, business mogul Chuck Brennan decided to shut down all of his business operations, including Classic Rock station KBAD-FM, located at 94.5 FM on the deal. Brennan bought the old KCFS-FM from the University of South Dakota in 2015 and launched the new format in November of that year. As of September 23, the station went dark.

The decision was tied to the demise of Brennan’s Dollar Loan Center, a payday lending store chain located in Sioux Falls (a Google Maps search even leads you right into one of  the stores! Don’t knock over the water cooler…) In November 2016, South Dakota voters approved a referendum limiting short term lending to a 36 percent interest rate, forcing Brennan to rework his business. But the state’s Banking Division rejected his new loan product, resulting in the shutdown.

Payday lending stores have been controversial as borrowing carries a very high interest rate.

The Dollar Loan Center was part of a larger business enterprise run by Brennan as a “community enhancement project” called Badlands, it which KBAD takes its name. According to a poorly-worded press release on the KBAD website, Badlands “included the best Race track and outdoor amphitheater ever built in the Midwest. It included a 70,000 square foot “Pawn Shop” that had a foundry, tattoo parlor, deli, gun range, gun store, concert venue, music department, casino, house band, entertainment group, radio station and retail store.”

The website claimed KBAD was “the best Rock station ever in Sioux Falls in KBAD [sic] with #1 ratings for 18 months in a row.” In reality however, KBAD only placed third in a six-station market – far behind the real market leader, country outlet KTWB-FM according to Nielsen. Brennan wanted to use KBAD as a flagship station for the “Gold, Guns, & Rock and Roll Network” and was used to draw people to the pawn shop.

Brennan is now suing South Dakota. Despite the questionable business practices, Brennan never attracted any kind of scrutiny from the FCC, which makes you wonder why the agency approved this transaction in the first place.

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Sunday Night ratings: “Ghosted” scores in debut

The Toy Box tanks

(Editor’s note: these are preliminary adult 18-49 numbers only.)  

Sunday night may be football night, but it’s definately not Toy night.

Ratings in for the first Sunday of the season show Fox may have a potential hit for new buddy comedy Ghosted, starring Craig Robinson and Adam Scott. The series earned a 1.4 rating, even with the 29th season-premiere of The Simpsons, also with a 1.4. Ghosted was surprisingly well-reviewed with a Metacritic score of 63. Ghosted should be a keeper, more so than last year’s ill-fated Son Of Zorn, which aired in the same time period last year.

Fox also scored with Bob’s Burgers. The season premiere – featuring an episode drawn with fan art – earned a 1.3, about even with workhorses The Simpsons and Family Guy. Burgers is one of the most underappreciated shows on television and is better than The Big Bang Theory by a country mile.

Wrapping up the night on Fox is another underappreciated comedy, The Last Man on Earth with a 0.9.

Over to ABC, the season premiere of The Toy Box may soon go the way of Toys R Us: bankrupt. The show earned a 0.4 rating and finished in last place. The two-hour premiere of Shark Tank followed with a 1.1, being relocated from Fridays. And finally, Ten Days In The Valley’s premiere disappointed with a 0.6, down 37 percent from its lead-in.

60 Minutes, which had its season premiere last week, did a 2.0 for CBS, fueled by a football lead-in (3.8). That was followed by the premiere of Wisdom Of The Crowd with a 1.4. Despite the catchy name (yours truly loves it), the series is not a favorite with critics (Metacritic rating: 36.) The season premiere of NCIS: Los Angeles finished with a 1.2, followed by a repeat of the Seal Team premiere.

Last but not least, NBC won the evening with Sunday Night Football, with the Indianapolis Colts- Seattle Seahawks game with a 4.9 rating in adults 18-49 and fourteen million viewers. And before some of you jump down my throat regarding the validity of these numbers, I am working with what I am given here. There is no “conspiracy” or “propaganda”. In the eleven years writing this blog, I have not once wrote a “fake” item.

