T Dog’s Grab Bag: WCIU to replace “This” with “Bounce”

ThisBounceTVChicagoTime to see what’s in this week edition of the Grab bag:

With This TV leaving for WGN-TV  November 1, Weigel Broadcasting is replacing it with Bounce, moving from its 23.2 subchannel position to the much stronger 26.5 position, according to an item on WCIU’s website. Bounce is an African-American-targeted subchannel targeted to adults 25-54.

The move comes as WGN owner Tribune Broadcasting replaces Weigel as partner in the This TV venture, with MGM owning the other half. This has had a presence on numerous Tribune stations over the last few years, first clearing Los Angeles (KTLA) and several other markets in 2009, then adding New York (WPIX) and a few more stations in 2010.  Tribune is slotting This on channel 9.3. It is not known if This or Bounce will keep its current cable channel position on numerous systems.

Despite Weigel’s departure from the project, This is scheduled to continue airing over the subchannels of its WDJT Milwaukee (58.3) and WCWW in South Bend.

Are the ABC O&Os for sale? A report in the New York Post Friday stated The Walt Disney Co. may look to unload its eight-owned stations, including WLS-TV here (but not the network.). The stations could fetch more than $1 billion in the marketplace. A lot of industry observers took notice of what Disney didn’t do, e.g., purchasing the Allbritton group, which consists of predominantly ABC affiliates, including flagship WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C. Sinclair wound up with the group instead.

In the last twenty years, ABC has bought only two stations: WJRT in Flint, Mich. and WTVG in Toledo, a former NBC affiliate. Both were sold back to their original owner in 2010 leaving ABC with eight stations – the same number they had after the company merged with Capital Cities, Inc. in 1986.

Former WLS-TV political reporter Hugh Hill passed away last week at the age of 89. Hill began his career in Chicago journalism in 1953 at WBBM-AM and TV, before joining WLS (then WBKB-TV) in 1963, where he spent 33 years until his retirement in 1996. Hill has interviewed numerous Presidents and five Chicago mayors, including both Daleys. A gentle giant, maybe today’s polarizing political reporters need to take a lesson from a skilled veteran like Hill.

Guess there’s a reason why management doesn’t let personnel say goodbye on the air: Jim Laski departed WCPT-AM on Saturday after a few months on the air after finally realizing no one was listening to his show (or, the fact he had no more money to purchase time on the station.) According to Robert Feder, the former WGN-AM radio host and convicted felon took shots at WCPT management, including director of sales Mark Earnest and station president Charley Gross. Laski purchased time on WCPT to air his show, so why the virol toward management is a mystery. Then again, Laski returning to radio after his disastrous WGN run is a mystery in itself.

If any sitcom deserves a medal for hanging in there after battling in the ring for years is Raising Hope. Now in its fourth season, the series was finally sold into syndication this year, with 80 percent of the country and 180 stations now cleared for fall 2014. In addition to WCIU here in Chicago, recent clearances in the Midwest include WNDY in Indianapolis,WXSP/WOTV in Grand Rapids,  WSTR/WKRC in Cincinnati, WLUK/WCWF in Green Bay, WUCW in Minneapolis, WVTV/WCGV in Milwaukee, WDAF in Kansas City, WADL in Detroit, and  WCWW in South Bend.

Raising Hope returns to Fox’s Friday night prime-time lineup next month.

Remember Wild Chicago, the popular 1989-2003 series on WTTW with Ben Hollis? There’s good news for fans for the show – the “very best” segments from the first two seasons of the long-running series are coming out on DVD and digital download in November. Wild Chicago featured Hollis – decked out in a safari costume in all – interviewing off-beat people and finding off-beat places in Chicagoland (such as singing cab drivers, a cookie jar museum and The Polka Hall Of Fame – not to mention the long-gone Randolph St. bus station.)

Interesting fact: one correspondent from Wild Chicago (Aaron Shure) went on to join the writing staff of Everybody Loves Raymond and later The Office.

To pre-order the 25th Anniversary edition of Wild Chicago on DVD (which is set to drop November 19), click here.  T Dog Media will let you know when the digital downloads become available.

As an added bonus, here’s a clip of Wild Chicago from 1990 featuring a then-unknown Stephen Colbert (courtesy of FuzzyMemories.tv.)