It’s “Live With Kelly…. And Ryan Seacrest”

Kelly Ripa (left) and Ryan Seacrest. (Disney/ABC)

The Golden Boy ascends to another gig – the highly coveted co-host slot on Live

While it is a surprise to some (really?), Monday’s announcement of Ryan Seacrest as the new co-host of Live With Kelly gives the long-running franchise more name power.

The venerable personality, who was host of American Idol and seemingly a million other things started in his new gig today opposite Kelly Ripa. Seacrest was rumoured to be in the running to take the place of now-departed Michael Strahan, who left last year to take a full-time gig at Good Morning America. Other names floated around to take the vacant seat included Anderson Cooper and Bravo’s Andy Cohen (who yours truly thought was a better choice.) Effective today, the show is renamed Live With Kelly and Ryan.

It could be worse: at least it’s not Live With Kelly and Wil Wheaton or Live With Kelly and Mancow.

Despite relocating to New York, Seacrest remains as host of his KIIS-FM morning show in Los Angeles and American Top 40, which he took over from Casey Kasem in 2004. As part of the deal with Disney/ABC, KIIS owner iHeartMedia will build a radio studio for Seacrest at ABC-owned WABC-TV in New York. While there is an overlap between when Seacrest does Live (at 9 a.m. ET) and his L.A. radio show (which starts at 6 a.m. PT), the first hour of his morning show will be filled in by his staff, and some voice-tracking by Seacrest is possible. This isn’t new: according to posts I’ve seen on message boards, WGN-AM host Steve Cochran often arrives minutes after his morning show starts with his staff filling in, or something like that.

You wonder however, how listeners to Ryan Seacrest’s show in Los Angeles feel about him moving to New York, making it feel “less than” a local show. With iHeartMedia also owning WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York, Seacrest could be available to do work for them as well. Seacrest’s KIIS show (minus traffic and weather segments) is also syndicated to radio stations throughout the country as On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, the same name of his short-lived 2004 syndicated TV show.

Just this past week, reports surfaced iHeartMedia may file for bankruptcy to protect itself from creditors and the company “might not last another year”. But despite those troubles, it is full steam ahead (as I said a few weeks ago…  you can always find a way to pay the freight when you’re evil.)

For stations carrying Live, this is good news as Kelly & Ryan is facing tough competition this fall from former Fox News host Megyn Kelly, who is taking over the third hour of Today. Live airs at 9 a.m. in most markets, including Chicago’s WLS-TV, who re-acquired the Live franchise in 2013.

Ratings for Live have remained strong in despite of the changes – according to Nielsen, the series recently earned a 2.2 household rating in the latest syndication ratings report. In Chicago however, Live slipped behind WGN’s morning newscast, which finished first in February at 9 a.m. in households and in women 25-54, marking the first time in 33 years a station other than WLS-TV has won the time slot – one historically dominated by Oprah Winfrey.

Reviews for Seacrest’s and Ripa’s first show haven’t been stellar. Mashable’s headline was “Get Ready for Live with Kelly and Zzzzz.” In a bit of an awkward moment, Kelly Ripa revealed on the show when she first lost her virginity (not exactly “zzzz”, but “way too early in the day of this kind of stuff.”)

As for Twitter, a lot of people figured given all the jobs Ryan Seacrest holds, he could be single handedly driving up the unemployment rate.

I mean, can you just feel the excitement?

And yours truly – early Monday morning, said this when a choice for a Live co-host was near:

Sorry, America. Never should have brought up his name.

In addition to what was mentioned above, Seacrest is also host of numerous E! Live Red Carpet specials, in addition to ABC’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and executive produces a number of shows, including those for the Kardashians and has dramas in development at CBS. But it won’t stop there: Seacrest is aiming for world domination here. Here are other “jobs” Ryan Seacrest is aiming for:

– Chicago Bulls GM. Can’t be any worse than the two people currently in charge of the organization, right?

– Mayor of Chicago. Wait…is any difference between Rahm and Seacrest? Nah.

– Governor of Illinois. Only Ryan Seacrest can unite the state’s Democrats and Republicans…in hatred of him. Boom, we have a new budget.

– Chairman of Chicago Public Schools. I can see it now…mandatory courses in how to run a business the Ryan Seacrest way. Oh, won’t someone think of the children?

– President and CEO of Tronc. Michael Ferro talks in the same idiotic corporate speak as Seacrest. They would be perfect for one another.

– President of the United States. Oh God no. We already have an embarrassing TV personality in the White House, thank you very much.

– CEO of Hydra. Perfect. Hail Hydra.

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black day at Bristol

As anticipated, ESPN lays off staffers, writers, on-air personnel

Several recognizable names cut, including two with Chicago ties

As expected, ESPN announced Wednesday it was laying off around 100 people – many of them on-air personnel and a few of the layoffs were surprises.

ESPN has suffered some ratings downturn in the last few years, and revenues have declined as more and more people are “cutting the cord” of cable and satellite TV because of expense as costs continue to rise.

Some people on social media and in comment board sections attributed the layoffs due to a perceived left-wing bias. But those who are saying this are providing little evidence to back up the claim.

Also notable is the high number of reporters on the list – but not a lot of opinion people, which makes you wonder if the network is moving more toward an opinion-based approach to sports topics – something rival FS1 has embraced.

Among the names surfacing is one Chicago-based writer: Melissa Isaacson, who wrote for and previously wrote for the Chicago Tribune. Former Chicago Cub Doug Glanville is another Chicago-connected name who was laid off, announced during a Wednesday night baseball game.

Another major name on the layoff list is Trent Dilfer, an NFL analyst who appeared regularly on NFL Primetime and NFL Sunday Morning Countdown. A former quarterback, Dilfer led the Baltimore Ravens to a victory in Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants.

Also gone is Jay Crawford, the original host of ESPN2’s Cold Pizza and has also appeared on First Take.

Baseball was hit hard – in addition to Glanville, ESPN let Jayson Stark, Dallas Braden, and Raul Ibanez go. Another sport hit hard was hockey – a sport its fans accuse the network of having indifference toward. Writers/reporters Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun were let go.

Other well-known names laid off include Dr. Jerry Punch, NFL football reporter Ed Werder, college football analyst and ESPN Radio co-host Danny Kannell, and SportsCenter AM anchor Jaymee Sire.

And this is only a partial list. Many more anchors, reporters, and writers were let go.

The ESPN layoffs were mentioned on-air on a few shows Wednesday, including Outside The Lines, The Jump (an NBA news and discussion show), and the early-evening edition of SportsCenter. As of this writing, Scott Van Pelt plans to address the issue during his One Big Thing segment during the late-evening edition of SportsCenter.

Meanwhile, reaction poured in from colleagues and athletes over the mass layoffs. Also weighing in was Cubs manager Joe Maddon. 