The next ratings report will be on Wednesday with Tuesday’s numbers with the premieres of The Mayor and Kevin Saves The World. The numbers for 9JKL will be tweeted Tuesday. To follow T Dog Media on Twitter, click here (@tdogmedia).

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“Will & Grace” shines in return; NFL, Bears fall flat

Strong start for veteran sitcom – and oh yeah…Chicago’s NFL Lakefront Team was also in action

The return of Will & Grace to NBC Thursday night went better than expected.

The “season nine” comedy – starring Eric McCormick and Debra Messing premiered with a 3.0 adults 18-49 rating – better than any season eight episode eleven seasons ago (in 2005-06) and is the third-highest rated program so far in this young season – behind only The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon.

The return didn’t exactly mince on where the characters were the last eleven years – but focused on Grace being hired as an interior designer to remake the White House, with funny results. As one who didn’t watch Will & Grace much during the original run, I found the episode surprisingly fresh and funny. The return of Jack and the gang certainly did not disappoint.

Will & Grace’s return boosted NBC’s lineup for the rest of the night, with Superstore at a 1.3; the pun-happy Good Place at a 1.4; Great News with a 1.3 (and an appearance from Tina Fey); and Chicago Fire with a 1.5, up 15 percent from the lead-in.

On the far, far, end of the quality spectrum (that is, if you’re NOT a Packers fan), CBS’ Thursday Night Football game with the Chicago’s NFL Lakefront Team getting thrashed (again) by the Green Bay Packers 35-14 was…somehow the most-watched program of the evening. The game drew 14.6 million viewers total combined for CBS and NFL Network. Among adults 18-49, the game did a 4.8. Despite leading the time-period, these numbers have to be disappointing for the NFL as they are lower than the comparable CBS TNF game from last year (a Patriots-Texans matchup from September 22, 2016 drew 17. 5 million viewers and a 6.1 in adults 18-49.)

In terms of streaming, Amazon (taking over from Twitter, who held the TNF rights last year), served just 1.9 million streams, down from 2.5 million from the first CBS TNF game last year.

Locally, the Bears game drew an 18.9 household rating, up 51 percent from the 12.5 earned last October 20 with the exact same matchup. But keep in mind the game was up against a Los Angeles Dodgers-Chicago Cubs playoff game, drawing a 24.1 rating – not to mention Hillary Clinton ‘s and Donald Trump’s appearance at the Al Smith dinner, which drew 10.3 million viewers nationally across the cable news networks.  Compared to two years ago, the Bears-Packers game – a Thanksgiving night game on NBC where the Bears actually won – had a much stronger 29.8 rating, down 37 percent.

The Bears-Packers matchup in 2013 at Lambeau Field drew a 34.0 local rating and ESPN drew 16.1 million viewers (the Bears won this game, too.) Of note this is the seventh consecutive year the Bears played in Green Bay in prime-time.

Moreover, Will & Grace’s return drew a 7.8/13 in Chicago, a strong number opposite the Bears. The Bears also faced a Cubs game on WGN-TV – lucky for them they clinched the National League Central title a night earlier, or the local numbers would no doubt be even lower. Plus, the White Sox and Blackhawks were also in action.

In terms of ratings declines, at least the pundits can’t use the national anthem protests this week (no player on neither team knelt) – the Bears were simply awful. Why the team keeps getting prime-time exposure is a mystery – the Bears have to be the worst-run professional franchise in all of sports, even exceeding the Blackhawks in the last years of the Bill Wirtz era. Memo to the NFL: using the rivalry with the Packers – the oldest in football as a selling point to draw viewers – no longer works. Combined with the protests, Kapernick being blackballed, questionable calls, dirty plays (a Bears player committed one Thursday night) and of course the Bears sucking – Chicagoans (wisely) are finding other ways to spend their Sundays.

The sad part about this is Bears management is no different than what you see at ABC, Fox, iHeartMedia, Cumulus Media, the Cook County Board, the FCC, the White House, the Bulls… I can go on and on and on – imbeciles only listening to themselves and make decision based only on how they see things – as a result, you have a complete shitshow.  These people even make Sam Zell and Randy Michaels look like geniuses – and I thought I’d would never say that.

