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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.

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Friday, January 27, 2006

New Cincinnati radio stations

The move into high definition (HD) radio, which allows stations to broadcast a second channel (multicast), could literally double the number of radio stations in Cincinnati, and every other city.
Today WGUC-FM launches a 24-hour jazz channel on WGUC-HD2 at 1 p.m.
On Tuesday, Clear Channel will debut four HD “side channels.” And you won’t need a $500 HD radio to hear them, because they will be audiostreamed on the station’s Web sites. Clear Channel also will like to the 71 other new multicast channels being aggressively launched this year by other Clear Channel stations, says Scott Reinhart, FM operations manager here.
Here's what Reinhart says you'll find:
--WEBN-HD2: New alternative, what WAQZ-FM used to be.
--WOFX-HD2: Fox goes adult album alternative (AAA), similar to WNKU-FM.
--WKFS-HD2: Kiss107 doing "classic hip-hop" from the 1980s and '90s. Think Run-D.M.C.
--WVMX-HD2: Mix offers urban variety. A softer version of MOJO, with groups like Earth, Wind & Fire.

AM Also
WLW-AM and WCKY-AM also are going HD this year, and will have a second “multicast” channel streamed on the web. WLW-AM plans to have talk and news on the multicast channel, when the Reds play, since the station can’t stream the Reds game audio, says Darryl Parks, AM operations director.
Clear Channel and Infinity are part of the national HD Alliance to promote HD stations and radio sales. They see it as a way to combat satellite radio, pointing out that once you buy HD set, the programming is free, while satellite radio owners must pay a montly $13 fee. Expect to see a big push to get HD radios into new cars.
One more thing: WGUC’s new jazz service comes from Pittsburgh’s JazzWorks, which provides identical programming to WMUB-HD2 jazz multicast. Neither are streamed on the Web.

Hannity vs. Springer???
Wouldn't you like a front-row seat for that one? You can. Conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity comes to town Saturday Feb. 25 to take on liberal Jerry Springer. They’re headliners in Clear Channel’s “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” at Grand Victory Casino. Tickets go on sale today by calling 1-800-GRAND11. General admission is $30. For $100 you get to meet and greet with both guys and a buffet before the 8 p.m. program.

“Talk Idol” gets his shot
Minister J. Todd Smith from Germantown, winner of WLW-AM’s “The Big One Talk Radio Idol” contest in November, gets his shot on the station hosting talk 6-9 p.m. Saturday. He won the November station contest.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The governor speaks

If you want to hear and see Gov. Bob Taft’s last State of the State address, you’ve got several options:
--A live webcast will be streamed at the governor’s web site, Archived video will be available after 3 p.m.
--If you just want to hear him, tune in Oxford’s WMUB-FM (88.5). It will also be audiostreamed at
--Taft’s address also will be available on a podcast after 3 p.m. on

The new CW
Thanks for all the comments yesterday about the UPN-WB merger into the new CW network.
I agree with you: Keepers include Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Everwood, Veronic Mars. But Everwood may be on the bubble, having been knocked of the air for “Beauty and the Geek.”
There are lots of questions: Will the CW bring back 7th Heaven, which WB announced last month it was dropping due to the expense? Will CW keep the Monday night African-American comedies, the only place on broadcast TV you can find such diversity? Will Geek, Top Model and Smackdown squeeze other quality shows out of the lineup?
And if Channel 64 gets CW -- as Channel 38 owner Elliott Block expcts -- what's left for Channel 38? What brand identity will it develop without the UPN brand? And will Time Warner Cable (which only carries Ch 38 on evenings) consider dropping it without a network affiliation?

Close the book
NBC has canceled “The Book of Daniel” after only three telecasts, citing sinking ratings the last two weeks on Friday night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

WB-UPN Merger Announced

Big news in the TV world today: WB and UPN will merge this fall into a new network, the CW. Details sketchy right now, but WB and UPN each will be shut down. The announcement was made jointly by CBS (which owns UPN) and the Warner Bros. division of Time Warner (which owns WB). Not sure how this impacts the two affiliates here, WB's WSTR-TV (Channel 64) and UPN's WBQC-TV (Channel 38).
If you ran the new CW, what shows would you keep from either network?

