Introducing Quick Hits and Bits

Yours truly is testing a brand new feature titled Quick Hits and Bits, a quick roundup of the latest and not-so-latest television, radio, and Internet news – along with a few editorial quips. This is not meant to replace “The Grab Bag” column I’ve been writing about for the last few years, but wanted to get more media items on the website, rather than relying solely on Twitter.

Further more, no reader shall ever be subjected to more than ten items in a QH&B. Quality – not quantity – is what matters around here. And if you want more info, you can click on the link provided within the story.


– After a short Friday night test this year on WTTW here in Chicago, the half-hour arts program Local, USA is set to roll out nationally on PBS in 2014 as a thirteen-part documentary series. Local showcases content from independent producers, creators, and other PBS stations. It’s a concept similar to what PM/Evening Magazine did in the 1980’s as local stations who aired the program contributed segments to the show (and what syndicated newsmagazine America Now does today), minus the indie producer part.

– Remember Bob Sanders at WBBM-AM back in the day when he did a show with his wife Betty? Sadly, the Chicago veteran died Sunday at the age of 89 at his Wisconsin home. He spent 26 remarkable years at the station from 1956 to 1982 – the last ten co-hosting with his wife. Shortly after being unceremoniously dumped by WBBM, the duo had a short two-year stint at the old WCFL-AM.

– Amazing! The season premiere of  AMC’s The Walking Dead drew 16.1 million viewers Sunday night, with a 8.3 adults 18-49 rating and a 9.2 among adults 18-34. Believed to be a cable record, and now they want to get paid: AMC is now seeking a whopping $600,000 a 30-second spot!

– On the opposite end: Marvel’s Agents of Shield continues to slide, with the series earning only a 2.8 adult 18-49 rating during its fourth week. Even worse, lead-out Goldbergs has collapsed, with a measly 1.6 rating, finishing fourth. However, it’s still too early to tell if these shows are keepers.

Katie cancellation watch 2013: Ms. Couric will have to take a pay cut if she wants a third season of her talk show Katie. Might not matter as TV station execs are likely to dump her.

– Oh Canada… the country’s government is pushing for a la carte cable, a.k.a. unbundling channels from packages. But here comes the bad news: cable bills north of the border could skyrocket.

– Speaking of Canada, PPI Releasing announced it was going to syndicate The Social for fall 2014, an hour long female-targeted talk show strip that currently airs on Canada’s CTV network. Remember when DLT Entertainment (producer of Three’s Company and Too Close For Comfort) tried to market then-CTV talk show Shirley to the States in 1995? Didn’t exactly work out well.

– Hundreds of people quit Twitter each day. Should we care if Damon Lindelof does?

– Former sitcom writer Ken Levine writes a follow-up to a spot-on piece he wrote a few months ago about the state of the terrestrial radio industry. We know they won’t, but radio execs need to read this piece.