Moving on to other ratings news, ABC had a strong outing from Grey’s Anatomy with the fourteen-year veteran earning a 2.3 rating in adults 18-49. However, How To Get Away With Murder dropped 52 percent to a 1.1 rating. On Fox, Gotham finished last with an 0.8 rating, but the critically-derided The Orville followed with a 1.1 rating, up 37 percent from its lead-in, a number ratings watchers noted as “decent”.

Even The Orville had a better night than the Bears.

Link: Thursday numbers 



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Wednesday ratings roundup: Cubs clincher also a win in ratings

The Cubs and “Empire” cam “Fly The W”.

Empire tops in national ratings

(Editor’s Note: Excluding the Cubs number, these are final adults 18-49 ratings.

While yours truly should talk about Wednesday night’s prime-time ratings race, you can’t ignore the fact the Chicago Cubs’ return to the postseason is going to have an impact on the broadcast networks. TBS is happy given they have rights to the NLDS and the NLCS this year.

The Cubs clinched the National League Central for their second straight division title with a win over the St. Louis Cardinals, and the telecast over CSN Chicago drew a 10.8 household peak rating at 8:45 p.m., easily topping the broadcast networks in the Chicago market – beating CBS’ new Seal Team and comedies on ABC and Star on Fox. And the ratings will only grow for the Cubs from there as they defend their historic 2016 World Series Title.

And don’t forget – the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees are also in the playoff mix, and their presence will also impact ratings.

The Cubs open the playoffs against the Washington Nationals Friday, October 6. Start times for the postseason are yet to be set – although it is likely the Cubs will get a prime-time slot since they are a major TV draw. The NLDS’ third game could be on opposite the Vikings-Bears game at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football, airing on both ESPN and WGN-TV (more on this in the next Media Notepad.)

As for the broadcast networks prime-time lineup Wednesday night, Fox finally found signs of life with the season premiere of Empire now leading off primetime, followed by Star. Empire won the time period with a 2.4 adults 18-49 rating – down tremendously from last year’s season premiere, but that was expected. Star received a boost with a 1.8 – down from the lead-in, but scored its highest ratings since its premiere in December 2016. Empire was meh-like last night, and Lucious Lyon was certainly not his Donald Trump-like self.

Turning to CBS, Seal Team had a decent debut with a 1.5, down slightly from its Survivor lead-in (1.8, down 22 percent from last year’s premiere.) Criminal Minds thirteenth-season premiere ended the night with a 1.3. As for Survivor, you wonder if the Russians interfered with the vote at Tribal Council – or at least were involved in the editing.

ABC’s comedy block saw notable year-to-year losses in double-digits with The Goldbergs (1.8), Speechless (1.4), Modern Family (2.1), and American Housewife (1.6), which has to be the most unfunniest sitcom yours truly has ever seen. The season premiere of Designated Survivor finished the evening with a 1.1., and of course you would want the person in the White House on this show in real life instead of the imbecile now occupying the premises.

Finally, NBC had The Blacklist (1.1), Law and Order: SVU (1.4) and Chicago P.D. (1.3), the latter tying Criminal Minds for first place. All three were down from year-ago time period ratings.

(Edited on 2017-09-30 at 10:36 p.m. to fix Cubs errors.)  

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“This is Us” creams the competition

Hot drama shows its dominance, helps NBC wins Tuesday night

Note: All ratings are adults 18-49, unless otherwise noted. These are final numbers. 

If you think This Is Us was a fluke last season, things you might want to take a look at these numbers.

The hit NBC drama entered its second season Tuesday night with a remarkable 3.9 rating, up 26 percent  from last year’s premiere episode and marks a record high for the Emmy-nominated drama. This Is Us also drew 12.8 million viewers.