It just goes to show you how tough it is out there. While not a media-related item, the Chicago Southland was hit hard with mass layoffs over the last few weeks with the closure of the Ultra Foods grocery store chain, leaving more than 1,000 people out of work. It’s owner (Highland Ind.-based Strack & Van Til) is up for sale and it could mean more store closures – only 22 remain left, 21 of them in Northwest Indiana.

While we hear about a certain someone talking about “bringing jobs back”, in the last few weeks, it’s been exactly the opposite. And no place illustrates this more than what happened at ESPN on Wednesday.

Sports, Television

Media Notepad: Despite playoff appearance, Bulls sink in ratings during regular season

Bulls take on the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. (CSN Chicago)

Also: Bill O’Reilly out at Fox; Sinclair buys a TV station group (but it’s not who you think); WCIU lays groundwork for new morning show; black-ish heads to syndication via multiple outlets

In more bad ratings news for CSN Chicago, the Bulls recorded the lowest regular-season ratings on nearly ten years, according to Nielsen and reported by Crain’s.

The Bulls earned a 2.0 rating for the 2016-17 campaign, down 38 percent from last year when the team had since-departed stars Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. The ratings decline comes despite the Bulls sneaking into the playoffs and a 41-41 record.

The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the regional sports network. Chicago Blackhawks regular-season also suffered a ratings decline this season, and the team just got swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Nashville Predators, a loss of potential revenue.

On the bright side, the Bulls did make the playoffs and are now tied 2-2 with the Boston Celtics as of this typing. One positive is nationally, ratings are up involving the team after a few national appearances set record-rating lows for the NBA’s ratings partners. Household ratings for the first three games of the playoffs for CSN Chicago were not available.

In what is likely their final programming purchase as a station group, Tribune Broadcasting announced last week it has acquired ABC sitcom black-ish for a fall 2018 debut. The deal includes WGN-TV, who’ll likely add the show to its prime-time lineup as this fall, the station begins airing Mom and The Goldbergs. Sinclair has been rumored to be interesting in buying Tribune, which would no doubt alter the syndication landscape (Many Sinclair-owned stations also picked up the show.)

Reruns of black-ish were also picked up by cable nets FXX and BET in a joint deal. Hulu has snagged the exclusive SVOD (subscription on-demand) rights to the show.

Terms for each of these deals were not disclosed.

Black-ish centers on a upper-middle class African-American family whose father tries to pass his cultural heritage to his children – with lackluster results. The series has often dealt with social issues such as racism, police brutality, and LGBT. Despite criticism from President Trump over the name (and by other conservatives for everything else), the series is a critical favorite.

The series stars Anthony Anderson, who’s appeared in Barbershop and Law & Order and Tracee Ellis Ross, of Girlfriends. black-ish has won a whopping seventeen NAACP image Awards, a Peabody Award, and Ross won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.

And speaking of Sinclair, the Baltimore-based company did announce a purchase Friday – of the Bonten Group, a chain of stations stretch from Bristol, Va. (DMA rank 98) to San Angelo, Texas (DMA rank 196) for $240 million. The news came a day after the FCC generously restored the UHF discount so companies like Sinclair can buy more stations.

“We look forward to welcoming the Bonten employees into the Sinclair family and are pleased to be growing our regional presence in several states where we already operate,” said Chris Ripley, president-CEO of Sinclair. “We believe our economies of scale help us bring improvements to small market stations, including investments in news, other quality local programming, and multicast opportunities with our emerging networks of Comet, Charge! and TBD.”    

Consider this an appetizer for Sinclair before the main course.

It looks like it’s curtains for the Chicago-shot APB, which is airing its season finale tonight. The series with Justin Kirk (of Animal Practice fame) and Natalie Martinez (not the reporter from NBC 5 of the name same) has not done well in the ratings despite a well-done production, but is saddled often with shoddy and laughable writing. According to Metacritic, the series earned a not-too-impressive score of 45 and has been written off by locals here, including Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass.

Yours truly often calls this show Chicago Code: The Next Generation, based on a similar series (without the high-tech gizmo crap), which also ran on Fox in 2011 in the same day and time slot. It was canceled after thirteen episodes and averaged around a 2.0 rating in adults 18-49.

By comparison, APB has averaged around a 0.8 rating in the same demo.

Tonight’s episode deals with a computer hacker who wreaks havoc the city – if only this were the least of our problems…

Our long national nightmare is over: Fox News’ primetime host Bill O’Reilly is out after 21 years after a string of sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him. The latest allegations, unveiled by the New York Times a few weeks ago, led more than 80 advertisers to exit the show. Beginning May 2, Fox News’ 8 p.m. ET slot is being handed over to Tucker Carlson.

Ratings for The O’Reilly Factor had been strong, averaging 4 million viewers a night, even outdrawing most primetime shows on sister Fox broadcast network and ABC. But the median age of The O’Reilly Factor viewer is above 70 – hardly the demo advertisers covet.

O’Reilly has been known for his controversial demeanor, bullying guests and criticizing people who don’t agree with him – not to mention his ridiculous stance on urban issues. Before it became cool for conservative commentars to mock and hate on the city of Chicago, O’Reilly often was a staunch critic of our city and especially the South Side: in a 2010 episode, O’Reilly referred to the area as “Haiti”.

In an item I wrote some years ago, yours truly compared O’Reilly to former Chicago Sun-Times sportswriter Jay Mariotti, who was arrested and later cleared of domestic assault in 2010. And now both men are banished to the world of podcasting.

Birds of a feather flock together, don’t they?

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FCC pulls a scam and reinstates UHF discount

Look for more consolidation as FCC gifts media conglomerates by relaxing media ownership rules 

In all my years of following the television industry, I’ve never seen an outright scam perpetrated onto the public by a government agency.

But that’s what we have as the Federal Communications Commission announced Thursday the restoration of the UHF discount abolished a few months ago in a predictable 2-1 party-line vote with Republicans Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Michael O’Rielly in favor and Democrat Mingon Clyburn against.

So why is all of this a scam? In the analog era, broadcast groups were given an “UHF Discount”, meaning the UHF station they owned would count as only half their coverage toward the ownership cap, given the frequency – channels 14 to 83 (later downsized to 69) reach less viewers and had poorer reception than their VHF counterparts (channels 2-13.) For example in the Chicago area, owning a VHF station like WBBM-TV would count toward 3.02 percent of the country; a UHF station such as WFLD-TV would be halved to 1.51 percent.

Since the dawn of the digital era, the over-the-air reception of the stations are for the most part, on equal footing as most stations are technically situated on the UHF dial since the digital reallotment. So technically, the UHF discount wasn’t needed and the FCC under Tom Wheeler eliminated it.

But since President Trump took office, Big Media has been scheming to expand their station groups, claiming their business is being harmed by Google and Facebook and streaming giants Netflix and Amazon. They found a sympathetic ear in Pai, so he reinstated the discount for UHF stations, meaning any station of a UHF dial would get discounted by half toward the cap.

