Get to know ION

Secrets of the company success: reruns, reruns and more reruns – oh, and the occasional original show There is a network that often draw more viewers than The CW and Telemundo in any given week – and yet, it has the lowest profile of any major network. And Ion likes it that way. Ion Media is one of the beneficiaries […]

Bill Maher escapes punishment for N-Word use on “Real Time”

The use of a racial slur isn’t the career-ending death sentence one thinks it is – but should it? Bill Maher’s use of the “N-Word” on his Real Time show on HBO recently opened up a debate on whether if it’s okay for non-African Americans to use the word – even to make a point. On June 2nd’s edition of […]

“Dirty Dancing” slips and falls

The remake of the 1987 theatrical classic was so poorly received, it likely ends the bid for the Made-For-TV Movie to return to the broadcast networks on a regular basis (Editor’s note: a tweet in this story was removed as its account was suspended. – T.H.)  It’s time to pour one on the curb for the TV movie. The form, created by […]

The “Empire” is crumbling

Fox’s highest-rated show is fading fast You wonder at this point if the Empire Carpet Man can draw better ratings than Empire itself these days. Wednesday episode of the serialized hip-hop drama drew its lowest ratings to date: a 1.9 rating in the key 18-49 demo, down 47 percent from the May 4, 2016 airing as  Empire was barely ahead of […]

Chicago’s NBC, Fox stations sell spectrum

If you are an over-the-air customer in Chicago – or anywhere for that matter, get ready for some big changes as six local stations relocate. The FCC released a list Thursday of how many stations across the country sold their spectrum to wireless companies – and several big-market stations are on the list – including Chicago. Six local TV stations […]

How Chicago Watches TV (according to Facebook)

Chicago is a Simpsons town; NCIS, Duck Dynasty not so much Viewing patterns are racially segregated as the city is Two weeks ago, the Metropolitan Planning Council and the Urban Institute proclaimed in a study (another in a very long line) something we’ve known for decades: the Chicago metropolitan area is one of the most racially segregated areas in the country. And to a […]

Cable at a crossroads

As viewers are cutting the cords, air comes out of cable’s bloated balloon in the form of increasing defunct channels. A long-awaited change may be coming to the pay-TV atmosphere. Stories this week in Variety, Wall Street Journal, and Awful Announcing suggest the cable ecosystem is expected to shift soon due to low viewership, low reach, and high cost. Many of […]

The state of syndication in 2017

Few first-run series being offered this year as veteran shows – even low-rated ones – continue to roll along As the National Association Of Programming Executives gathering began Tuesday in Miami, stations are firming up their schedules for next fall as first-run and off-network series are being rolled out onto the marketplace. But what has been the norm in previous years, […]

Chicago’s news stations deal with another video controversy

A hate crime video shot live on Facebook has stations debating the use of such content  In a city whose news stations are accustomed to airing gruesome video and reporting on daily shootings and murders, even this was too much to take. Chicago’s five television newsrooms were debating earlier this month on whether or not repeated airings of a disabled […]

T Dog’s Think Tank: What’s wrong with the NFL?

Ratings for the NFL are off this year. Why?  Over the last few weeks, you have read about why the NFL’s ratings are declining, with answers ranging from noncompetitive matchups to national anthem protests. Well, now it’s my turn to weigh in. So what’s wrong with the NFL? Well, let’s start locally as the Chicago Bears continue to drive away viewers […]

The future for WGN-TV, The CW, and My Network TV

After Monday’s announcement of The CW shifting to WPWR, where does these channels stand? Back in 2008, WGN-TV aired a retrospective of its 60th year in broadcasting. Hosted by Jim Belushi, the special looked back on the station’s local programming such as Garfield Goose, Ray Rayner, and Bozo. Airing on a Sunday night, the special did better in the ratings […]

T Dog’s Think Tank: Rodents in the Mouse House

  Disney’s “Live” blunder the latest in management woes To understand the brouhaha over Kelly Ripa, Michael Strahan, and ABC executives’ handling of this Live crisis, you have to go back 20 years. In 1995, the financial interest and syndication rules – or fin-syn as it was called – expired after 25 years, once again letting the major broadcast networks […]

The “Live” mess

Michael Strahan’s unexpected departure from Live stuns industry insiders – and Kelly Ripa The announcement of Michael Strahan’s departure from Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s Live With Kelly and Michael stunned the entertainment world Tuesday – perhaps none other than co-host Kelly Ripa herself, who reportedly wasn’t happy about the news. The NFL Hall Of Famer and former New York Giants defensive back accepted an […]

When Trump had a game show

Trump had a game show? It’s true. His name headlined a flop in 1990-91  These days, real estate mogul Donald Trump is grabbing headlines as a Republican Presidential Candidate – for better or worse, but 25 years ago Trump had his own game show. Yes, he actually had a game show – well, his name was slapped on one. Here […]

Are you ready for some boxing?

The new Premier Boxing Champions project off to a decent start  After a nearly 20-year absence from primetime, professional boxing returned to broadcast network prime-time Saturday night, thanks to boxing promoter Al Heymon and his newly created Premier Boxing Champions. The boxing schedule struck time-buy deals with NBC, CBS, and Spike TV for bouts, and the first of them came […]