This Is Us was so dominant, it beat the four competing network shows in the key demo combined. This Is Us is the real deal, ladies and gentlemen. The drama also fueled NBC to win the night in the key demo, but fell to CBS in total viewers.

Leading into This Is Us, The Voice earned a 2.7 rating – nearly identical to the previous night’s score and was a time-period winner. On the other end was the premiere of the latest in the Law & Order franchise: The Melendez Brothers earned a 1.6 – down a whopping 62 percent from its lead-in. What also should be concerning for NBC with Melendez is the lack of buzz on social media.

It looks like CBS’ Tuesday night lineup is starting to losing stream. NCIS’ season premiere earned a 1.6 rating and drew 13.1 million viewers – down double-digits in both metrics. Also falling hard was Bull – the series lost a full ratings point compared to last year’s premiere, with a 1.3 rating and 9.9 million viewers. Finally NCIS: New Orleans also fell double digits year-to-year and in adults 18-49 and total viewers by putting up a 1.0 rating and drawing 8.7 million pairs of eyeballs.

Over on ABC, the network doesn’t roll out its new Tuesday night lineup until next week. With that said, Celebrity Family Feud’s season finale earned a 1.3, while a special Dancing With The Stars finished with a 1.2. It is puzzling why ABC is finishing its summer shows during the first full week of the fall season – plus, Family Feud comes on multiple times a day on at least two stations. Enough already.

At Fox, the network spun out with Lethal Weapon (1.2), The Mick (0.9) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (0.7). All shows down from double digits from their last premieres.

Of note locally, the Cubs-Cardinals game – where the Cubs were looking to clinch their third consecutive National League Central Title, drew an 8.0 household rating on CSN Chicago, obviously taking viewers away from some of the broadcast network’s prime-time offerings. The Cubs were not able to clinch, so they’ll try to do it again tonight.

The biggest night to watch for this week however, is Thursday with not only the Bears-Packers Thursday Night Football matchup on CBS, but the Cubs-Cardinals game on WGN and the highly anticipated return Will & Grace on NBC and the TGIT block on ABC.

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“Young Sheldon” bows to strong ratings

Bows ties for everyone: “Young Sheldon” debuts high.

Sheldon roars right out of the gate and so does Good Doctor

(Updated at 4:40 p.m.)

Despite hot temperatures throughout much of the country (including Chicago), viewers tuned in for the start of the new fall season on Monday, starting a week later than in recent years. The show industry watchers are keeping an eye on is CBS’ new Big Bang Theory spin-off Young Sheldon and it came out of the gate like gangbusters.

Reminder: All numbers are adults 18-49, unless otherwise noted. These tallies have been updated from earlier today.

The preview of Sheldon earned a 3.8 rating and 16.57 million viewers, holding 97 percent of Big Bang’s lead-in (4.1), the best retention ever for any show premiering out of the veteran sitcom. On Twitter, yours truly gave the series a C. Even though the writers did a great job of capturing the backstory of Sheldon Cooper, Sheldon could’ve used more laughs. Jim Parsons’ voice-over on the show as the current-day Sheldon easily draws comparisons to The Wonder Years – which originally aired in prime-time the same year Young Sheldon is set (1989). Unlike Wonder Years however, Sheldon fails to draw humor from situations and the characters. But there is room for improvement.

Sheldon made history as the first single-camera sitcom to spin-off of a multi-cam one (keep in mind even though Lou Grant spun-off of the multi-cam The Mary Tyler Moore Show, it was a drama, not a sitcom.)

Reviews on Twitter were mixed, but some of the haters put out some hilarious tweets.

Clorox should also be the drink of choice while viewing SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, Megan Kelly Today or Live With Kelly & Ryan. 

Young Sheldon premieres in its regular Thursday night time slot after Big Bang on November 2. As for Big Bang, yours truly hasn’t seen the episode yet but….come on. You knew she said yes. The only question now is whether Wil Wheaton shows up at the wedding with new bride Kenya Moore, with Mancow the best man.

Oh man… I need more of this.







