T Dog’s Grab Bag: Sun-Times fires entire photography staff

New_Chicago-Sun_Times_Building In a stunning move, the Chicago Sun-Times fired almost all of its photography staff on Thursday, which left 28 people out of work. The Wrapports -owned paper instead plans to train reports to take pictures with smartphones. Yes, smartphones. Among those who were laid off include 35-year veteran Pulitzer-prize winning photographer John H. White, one of the first African-American photographers to be employer at the paper (White took some awesome photos of life in Chicago’s black community in the 1970’s. To see his collection, click here.)

The Sun-Times did retain three photographers, according to CRM.

The Chicago Newspaper Guild plans to fight Wrapports on this decision, one of many that has infuriated the union since Michael Ferro & Co. took over the Sun-Times.

The news made national headlines (there’s those words involving Chicago again) as the Sun-Times’ decision was mentioned in USA Today, on CBS News and ABC News’ websites, and quite frequently on social media. With this move, you have to question the Sun-Times’ commitment to hard-hitting journalism in a city drowning in a sea of problems.  After all, the continued employment of Jenny McCarthy at the paper makes you wonder…

The Chicago Blackhawks’ playoff run continue to rack up ratings for NBC and NBC Sports Network: Game seven of the team’s epic playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings drew 3.35 million viewers nationally – peaking at 4.6 million during OT, the highest rating ever for the network once  known as OLN and Versus. In Chicago, the game scored a 17.2 household rating – the highest ever for anything on NBC SN, peaking at a 21 rating in overtime (around 10:00 p.m.) In Detroit, the game drew a 15.0 rating, but those numbers do not include those who tuned in to CBC’s coverage over CBET in nearby Windsor, Ont.

With the Hawks’ thrilling overtime victory in Game 7, the team advanced to the Western Conference Finals against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, which began Saturday.

More local ratings news: according to a tweet SitcomsOnline.com posted Friday, Rookie Blue is a hit in Chicago – the CTV cop drama from Canada drew a 2.6 adults 18-49 Thursday night over ABC-owned WLS-TV, well above the national average of 1.2. Blue’s numbers were up a whopping 117 percent from the previous week, when the show was up against a Hawks-Wings playoff game.

Is Katie on the chopping block? An article on Broadcasting & Cable’s website Friday suggested if Ms. Couric’s ratings don’t improve, her syndicated show could get replaced by one featuring Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts, as hers is one of many names being floated around if ABC doesn’t renew Katie past 2014 (Roberts denied any discussions on the matter has taken place and remains committed to GMA.) Many station executives are not happy with Katie’s ratings performance, which airs at 3 p.m. on WLS and other ABC-owned stations, and on most ABC affiliates. During one week in May 2013, Katie underperformed her time period rating and share from a year ago.

In October 2012, Katie was ranked #1 locally, but was down significantly from what Inside Edition and Jeopardy earned in October 2011. While Katie hasn’t had a negligible affect on WLS’ dominant newscasts, the same cannot be said of other stations carrying the show. As for Katie, it seems more like an Oprah clone than anything else – with Couric’s awful talk-hosting skills the only difference. While Ellen DeGeneres has fun with her show (and the ratings prove it), Couric just sucks the life out of hers.

If ratings for Katie drop in her second season, look for her to be replaced in September 2014.

Either leave or be fired: Mariah Carey and Nicki Manaj are out as judges on American Idol as both resigned from the show Thursday. But you knew that already, right?