Currently, the cap is at 39 percent. Later this year, the FCC is expected to revisit the idea of ownership cap and may do away with it altogether.

Thursday’s action means a company like Sinclair, which was bumping up against the cap around 38 percent, sees its coverage drastically reduced. Sinclair has made a lot of noise about acquiring Tribune in recent weeks, revealing it would buy the company at above $30 a share. When Wheeler cut off the UHF discount, Tribune’s coverage ballooned to 44 percent, meaning even though it would keep those stations it bought, the company’s couldn’t buy anymore.

With the UHF discount now in place, a Sinclair-Tribune deal could be finalized in a few weeks.

Restoring the UHF discount is really nothing but a scam intended to give groups like Sinclair and others to buy up more stations and control more of a given market’s advertising revenues. Moreover, if the rules are completely abolished, local ad rates are certain to skyrocket.

The moves comes at a time when the Writer’s Guild of America are authorizing a strike vote this week as the studios – many of them who own television stations in the nation’s top markets – recorded record profits. Three of them – CBS, Comcast, and 21st Century Fox – are open to expanding their coverage footprint. If no deal is reached by May 1, writers would walkout.

The endgame is, the action likely speeds up the demise of Tribune Media, a company having roots in television dating back to 1948 when it launched WGN-TV and Chicago would lose another company whose headquarters are here (if Sinclair buys Tribune, it is unlikely they would relocate to Chicago from suburban Baltimore, where they are based.)

It’s likely an end of an era.

FCC/Politics/Government, Television , , , , , , , , ,

Media Notepad: Chances for writer’s strike increase

Also: ‘Showtime At The Apollo’ returns; The end of the road for “MyTV” branding? Blackhawks’ ratings for 2016-17 drop

An update on the WGA labor situation: With the May 1 deadline approaching, the chances of a walkout by the Writer’s Guild seems to be increasing. According to the New York Times, progress has been made on issues such as pay increases, but health care remains a huge sticking point.

Another issue the “exclusivity” clause, which means writers were prohibited from looking for work in a certain time frame even if their show ended.

As pointed out here a month ago, market changes are driving a wedge between producers and writers – the rise in scripted series (“Peak TV”), the decline in films being released; the decimation of the off-network syndication business, the drop in the number of episodes in a given season, and so on.

The WGA and AMPTP have broken off talks until next week as the union takes a strike vote – which gives them only a few days to come to a settlement. Should a deal not be reached in two weeks, it would be the first work stoppage in a decade. For the latest information on negotiations, follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia.

(Western International Syndication)

After two successful prime-time specials, Fox announced Monday the return of It’s Showtime At the Apollo as a weekly series beginning sometimes next year. Returning as host is Steve Harvey, who hosted the series during much of its run.

Taped at the world famous Apollo Theater in Harlem area of New York City, the program presented R&B acts at a time many of them weren’t seen on television (aside from Soul Train.) The show was best known for Amateur Night, where the crowd determined whether if you were good – or would be pushed off the stage by a clown (no, not Donald Trump.)

Apollo premiered in syndication in 1987 and generally ran on late Saturday nights – in many cases, after Saturday Night Live (as was the case in Chicago, where WMAQ-TV carried the show for its entire run.) As more and more stations started pushing out weekend first-run programming for off-net dramas and infomercials, Apollo left the air in 2008 after a 21-season run and 1,093 episodes.

There is no word on where Fox would schedule Apollo; while a weekly late-night Saturday night slot in late night would be ideal, it would be prone to sports overruns and was partly the cause of Fox’s last late-night failure, Animation Domination Hi-Def.

The Devil Made Me Do It: Flip Forsberg scores first Nashville goal Monday night as a Blackhawks player protest. (Getty Images)

As I write this, the Chicago Blackhawks season is on the brink of ending: the team lost to the Nashville Predators Monday night, falling to a 3-0 series hole in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. This comes as the Blackhawks are coming off one of their worst-rated seasons since 2011. According to Crain’s, the 2016-17 season averaged a 3.3 Nielsen household live-plus same day rating, down 15 percent from last year.

The article pointed out numerous reasons for the ratings declines, such as competing against the Cubs’ historic World Series run a month into the regular season. But keep in mind ratings have fallen in almost every sector of TV – including sports (notably the NFL.)

Like the Blackhawks, ratings for Game 2 Saturday night were a disaster. The 5-0 shootout by the Predators drew a 0.9 household rating, and around a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demo, making the lowest-rated prime-time telecast ever for an NHL game. Earlier this TV season, the Bulls and the Bears also scored either record-low (or close to record-low) national ratings for their primetime games. Excluding the Cubs, it is clear Chicago teams are not the national draw they used to be, despite being the third-largest media market in the country.

Still, an early exit for the Blackhawks would be indeed bad news for the NHL’s American television partner Comcast, owners of NBC and NBCSN and the regional sports network it operates, CSN Chicago.

Washington D.C.’s WDCA-TV is undergoing a major branding change beginning July 17 – transforming to “Fox 5 Plus”. In addition, the station is launching a new prime-time newscast on the station from 8 to 9 p.m.

WDCA is a sister station of WTTG (known as Fox 5) and both are owned by 21st Century Fox. A former UPN affiliate, WDCA airs My Network TV programming and was branded as My 20. Washington is one of nine duopolies Fox has including Chicago, home of co-owned WFLD and WPWR.

Earlier, WPWR dropped its “My 50” branding when the station joined The CW network last September. Fox’s KICU in San Francisco was recently rebranded as “KTVU Plus”, referencing its sister station in the Bay Area. KICU, which never was a My Network TV affiliate, was purchased along with KTVU by Fox in 2014. If the WDCA rebranding is successful, other Fox-owned My Network TV stations in duopoly markets could follow suit.

Both WDCA and WPWR plans to relocate to their partner station’s spectrum within the next 39 months during the FCC repacking process. Both stations’ spectrum were sold by Fox.

WDCA was a strong independent station throughout its history, airing a mix of off-network and first-run syndicated programming. The station was also once home to the Washington Capitals and Baltimore Orioles. WDCA was also cited for airing a lot of violent material in studies conducted by TV anti-violence organizations – notably Capitals games, movies, and Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Remember in this space yours truly talked about a new show being pitched for fall called BOLD? Well, don’t look for it on Chicago TV anytime soon. Tegna announced Tuesday it was scaling back the project and would debut this fall only on its 36-station group. The program is also being renamed Daily Blast Live as the program could debut in syndication at a later date.

Tegna does not own any stations in Chicago, but does own stations in nearby Grand Rapids (WZZM) and St. Louis (KSDK).

Sports, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CBS made right call to air controversial “Survivor” segment

Reflects the world we live in these days in the Trump era 

(WARNING: Contains spoilers.)

If you’ve read this blog for the last decade, I’ve often called out Survivor for their failure to deal with social issues such as racism. Wednesday night, the long-running reality show was forced to deal with another hot-button topic: transgenderism.