Meanwhile, the second-season premiere of Kevin Can Wait – minus Erinn Hayes – earned a 2.3 rating, though down 12 percent from last year. The show spent less than one minute explaining why Erinn Hayes’ character disappeared (death) – at least they didn’t do a Judy Winslow/Chuck Cunningham crapout. But fans still deserved a better explanation – especially for a mediocre sitcom like this one.

Rounding out the CBS lineup was the equally repugnant Me, Myself, and I (1.6) – can someone tell us the three-character point-of-view in various stages of life does not work – and Scorpion, which season-premiered to an unimpressive 1.0, with around 5.6 million viewers.

Over on ABC, the premiere of The Good Doctor did impress, with a 2.2 rating, up from its Dancing With The Stars lead-in (1.4), placing first in its time slot as ABC’s prime-time lineup was pre-empted by Monday Night Football on WFAA in Dallas  Good Doctor drew nearly twelve million viewers.

NBC returned with another season of The Voice – this time featuring alums from rival American Idol – Kelly Clarkson and Chicago’s Jennifer Hudson as judges. Voice drew a 2.6 rating, down 21 percent from last year. That led into new drama The Brave with a 1.3, down roughly half from its lead-in but still good enough for second place.

Finally, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance (this is still on the air?) limped to the finish line with a 0.5, finishing ninth – behind Monday Night Football and four other cable networks.

The CW was in repeats. Their “premiere week” doesn’t begin until October 9.

For more nuttiness, follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia and like the T Dog Media Facebook Page.

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The Media Notepad: WYCC may not be going anywhere after all


Also: syndicated tabloid TV wars begin; Family Matters house to be demolished; America’s Got Talent outdraws Emmys in ratings 

It looks like WYCC may not leaving the air after all – the small public-television station scheduled to cease broadcasting October 25, is talking to fellow PBS member WTTW about sharing channel space in a last-ditch effort according to the Chicago Tribune. The sign-off date has now been pushed back to November 24.

A letter sent to members over a week ago stated the station would go dark late next month as the station sold its spectrum in the incentive auction, which it received $15.9 million for. The Tribune reports WTTW has approached the City Colleges of Chicago about a possible channel-sharing agreement. WTTW officials said no “firm agreement” is in place, and the City Colleges must approve the deal. If this Hail-Mary pass falls short, WYCC’s departure would leave the market with just two public TV stations – WTTW and WYIN, which serves viewers in Northwest Indiana and is available over the air and on cable/satellite throughout much of the Chicago area. Two other public stations – run respectively by South Florida University and Howard University, are either in the process of or already have gone dark as they were also sold off in the incentive auction.

Airing programming aimed to City College students, WYCC signed-on in February 1983 and was not related to former educational outlet WXXW on the same Channel 20 frequency, which went dark in 1975.

Though permanent station sign-offs are not common, they have happened – in recent years Tupelo, Miss. ABC affiliate WKDH signed-off in 2013 and the affiliation wound up on a digital subchannel of another station. A Red Deer, Alta. station signed-off for good in 2009. And in the most famous case, Philadelphia’s WKBS-TV went dark in 1983 after owner Field Communications could not find a buyer for the station.

Page Six TV

The tabloid wars have begun: Nielsen ratings for the first two days have Twentieth’s Page Six TV  and CBS’ Daily Mail TV tied with a 0.75 household overnight rating. Debuting Spet. 18, both shows feature daily celebrity news updates: Page Six TV has a roundtable-type show with host John Fugelsang and  three contributors from the New York Post on the show and is shot in front of a studio audience; Daily Mail TV is a studio show host by Jesse Palmer. The series seems similar in tone to A Current Affair and Hard Copy.

The ratings don’t seem impressive, but in an era of diminished ratings amid a boatful of choices (after all, Peak TV), the numbers are decent. Page Six airs at 11:30 a.m. on WPWR-Ch.50 and 2 p.m. on WFLD-Ch.32. Daily Mail TV airs at 2 and 2:30 p.m. on WGN-Ch.9.