"American Idol coming to Channel 64
“American Idol” will have a year-round TV presence starting in September, when weekly repeats air in weekend syndication. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns WSTR-TV (Channel 64), has bought rights to “American Idol Rewind.” So expect to see it on Channel 64 on weekends this fall.

1937 Flood special
Sorry for the last notice, but at 4 p.m. WMKV-FM (89.3) will air a 1957 WLW-AM special marking the 20th anniversary of the great 1937 flood. Peter Grant and Gene Wilson anchor the half-hour special, which includes Ruth Lyons' remembrances of the Ohio River cresting on Jan. 24 -- 69 years ago today. The show repeats at 3 p.m. Friday on WMKV-FM.

“Surface” sunk
First “Threshold,” now “Surface” has been canceled. The NBC sci-fi drama ends next Monday (8 p.m., Ch 5) with Wilmington under a mandatory evacuation as a tsunami approaches. The title for the 15th and final episode: “Who Will Be Left Behind?” CBS canceled "Threshold" in November, after the move from Friday to Tuesday didn't increase ratings.

Kiese watching
I wasn’t surprised that NBC pulled the plug on “The West Wing.” Were you? With John Spencer’s death, and facing the possibility of changing most of the cast after the presidential election, it seemed like a good time to go. I’ll miss it. The first two seasons written by Aaron Sorkin were some of the best TV ever made. “West Wing” ends May 14.
I was also surprised ABC canceled “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” so quickly. The pilot wasn’t bad – but the rest of the shows already shot must have been awful. ABC shut down production after six episodes. We’ll probably never see them.
And why would NBC move "Law & Order" against "Lost?" That's not good news for L&O fans. Is this a sign that NBC is giving up on the original L&O by sacrificing it against one of the hottest shows on TV?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Castellini press conference update

New Reds owner Bob Castellini wants to speak directly to the fans today -- and fans will have ample opportunities t hear him. Two more stations have announced they’re carrying Castellini’s first public remarks at 4 p.m. today, about his plans for the Reds.
Channel 9 will be there, though may bail early to get back to “Orpah.” Channels 5 & 12 also airing it.
Hamilton’s ESPN radio, WMOH-AM (1450) will go live, along with WLW-AM (700) and WSAI-AM (Homer 1360). WLW folks are hoping to get Castellini on the air with Gary Burbank when the press conference ends.

Shootout shots
Can't say I'm surprised that ESPN comes to town for the Crosstown Shootout, and gives Bob Huggins more face time than Andy Kennedy or Sean Miller. Once they found Huggs in the stands about midway through second half, they cut back to him 18 times by my count. (The "Two Angry Guys" said this morning he was seated with Clear Channel execs.)
Great game, but of course, Huggs overshadowed it on ESPN. Bet you're not surprised either?
Here's a link to my review:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Reds press conference alert

If Bob Castellini’s purchase of the Reds is approved today by Major League Baseball, he plans a 4 p.m. Friday press conference to speak to the fans from Great American Ball Park. So far Channel 12, WLW-AM and WSAI-AM (HOMER 1360) plan to cover it live.

Nightly Sundance updates
We could see coverage of “A Lion in the House,” the documentary about five Cincinnati area kids with cancer in the Sundance Film Festival competition, in the nightly “Festival Dailies” special reports on the Sundance Channel.
Comedian Whitney Cummings hosts the half-hour show from Park City, Utah, at 9 p.m. beginning Friday, and continuing through the festival conclusion Jan. 29. The Sundance Channel can be seen on Time Warner Channel 158 and Insight Channel 366.
The five families, their doctors and Yellow Springs filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar are participating in Q&A panels after screenings of the film, which is one of 16 nominees for best documentary. The film was shot at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center from 1997 to 2004. Here’s the link to my Sunday story on the film:

Kiese watching
ESPN makes the Crosstown Shootout a national game at 9 p.m. today, or after the North Carolina-Virginia game.
Can you believe that ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” was the No. 7 show in the ratings last week? Drew Lachey still looks like he’s the only guy in the competition having any fun. He should go a long way. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won.

