Television John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV
Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.
Local news ratings for November sweeps just rolled in with good news and bad news for each station. Morning local news continues to grow, while the late local news audience shrinks. Here’s the book at a glance: --WLWT (Ch 5): Heavy promotion at , with the "5 Things Every Woman Should Know" and "Top 5 (stories) at 5," vaulted Ch 5 just barely over Ch 12 for second place at (5.7 to 5.6). But Ch. 5 fell back to third at , 6 and 11 p.m. GM Richard Dyer says the gives them something to build on for the 90-minute block. He also says the "5 Things" will continue beyond the book. (Yeah, but didn't they say that about the "Top 5 at 11" last summer, and then dropped it shortly after the July book?) --WCPO (Ch 9): Still wins big 5-6:30 p.m., and a strong second at 11 p.m. But year-to-year down Big news is huge morning growth, +69% at and +56% at for Kathrine Nero and David Rose. --WKRC-TV (Ch 12): A year after Cammy Dierking left morning show, the is up 33%, and still a solid No. 1. Station also still wins huge at 11. But Ch 12 has tumbled to third at , and lost viewers at and 6 (but still second). --WXIX-TV (Ch 19): Only down slightly (8%) for news, despite Sheila Gray being off for medical leave nearly all the book. Also lost about 20% of its audience with stiffer competition from the Channel 64 newscast produced by Channel 12. --WSTR-TV (Ch 64): The Ch. 12 newscast launched in August is a much bigger hit with viewers than the hybrid national/local "NewsCentral" newscast canceled in February. Ratings are up from a 1.6 to 2.1 (+31%) from a year ago – which is quite an accomplishment considering that nobody is watching the My 64 prime-time soaps. Ch. 64’s prime-time down 74%, from a 2.5 to 0.9. Ouch.
TV Tonight Here’s one to put on the DVR while watching the Bengals-Ravens game: Ch. 48 airs "More Great, Near Great & Not-So-Great Moments in Cincinnati History," hosted by the late Al Schottelkotte ( and , Ch. 48). The former Ch. 9 anchor made the local history compilation for home video sales in the late 1980s.
OK, here is what I know this morning: I hear that 19 people were fired Wednesday afternoon from the 8 Clear Channel stations. The list includes: WEBN: Wendy Walker, middays, and Scoop, Dawn Patrol sidekick WCKY/Homer: Jeff Piecoro, midday talk host (they're running Fox Sports Radio now), and Greg Waddell, Bengals beat reporter, producer, etc. (and Saturday AM sports for WLW-AM) MIX94.1: Madison, Mike Stevens (were they the only full-time staffers?) KISS107.1: Storm Bennett, noon-3. Also hear some promotions employees, board operators and maybe a news/traffic person were let go at a 4:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday. I'm still trying to nail down more details. If you know someone who got the axe, please post on this blog, and ask them to email me (email@example.com) or call me (768-8667). More as I know it. Below is what I had posted last night. --Kiese
Wednesday Night I keep hearing that big staffing cuts were made today at the 8 Clear Channel radio stations here today. I'm told that two 'EBN staffers were let go, and others in off-air positions throughout the building. No managers would take my calls to confirm anything today, so I head home pretty frustrated. They've got a tighter lid on this today than when Andy Furman was suspended in early October. I'm pretty frustrated not to nail this down tonight... but I'll keep chasing it on Thursday. And if you're listening to 'EBN, or any of the 8 stations, and you don't hear a favorite personality, lemme know. Or if you know someone who got the axe, have them call me (513-768-8667) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. --Kiese
Hey, Insight cable customers, are you ready for some football? In a late-night deal reached Tuesday night, Insight Communications has picked up the NFL Network games, starting with the Bengals-Ravens game at Thursday.Insight’s digital-level customers will see the game on Channel 547, in addition to the simulcast on WLWT-TV (Channel 5). So when will Time Warner ever pick it up? Or ESPNU? Insight, which has 81,000 Northern Kentucky customers, had balked at paying a surcharge for weekly games when it added the 24-hour channel earlier this year. (Insight was one of the first cable operators to pick up the NFL Network.) The Insight deal covers all of its systems in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The NFL Network premiered its eight-week schedule of Thursday and Saturday night games on Thanksgiving. Insight is the only area cable system to provide the NFL Network games. (It also has ESPNU too) The NFL Network also is available on satellite dishes. The NFL doesn't have any agreements with Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable operator which serves Cincinnati and most of southwest Ohio. Time Warner also has refused to add ESPNU, the college sports channel which has exclusive rights to the UC-XU Crosstown Shootout on Dec. 13. Which means most of us won’t see it. When will Time Warner wake up and get with it?
