T Dog’s Grab Bag: Bob Brenly exits Cubs broadcast booth (updated)

Len Kasper (left) and Bob Brenly

Brenly becomes new Arizona Diamondbacks color analyst

The latest Grab Bag is here with a possible new classic TV channel on the way, two primetime network series renewed, and more:

– Bob Brenly, who has been the color analyst for Chicago Cubs broadcasts alongside Len Kasper over WGN-TV broadcasts and Comcast SportsNet since 2005 announced he’s leaving the team to pursue other opportunities. Brenly, a former MLB player who won a World Series ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization in 2001, does have an opening for an analyst since the departure of Mark Grace (a former Cub) last month (UPDATE: Bob Brenly confirmed Thursday he was taking the Diamondbacks’ color analyst job.)

Kasper is staying put as play-by-play man. No word yet on an replacement.

– Make room for another classic TV channel: It’s yet to be finalized, but NBCUniversal plans to launch a new classic TV diginet called COZI TV (as in the word “cozy”) on its ten owned-and-operated stations to compete with Antenna TV and MeTV. First reported by Robert Feder at Time Out Chicago Wednesday, the new channel plans to feature series not seen on television in more than two decades, such as Lassie, Marcus Welby M.D., You Bet Your Life, Alias Smith and Jones, and other programs. It is not known if the channel would replace NonStop, which was expected to be revamped, or to fill the void left by the departure of Universal Sports last December. (UPDATE: According to B&C, it appears Cozi TV would replace Nonstop, effectively closing the channel.) NBC had no comment.

If all goes to plan, COZI TV would debut on January 1, and give Chicago four classic TV channels, including MeToo, which based on its rather recent disappointing lineup change, might as well rename itself the Magnum P.I./T.J. Hooker/Thriller/Mary Tyler Moore rerun channel, since they run those shows and about six others ad nauseam.

And ironically, Magnum is one of the show COZI plans to air.

– Speaking of the NBC O&Os, are they about to snuff out Jeff Probst’s torch? An item in TVNewscheck stated the station group is actively looking for a replacement for the Survivor host’s talk show in the eight markets its air due to disappointing ratings. (locally, Probst airs at 2 p.m. on CBS-owned WBBM-TV.) Among possible replacements include a show from Queen Latifah (who hosted a syndicated talker from 1999-2001) and an in-house development. Another show whose slots are targeted is Access Hollywood Live, which still hasn’t rolled out in full syndication and is up for renewal next year. Meanwhile, another freshman talk show (Steve Harvey) is doing quite well as a lead-in for Ellen on the NBC O&Os (including WMAQ in Chicago) and has boosted the group’s afternoon ratings, particularly at WNBC in New York and KNBC in Los Angeles.

If Probst doesn’t make it to a second season, WBBM can always go back to Judge Judy reruns at 2 p.m., as CBS has no plans to make a major talk show purchase next season for its primary (non-CW and independent) O&Os. Sorry, Jeff… the daytime tribe has spoken. Time to warm up the bus…

– Speaking of warming up the bus… it look like the axe is getting ready to swing at Merlin Media – this time as a company. After selling its New York station to CBS, the company dropped two of its radio personalities: Shark, who was one of the voices at Q87.7; and Pete McMurray, who was dropped as i101 morning personality on Wednesday, although you wouldn’t know he was there since he and his on-air partner (Jane Monzares) usually didn’t say much during their show (yeah, its all about the music.) While there was some confusion on how Shark was released (does it matter at this point? He’s now out of work!), the bottom line is this: the sooner Merlin Media is put out of its misery – either being purchased by Cumulus or Hubbard or someone else – the better.

– Awesome news for fans (including yours truly) of Bob’s Burgers: Fox has picked up a full 22-episode order for next season. As part of Fox’s underrated Sunday animation block, Burgers‘ third season premiere scored its highest adult demo rating since January 9, 2011.

– Meanwhile, CW has picked up the twentieth edition of America’s Next Top Model for summer 2013, and it features yet another twist: male models will be competing with female ones for a modeling contract. The move could likely means the end of the line for Tyra Banks’ reality show, with at one time drew as many as five million viewers a week. Today, it barely registers, drawing only around a million viewers.

– On a night where the Presidential Debates affected schedules, the debut of CW’s Emily Owens, M.D. on Tuesday was not surprisingly, a bust. The series debuted with a 0.5/1 adult demo rating and just 1.69 million viewers. On the flipside, The Voice and Dancing With The Stars were the night’s most-watched entertainment shows, while Fox’s Raising Hope and Ben and Kate pretty much tanked in the ratings.

Updated at 9:56 a.m.

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