Kiss Heather Graham and John Stamos goodbye. ABC has pulled their "Emily's Reasons Why Not" and "Jake in Progress" after only two telecasts on Mondays. They might return in March or June, but consider them dead.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Found in Translation

That’s Covington actor Bob Elkins as George Washington’s translator when British soldiers are negotiating with Seneca Indians on “The War That Made America” (9-11 p.m. today, PBS). Elkins filmed the scene 18 months ago in central Pennsylvania. The four-hour documentary, which concludes next Wednesday, focuses on the French and Indian War from 1754 to 1763.

Nick Lachey, actor
Nick Lachey has made the transition from singer to actor -- at least according to the WB network. A WB press release announcing that the Cincinnati native would guest star on “Twins” Feb. 24 as a former underwear model described the 98 Degrees singer as “actor Nick Lachey.”
He’s working toward a full-time acting job on the WB this fall, taping an untitled situation comedy pilot for the network this spring. Danny Jacobson (“Mad About You”) is writing the script starring Lachey as a famous newlywed baseball player.
Lachey has appeared in “Charmed,” “Hope & Faith” and “American Dreams,” in addition to three seasons of “Nick & Jessica: Newlyweds” with soon-to-be ex-wife Jessica Simpson.

TV News
Notes from the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena:
--“Malcolm in the Middle” and “That ‘’70s Show” are toast. Both will end in May. “Malcolm” moves back to Sunday on Jan. 29.
--Fox execs also say that “Arrested Development,” which ends Feb. 10, won’t be back next season. (Duh!)
--No decision has been made on “King of the Hill,” which has not been in production all season, though new episodes could air next January.
--Conservative radio talk host Glenn Beck, whose Clear Channel show was just dropped by WKRC-AM, may join CNN Headline News’ prime-time lineup.
--ESPN2 has pulled the plug on “ESPN Hollywood,” the weekday celebrity-sports show launched in August. “Research and the ratings clearly suggest that a daily show may have been too much,” says John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president. “The Best of Mike & Mike,” highlights from the ESPN Radio morning show, will replace it at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Bounced Ch 9 show airs today

Bounced Ch 9 show airs today
“A New You,” the Ch. 9 show pulled from Friday’s lineup at the last minute, airs at 8 p.m. today instead of ABC’s “According to Jim.” The special with local plastic surgeon Mark Mandell-Brown, which was advertised in the Enquirer last Thursday and Friday, was pre-empted when ABC expanded Friday’s “Dancing with the Stars” results show to an hour.
Now the bad news: It airs against the season opener for “American Idol,” always one of the most popular TV series each year. Tonight opens with auditions, and more hilariously bad singers, which to me is more fun to watch than the actual competition starting March 14 (two months away!). Does Fox know how to milk this, or what?

Musical notes
WUBE-FM (105.1) DJ Duke Hamilton plays the new Garth Brooks-Trisha Yearwood single today at 3 p.m....
Country music legend Marty Stuart chats with Chris Comer and Rob Ervin on “The Chris & Rob Show” at 10 p.m. today on WAIF-FM (88.3). Stuart plays Newport’s Southgate House on Friday.

Taking on O’Reilly
You want a piece of Bill O’Reilly? Here’s your chance.
Fox News Channel starts a "Bloviate with Bill" contest today in which six winners will go one-oin-one against O’Reilly on “The O’Reilly Factor” next month. In challenging viewers to enter, O’Reilly says in the FNC release: “You want a piece of me? Here’s your chance.”
Viewers may enter by emailing their desired topic to by Feb. 8. Finalists will tape a segment with O’Reilly in his studio. Contest rules are posted at

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kingsley stays put on WUBE-FM

Country music giant WUBE-FM (105.1) folks have decided to keep Bob Kingsley’s country countdown at 8 a.m. Sundays – where it has been for decades – despite the popular host switching networks.
ABC dropped Kingsley as host of “American Country Countdown” at the end of the year in favor of Kix Brooks. So Kingsley stays at 8 a.m. Sunday, while “ACC” with Brooks airs 1-5 a.m. Sundays. Program director Marty Thompson says he’s working on giving Brooks’ show a better time slot.