This Just In
Hey, this just in: Time Warner spokesman Karen Baxter has offered this explanation of the NFL Network situation: "Time Warner Cable wants to make the NFL Network available to all of its customers, sports fans and non-sports fans alike. We believe the best way to do this is to offer the NFL Network as part of a sports package, similar to the way the Network has been offered to many Adelphia (Digital Plus Tier) and Comcast customers. This is the fairest approach for our customers, gauranteeing sports fans access to this higher-priced, targeted programming, while not requiring all of our customers to pay for it. The NFL Network insists all of our customers pay for the Network, regardless of their interest in its programming. While its programming may be compelling to some customers. the NFL Network belongs in a sports package based on the targeted nature of its programming, the limited number of live professional games, and its expensive price tag... "We strive to control the spiraling costs of expensive programming networks, particularly those of high-priced niche networks. The NFL Network plans to introduce eight live games on its network and wants a per customer increase of 250%. That's just not acceptable. "We understand how important this is for many of our customers. Many of us at Time Warner Cable are big football fans too, and we want to make the NFL Network available as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the NFL has refused our offer to bring their Network to our customers." --Karen Baxter, Public Affairs Director, Time Warner Cable
Burning question So if you ran Time Warner here, what would you do with the NFL Network? Make it a basic digital channel for everyone? Insist on it being an extra-pay sports tier? And what would you do about ESPNU? And what other channels would you pick up?
She's back! Sheila Gray returns to the "Fox 19 Morning News" Wednesday (5-9 a.m., Ch 19) after a 3-1/2 week absence for unexplained medical reasons. I just spoke to her, and she sounds pumped. "I can’t wait to get back. It’s been driving me crazy not being there," says Gray, who has co-anhcored the Ch 19 morning show since 1999. Her doctor cleared her today to return to work tomorrow. Gray has been touched by all the e-mails and cards from viewers. "It's nice to know that people just don't take you for granted being there every morning. It's nice to know so many people cared. It's a blessing." But don't expect her to talk about her health -- just yet. “I’ll explain it to viewers at some point, but I’m just not ready,” she says. Filling in for her on Monday and Tuesady was former Ch. 5 anchor Caroline Thau from Indianapolis. She had subbed last year during Tricia Macke’s maternity leave. For most of the month, former Ch 64 anchor Kim Moening -- who had previously worked at Ch 19 -- sat in for Gray.
Thursday’s Bengals game will disrupt the WKRC-TV (Ch 12) lineup this week – in addition to forcing WLWT-TV (Ch 5) to bounce NBC’s original Thursday programming into the weekend. Ch 12 will tape "Bengals Nation" today (instead of Wednesday) at GameWorks at Newport on the Levee. It will air at Thursday (instead of late Saturday), immediately before the NFL Network telecast of the Bengals-Ravens at on Ch. 5 and on dishes. "Bengals Weekly," produced by the team, will air at Thursday (instead of Sunday). Both shows will not air this weekend.
Bengals in HDTV Yes, Ch 5 will broadcast the Bengals-Browns game in high definition. Telecast. But Ch 5’s pregame will be in standard definition. Also, "The Office" and NBC’s other Thursday prime-time series tape-delayed until the weekend, will not be in HDTV, the station says. Ch 5's lineup for the delayed NBC shows was in yesterday’s blog.
