2013: A look ahead

Welcome back, Arsenio!

With 2012 behind us, its time to look ahead to 2013. Here are the top ten things to look for in the media business this year, in Chicago and beyond:

1. Arsenio’s back. After an absence of nearly twenty years, Arsenio Hall returns to late-night syndication. But can he make a comeback and compete with three established network and cable shows? Best not to ask Ricki Lake, whose daytime return was a flop, or Michael Essany, whose local late-night effort lasted all of nearly four weeks. (To see a promo for Arsenio’s new show, click the video above.)

2. Tribune’s new era. With the company offically out of bankruptcy, look for the Tribsters to stay in the TV business, but sell its newspapers (Freedom Communications and Rupert Murdoch are interested buyers) and WGN Radio.
3. Is the axe getting ready to swing on K-Hits and WLS-FM? One is a major ratings disappointment; the other made a shift to Classic Rock and saw its To paraphrase TV Media Insights’ Marc Berman, tick-tock, the format change clock is ticking!

4. American Idol’s new look. It would curious to see if new judges Keith Urban and Nicki Manaj will drive viewers to the aging talent competition.

5. Modern Family: syndication’s next superstar? The last A-list off-net sitcom for a while debuts this fall in syndication and USA Network. Can it topple The Big Bang Theory for sitcom supremacy? With Big Bang still red-hot on TBS – and single-camera sitcoms traditionally don’t fare well in syndication, it’ll be a tough climb for Modern Family.

6. Can NBC hold on ti its momentum? With The Voice and Revolution not scheduled to return until March and Sunday Night Football off the air until September, NBC will have to sweat it out with Guys With Kids and The New Normal. Ratings winners, I’m sure.

7. New leaders at the Bears and Fox 32. WFLD is the home of the Chicago Bears, and as inept as both are, they naturally deserve each other. Both entities will have new leaders at thhe helm: Dennis Welsh takes over Fox 32 on Monday as GM, while the Bears search for a new coach after they fired Lovie Smith last Monday.

8. Retrans Wars. Even though this hasn’t touched the Chicago area in a major way (yet), the battle over retransmission fees ( the process of paying local stations to transmit their signals via cable and satellite) is just heating up with more disputes – and blackouts – to come.

9. S.H.I.E.L.D. While the Joss Whedon-produced pilot for Marvel has yet to be picked up as a series, it’ll be interesting to see how this project progresses throughout 2013.

10. What will have more drama? The behind-the-scenes mess at American Idol or the behind-the-scenes mess at WGN Radio? Or to out it more bluntly, which scenario is yours truly is going to get sick of hearing about first?

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