T Dog’s Grab Bag: Chicago Tribune on the sales block

Tribune TowerThe Tribune Co. Unofficially puts its papers on the block; Oscar viewership is up over a year ago; and more Mancow is headed to your TV:

It looks like the Chicago Tribune is up for sale. As first reported by CNBC on Monday, the 166-year old paper and others in the chain are on the block by creditors who took control of the Tribune Company, post-bankruptcy. The move comes despite the FCC’s plans to relax the cross-ownership rule, which prohibits television and newspaper ownership in the same market (Tribune is operating under several waivers, including a permanent one in Chicago.) Among the papers up for sale include the Los Angeles Times, Red Eye, Orlando Sentinel, Baltimore Sun, and Hoy! Despite the news, Tribune officials downplayed the report.

Final ratings for the 85th Annual Academy Awards are in and has the Academy and ABC smiling: the telecast drew 40.3 million viewers, up 2 percent from last year, and is the most-watched telecast in three years. Despite the controversy of hiring Seth MacFarlane as host, he did what he was supposed to do: bringing in younger viewers as ratings were up 11 percent in the 18-49 demo from last year’s show. However, don’t look for the Family Guy creator to return as host – he’s already said he would not host again (although you’ll never **cough….$$$$** know…)

Meanwhile, on the other end of the ratings spectrum… Despite averaging a 0.2 rating and a 1 share in its 6 -to-8 a.m. weekday time period on WPWR in February, Fox has added a weekend edition of Mancow TV titled Mancow Mashup (featuring bits from the just-concluded week’s show) airing at 11 p.m. Sunday nights on WPWR and Saturday nights at 11:30 p.m. on WFLD. Beginning July 27 (if the show lasts that long), Mancow Mashup inherits Fox’s male-skewing Animation Domination High-Def as a lead-in, which actually is a perfect fit.

Mancow TV’s ratings nearly matches those of CW’s Cult, which also hasn’t found an audience in its Tuesday night time period and as a result of its two rock bottom, low-rated outings, is moving to low-level HUT Friday nights beginning March 8. Cult so far has averaged a 0.3/1 among adults 18-49.

At this point, the only way to continue Mancow TV and Cult is to have Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios take over production of both shows – he’s masterful at keeping product on the air nobody watches.

As first reported by Broadcasting & Cable on Wednesday, The U Too has picked up a new syndicated first-run strip from Trifecta Entertainment based the British tabloid OK! simply titled OK! TV. The series is slated to air in daytime on the Weigel-owned station, which is seen OTA on channel 26.2, and has also cleared CBS-owned independent sttion in New York and Los Angeles, and Journal Broadcast Group stations, whose KTNV (ABC) in Las Vegas plans to air the series in access at 7 p.m. OK! also plans to air branded segments on The Morning Blend, Journal’s hour-long infotainment morning program airing across its broadcast group, including NBC affiliates WTMJ in Milwaukee and WGBA in Green Bay.

OK TV! is being produced by the magazine’s publisher, American Media, and Unconventional Partners.

After wasting time trying to measure athletes’ unpopularity (such as Bears QB Jay Cutler), Nielsen announced last week it was tackling something that’s far more important: expanding the definition of television viewing. In a meeting last week of the What Nielsen Measures Committee, Nielsen agreed to include other viewing platforms such as tablets and video game consoles (such as Playstation 3, XBox, and Wii), and streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Nielsen plans to roll out software in its 23,000 homes it samples as viewers are shifting their platforms from live viewing on the ol’ Admiral to these alternatives. The initiative begins this September.

Recently, Nielsen and Twitter announced a partnership called the Nielsen Twitter TV rating, which measures the conversation of a particular TV series on the social media platform, but will not be integrated into regular TV ratings. The Nielsen/Twitter rating is also expected to roll out next fall.

And don’t forget, Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson call it a career as the legendary anchor duo team end their run at CBS-owned  WBBM-TV at 6 p.m. tonight. Both Kurtis and Jacobson reunited two years ago in hopes of recapturing their ratings magic of the 1970’s and 1980’s, but never came to fruition. Beginning Friday, 5 and 10 p.m. anchors Rob Johnson and Kate Sullivan take over the 6 p.m. newscast.