When Ch. 5 folks bought local TV rights to Thursday’s Bengals-Ravens telecast – a simulcast of the new NFL Network – they figured it could be a good game. But they didn’t anticipate that NBC would chose the day after November sweeps to relaunch a two-hour comedy block, with new episodes of "The Office" and the entire Thursday lineup (even "ER"). So while Bengals fans are happy, "The Office" fans definitely are not. "We’re getting a lot of e-mails from fans of 'The Office.' They want to know when to set their DVRs. Most people recognize it’s a good decision to carry the Bengals, and we’re trying to provide the best of both worlds, even if on a slight delay," Dyer said this morning "This is unusual. The network usually goes into reruns, at least temporarily, right after sweeps ends," he says. Getting the Bengals game was a coup. It’s a crucial rematch, with playoff implications for the Bengals. And with Time Warner refusing to carry the NFL Network, and with Insight cable carrying the channel but not the eight NFL games (too expensive, they say), Ch 5 is the only way to see the 8 p.m. Thursday game – unless you have a dish. But if you want to see "The Office," you’ll have to wait until Saturday – unless you can get Dayton’s Ch. 2. Here how to find the NBC shows delayed by Ch. 5: --"My Name Is Earl," Saturday. --"The Office," Saturday. --"Scrubs," Sunday (late Saturday) --"30 Rock," Sunday (late Saturday) --"ER," Sunday.
NFL Network I was in a Comcast cable home for Thanksgiving – in New Jersey – and saw part of the NFL Network’s debut game. It was great to hear Cris Collinsworth back in the booth, as a game analyst. He’s paired with Bryant Gumbel. The graphics reminded me of Fox games, without sound effects. Collinsworth will appear on Ch 5’s pregame show Thursday, "Ready to Roar." (Did any of you see the game? What did you think?)
Prairie Home Companion On the drive back from Jersey Saturday night, I caught Garrison Keillor’s "Prairie Home Companion" broadcast from Music Hall. He certainly did his homework. If you missed it, he paid tribute to the city’s broadcasting and music heritage, talking about WLW-AM and 500,000 watts in the 1930s to make it truly "The Nation’s Station," and about Syd Nathan and King Records, and Rosemary Clooney and Roy Rogers. Keillor ended the national broadcast with a sing-along of "White Christmas," in memoriy of Rosie, and "Happy Trails," Roy's signature song. Nice touch. If you attended the show, tell me all about it.
Network news "The Nine" is down to zero. ABC has pulled the serial drama from Wednesday – the last day of sweeps – for a "20/20." ABC says it’s on hiatus and returns sometime later in the season. (Yeah, sure.) ABC also has moved Anne Heche’s "Men In Trees" to Thursday in place of "Six Degrees." Sweeps end Wednesday. More shows will be pulled. Which ones are goners?
Wow! Now this doesn’t happen every day. A giant media conglomerate backs off on plans after a public outcry? I’m talking about Fox and News Corp. today canceling the O.J. Simpson "Why I Did It" TV specials-- and book too! I mean, who wasn’t appalled when they heard about this last week? And in what I consider a stunning turn of events, News Corp. – which owns Fox Broadcasting and ReganBooks – today dropped both projects. They must have been feeling a lot of heat – from viewers, advertisers and affiliates. (What advertiser would want to sponsor "If I Did It?" I’m sure you’ll have some great suggestions. Wire reports quote News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch as saying: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project." (As that other Simpson would say: "D'oh!") Channel 19 here received more than 100 emails (in less than a week) protesting the planned two-part Simpson interviews next Monday and Wednesday (Nov. 27 & 29) to promote the book, which was to be released Nov. 30. General Mgr. John Long was on the phone with Raycom Media corporate execs part of the morning. I’m hearing that they were leaning toward not airing the show – but held off any announcement until Fox killed the Simpson show, making it moot. Another point: If Fox and Ch 19 had aired OJ, we wouldn’t have seen the second part in prime-time on Weds Nov. 29 because of a UC basketball game. The station already had pushed Fox’s prime-time schedule into late-night for the UC game, so there was another reason to bag the first installment. One more note: If Fox had aired OJ, most Time Warner cable subscribers would have seen it on Dayton’s Channel 45. The Dayton Fox affiliate had no reservations about showing it. As this controversy was brewing earlier today, I called Ch 45 and was told quickly that it definitely would air. No hesitation. (Ch 45 and Ch 22 are owned by Sinclair, which owns Ch 64 too). These things just don’t happen often. Usually a network goes ahead with a bad idea, and apologizes later, like the air crash/"Lost" bit to open the Emmy awards the day of the Lexington plane crash in August. (You can list others.) Not often does a network bend and snap under pressure from advertisers and affiliates. (Like I said, who would sponsor it?) But to cancel the book too? Oh, one last thing, and I credit this to my coworker, Lauren Bishop our pop culture writer. To be able to have thousands of books in stores next Thursday, after the TV special, they must already be printed. So how quickly will copies show up on e-Bay? You’ll tell me that too, I’m sure.