In one of the biggest blunders in the history of Survivor (funny this phrase is said every two years or so), Jeff Varner during tribal council told everyone present that fellow contestant Zeke Smith was transgender.

Problem is, no one – not his fellow tribemates or the millions watching at home on TV – knew.

Varner’s tribemates assailed him for his actions and rightfully so – the move to “out him” just to forward himself in the game backfired and cost Varner, as he was voted out of the game (rather quickly as I might add as he agreed to leave.) Varner unleashed a flurry of apologizes to Zeke and to everyone present, but it didn’t matter.

In the lyrics of Rihanna’s 2007 hit Take A Bow:

Don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught
But you put on quite a show
Really had me going
But now it’s time to go
Curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it’s over now (but it’s over now)
Go on and take a bow

Well put and fits the situation perfectly.

The reason why Varner decided to “out” Smith because he believed there was “deception” in the game being played by his tribemates. He used Smith’s transgender status as an some kind of explanation. Smith didn’t want to be known as “Survivor’s transgender contestant”, he wanted to known as just Zeke. And Varner didn’t respect that and still doesn’t, no matter how many times he apologies.

Many people have criticized CBS for deciding to air the segment – yours truly thought it was the right call. The network stood by its decision.

There was really no way to avoid it; these segments are heavily edited anyway if anyone who watches reality TV knows. According to Reality Blurred, tribal councils take anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes. And indeed, it was a teaching moment.

Transgender rights have been a hot topic in this country lately; in fact, Varner said he “fought for the rights of transgenders in his home state of North Carolina”; recently, the state legislature passed a “bathroom bill”, meaning you go to the facilities based on the gender on your birth certificate. The legislation cost North Carolina over $3 billion as businesses, the NCAA tournament, and the NBA All-Star game pulled out of the state.

Look, what happened on Survivor reflects what’s going on in the real world – even when the show is edited heavily to depict something else. It isn’t pretty – all you have to do is turn on Chicago’s local newscasts for the first ten minutes on any given day and see how many shootings and murders are mentioned – not to mention the despicable antics of President Trump. In an era where he and the GOP want to roll back rights against anyone who isn’t a straight white male, it’s important to address issues like this – even if it’s on a dufusy “reality” show.

Interesting to note critics complain about this, but not the racial stereotyping and violence on other “reality” shows – notably Bad Girls Club,  Love and Hip-Hop and The Real Housewives of Atlanta. It is because Survivor airs on CBS? Or the latter two cable shows have predominately African-American casts, so no one cares? Good grief. Survivor fans can thank critics for taking a break from writing so much about “peak TV” long enough to acknowledge Survivor’s continued existence. Or not.

I’ve talked about how Hollywood and the local media business in general hasn’t done a good job in dealing with racism – using Survivor as a prime example. But the industry has made strides in recent years to address social issues if the “Oscars So White” Twitter hashtag is any indication. My criticism of Colton Cumbie stems from producers giving him so much air time spewing his racial crap with little repercussion.

But Survivor and CBS handled this well. It was a mistake Varner made and he paid for it. There was nothing exploitive about it.

The one thing I didn’t agree with was at the end, Probst – who talks too much for his own good – saying this tribal council was “a complicated, beautiful night that will never be forgotten.”

It wasn’t beautiful at all. It was ugly, and it was real. And it had to air.

The clip of the entire segment can be seen below.

Diversity , , , , ,

Predators-Blackhawks game could be moved if headed to OT

As first reported by Sports Media Watch, tonight’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoff Quarterfinal between the Nashville Predators and the Chicago Blackhawks could be moved to CNBC if the game runs past 10 p.m. due to Saturday Night Live.

Tonight is the first time ever Saturday Night Live is going live across the country, including the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones. Saturday Night Live has been on a hot run this season, averaging around a 3.5 rating in the adults 18-49 demo as the show has been taking potshots at the Trump administration.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks are playing against the Predators in prime-time tonight on NBC, in a game the NHL wanted slotted in.

Chicago’s WMAQ-TV and Nashville’s WSMV would stay with coverage if the game heads to overtime. The game can’t be moved to NBCSN as the network is carrying another Stanley Cup Playoff game.

NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC are all owned by NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp.

NBC execs are trying to avoid a situation that occurred in 2001 when a game in the now-defunct XFL featuring Chicago and Los Angeles went into overtime and pushed the start time of Saturday Night Live back, forcing the show to be taped. The night’s guest host on Saturday Night Live was Jennifer Lopez.

Going back further, NBC was assailed in 1968 when the network cut away from a New York Jets – Oakland Raiders game right at 7 p.m. ET to show the scheduled movie Heidi. Football fans in the Eastern and Central time zones were livid as the network’s switchboards were flooded with angry phone calls. The Jets were leading when the game was cut off, but Oakland scored two quick touchdowns and won the game.

The AFL matchup would later be dubbed “The Heidi Game”.

Follow T Dog Media @tdogmedia for updates.

Sports, Television , , , , , , , , ,

Chicago’s NBC, Fox stations sell spectrum

Comcast’s WMAQ and WSNS to share channel space.

If you are an over-the-air customer in Chicago – or anywhere for that matter, get ready for some big changes as six local stations relocate.

The FCC released a list Thursday of how many stations across the country sold their spectrum to wireless companies – and several big-market stations are on the list – including Chicago.

Six local TV stations participated in the auction according to FCC documents, made available to the public for the first time Thursday. According to those documents, NBC and Fox sold their spectrum – meaning their channels are expected to relocate in a process that is going to take 39 months.

Stations had the option of selling their spectrum to wireless companies for cash; others sat out. Not all stations will go off the air: some like WSNS and WPWR are relocating to others’ digital subchannel space; others (such as a Lansing, Mich. station) are. Even if stations didn’t participate in the auction, they will be involuntary moved to new channel spaces – some 957 of them in order to free up spectrum.

Among the winners on the tech side include T-Mobile, US Cellular (who exited the Chicago market in 2013); Dish Network, and Comcast, parent company of NBC.

Viewers who subscribe to cable and satellite won’t notice any changes; but over-the-air TV viewers have to re-scan their TV. There is a 39-month window all of this has to be accomplished; the moves start late next year. Even though local stations will be moving to new channel spaces, their “virtual channel” remains unchanged (for example, WMAQ retains their “5” position when you punch it up on your remote, but their “physical channel” is changing from 29 to something else.)

Telemundo’s WSNS-Channel 44 – a station with roots going back to 1970 as an English-language independent carrying White Sox games and the ON-TV subscription service, will “channel share” with sister station WMAQ-TV – meaning WSNS would move to a digital subchannel of WMAQ (5.2 or 5.3). Telemundo received $141.7 million from the transaction.

