A bunch of items in this week’s Grab Bag:
– Is Robin Robinson on her way out at Fox-owned WFLD? Sure looks like it: According to a report surfacing a little over a week ago at Chicagoland Radio and Media, Robinson is expected to depart when her contract expires later this year. Robinson is the longest-tenured anchor at WFLD, being the face of the station since the news operation’s launch in 1987. In recent years however, Robinson became the target of some criticism, especially the way she handled this particular story. Also likely out is GM Mike Renda, whose contracts expires in August. This comes as no surprise as new news director Phyills Schwartz is looking to shake things up after years of being in last place in Chicago’s news ratings race.
There is no word on a replacement to sit along co-anchor Bob Sirott, but speculation is centering on Good Day Chicago anchor Anna Davalntes as a possible replacement, who anchored with Sirott at WMAQ.
– The WWE is returning to broadcast television for the first time in two years. WWE is launching Main Event, a show which plans to feature wrestlers and Divas from both Raw and Smackdown. The series premieres on October 3 at 7 p.m. (CT) on ION – a broadcast network mostly known for airing reruns of procedural dramas. Main Event is expected to fit in seamlessly with storylines from both series, but unlike both Raw and Smackdown, Main Event is only scheduled to be an hour-long show.
Excluding specials, the last time WWE aired programming on a regular basis on broadcast television was in 2010, when My Network TV aired Smackdown on Friday Nights, but moved to SyFy in September. Beforehand, Smackdown aired on UPN and The CW.
– Despite a lockout wiping out part of the season, the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the LeBron James-led (and new NBA Champion) Miami Heat drew an average of 16.9 million viewers over five games, making this the most-watched Finals in eight years. In the adult 18-49 demo, the Finals skewed quite young – a 7.1 rating, ranking as the third highest-rated program this season, only behind the Super Bowl and American Idol.
Even though the Bulls were eliminated in the first round (thanks to Derrick Rose’s injury), Chicago viewers tuned in en masse for the Finals, averaging a 14.0 household rating for the five games and ranking fifth among “neutral” markets – not to mention outdrawing both the Cubs and the White Sox locally in the ratings.
– Charlie Sheen is winning again: The debut of his new Anger Management sitcom on FX Thursday night drew 5.5 million viewers for the first half hour and increased to 5.7 million viewers for the second half-hour – definitely a good thing for Debmar-Mercury, who is looking to produce ninety more episodes for FX after initially ordering the first ten. Look for that pickup anyday now…
– Speaking of pickups, TNT has renewed Dallas for a second season and expanded the order to fifteen episodes for 2013. The revival of the 1978-91 CBS primetime soap has averaged 6.9 viewers for the first two weeks (including DVR three day playback), and last week earned around four million viewers (live viewing only; DVR numbers are not yet available.) Meanwhile, TNT has also renewed Riozzi & Isles for another season. And why not? The series has averaged 7.1 million viewers.
– Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio streaming platform has added two new radio station groups to its portfolio: 86 stations from Cox and 20 stations from Emmis, including stations such as Cox’s WSB-AM/FM in Atlanta, and Emmis’ talker WIBC-FM in Indianapolis, among others. In addition to original music stations, iHeartRadio streams over 1,000 U.S. radio outlets from the Clear Channel, Cumulus, Greater Media, Midway (WVON), and Tribune (WGN-AM) groups and makes heavy use of social media, from Twitter to Facebook.
– Don Grady, who starred in the long-running 1960’s sitcom My Three Sons, died last week from cancer at the age of 68. Grady played Robbie Douglas on the show and wrote a few episodes and played and composed music on the show. After he departed Sons in 1971, Grady went on to a successful music career, composing scores on TV series Switch and the first theme for The Phil Donahue Show. MeTV aired a three hour tribute to Grady with a My Three Sons mini-marathon July 1.
Sons, which starred Kankakee native Fred McMurray, premiered on ABC and produced by MCA in 1960, but was purchased outright by CBS in 1965 after Don Fedderson Productions sought producing the show in color. The series ran until 1972.
– Finally, the tweet of the week… my thoughts on WSCR (The Score) host Dan McNeil’s column in the Chicago Tribune on Chris Berman, after the ESPN “personality” landed a one-shot gig calling the Sept. 10 NFL season opener between the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders:
Dan McNeil says Chris Berman should go. That's like Scrappy-Doo demanding Meg Griffin's removal from "Family Guy". http://t.co/LysSvDbA
— T Dog Media (@tdogmedia) July 1, 2012