Hello Mary Jo Check out the blog of Mary Jo DiLonardo, former Cinci Post writer and WLW-AM staffer who’s now a senior contributing editor for Atlanta Magazine. She wrote a funny blog about George Clooney being "Sexiest Man Alive" again, and her close encounter with him at a Music Hall gala for the Clooneys in 1995. Here’s a link. http://www.atlantamagazine.com/blogs/blog.php?blog_id=4
No doubt, you’ve seen the ads for the NFL Network games starting Thanksgiving night with Denver at Kansas City.... Or you know that the Bengals-Ravens game Nov. 30 is the second NFL Network telecast. So here’s the good news and bad news: --Good News: Bengals fans will be able to watch the Ravens game on Thursday, Nov. 30. As with the ESPN contract, the NFL Network games must be simulcast on an over-the-air station in the teams’ markets. Ch. 5 won the bidding for the Nov. 30 Bengals-Ravens game with announcers Cris Collinsworth and Bryant Gumbel. --Now the bad news: Northern Kentucky’s Insight cable, which has the NFL Network on digital Ch. 547, will not carry the game. Insight execs refused to pay the "exhorbitant fee" for eight NFL Network games this year, says John Dobken, Insight spokesman. "We opted not to buy that package to hold cone costs to our customers," he says. Time Warner has never carried the NFL Network here. (Time Warner wants to put it on a extra-pay sports tier, and the NFL wants wider distribution.) So you’ll need DirecTV or Dish Network to see all eight NFL Network games. At www.nfl.com/nflnetwork/faq you can get more info, and send an e-mail to your cable company requesting the NFL Network.
Will Time Warner ever pick up the NFL Network? Or ESPNU?
"Vanished" banished to the web "Vanshished" has vanished, and "Justice" could be next. Fox has canceled the Jerry Bruckheimer drama about FBI agents (Ming-Na, Eddie Cibrian, Esai Morales) searching for the kidnapped wife (Joanne Kelly) of a Georiga senator. The last four shows will be streamed on MySpace www.myspace.com/fox starting today, one each Friday through Dec. 8. Fox also announced that back-to back "House" episodes will air Mondays in December. Victor Garber’s "Justice" is moving from Mondays to the "Vanished" slot at 8 p.m. Friday in December. More Fox news today: Fox has ordered six more episodes of "Stand Off," the FBI hostage negotiators drama (8 p.m. Tuesday), and nine more "Til Death," the Brad Garrett-Joely Fisher sitcom (8 p.m. Thursday).
More TV renewals ABC’s "What About Brian" and NBC’s "Friday Night Lights" are safe for the year, with full season orders.
TV tonight My suggestion is to TiVo "Mayor Dog," the one-hour show tonight (, Animal Planet) about the black Lab that’s mayor Rabbit Hash, so you can watch parts on fast forward. I’ve seen the entire show, and was surprised at how much of the video repeats in the hour, as if they didn’t have enough footage of Junior the dog or the town. Filmmaker Jude Gerard Prest ("Rabbit Hash: Center of the Universe") shot the film in June 2005 in Rabbit Hash and around BooneCounty. (In 18 months they couldn’t get enough new footage to sustain an hour?) Ben Stein narrates the film.
Christmas musical note As mentioned in a post on this blog earlier this week, MIX 94.1 goes all-Christmas music at 5 p.m. today. It will continue -- except for during the Whoopi Goldberg morning show -- through Christmas Day.