Meanwhile, Fox’s WPWR-Channel 50 – which began broadcasting in 1982 as a part-time station on Channel 60, will channel share with sister station WFLD Channel 32. Also moving from 50 is Movies and Buzzr, two of WPWR’s subchannels. Though still listed as a My Network TV station, WPWR became Chicago CW’s affiliate last year, shifting from WGN-TV. 21st Century Fox received $160.7 million for the transaction.

And the current occupant of Channel 60 – Univision’s WXFT, also participated in the auction, fetching $126.1 million. A UniMas affiliate, WXFT and its digital subchannel (English-language Escape) are expected to relocated to co-owned WGBO’s channel space.

As for the rest of the Chicago stations, three others sold their spectrum: WOCH-CD ($9.2 million); TBN affiliate WWTO ($304.2 million, which was the largest single payout of all the bidders); and the City Colleges’ WYCC-TV, who will receive $15.9 million. All three stations have post auction channel agreements set up, so none of them are going off the air. Over a year ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he opposed selling WYCC’s spectrum, but changed his mind.

Nationwide, 175 of them received payouts. Among the notable action outside of Chicago:

– In the biggest surprise, WNBC in New York sold its spectrum for $214 million. WNBC will channel share with Telemundo affiliate WNJU. Telemundo affiliate WWSI in Philadelphia will shift to a subchannel of WCAU, both sister stations. In all, NBC took in $480 million from the auction.

– In addition to WPWR, Fox sold its My Network TV stations in Charlotte (WMYT; $74.7 million) and Washington, D.C. (WDCA; $118.8 million) as they will channel share with Fox O&Os in their respective markets. 21st Century Fox took in $354.2 million in total.

– In Los Angeles, PBS member station KOCE (based in Huntington Beach, Cal.) will share space with KSCI. The $49 million it received from the auction will be used to expand services to viewers across the Los Angeles area. Station officials assured viewers there would be no changes.

– In Boston, Sunbeam took in $162 million with the sale of WLVI’s spectrum.

– San Francisco’s KRON-TV took in $78 million and is moving to a higher VHF channel.

– Tribune sold its WDCW spectrum in Washington, D.C. for $121.9 million.

– CBS affiliate WKBN-TV in Youngstown, Oh. sold its spectrum for $34.2 million.

– In some markets, no TV stations were sold in the auction. Those who sat out include Detroit, Houston, Atlanta, Sacramento, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis, San Diego, Kansas City, Nashville, and Salt Lake City. Even though these markets didn’t participate, their stations will be impacted as they will be forced to move to new channels.

– CBS sold just one station in the auction: a satellite of WCCO in Alexandria, Mn.

– Disney, parent of WLS-TV in Chicago, came up empty.

– One station one would think would sell its spectrum – low-rated religious independent WJYS (Channel 62) – did not.

Chicago Media, FCC/Politics/Government, Local TV (Chicago), Local TV (Outside Chicago), Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Chicago Watches TV (according to Facebook)

Not surprisingly, “The Daily Show” is popular in deep-blue Chicago, according to Facebook. Surprisingly, the show is less popular in the area’s African-American homes, despite a black host. (Comedy Central)

Chicago is a Simpsons town; NCIS, Duck Dynasty not so much

Viewing patterns are racially segregated as the city is

Two weeks ago, the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Urban Institute proclaimed in a study (another in a very long line) something we’ve known for decades: the Chicago metropolitan area is one of the most racially segregated areas in the country.

And to a degree, the segregation also extends to the TV shows we watch.

Back in December, the New York Times reported on how the country’s television preferences are similar to their political ones. As everyone knows, there is a huge rural/urban divide as played out in last fall’s elections: Hillary Clinton did well in urban areas; Donald Trump reigned supreme in suburbia and rural areas.

The New York Times looked at how urban areas around the country such as Chicago and rural areas such as downstate Illinois and how they watched prime-time television, using the fifty most-liked programs on Facebook in a given zip code. Shows such as Family Guy and Modern Family were more popular in urban areas while Duck Dynasty and Criminal Minds fared best in rural America. After all, it’s no surprise The Daily Show does well in Chicago, where 85 percent of the voters went for Clinton.

But look closer. While there is a distinct agreement on which shows the Chicago area liked the least, there is a sharp divide on what show we liked the most.

Back in the 1990’s, television viewing was quite segregated with the twenty most-watched shows in white households differing greatly from the most-watched show in black households with ABC’s Monday Night Football as the only program to show up on both lists. For example, while programs such as Moesha, The Jamie Foxx Show, and The Wayans Bros. were popular in black homes, shows with white casts such as Friends and Seinfeld barely registered. The reverse was true in white households.

Of note the three popular African-American-casted shows yours truly mentioned aired on The WB and UPN – both of which no longer exist.

In 2013, audiences stampeded for the exits after Nicki Manaj and Mariah Carey became judges on American Idol – except the odd pairing actually drew more African-American viewers. However, it was not enough to offset the exodus of white viewers from the show.

Yours truly’s home neighborhood of Avalon Park prefers “Bad Girls Club” according to Facebook likes.

In recent years, African-American viewers have moved to cable in droves, with popular (and controversial) entries such as Flavor Of Love, The Real Housewives Of Atlanta, Basketball Wives, and Love And Hip-Hop. Among blacks, the latter three typically outdraw most programming on the broadcast networks.

Yours truly decided to use the Times’ “cultural bubble tool” to find out what programs are so popular in a given zip code in Chicago. Remember, While Facebook is not reflective of our society in total – and given its young skew, it does provide a glimpse to what our neighbors are watching – or at least “liking” on social media.

Starting with the least liked, or “below average” (because it is easier), there was a common theme regarding four shows regardless of neighborhood or suburb, black or white: A&E’s Duck Dynasty, NBC’s The Voice, and CBS’ NCIS and The Big Bang Theory. Despite the latter two’s popularity around the country, their “below average” status speaks to the longtime weakness of CBS prime-time in this market and its low-rated O&O here, WBBM-TV. The lackluster showing of The Voice has a lot to do with Idol’s unpopularity in Chicago – the Windy City just doesn’t have an affinity for singing contests.

But when it comes to “above average” or more liked shows – there is a sharp difference.

In the zip code where yours truly live (60619), spanning the predominately black Avalon Park, Chatham, and Grand Crossing neighborhoods, the most “liked ” shows were Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club (whose future is in doubt as Oxygen is converting to a real-life crime channel), Fox’s Empire, and VH1’s Love and Hip-Hop – controversial shows with lots of conflict – and violence. In fact, almost all predominantly and/or majority black neighborhoods in the city had the exact same setup – from the poor North Lawndale and Garfield Park neighborhoods on the West Side to the more middle-class Ashburn and Calumet Heights neighborhoods on the South Side.

The trio also dominated in the city’s most gang-plagued and violent neighborhoods such as Austin, Englewood, Chicago Lawn, South Shore, and Auburn Gresham.

The far Northwest Side neighborhood of Edison Park loves “The Daily Show” most, according to Facebook.

