Some sad news to start off this edition of notations: Emmy-award winning actress Kathryn Joosten died on Sunday after a long battle with lung cancer at the age of 72. She was best known for her portrayal of presidential secretary Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing, and most recently, the nosy neighbor on Desperate Housewives.
Born in Eustus, Fl. in 1939, Joosten broke into acting at the age of 42 by taking classes at the Steppenwolf Theater here in Chicago, and appearing in many community theater productions throughout the Chicagoland area. Joosten moved to the Los Angeles area in the 1995 and had guest appearances on more than twenty shows, including Family Matters, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, ER, Murphy Brown (secretary #83), Seinfeld, Fraiser, Dharma & Greg, Scrubs, Providence, General Hospital, and a voiceover on The Cleveland Show.
Joosten’s portrayal of nosy neighbor Karen McCuskey on Desperate Housewives netted her two Emmy Awards in 2005 and 2008. Ironically, her character on the show died on the series finale.
– Remember those Rod Blagojevich billboards WIQI (FM News 101) put up all over Chicagoland a few weeks ago? Well, they’re getting a makeover. Merlin Media has plastered Blago with a smiley face and blue hair (obviously, Merlin is trying to pass off Blago as a distant relative of Marge Simpson.) This comes as the station is hearing complaints from listeners (what listeners?) and from those who think the ads were insensitive to the Blagojevich family – not to mention one from Blago’s lawyer saying the billboards violate the Illinois Right To Publicity Act, which prevents someone using another person’s identity for commercial purposes.
With the “new” makeover, the billboards now look incredibly stupid and tacky – not the image you want for an all-news station – though the ads were cheesy to begin with. WIQI would be better off taking these eyesores down.
– And they’re off: the 2014 off-network sitcom race begins this week with Warner Bros. hitting the streets with Mike & Molly for potential station groups and cable nets. The Chicago-set series (featuring Plainfield’s own Melissa McCarthy) has been a hit for CBS, ranking twenty-second in adult 18-49 demo among all prime-time programs on the broadcast networks. Molly will complete with a show that hasn’t even debuted yet: Debmar-Mercury’s Anger Management, whose first ten episodes debuts on FX beginning June 28. If the Charlie Sheen series is a success for FX, Debmar-Mercury will produce 90 more episodes, using the same model Tyler Perry used to launch House of Payne, as the series amassed 100 episodes for stripping by 2008.
Mike & Molly is produced by Chuck Lorre, who also produces The Big Bang Theory and Two And A Half Men – the same sitcom Sheen was fired from after a falling out with Lorre.
– The Los Angeles Kings’ journey to the Stanley Cup may not be a hit in the ratings, but the teams’ bank account is already winner. Fox Sports West announced on Monday it has struck a deal with the Kings to keep the NHL team on the regional sports network through 2024. The deal comes as the Los Angeles Lakers move from FSN West to Time Warner Cable SportsNet in October. FSN West (and sister RSN Prime Ticket) recently renewed deals with other L.A.-area sports teams, including the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and MLB’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
So far, the Stanley Cup Final between the Kings and the New Jersey Devils has been a ratings bust for NBC and NBC Sports Channel thus far, with the series headed of the lowest ratings for a Stanley Cup Final series since 1995 (when ironically, the Devils participated.) Monday night’s Game 3 was outdrawn on cable by an NBA playoff game, WWE Raw, and reruns of Family Guy (on Adult Swim.)
– Meanwhile, here’s another renewal deal – but its good news for fans who don’t have access to cable in the Twin Cities. The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves recently re-upped its contract with My Network TV affiliate WFTC in Minneapolis-St. Paul to air up to 25 games during the 2012-13 season – roughly the same number of games the Chicago Bulls airs on WGN-TV here in Chicago. The games are being produced by FSN North for WFTC, who also plan to air 50 games next season. All games are slated to be televised in HD. The move comes as more and more teams (like the Lakers) are striking exclusive cable deals.
Both FSN North and WFTC are owned by News Corp. WFTC is in a duopoly with KMSP in the Twin Cities, also owned by Fox.