For now, the biggest impact of the announced $18.7 billion sale of Clear Channel Communications to an investment group will be on WKRC-TV, and not the eight radio stations the company owns here. The San Antonio-based company also announced Thursday plans to sell its 42-station television group, which includes Channel 12 and the digital CINCW (Channe 12.2). Clear Channel also will sell 448 of its 1,150 radio stations. All are located outside the top 100 markets. (Cincinnati is a top 25 radio market, so the company will hang onto WLW-AM, WEBN-FM, WOFX-FM, WKFS-FM, WVMX-FM, WCKY-AM, WKRC-AM and WSAI-AM.) Associated Press reports than an investor group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Bain Capital Partners LLC is paying $37.60 in cash for each share of Clear Channel, a 10.2 percent premium over its closing price on Wednesday. The buyers are also assuming about $8 billion in debt in the deal. The company’s directors has approved the agreement, with the board insiders recused from the vote. The company is run by the Mays family, with Lowry Mays serving as chairman and his two sons, Mark and Randall, as CEO and chief financial officer, respectively. (Not Helen Mays, who sometimes calls Bill Cunningham?) Channel 12 has been the market’s No. 1 news station at for at least seven years.
I wonder who will buy Channel 12? And how it will change?
AOL debuts a new Christmas broadband channel today www.aol.com/in2tvfilled with Warner Bros., Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera holiday cartoons, TV series and movies. That’s where I’ll find my favorite Chistmas movie, "The Gathering," shot in NE Ohio in 1977. Stars include Ed Asner, Maureen Stapleton and very young Gregory Harrison and Veronica Hamel. For you Christmas TV junkies, it also has "A Flintstone Christmas Carol," "Yogi’s First Christmas," "Bugs Bunny’s Looney Christmas Tales" and Christmas TV episodes of "Eight Is Enough," "Alice," "Welcome Back Kotter," "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," "Gilligan’s Island," "Animaniacs," "Perfect Strangers," "Pinky and the Brain" and many more (including the "Man from U.N.C.L.E." Christmas episode? Who knew?) And you'll find a lot of really bad Christmas cartoons there, like "Tis the Season To Be Smurfy" and "Christmas Comes to Pac-Land." So what's your favorite Christmas special or movie? And what's the worst one ever made?
More good news for www.WOXY.com. The Internet station came back from the dead last month with the help of a new investor… and now it has been nominated for "station of the year" by the Plug Independent Music Awards. Actually, www.WOXY.com has been nominated twice, for station of year and for "podcast of the year" for its Lounge Act concert series. Voting is open to anyone, so folks at the station encourge you to cast your ballot at http://www.plugawards.com WOXY.com is listed under "Media Categories (obsessive)." WOXY.com was honored as Plug’s "station of the year" in 2005, after only six months on the air as an web-only station from downtown Cincinnati.
WCPO-TV (Ch. 9) has been cited again in a national study about stations airing public relations video in newscasts – but this time for doing it right. Ch. 9 was one of two stations mentioned for attributing the source of a video news release (VNR) aired in a newscast in "Still Not The News: Stations Overwhelmingly Fail To Disclose VNRs" released Tuesday. http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews2/execsummary It was a follow-up by the Center for Media and Democracy to its April report in which Ch. 9 – and 76 other stations – were cited for airing so-called “fake news,” or video news releases from public relation agencies without crediting the source. On Oct. 5, Ch 9 ran a clip from software-maker Computer Associates. The "Not The News" study said: "Ten seconds into the story, consumer reporter John Matarese reveals to viewers that the 'video was provided to us by Computer Associates.' WCPO-9 had been cited twice in CMD’s April 2006 'Fake TV News' report, for airing unlabeled VNR content from a pharmaceutical company and a floral trade group. The station has clearly improved their disclosure policy since then, and is to be commended for identifying the VNR’s sponsor to viewers." The Ch 9 citation is at http://www.prwatch.org/fakenews2/vnr64
Mid-term local news results Today is the half-way point of the November sweeps. The overnight Nielsen household ratings show Ch. 12 winning and ; Ch. 9 winning ; and Ch. 5 running second at (with the "Top 5 at 5," and "What Women Want"), and tied with Ch. 9 for second in the morning. Only 1.5 points separate 4 stations in the morning. Here’s what I have:
Ch 12 5.0 Ch 9 & 5 4.0 Ch 19 3.5
: Ch 9 8.4 Ch 5 5.5 Ch 125.1
Ch 9 8.9 Ch 12 6.6 Ch 5 4.4
Ch 9 9.3 Ch 12 6.9 Ch 5 3.8
Ch 19 5.6 Ch 64 2.0 (must be an improvement over "News Central" last Nov?)
