25 years ago: The deal heard around the world

25 years ago this week, Fox’s Rupert Murdoch changed the TV world by inking a deal to trigger the biggest affiliation switch in history.  It goes back to what happened on December 17, 1993. The networks were complaining about paying too much for sports – the NFL in particular – as the packages were losing money and looking to pay […]

Media Notepad: “Red Line” derails in the ratings against “Game of Thrones”

Plus…. Ratings for Bulls and Blackhawks continue to fall; Jeopardy continues to roll thanks to a winning contestant; Crain’s partners with WGN Radio As one might have predicted, CBS’ new limited-series drama The Red Line got off to a rough start Sunday night, and it was indeed “A Long Night”. The two-hour premiere of the shot-in-Chicago series drew next-to-nothing in […]

The Media Notepad: “Game of Thrones”, Masters score big

Also… Face The Truth won’t be back for a second season; CourTV returns May 8; AT&T sells Hulu strike While HBO turned Chicago’s weather into one big promotional machine (Winter came on Sunday…and left a big, slushy mess), it seemed to have worked: Sunday’s eighth-season premiere of Game Of Thrones proved to be a big draw. The season premiere attracted […]

Think Tank Express: Colbert makes his CBS debut

Stephen Colbert – yes, the real Stephen Colbert – finally made his long-awaited hosting debut last night on The Late Show, only the third time a comedian has hosted under this title. Colbert is no longer chained to his “Stephen Colbert” character he played on his Comedy Central show. While judging a program by one episode doesn’t do it justice, […]

T Dog’s Media Notepad: WLS-TV back on top at 10 p.m. in July

Plus: WBBM-TV’s news ratings stink; Downtown Abbey heads into the final stretch; MundoFox to become MundoMax…eventually  – ABC-owned WLS-TV reclaimed the top spot at 10 p.m. according to Nielsen, reclaiming the late news throne from NBC-owned WMAQ-TV. Despite the loss, WMAQ still gained viewers year-to-year at 10 in the all-important 25-54 demo. The biggest loser no doubt is CBS-owned WBBM, who […]

WMAQ pulls off 10 p.m. news upset

Beat WLS-TV in key news demo for the first time in nearly 20 years Dispute in 10 p.m. news race in Milwaukee The last time WMAQ won the 10 p.m. news race in adults 25-54 demo, Ron Magers and Carol Marin were still anchoring, ER was the hottest show on television, and Jay Leno was hosting the Tonight Show. Nineteen […]

Letterman’s send-off packs them in

Letterman’s finale episode draws more than 13 million viewers, largest since 1994 (Editor’s Note – all videos associated with this post were removed from YouTube as of June 15. The article has since been re-edited. -T.H.) The final Late Show With David Letterman on CBS Wednesday night sent tons of viewers through the entrances – and scored its highest ratings in over […]

T Dog’s Grab Bag: Bill Kurtis joins Decades

– Emmy and Peabody winner Bill Kurtis has a new gig: he’ll host a show on the new Decades network called Though the Decades, a weekday strip recalling the events of historical significance between the 1950s and 1990s, beginning in May. The series plans to draw from the vast resources of CBS News and Entertainment Tonight libraries for material. A […]

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

Time 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 […]

“Mike & Molly”, “2 Broke Girls” head to WCIU for off-net syndication

In a sale that could alter the power structure among which station groups purchase off-net sitcoms – and other programming in the future, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution has sold CBS Monday night comedies Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls to Weigel broadcasting’s WCIU in Chicago and to thirteen non-CBS affiliated stations owned by CBS Corporation for fall 2014 […]

Milwaukee media columnist Tim Cuprisin dies

Chicago native Tim Cuprisin, who was best known as media critic of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for fifteen years, passed away Wednesday in his north suburban Milwaukee home from melanoma at the age of 53. A product of Chicago’s City News Bureau in the 1970’s, Curprisin joined the Milwaukee Journal in 1986 as reporter – covering the Jeffrey Dahmer murders, among […]

Wisconsin budget fracas draws viewers to Milwaukee’s newscasts

In just a matter of days, Cheesehead nation has transformed from a state celebrating a Green Bay Packers Super Bowl victory to looking like the new “Beirut On The Lake”. With the Wisconsin legislature producing a new 21st century version of Council Wars, the fracas over unions is drawing viewers to Milwaukee’s local newscasts, according to a article in the […]

WISN expands 10 p.m. newscast

In a first for a Midwest Big Three (ABC, CBS, NBC) affiliate, Hearst’s WISN-TV in Milwaukee is expanding its 10 p.m. newscast from 35 minutes to an hour beginning January 24. The move sends NBC Universal’s Access: Hollywood (the current 10:35 p.m. occupant) to 12:30 a.m., after Jimmy Kimmel Live. Nightline retains the 11:05 p.m. slot, but now gets to […]

MeTV to go national

In a humongous move, Weigel Broadcasting sent out a teaser on major changes coming to MeTV and MeToo, the company’s local classic TV channels. In like… MeTV is going national. Weigel plans to announce on Tuesday it will seek to distribute the MeTV concept nationally via a digital subchannel. Weigel’s forthcoming announcement means they are throwing their hat in the […]

Bending for news

For the second time in two days, an ABC affiliate announced plans to get into the local news business. Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting announced on Tuesday the hiring of Aaron Ramey to launch a news operation at WBND-LP (low power) in South Bend, Ind., and plans to develop other programming for the station and sister outlets WCWW-LP (CW) and My Network […]