Grab Bag: Savage wrestles down a new outlet in Chicago

Can you smell… what WJJG is cookin’? You most certainly can as another edition of The Grab Bag is upon us…

-Mancow Mueller now has a new tag-team partner at WJJG-AM (1530 AM) with syndicated radio host Michael “Macho Man” Savage. Beginning October 3, the duo will enter the ring every day to grope and piledrive their liberal opponents into the canvas. Savage comes from WIND-AM, who was dropped from the station to make room for former WNND and WGN-AM personality Steve Cochran. On Monday, Savage takes over the 10-Noon time slot on WJJD, in between airings of Mancow’s syndicated show on a one-day delay (Savage usually tapes his shows the evening before.) Mancow’s show airs from 7-10 am and repeated again from 1-4 pm, with the noon-1pm time slot expected to be filled shortly. An ideal choice would be WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, given he is just as loud and unpredictable as these two are.

-NBC has gotten off to yet another lackluster start in the 2011-12 prime-time ratings race… yeah, I know, nothing unusual right? Well, at least there’s some good news for its NBC-owned station in Chicago: WMAQ-TV just won an News & Documentary Emmy for coverage for the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal back in 2009. WMAQ received the Emmy at the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ News & Documentary awards in New York City September 26. The station won in the Outstanding Regional News Story – Spot News category. Reporters sharing the award include Marion Brooks, Lauren Jiggetts, Dick Johnson, and Allison Rosati.

-Former manager Ozzie Guillen has taken his talents to South Beach, but we still have “The Hawk”: Ken “Hawk” Harrelson has signed a new four year deal to continue as play-by-play announcer for the next four years. For next season at least, he’ll continue to be paired with analyst and former White Sox pitcher Steve Stone. As for Guillen’s rather stormy departure from the White Sox after eight seasons, look at this way – at least he didn’t get his own ESPN special to announce he was taking over as skipper of the Florida (soon to be Miami) Marlins. Remember a few years ago when yours truly said he should think about becoming a game show host? At least we regular TV viewers are spared that.

-The new fall TV season is already successful: Not one TV series has been canceled before the Cubs and White Sox played their last games of the season (of course, their 2011 seasons were already canceled by July.) With that said, contenders in the first-show-to-be-canceled-of-the-season pool include H8R, The Playboy Club, Free Agents, Charlie’s Angels, and CBS’ dreadful How To Be A Gentlemen, which had a lackluster debut on Thursday. It seemed to me Gentlemen was using canned laughter on its show. Canned laughter? What year is this, 1965? Well, its understandable, given the lack of laughs throughout the show.

-But one series was picked up for a full season-renewal: Fox’s The New Girl with Zooey Deschannel was picked up for a full season after another stellar performance in its Tuesday night time slot, improving on its Glee lead-in and finishing first in the key adult demo (18-49). Move over, Gleeks – here comes The Zooeyacks!

-And here’s a series that picked up a second-season commitment – and it hasn’t even premiered yet! Kelsey Grammer’s shot-in-Chicago series Boss has been picked up for a second season by Starz, with another ten-episode commitment. Boss premieres with its first season of ten episodes on October. 21. Take that, Playboy Club.

-ABC debuted its new cooking/lifestyle show The Chew last Monday, and so far the results haven’t been what ABC had hoped for. On Monday, the series debuted to a decent 2.1 household rating and 7 share in overnight ratings and 2.5 million viewers and nearly 600,000 viewers in the female adult demo, about equal to what All My Children had in the time slot the week of September 12. But according to Marc Berman at TV Media Insights, The Chew’s ratings declined as the week wore on, and was down significantly from its lead-in, which was various programming on ABC affiliates (e.g. local news here in Chicago; Nate Berkus in Milwaukee; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, etc.)  The Chew averaged a 1.8/6 in 54 metered markets measured by Nielsen, down a share point from what Children earned in Sept. 2010 (2.1/7).  Given these numbers, its a certainty the series had also declined in those key demos. In addition, The Chew was chewed out by TV critics (including a rather nasty review from new Sun-Times TV critic Lori Rackl) and bashed heavily on Twitter.

Even though The Chew airs primarily at 1 p.m. ET/ Noon Central and Pacific on ABC, the network series airs in other time periods in a few markets: In Dallas for example, The Chew airs an hour earlier at 11 a.m. on Belo-owned ABC affiliate WFAA-TV.