Meanwhile, Twentieth’s Top 30 – a quick rundown of the day’s stories debuted on Sept. 11 and so far has averaged a 0.3 rating. Airing at midnight on WPWR, the show surprisingly flows smoothly and zips through those thirty stories in 28 minutes with ease. Another new show (MGM/Orion’s Couples Court With The Cutlers) had a two-day average of 0.6.

Initial numbers for off-network sitcoms Goldbergs, Mom, The Game, and first-run game show Funny You Should Ask were not available.

Outside of the Chicago area, three shows debuted Monday in various markets: Pickler and Ben, Daily Blast Live, and Sister Circle. Of the three, Pickler turned in the best rating (1.3) and did gangbusters in its home base of Nashville on CBS affiliate WTVF at 9 a.m. (6.8). Despite the lack of a local clearance, Chicago viewers can still access these shows: Pickler and Ben airs on CMT a day after its broadcast airing; Sister Circle airs on TVOne; and Daily Blast is available on Facebook Live and YouTube.

So Steve Urkel “didn’t do that”: The home featured in Warner Bros.’ sitcom Family Matters on Chicago’s North Side is being demolished. According to DNA Info Chicago, the home – featured as an exterior shot on the Friday night sitcom – is being torn down to make way for a condo development. The demolition permit was approved on Tuesday.

A search of the “Family Matters House” on Google turned up an actual listing, complete with reviews, an address (1516 W. Wrightwood in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood) and even a phone number (which I guess isn’t reachable.) The condo developers plan to decorate the entry of the new building with a memorial marker stating the Family Matters house was at the location.

Family Matters debuted in 1989 as part of ABC’s “TGIF” block, but didn’t pick up steam until they added Jaleel White to the cast as nerdy klutz Steve Urkel later in the season. Matters became the linchpin for ABC’s successful Friday block in the 1990’s, and became a surprise success in off-network syndication in 1993 (it was taken out on an all-barter basis when stations balked at paying high prices for the show.)  The end came in 1998 when a network switch to CBS a year earlier to launch their own Friday night sitcom block targeted to young viewers failed.

The show was a spin-off of fellow ABC “TGIF” staple Perfect Strangers, another series based in Chicago as the Harriet character (Jo-Marie Payton) in Matters was an elevator operator at the Chicago newspaper Larry and Balki worked for in the show. Oddly, Payton was replaced midway through the final season by another actress (Judyann Elder).

While the structure is headed to wrecking ball heaven, viewers can still see the home in its stock shot glory via Hulu, who recently acquired streaming rights to air Family Matters, Full House, and several Warner Bros. “TGIF” shows from the era.

Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC

In news that doesn’t completely come as a shock, the season finale of NBC’s America’s Got Talent Wednesday night outdrew the Emmy Awards last Sunday – by a total of 15.6 million viewers to 11.4. million. In the adults 18-49 demo, Talent drew a 2.4 compared to the Emmys’ 1.9, which is now considered the lowest of all-time. A lackluster presentation didn’t exactly help the Emmys, which has never recovered from the move to Fox in 1987, when the network was only months old and dependent on mostly UHF stations many viewers weren’t familiar with.

As for Talent, the 15.6 million viewers for the finale – its highest since 2010 – is an improvement from last year as the show replaced Nick Cannon with Tyra Banks as host. The show has been known for constant judge and host changes throughout the years, and hasn’t affected viewership one iota. Even more impressive, Talent finished its 12th season with more viewers on average than most prime-time shows have during the regular season.

The winner of America’s Got Talent this year was twelve-year old ventriloquist Darcy Lynne Farmer, who took home the million dollar prize.

Eight of the contestants from America’s Got Talent also appeared on American Idol, with Jessica Sanchez finishing runner-up and Nick Fradiani winning the whole thing in 2015.

Follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia.

(Edited at 11:24 a.m. to add Robert Feder link to WYCC item.) 

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