T Dog’s Grab Bag: “Ellen”, “Dr. Oz” return strong

Hey Katie, the old school’s got a message for you: we can draw an audience, too.

That was the vibe sent Monday while Katie Couric posted strong numbers of her debut Monday – but returning talkers also posted good numbers for their season premieres, despite pre-emptions from tennis on some CBS stations.

Warner Bros.’ Ellen tenth season premiere drew a 3.0 household rating Monday, its highest rating in years, according to THR. Ellen was also up in all key female demos. Sony’s Dr. Oz, which has its fourth-season premiere Thursday, also did well, averaging a 2.8 household rating, up 33 percent from last year. The upswing comes despite being pushed back for Katie in some markets, including KABC in Los Angeles, where Oz moved to 2 p.m.

– In other syndication news, the Chicago Teachers Union strike not only knocked Chicago Public School students out of school for the foreseeable future, but also a syndicated show? For the duration of the strike, Weigel’s WCIU is stripping award-winning E/I children’s program Green Screen Adventures on its U Too channel, airing back-to-backers from 8-9 a.m, temporarily replacing Entertainment Studios’ America’s Court With Judge Ross, according to a story on Chicagoland Radio & Media. While America’s Court has aired in multiple time periods on both WCIU and U Too, on September 17 America’s Court was expected exclusively on U Too from 8-9 a.m. If the strike isn’t settled by then (and it’s likely it won’t), America’s Court will likely relocate to another, unspecified time slot on U Too.

U Too (or WCIU-DT2) can be found on Over-the-air ch. 26.2 and Xfinity (Comcast) ch. 360, RCN  ch. 35 and WOW ch. 170.

– A reminder: Thursday night, Fox-owned My Network TV affiliate WPWR-TV is simulcasting NFL Network’s first regular season Thursday Night Football game between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Sister station WFLD is producing both pre-and post-game shows for the contest, with Lou Canellis, Tom Waddle, and new sports reporter Dionne Miller on board. The last time WPWR carried a Bears game was four years ago (the previous NFL Network game featuring the Bears was carried by WGN-TV in 2010.)

If you live in Milwaukee (in enemy territory), you can catch the game on Local TV-owned Fox affiliate WITI, delaying X Factor to 10:35 p.m. and the season premiere of Glee to 11:35 p.m., both time approximate (after all, it is the Packers…)

– And there is no way a Bears-Packers game would put up this number: last Sunday, a Houston Astros game airing on FSN Houston drew an astonishingly low 0.05 rating, translating to only 1,092 households in the Houston market – a record low. Of course, the baseball game was up against the Texans’ NFL season opener, which drew a 22 rating/44 share on CBS affiliate KHOU (which was actually below average). And the Astros currently have the worst record in Major League Baseball as the Astros have not been competitive for years – the team has not made the postseason since 2005, when they played the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. In addition, the Astros and the NBA’s Houston Rockets are moving from Fox Sports Houston to Comcast SportsNet this fall, giving Fox hardly any incentive to promote Astros games.

You know changes need to made to your team when its outdrawn in the ratings by reruns of The Banana Splits and pillow infomercials. By the way, the Astros won, beating the Cincinnati Reds.

– On a much more serous note, I would like to send condolences to family of former WVON-AM personality Sharon McGhee, who passed away Tuesday night at the too young age of 54 due to ovarian cancer. The St. Louis native joined WVON in December 1997 from KATZ-AM in her hometown and left in 2010 to focus on fighting the disease. During the thirteen years she was at WVON, she served as host, news director, news anchor, and won an AIR Award for her five-part series on breast cancer in 2005. She also wrote a book about HIV among women in the African-American community titled The Pocketbook Monologues.

This story first broke on Chicagoland Radio & Media Wednesday evening.