Kimmel on the road
ABC hopes to boost Jimmy Kimmel’s ratings during Super Bowl week by having him broadcast Jan. 31-Feb. 3 from the GEM Theater in Detroit. The game is Sunday, Feb. 5.

TV news
All kinds of news coming out of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. Some items of note:
--“The Sopranos” return for a sixth and last season – yes, they say again THIS will be the last -- on March 12. There are 20 new episodes (up from 13 in past years). Twelve will air this spring, and the last eight start in January '07.
--Season finale (and likely series finale) for “Arrested Development” will air Friday, Feb. 10, as a two-hour block – against the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on NBC. This show gets no respect, right down to the bitter end?
--Good news for “Monk” fans: USA cable has ordered two more seasons – 16 episodes each year for season five and season six. In 2008, USA cable will air repeats of the show five nights a week.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Snow job: Beck bagged

The addition of Tony Snow to WKRC-AM’s daytime lineup is permanent. The Fox News radio show by Snow, a 1973 Princeton High School graduate, replaced Glenn Beck 9 a.m.-noon on Monday.
PD Tony Bender says Beck – whose show is owned by Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks – was dropped due to low ratings. Clear Channel’s WTAM-AM in Cleveland recently replaced Beck with Jerry Springer’s show based at WCKY-AM.
By the way, former WLW-AM host Bill Wills still hosts mornings at WTAM…

Sunday note
Cincinnati native Brette Taylor plays Michael York’s friend on “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” at 9 p.m. Sunday (Ch 5). It’s the 100th episode for the NBC drama.

Super commercials
What’s the best Super Bowl TV commercial of all time? Starting today, you can help CBS pick from a top three posted at (My favorite of the three is the 1980 Coca-Cola spot with Mean Joe Greene tossing his jersey to a kid.) CBS counts down the top 40 Super Bowl spots 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4 (Ch 12) on Super Bowl weekend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Washington Post blasts Bill Cunningham

To say the least, Washington Post writer Leonard Shapiro wasn’t amused by Bill Cunningham’s diatribe about Carson Palmer’s injury on WLW-AM Monday afternoon. Here’s Shapiro’s first paragraph:
“The drive from downtown Cincinnati to the airport Monday morning was a maddening journey, if only because the radio was tuned in to a classically irresponsible talk show host on WLW. Bill Cunningham was the so-called host and he billed himself as the conscience of the Bengals. Mostly though, it was unconscionable that he was allowed to spew the sort of venom that poisoned the local airwaves. "

Here’s the link for the whole story:

And here’s my guess why Willie and WLW-AM folks won’t be upset about the story:
It’s just more publicity for the station. National attention. This is just another instance of WLW-AM personalities shrewdly making themselves the center of attention (like Andy Furman wearing a Steelers jersey to the live pregame party broadcast Sunday), instead of the team. They’re making the town – and sometimes the nation – talk… about WLW.
Isn't that always their way?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"Lost" special, "Jim" pre-empted here

“Lost” viewers looking forward to the big recap show Wednesday will have to wait until 1:35 a.m. (late Wednesday/early Thursday) to see it on WCPO-TV (Ch. 9). Late last year, before ABC announced the “Lost: Revelations” special, Channel 9 sold the 8 p.m. hour to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) for a program about modern day “Miracles.”
Says Sheila Obermeyer, station marking director and spokeswoman: “This was negotiated and booked months before the network placed its shows. We’re contractually committed to this. People will just have to set their VCRs.”
Channel 9 also pre-empts ABC 8-9 p.m. today for a St. Jude’s Hospital special. “According to Jim” and “Rodney” will air at 1:35 a.m. (late tonight/early Wednesday), after “Inside Edition.”