In the predominately white 60631 zip code containing the far Northwest Side neighborhoods of Norwood Park and Edison Park, the “above average” shows were The Daily Show, The Simpsons, and Modern Family. In Lakeview where Wrigley Field is located, the same three shows held the top spots. In River North, which includes the Gold Coast, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia occupied one of the three slots alongside Daily Show and Simpsons.

In the mostly Latino Brighton Park, Gage Park, and Archer Heights neighborhoods (one-time Polish and Irish enclaves), The Simpsons finished alongside Empire and Love & Hip-Hop instead of Bad Girls Club. The same was true in the home of Guaranteed Rate Field (60616), the mixed Armour Square and Bridgeport neighborhoods, the latter once predominately white and home to former mayor Richard J. Daley.

The same pattern existed in the suburbs. Just as on the South and West Sides of the city, Empire, Love & Hip-Hop, and Bad Girls Club dominated in the south suburbs spanning Country Club Hills, Hazel Crest, Chicago Heights, Ford Heights, Dolton, Calumet City, and Gary, Ind. – areas with majority and/or predominantly black populations.

Even in Riverdale, The CW program who shares the same name with the predominantly black suburb doesn’t register as Bad Girls Club tops the chart (Riverdale shares the 60827 zip code with the Chicago neighborhood of the same name and suburban Calumet Park.)

In predominantly white suburbs such as Orland Park, Naperville, Downers Grove and Northbrook mirrored those in white portions of the city: Philadelphia, Simpsons, Modern Family, and The Daily Show.

South suburban Riverdale doesn’t care for “native sons” Archie and Jughead, but loves “Bad Girls Club” the best, according to Facebook. (Google Maps)

Believe it or not, there were some oddities. In the 60655 zip code, home to the predominately white Mount Greenwood neighborhood, the top three “above average” shows were the same in more African-American parts of the Chicago DMA: Empire, Love & Hip-Hop, and Bad Girls Club and the same was true in nearby Oak Lawn, another predominately white suburb and in Oak Forest, another majority-white city. Farther south in rural-like Peotone, Duck Dynasty was not well-liked – but Scandal and Tosh.0 was.

And in the Western suburbs of Bellwood, Maywood, and Oak Park – the former two are mostly black and the latter more diverse – Empire dominated but so did The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Of note in Joliet’s 60435 zip code, the most “liked” show on Facebook turned out to be FX’s American Horror Story. On the other hand, viewers in far northwest suburban Crystal Lake and Woodstock don’t seem to care for Love & Hip-Hop as it ranked “below average”.

The conclusion you come to after analyzing all this is Chicago – in terms of black and white, the shows we watch – on TV or streaming or otherwise – is different from one another. While Chicago isn’t as racially segregated as it was in the 1980’s (which basically kept Top 40/CHR music stations such as WLS and WBBM-FM from becoming as influential as its less segregated New York and Los Angeles counterparts), the entertainment we consume continues to be.

To see the findings of this research, click here to go to the T Dog Media Slideshare Page. If you want to see what TV show your town, city, or neighborhood is liking on Facebook, click here to the New York Times article and scroll way down.

Diversity, Television , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Media Notepad: Michelle Beadle becomes full-time host of NBA Countdown

Also: Page Six clears 90 percent  of country First look at new Defenders; ABC 7 drops “First Alert” branding; Frank Mathie retires.

In an unusual move late in the regular season, ESPN announced earlier this week the promotion of Michelle Beadle as NBA Countdown host, ESPN/ABC’s pre-game show. She’ll also host halftime segments in-between games. Beadle returned to ESPN a few years ago after a short-lived stint at NBCSN, where she hosted a daily strip, The Crossover with Michelle Beadle.

The move comes as ratings for its pre-game show – and NBA games on the network have sagged in the ratings, though lousy matchups featuring bad teams (such as major-market teams like the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls) are mostly to blame.

Beadle replaces Sage Steele, whose on-air presence has been reduced to a road-show host for SportsCenter as ESPN is looking to release some on-air personalities in a cost-cutting move. In the last few months, Steele – who is of mixed-race descent – has been embroiled in controversy, angrily tweeting at a NFL player for kneeling during the national anthem and criticizing the African-American community in a Facebook post.

I guess one diva is more than enough – we already have Kenya Moore, Wil Wheaton, and Mancow to suffer through.

With weather becoming increasingly important to achieving ratings goals for local stations, ABC-owned WLS-TV this week has quietly replaced its branding on its weather forecasts, from “First Alert” to Accuweather this week, as first reported by Newscast Studio.  The station is also discontinuing its weather app in favor of one co-branded with Accuweather, available April 15 from the Apple Store and Google Play.

Even though the station has used “First Alert” branding for its weather forecasts, ABC 7 has always been an Accuweather client – though it’s puzzling why they used it in the first place – many viewers thought the weather forecast was sponsored by a smoke alarm company.

Accuweather is used as the main weather provider for all the ABC-owned stations.

In more ABC 7 news, the station saluted human interest reporter Frank Mathie as he announced his retirement after 50 years on the air. Mathie started at the station on April 3, 1967 when the station was still known as WBKB-TV (it changed to its current WLS-TV calls in October 1968.) Mathie’s reports have spanned the gamut from reporting on the tornado that ripped through the southwest suburbs in 1967 (one of his first assignments) to fuzzy animal stories.

ABC 7 celebrated his work with 50 Years Of Frank, airing his best (and sometimes not-so-best) moments. Even though the Milwaukee native has done political and sports reporting for the station, his human-interest stories stand out. Mathie cut back his work schedule in 2006 to part-time status. Now at 75, Mathie is ready to spend more time with his family.

The upcoming syndicated strip Page Six TV has been declared a “firm go” for this fall, which clearances covering 90 percent of the country, including sixteen Fox-owned stations with the series airing over WFLD and WPWR. Other groups taking the show include CBS, Tribune, Sinclair, and Gray, among others. The series features John Fugelsang (a former host of America’s Funniest Home Videos), Bevy Smith, Variety’s Elizabeth Wagmeiser and Carlos Greer, who reports for Page Six in the New York Post.

The series was unveiled Tuesday night at a upfront gathering in New York City.

Based on the Post column, Page Six features gossip and entertainment stories, in addition to news of the day. The series was tested on a few Fox O&Os last summer (Chicago was not one of the test markets) and performed strongly on some stations. The series is being distributed by Twentieth Television and produced by Endemol Shine North America.

On WFLD and WPWR, the series is expected to be paired with another new show Top 30 and existing gossip magazine shows TMZ, Dish Nation, TMZ Live, and Extra. Last week, CBS Television Distribution unveiled gossip/talk show Daily Mail TV, which is airing over WGN-TV this fall and other Tribune stations.

More information is being released on Marvel’s new Defenders series on Netflix, which now has a start date: August 18, according to a released trailer. The series pairs together the leads of Netflix’s Marvel series – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and recently-released Iron Fist in an eight-episode mini-series.

