T Dog’s Grab Bag: Jim, Tom, and the two Bobs

Serving you soon on Adult Swim - and in syndication, too
Serving you soon on Adult Swim – and in syndication, too

WLS-AM’s Jim Johnson calls it a career; Bob Newhart hits out of the park;  Bob’s Burgers sold in off-network to Adult swim

Jim Johnson is calling it a career: after 45 amazing years as a newsman for WLS-AM, Johnson announced his retirement earlier this week, officially departing when his contract expires in June. Johnson joined The Big 89 in 1968 and endured through the Musicradio and NewsTalk eras, not to mention two ownership changes. During the last few years, Johnson has mainly contributed to Roe Conn’s afternoon show. No doubt, Johnson is looking forward to rolling out the “Carnable Wagon” out one last time on his last day.

– The FCC is steps away from having a new boss: former cable and wireless lobbyist Tom Wheeler has been nominated by President Obama to become Chairman of the government agency, replacing Julius Genachowski, who is stepping down after five years. Wheeler’s nomination comes with controversy: he has been often critical of broadcasters on his Mobile Musings blog, notably for “wasting spectrum” on over-the-air television. Recently, Fox, CBS, and Univision had threatened to move their signals to cable if Aereo (which uses an antenna to transmit their signals through the Internet) succeeded in fighting off legal challenges. If the broadcasters do so – and hand over spectrum back to the government, those without cable or satellite might not get a sympathetic ear from the FCC.

– Comedy legend and Chicago native Bob Newhart appeared on The Big Bang Theory Thursday night and turned in of the best performances yours truly has since in a long time – one who certainly deserves an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series nomination. Newhart played a beloved Children’s host known as Professor Proton who taught kids science (think Mr. Wizard’s World) who Sheldon tracks down and brings him to Pasadena to visit. And Newhart (who headlined three sitcoms on CBS during his career) still has the deadpan delivery he’s known for. Even better, Big Bang drew a knockout punch in its Thursday night time slot – drawing fifteen million viewers and a 4.9 adult demo rating, trouncing its competition – and that includes American Idol.

– Speaking of “Bob”, animated comedy Bob’s Burgers is getting an additional outlet: as first reported by Deadline, Adult Swim has picked up the first three seasons of the Fox Sunday night show from Twentieth Television, which roughly comes out to 45 episodes, and any future shows. Adult Swim reportedly paid nearly $500,000 per episode for the antics of the Belcher family.  The move could wind up helping the Fox Sunday night airings of the show with the additional exposure. Bob’s Burgers’ sale to Adult Swim should have no impact on a future off-network broadcast syndication run in either 2015 or 2016 as Twentieth plans to bring out other properties to market over the next few years, including Raising Hope (2014), New Girl, and Last Man Standing, assuming it gets picked up by ABC for a third season.

– TNT has picked up Dallas for a third season of fifteen episodes for airing beginning early next year. Despite a ratings decline from last summer when the revival of the CBS drama premiered, Dallas still drew an average of 3.8 million viewers for its second season when you factor in seven days of DVR playback. The main challenge of Dallas now is to move past the deaths of J.R. Ewing and Pam Ewing – the latter character killed off after Victoria Principal declined to return to the show (nice to know Ms. Ewing died three days after the 1989 MLB All-Star Game was held at Anaheim Stadium. Was she hit in the head by a foul ball?)