Nick at Nite comes to town today again looking for the Funniest Mom in America. Open auditions will be 8 p.m at Go Bananas comedy club, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery. Last year Nick at Nite discovered Angie Montgomery of Forest Park at the Go Bananas audition. She made it all the way to the top five – and the final show in April. Cincinnati is one of more than 30 stops scheduled around the country looking for woman to participate in the six-part reality TV series. The winner receives $50,000 and the chance to host a night of programming on the channel.
TV tonight A quick thought about "Dancing with the Stars" (8 p.m., Ch 9) final competition tonight: If Emmitt Smith wins over Mario Lopez -- and I think both are evenly matched -- it would be the second straight championship for Cherly Burke. She was Drew Lachey's partner last winter. After "DWTS," William Shatner debuts his new game show, "Show Me The Money" (9:30-11 p.m., Ch 9). For the second straight week, "Boston Legal" is bumped off the air during sweeps. CBS premieres "3 Lbs," a doctor drama with Stanley Tucci and Mark Feurstein, at 10 p.m. (Ch. 12). The title refers to the weight of the human brain.
Congrats to Brian Douglas Q102's Brian Douglas celebrates his 20th anniversary at WKRQ-FM on Wednesday. Oh, the stories he can tell about shooting pool with Keith Richards during the "Steel Wheels" tour stop in town, talking baseball with Elton John at Riverbend, or helping Cincinnati's Blessid Union of Souls members launch their career. And he's a nice guy too. Expect to hear some celebs call in during his show 3-7 p.m. tomorrow, and expect the humble Douglas to be embarrassed by the hoopla.
Christmas music on radio? Several folks have asked me when any radio station might go all-Christmas music. Last year WVMX-FM (MIX94.1) started in early November... in past years, 3-4 stations have gone all-Christmas around Thanksgiving. Also last year, several stations did holiday music audio streams.... If anyone knows anything about holiday music plans at local stations, let us know.
Junior, the black Lab mayor of Rabbit Hash, stars in a one-hour “Mayor Dog” special premiering Friday on Animal Planet. The documentary was shot in June 2005 by filmmaker Jude Gerard Prest and Dave Thiess. They also produced the 2002 film, "Rabbit Hash: The Center of the Universe."
Junior, owned by Randy Cochran, was elected in November 2004 by voters who paid $1 a vote, which helped restore an area church. The dog’s opponents in the mayoral race will be featured on the film as well -- Lulu the potbellied pig and Higgins the donkey. "Mayor Dog" repeats at Saturday, Saturday and Monday.
King of Queens update Long live the “The King of Queens.” Contrary to some reports lI read ast summer, CBS did not cancel the Kevin James comedy last spring, when it was not placed on the fall TV schedule. "The King of Queens" returns to CBS on Wednesday, Dec. 6 (8 & , Ch 12) in the "Jericho" time slot with the first of 13 new original episodes “Jericho” will be off 10 weeks, after a cliffhanger on Nov. 29 (about the same as "Lost," which left ABC last week). "Jericho," which has been renewed for a full season, comes back with a recap show on Feb. 14, and airs consecutive new episodes starting Feb. 21 until its season ends.
Cindy Matthews update Where is Cindy Matthews, who filled in on Channel 9’s “Good Morning Tri-State” during Cathrine Nero’s maternity leave? Maybe somewhere in Asia. Bob Morford, Ch 9 news director, told me she quit to travel the world after Nero returned last summer. The last he heard she was somewhere in Asia. If someone at Ch 9 keeps in touch with her, maybe they can fill us in.