Defenders becomes the first series to be streamed in Ultra HD 4k and in High Dynamic Range (HDR). 4K has more picture resolution than Full HD (1080i).

Defenders has the potential of becoming another Avengers, the successful superhero movie franchise, also from Marvel. On the other hand, this could be the next Heroes if the personalities don’t mesh together (and you know the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 is looking for material.)

This version of Defenders isn’t related to the 1961-65 legal drama or the short-lived 2010 Jim Belushi-Jerry O’Connell legal dramedy of the same name (both aired on CBS), but Matt Murdoch (Charlie Cox) does play an attorney (and superhero) on Daredevil. The 1960’s version of Defenders, like all the Marvel Netflix series, was set – and filmed – in New York City.

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WFLD to launch 4 a.m. newscast

Here we grow again: Fox-owned WFLD – known as Fox 32 – announced Thursday it was launching a new 4 a.m. newscast beginning April 10th.

The news was first reported by Broadcasting & Cable.

Anchoring the new 4 a.m. newscast is Kristen Nicole and Natalie Bomke. With the expansion, WFLD matches cross-town rival WGN-TV in the number of hours of morning news airing each day at six each from 4 to 10 a.m.

“The expansion to six hours of local news every morning is just another step in Fox 32’s commitment to providing our viewers local news when they need it, both on-air and digitally,” said Dennis Welsh, WFLD’s vice president and general manager in a press release.

It wasn’t long ago local stations across the country were adding 4:30 a.m. newscasts as viewers are getting up earlier and to attract advertisers who want to grab them. WGN was the first station to launch a 4 a.m. news show in 2011, followed by NBC-owned WMAQ-TV. With WFLD’s move, this leaves WLS-TV and WBBM-TV with 4:30 a.m. daily starts.

This is the latest news expansion by Chicago stations are the marketplace for first-run and off-network syndicated fare is drying up. Beginning Tuesday (not Monday), WGN is launching a new hour-long 6 p.m. newscast.

WFLD and sister station WPWR recently made programming moves of its own this week, with WFLD moving Extra from 6 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., replacing it with yet another run of TMZ, while adding an additional 6 p.m. airing of The Big Bang Theory to WPWR’s lineup.

Various , , , , , , ,

ABC axes “Time After Time” after five episodes

Here’s an observation: A running loop of Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time music video would’ve drawn more viewers than the science fiction drama of the same name did.

ABC announced Wednesday the cancellation of Time After Time after five episodes. The Sunday night sci-fi drama averaged just 2.2 million viewers and a 0.5 rating in the key adults 18-49 demo, according to Nielsen.

The number is equal to the season averages of FX’s Legion and The CW’s Riverdale. But both series have been renewed by their respective networks for their second season. And more importantly, didn’t have to face the powerful The Walking Dead machine – something Time After Time did.

Notably in the last two seasons, networks have punted on “cancelling” shows, instead putting underperforming series on “hiatus”, or “pulling them off the schedule.” For example, ABC never announced the cancellation of The Muppets, instead letting the ill-fated series fade away. NBC canceled Deal Or No Deal in 2009, but also never made an announcement.

But Time After Time’s abrupt cancellation certainly caught everyone off guard and certainly came out of left field.

The cancellation is effective immediately; ABC plans to fill the vacant slot with Match Game at least for the next three weeks.

Time After Time received mixed reviews, earning a 59 score on Metacritic.

The show’s premise: H.G. Wells (who wrote The Time Machine) time travels to modern-day Manhattan to catch Jack The Ripper, based on the novel and movie of the same name. So H.G. Wells is now a fictional character in a TV show? Makes sense to me!

And you wonder why the Cyndi Lauper Time After Time video is more entertaining.

Various , , , , , , , ,

“Daily Mail” coming to TV

Screenshot from Daily Mail Online Dated March 27, 2017.

Dr. Phil and his son Jay bring the UK’s Daily Mail to TV stateside

Also: Harry officially returns for season two

Leave it to Dr. Phil and son Jay to bring a show based on a crap tabloid newspaper to TV.

But that’s what we have in Daily Mail, a project being peddled by CBS Television Distribution and found suckers in Tribune and Sinclair, whose respective companies are exploring the possibility of merging if the FCC raises the ownership cap, now capped at 39 percent.

As first reported by TVNewsCheck, the series has been cleared in over half the country. An hour-long strip, Daily Mail is expected to fill vacant time slots now held by Celebrity Name Game including WGN-TV in Chicago, which airs the now-canceled game show at 10 a.m. However, a local timeslot for Daily Mail has yet to be finalized.

In the past, big projects like this one were developed months in advance and ready to roll out during the NATPE convention to sell to stations. Reportedly, Daily Mail was under development for two years, but wasn’t ready to be sold due to a lack of time slots.

Dr. Phil McGraw, who host has his Dr. Phil talk show strip for CTD, co-produces another first-run strip titled The Doctors with his son Jay (who says nepotism isn’t dead in Hollywood?) Daily Mail is being produced in Los Angeles by Jay McGraw’s Stage 29 productions, named after the Paramount soundstage where Dr. Phil and The Doctors shoots their respective shows and was also the home for Arsenio Hall’s first syndicated talk show.

There wasn’t much released about the show – information was vague regarding whether if it would be a straight talk show or a magazine program, and no host was named. The show could be along the lines of Joan Rivers’ former show for Tribune Entertainment back in the early 1990s, which mixed tabloid talk with celebrity guest interviews.

Daily Mail is a UK-based tabloid created in 1896 by Alfred and Harold Harmsworth. According to Wikipedia, the newspaper has becaused accused of “racism, and printing sensationalist and inaccurate scare stories of science and medical research.” (In this country, we call that Fox News.)

The Daily Mail’s website often features stories you’d generally find in the National Enquirer. The site is also heavy on celebrity news in Great Britain and in the United States – in fact, the Daily Mail has a dedicated page featuring U.S. Celebrities. In late 2015, Daily Mail’s website falsely reported Tom Joyner was retiring from morning show.

In other news, NBCUniversal officially announced Harry Connick Jr.’s talk show would indeed, be back for a second season despite being downgraded in several big Fox markets, including Chicago. The show is averaging a 1.2 household rating this season. Give its expense ($35 to $40 million to produce, according to Broadcasting & Cable), the series must improve its ratings in season two or it’s over.

As reported here Monday, Harry’s second run on WPWR-TV was downgraded again to an overnight time slot. But the series retains its 2 p.m. slot on sister station WFLD-TV.

P.S. As I always point out when discussing “The Doctors”, the talk show is not related to the 1963-82 NBC soap opera of the same name. 

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

T Dog Media’s Notepad: Chicago TV stations make changes

An all-local edition, with news on local TV changes; Kap & Co. moving to another timeslot; Chicago loses population again; and another person featured in CNN’s Chicagoland is another victim of the city’s streets. 

