T Dog’s Media Notepad: Good ratings start for APB – but not creatively

Also: The End for Sacramento’s KDND;  ‘The Insider’ canceled; WIND-AM’s Joe Walsh goes national 

The latest crime procedural based (and filmed) in Chicago debuted Monday night with Fox’s APB, starring Justin Kirk. The premise: after losing a friend to an armed robbery at a liquor store, millionaire Gideon Reeves (Kirk) decides to take over the high-crime 13th police district using high-tech gizmos (such as drones) to fight crime.

APB’s debut earned a 1.5 rating in the adult 18-49 demo, holding all of its 24: Legacy lead-in.

The show is drawing comparisons to another made-in-Chicago crime drama: The Chicago Code, which  like APB, debuted the night after the Super Bowl on Fox six years ago. The debut earned a 2.4 rating, but was canceled after thirteen episodes. Back on February 10, 2011 yours truly wrote The Chicago Code was “a ratings disappointment”.

Even with the lower rating, a 1.5 is much more acceptable today than it was in 2011 as DVR playback is now a more critical component on whether to renew a series.

Chicago has been in the “national spotlight” in recent months, thanks to President Donald Trump’s almost daily non-stop attack on the city and its homicide epidemic, which keeps Chicago in the news cycle. And don’t forget the explosion of Chicago-eccentric shows in prime-time recently, with the success of Dick Wolf’s shows. In other words, Trump may not love Chicago, but Hollywood sure does.

As for APB itself, the writing seems predictable and uninspiring, the dialogue junky, and the action scenes are just as cartoonish as they were on Code. While Code -created by The Shield’s Shawn Ryan was much more critically acclaimed (75 score on Metacritic), APB is not (45.) On the other hand, Chicago columnists (non-TV critics such as John Kass and Mary Schmich) bashed Code after its premiere; this time they and other local cultural critics completely ignored APB. (Update: Kass did write about APB late Thursday and of course, not favorably.)

Yours truly graded it a D. But as always, don’t judge a series by the first episode (I call it “The Bob’s Burgers Rule”.) But this premise isn’t promising.

CBS Television Distribution has canceled first-run magazine strip The Insider after thirteen seasons. Ratings have been low as of late, with the show earning a 1.2 rating in the latest Nielsen syndication ratings report released Tuesday. First hosted by Pat O’Brien and Lara Spencer, The Insider has gone under numerous host and format changes during its tenure, including a phase when the show was titled OMG Insider and had a news partnership with Yahoo.

The series is currently hosted by Debbie Matenopoulos and Louis Aguirre.

The Insider still runs in access (7 or 7:30 p.m., ET) on CBS-owned stations in New York (WCBS), Los Angeles (KCBS), and Philadelphia (KYW). With no available product in the marketplace, those stations could add local news to replace the show, or move the CBS Evening News to 7 p.m. and expand the 6 p.m. news to an hour. Prior the 1988-89 season, WCBS in New York ran the CBS Evening News in the time slot before it was replaced by the syndicated game show Win, Lose, or Draw and then the short-lived magazine series This Evening (a national version of PM Magazine.) Some stations, such as WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. and WSB-TV in Atlanta still run network news at 7:00 p.m.

Locally, the cancellation of The Insider will have no real benefit for opportunistic syndicators: the series airs in overnight time slots on both WCIU and sister station The U Too. Unlike other markets around the country where the series was bouncing station-to-station over the years, The Insider has been on WCIU since its inception.

In a move designed to ease the traction of purchasing CBS Radio with the FCC, Entercom surrendered its license to broadcast on 107.9 FM Monday and moved its Top 40 format and the call letters of KDND down the dial to 106.5 FM, the now-former home of Hot AC sister station KUDL-FM. The decision was due to a license challenge filed by several activist groups over the “Hold Your Water For A Wii” contest, which resulted in the death of Jennifer Strange on January 12, 2007.

“The End” referred to the end of the FM radio dial, which 107.9 FM is. Here in Chicago, the 107.9 frequency is occupied by Spanish language WLEY-FM.

Entercom announced the purchase of CBS Radio last week, including seven stations in the Chicago market.

Despite the principals behind the stunt being fired and Entercom settling with the Strange family in 2009, the FCC (under the then-chairmanship of Tom Wheeler) decided to reopen the case and deferred it to an administrative law judge. Deciding not to take any chances under the new chairmanship of Ajit Pai – even though the new FCC regime would probably been more receptive than Wheeler –  the company decided to surrender the license rather than have the sale held up – which could have taken years.

With the closure of 107.9 (for now) and eliminating its Hot AC format, Entercom would have one less station in Sacramento to divest itself of. Both CBS and Entercom own multiple stations in the Sacramento market.

Local activist group Media Action Center called the shutdown “a huge victory for the public interest”, but with Entercom likely to retain the same number of radio stations it had before – and given the new deregulatory regime at the FCC, the “victory” seems hollow at best.

Pathetic loser Joe Walsh.

Salem Communications – which is tied with Cumulus as the worst radio conglomerate in America, announced Wednesday they have hired former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh to host a syndicated late-night radio show. Walsh will continue to spew his crap on Salem-owned WIND-AM from 5 to 7 p.m. locally, then do his late-night show, which won’t be heard locally (there is a God.)

Since being hired by WIND, Walsh has made controversial comments, notably in 2014 when he on a tirade against minorities on his radio show and did so again (this time on Twitter) last year after five police officers were killed in Dallas. Afterward, yours truly (in a longshot attempt) called for the FCC to revoke the license of WIND. And now, Salem rewards him with a national platform in a marketplace already filled with such junk.

Moves likes these makes you wonder why people hate radio so much. But with the FCC now in control of hands-off deregulators, anything goes – except when someone swears or there’s sex talk involved. As I said before, broadcasters have long stopped serving the public interest, regardless of what the National Association of Broadcasters says, who are still busy celebrating Trump’s victory.

In a related note, Walsh on Twitter said he would leave the state if Illinois passes a holiday for President Obama. There is no doubt yours truly would love to see this legislation pass if it would mean getting rid of Walsh. Oh, when it becomes law and he does leave – he can take Mancow Muller with him.

(Updated at 10:43 p.m. on 2017-02-09 to add John Kass link.)


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