Just saw this on TVweek.com. Former Channel 12 anchor Edie Magnus has been laid off from "Dateline NBC," one of the first in the 700 job cubs announced earlier this fall by NBC Universal. The Web site says Magnus and correspondent Robb Stafford were among the 15 layoffs made Thursday. More cuts coming next week at the "Today" show and "NBC Nightly News." Magnus, a Cincinnati native and Walnut Hills High School graduate, started her career as a writer/reporter for WEBN-FM, then moved to WUBE. She was weekend anchor here in 1985 when hired to be a reporter for ABC News and "Good Morning America." She also worked for CBS News and MSNBC before joining "Dateline" 10 years ago. She's a classy person. Not sure what she might do. She and husband Bob Mayer, a TV producer, have two sons, 11 and 8.
And some good news from NBC NBC has ordered a full season of Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60," which has lost audience after a phenomenal start. Seven weeks into the TV season, "Studio 60" is ranked #42 of 112 shows, averaging 10.1 million viewers. It is second in the time period to CBS' "CSI: Miami" (#6, 17.8 million). NBC says "Studio 60" draws "some of the highest audience concentrations" in viewers ages 18-49 earning $75,00 or more, with the head of household having four or more years of college. So that must make advertisers happy. I'm just glad the show will survive the season.
Are you looking at the real Dr. McDreamy? Dr. Jeff Betts, a pediatric interventional radiologist at Children’s HospitalMedicalCenter, is one of 10 semifinalists in the "Access Hollwood" contest, "Are You The Real Dr. McDreamy?" Dr. Betts' two-minute video entry, submitted by a coworker, will air on "Access Hollywood" at 7 p.m. today (Ch. 5). It also will be posted on www.accesshollywood.com after 4:30 p.m. today. Two contestant videos will be posted and televised today. Viewers will chose one of the two docs, who will advance to the final five late next week. Voting opens at 4:30 p.m. today, and runs through 1 p.m. Saturday. The winner will be announced on the 7 p.m. Monday show.
Free CSTV Time Warner digital customers get a free sneak peek this weekend at CSTV: College Sports Television on digital Channel 176, TWC’s extra-pay sports tier.
Time Warner will open the signal to all digital customers in time for the Harvard-Cornell hockey game at today. CSTV has three college football games Saturday: Notre Dame @ Air Force at ; University of Central Florida @ Memphis at 8 p.m. and Northern Iowa @ Southern Illinois at 11:30 p.m. CSTV also will debut "From Ballfields to Battlefields: Stories From Iraq" on Veterans Day (2:30 p.m. Saturday), a one-hour program hosted by Matthew Modine about college athletes who suffered combat injuries. Two college volleyball games air Sunday: UCLA @ Stanford at and Houston @ SMU at
Elder on NBC Clips from the Elder-Cleveland Benedictine game last month at The Pit will be shown during halftime of NBC’s Giants-Bears game Sunday(8 p.m., Ch. 5), as part of the "Jon & J.J." feature from high schools across America. A second feature about Elder tradition will air on NBC at halftime on Nov. 19.
The new sound on 94.9 FM is "The Sound." It’s a mix of alternative, Triple A, traditional rock and some hot AC, intended to slice into WEBN’s audience. Artists vary from Green Day, The Clash, Smashing Pumpkins, U2, Dave Matthews, Nickelback, Sum 41, Coldplay and Nirvana to Jack Johnson and The Police. At today, station began playing 9,490 consecutive songs – so we won’t hear commercials or DJs until early December. (They estimate it will take about 23 days to play that many songs.) The hybrid format is aimed at listeners 25-34. Entercom managers-- Jim Bryant, Mike Fredrick from the former CBS Radio group bought by Entercom last week -- promise all local DJs (no out-of-town voice-trackers), with sophistication and humor, and not in-your-face (ala 'EBN) radio. They call it "a progressive rock station for adults." The refer to Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show" when trying to describe their goal for a morning show – "a little wittier, not your typical rock and roll station."That’s a tall order. We’ll see if they can pull it off. The website is http://www.949thesound.com/ Click on the Perfect 10 and submit your list of favorite songs.
