The Grab Bag: WGN Radio Changes, Local 18-49 numbers

– Put ’em up: It’s an afternoon at the fights! In this corner, its WLS-AM’s Roe Conn and new partner Richard Roeper… and in the other corner, its Conn’s former partner and friend – Garry Meier on WGN-AM. Beginning Monday, Conn & Roeper are on from 2-6 while Garry Meier is on from 3-7 (on days when the Cubs aren’t playing.)

This is the latest in moves at WGN radio made by Kevin Metheny (whose referred to as “Pig Virus” in a lot of circles.) Another move he made was adding an hour to former Chicago alderman and convicted felon James Laski’s evening radio show, which now has been extended to 10 p.m. thanks to popular demand (or really, a lack thereof.) Laski can no doubt be the crooked fight judge in the boxing match between Conn and Meier.

To make room for the changes, Milt Rosenberg’s Extension 720 is moving to 10 p.m., which in turn, trims Steve King and Johnnie Putman’s overnight talk show an hour (midnight to 5 a.m.), while Steve Cochran is being shoved into the 1-3 p.m. time slot when the Cubs isn’t on.

Wow. Laski getting another hour… NBC renewing the inane Minute to Win It and The Marriage Ref…. The mere existence of Glenn Beck… As yours truly has repeatedly said this year… quality isn’t exactly job #1 in television and radio programming as of late.

– On, scroll down to the 12th post and you’ll see Local People Meter ratings for Wednesday in the all-important adults 18-49 demographic for the fifteen largest markets: Among the local highlights: American Idol was Chicago’s highest rated show at a 6.5 rating and 17 share, about the same as the national average of 6.5/18.  The Cleveland Indians-Chicago White Sox game did a 3.0 rating/8 share on WGN, while Modern Family did a similar 3.0/8.

But the notable performer of the evening was NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, whose 3.1/8 on WMAQ-TV easily cleared WLS-TV’s once-reliable Ugly Betty, who had a 1.6/4 and CSI:NY’s 1.3/4 on WBBM-TV. In Seattle, NBC affiliate KING-TV did a whopping 5.2/15 for SVU.

In Detroit, Minute to Win It finished first among broadcast stations, followed by America’s Next Top Model. Keep in mind however, that Detroit’s three professional sports teams (the Lions don’t count) were also playing at the same time.

– Oprah Winfrey now has her OWN prime-time talk show on her OWN cable network. Titled Oprah’s Next Chapter, Ms. Winfrey is hosting a show which would take place anywhere – except a studio. Word has it that she will also do the show from her OWN planet.

– Fans of the TV series Lost now will have a five-hour celebration to toast (or mourn) the series’ finale on May 23. A Lost retrospective is expected to air from 6-8 p.m. (CT), followed by the actual two-hour finale from 8-10 p.m., then after the late local news, a one-hour Jimmy Kimmel special titled Lost: After The Final Rose, which will feature interviews with cast members

As you recall, NBC threw a similar celebration with the final episode of Cheers back on May 20, 1993 with an one-hour retrospective, finale, and a Tonight Show special with Jay Leno from Bull & Finch’s Bar in Boston.

If the Jimmy Kimmel Live special turns out anything like the Tonight Show’s tribute to Cheers, look for Lost cast members to take the Dharma initiative by taking their clothes off and running around the studio drunk.