With Tribune’s WGN-TV set to launch a new hour-long newscast at 6 p.m. April 4th, it has triggered other scheduling moves in the nation’s third-largest TV market, including some scheduling shifts not only at WGN, but also at the duopoly of Fox-owned WFLD and CW affiliate WPWR-TV.

These moves affect numerous early-fringe, prime-access, and late night timeslots on all three stations. Typically, local stations only change their schedules in September, in accordance with the start of the new TV season. But as audiences continue to dwindle, changes are needed to address audience shortfalls and to stay competitive.

Here’s some of the changes:

With WGN airing news at 6 p.m., reruns of Two And A Half Men are moving to 11:30 p.m. and midnight, respectively. Don’t worry, Charlie Sheen (or Ashton Kutcher) and Co. will continue to air from 7-8 p.m. on nights when there’s no sports. Men shifts The Middle from 11:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The late-night revamp displaces the now-canceled Celebrity Name Game, which now only airs at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

– Not to be outdone, Fox’s Chicago duopoly also announced their own schedule changes beginning March 27. It’s good news for Simpsons fans, who get an extra airing at 5:30 p.m. on WPWR, in addition to an 11 p.m. showing, and of those for The Big Bang Theory, which is now double-run from 6 to 7 p.m.

But its bad news for others: Extra, which moved from WMAQ-TV to WFLD after 22 years in September, is losing its key prime access slot at 6 p.m. and being shifted to 3:30 p.m. In its place is TMZ, which moves up a half-hour with Modern Family returning to 6:30 p.m.

WFLD’s new late-night lineup from 10 to 12:30 a.m. consists of Modern Family, TMZ (again), Dish Nation, and Extra, and Family Feud.

Shifting back to CW 50, the station is adding a Dish Nation rerun at 11 a.m. and Family Feud running from 4 to 5:30 p.m. And while Harry stays at 2 p.m. on WFLD, CW 50 moved the same-day rerun to 3 a.m.

Other Chicago TV stations – including WCIU and The U Too – are remaining pat with their schedules.

If you are an ESPN 1000 listener, schedule changes are coming for you as well: beginning on April 3 (with the start of the baseball season), WMVP-AM is shifting David Kaplan’s Kap & Co. to 9 a.m. to noon essentially flipping time slots with Carmen DeFelco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic, known as Carmen & Jurko, which now heads to middays from noon to 2 p.m. The move was made to make Kaplan’s schedule easier, as he also is host of the Chicago Cubs pre-game show on CSN Chicago and some Cubs home games are 1:20 p.m. starts.

The move comes as WMVP ratings have grown in the past year, despite rival WSCR’s (The Score) success with Cubs baseball. In fact, Waddle & Silvy recently beat Dan Bernstein’s afternoon show in key demos, according to Nielsen. Kap & Co. ranks second in those same key demos.

In addition, Kaplan has a new book about the Cubs’ recent World Series Victory and the blueprint it took to get there (titled The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint For A Cubs Dynasty.)

NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt is coming to town on April 20 to accept a distinguished journalism award from DePaul University’s Center for Journalism Integrity and Excellence, co-directed by peers Carol Marin and Don Moseley in an invitation-only ceremony.

Also being honored is data journalist Ben Welsh of the Los Angeles Times.

Holt worked for CBS-owned WBBM-TV for fourteen years as a reporter and anchor – many of you remember he co-anchored the station’s newscast with Linda MacLennan for a few years. After departing WBBM, Holt anchored NBC’s Weekend Today for twelve years before succeeding Brian Williams as anchor of NBC Nightly News in June 2015. Last fall, Holt moderated the first Presidential Debate, which was the most-watched in history with more than 80 million viewers.

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

More bad news for Chicago media outlets: figures released from the Census bureau this week show the Chicago metropolitan area being one of only two major-market DMAs (designated market areas) to lose population in the past year, with the other (St. Louis) also losing population as the market’s DMA rank has been losing ground for years. The Chicago area has been losing population for years as residents continue to head for the exits.

Fewer people means fewer sales means fewer revenue for Chicago’s media outlets and ad agencies. It’s just as simple as that.

Radio revenues were flat in 2015 from the previous year, and 2014’s figures were down ten percent from 2013 – but last year’s figures weren’t released. While Robert Feder was sent a “cease and desist” from a law firm from publishing the figures, it’s easy to guess why they weren’t released (revenues probably declined again – no news is good news, right?) Taking a page from your local and state governments, this upset “market manager” clamping down on the release of such information is one of the most absurd actions yours truly has ever heard of. It’s no surprise local radio execs have resorted to “The Chicago Way”, given the mammoth size of the companies (iHeart Media, Cumulus, CBS, Hubbard, etc.) they work for.

And you wonder why Chicagoans are exiting the metropolitan area in droves.

Another individual featured in the little-watched (but buzz heavy) 2014 docuseries Chicagoland was gunned down last week. Jason Barrett, a former Fenger student featured in the series, was shot to death in his Roseland neighborhood on March 20. Barrett was near 113th Place and State Street when someone got of a car and shot him multiple times. In Chicagoland, Barrett was seen as trying to turn his life around after a stint in jail.

Barrett becomes the second person featured in Chicagoland to be gunned down. Another Fenger student featured in the series (Lee McCullum) was gunned down last May in the West Pullman neighborhood, at 126th and Normal.

Elizabeth Dozier, who was principal of Fenger at the time the series was filmed told DNA Chicago: “He’s really symbolic to me of what’s wrong with what’s happening here. What are we doing? We have these kids ages 16 to 24 who are not working, not in school. How is everyone stepping up to make sure that there’s a place in our city for those children, that (they) have a viable pathway to a productive life?”

Dozier was a mentor to Barrett and other Fenger students.

Fenger has long been plagued with gang violence and other problems – this 1981 article from the Chicago Tribune featured then-principal Leo Dillon talk about the problems in the school and the Roseland neighborhood in general, 33 years before Chicagoland premiered.

Since Chicagoland concluded its run, the city continues to make national headlines for its never ending gun violence epidemic as it became a top subject for President Trump to tweet about.

Chicagoland made The T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame and was named the third-worst worst TV show of 2014 by this website, behind the Chicago Bears and The Wil Wheaton Project.

And speaking of those Bears… it’s not getting as much buzz as Chicagoland, but another documentary about capturing Chicagoans’ anguish is being produced – this time covering what it’s like to be a long-suffering Chicago Bears fan. ESPN has ordered a new docuseries titled We The Fans, as it chronicles the journeys of die-hard Chicago Bears fans and season ticket holders as they deal with yet another terrible season which saw the Bears win only three games. Like Chicagoland, We The Fans is an eight-part documentary but unlike the infomercial for Rahm Emanuel, We The Fans is only eight half-hour episodes, as opposed to eight hours for the former, so the torture at least, won’t be twice as long – but torture nevertheless.

We The Fans premieres on ESPN April 11 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., airing back-to back episodes for four weeks.

Various , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,