Check it out and tell me if you like what you hear.
The Cincinnati craigslst has a posting for a new CBS show casting for "charismatic, likeable, and humorous Muslims." http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/tfr/227839050.html Endemol Entertaiment ("Deal or No Deal," "Fear Factor," "Extreme Makeover") is looking for "Muslims who are proud of their religion and are open to sharing the way of Islam with others." The show will profile families in different communities across the country, and explore the issues that families from varied backgrounds face in their day-to-day life. Participants will be compensated, producers say. Anyone interested should e-mail their name, hometown, current residence, phone number and a photo to AshtonRamsey@Yahoo.com.
Drew Lachey on "Celebrity Jeopardy!" Before hitting the road for the "Dancing with the Stars" tour,Cincinnati native Drew Lachey gets his shot on the two-week celebrity "Jeopardy!" shows that started Wednesday. Lachey appears on Thursday, Nov. 16 (, Ch 9) with Dana Delany and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Tonight’s contestants: Curt Schilling, Jane Kaczmarek and Doug Savant.
Idol dates set "American Idol" returns for a sixth season with four hours of bad singers Jan. 16-17. Audition shows will air three weeks, through Jan. 31. Semi-finals will air Feb. 6-7 and Feb. 13-14.
"Sports Talk" auditions starts, Country "STAR" ends
The latest from the radio dial today: Yes, Tom Gamble will be hosting WLW-AM's "SportsTalk" tonight, as Dennis Janson reported on the news Monday night. But he not the permanent replacement for Andy Furman. At least not yet. Gamble, one of the "Two Angry Guys”"morning team on WCKY-AM (1530 HOMER) was absent from the show this morning because he’s doing the "SportsTalk" tonight. Darryl Parks, operations director for Clear Channel’s stations, says it a try-out. He says he's just starting the process of looking for a host. He won't say how long Gamble will be doing the show. He says he hasn't started the interview process for replacing Furman, who was fired last week after 18 years at the satation. Furman was suspended with pay for almost three weeks for calling Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh a “racist” on his Oct. 6 show. Parks didn’t say how many candidates he might interview. And yes, former WBOB-AM sports talk host Tim Lewis has moved back to town, and he has told me that he’s contacted Parks about working for Clear Channel. Woiuld Gamble be a good choice? Did you like hearing Richard Skinner going solo on the HOMER morning show today? Let me know.
Country STAR vanishes The goofy countdown on FM 94.9 -- which replaced the country "STAR" format today -- will be broadcast for more that 48 hours, till about noon Thursday. That's when a new format -- music of some kind -- debuts on 94.9, and the old "STAR" country from 96.5/4.9 morphs into the new country "Wolf" on 97.3. Jim Bryant, market manager for the four Entercom stations (formerly CBS Radio), won't say what kind of format will be placed on powerful 94.9. Could be hard rock to go against WEBN, could be a up tempo dance format sometimes called Party or Movin'. Maybe some of you can tell me what you hear about it, or give me your best guesses. Entercom obtained country STAR 94.9 last week in a swap to Cumulus for oldies WGRR (103.5), to give Entercom a country monopoly with WUBE-FM (105.1). They're moving country to a weaker signal on 97.3 to protect B1o5, the city's No. 1 music station (WLW-AM is No. 1 overall). But the new Wolf will sound slightly different. The Ken & Kitty morning show stays, but Jesse Tack moves from midday to afternoon drive. Kat O'Connor will move from B105 to middays on the Wolf. Bryant won't say who will do middays on B105, or nights on the Wolf. During the stunt, country listeners will have to go to B105.
If you didn't see the short story we just posted on the web, here's the news: WLW-AM fired "SportsTalk" host Andy Furman today. I know some of you count on it this blog for the latest info, and that's it. I'll be busy reporting/writing my story for Thursday publication, and won't post any more details here. We'll update Cincinnati.com later this afternoon. You can comment/react here.