Reality check
Time Warner spokesman Rob Howard blames a “technical problem” for the delay in launching the Fox Reality channel. It was scheduled to start Dec. 31 on Channel 146. Howard told me Monday afternoon that it would be available “at the latest” by sometime today. When I checked this morning, Channel 146 was still blank.
Time Warner also is adding two free on demand channels: Sportskool (Channel 1224) and Exercise TV (Channel 1225), he says.

WAIF-FM tribute
Chris Comer replays his May 2000 interview with English guitarist Derek Bailey on WAIF-FM (88.3) today at 10 p.m. The experimental guitarist died on Christmas.

Monday, January 09, 2006

No new "Survivors" from here

Ignore again
Again Cincinnati, one of CBS’ biggest “Survivor” markets, was overlooked in the cast for the new “Survivor Panama – Exile Island” announced today ( The season debuts 8 p.m. Feb. 2 (Ch. 12), so two episodes will air before the Winter Olympics begin Feb. 10 on NBC (Ch. 5).
New twists for “Exile Island”: In each episode, one cast member will be sent to a remote, desolate island several miles away. The game starts with four tribes: young women, young men, older women, older men.

ABC premieres
Having seen the premiere for Heather Graham’s “Emily’s Reasons Why Not (9 p.m., Ch 9), I can say it’s nothing that will keep me away from CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” (9 p.m., Ch 12). Graham is talented, but can’t save this “Sex and the City” wannabe. My tip of the day: The title refers to her growing list of reasons to dump a guy. You may make a list of reasons why not to watch...
John Stamos returns at 9:30 p.m. (Ch 9) for a second season of “Jake in Progress,” another comedy about a young professional looking for love. It opens with Jake unable to get over his former fiancé (Charlotte Ross from “NYPD Blue”). Ross has been added to the cast this season; Dondre T. Whitfield joins the cast in the second episode.
“The Bachelor,” taped last year in Paris, airs at 10 p.m., to complete ABC’s extreme makeover of Monday nights after the NFL football season.

Upon further review
Here’s one point not made by CBS announcers to explain Jon Kitna’s problems in the second half of the Bengals-Steelers game: The Steelers were rushing only three or four men, and dropping back seven or eight into pass coverage. Bengals radio announcer Dave Lapham pointed that out repeatedly, and it was obvious if you listened to the radio and watched TV (if you could endure the 6-second delay on Time Warner Cable’s “live” picture from the game). I’m not sure CBS’ Jim Nantz or Phil Simms ever mentioned that. Did you hear it? What did you think of CBS’ coverage of the game Sunday?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dancin' Drew

Dancin' Drew
Drew Lachey did Cincinnati proud last night on the "Dancing with the Stars" season premiere. Not only was he the best male contestant, he was the only one who looked like he was having fun. Nick's baby brother ended the night with the highest score (24 of 30). Next were Tatum O'Neal and Giselle Fernandez (23). We'll find out who viewers liked when phone/online votes are added to judges scores in the 8 p.m. telecast tonight (Ch 9). Most likely to go home: rapper Master P (last-minute fill-in for his son, Romeo), ESPN's Kenny Mayne or actor George Hamilton.

MADE in Cincinnati
Casting directors for MTV's "Made" conduct a 3-hour open casting call at the main Public Library, 800 Vine St., downtown at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21. But don't get your hopes up. MTV spent a week here last March, interviewing kids in Finneytown, Fairfield, Harrison and Middletown -- and nobody made it to "Made" for the sixth season. MTV now scouting for seventh season starting in spring. New "Made" episodes air 4:30 p.m. Monday. Repeats air 4 p.m. Monday, and 4-5 p.m. Tues-Friday.

Bengals predictions
My Bengals prediction? The team will lose -- it's time slot. "Bengals Weekly" with Marvin Lewis and Brad Johansen, which is produced by the club -- yes, Brad is paid by the team to do it -- has lost its 11:30 a.m. Sunday time slot on Ch 12 to Gary Sullivan's home fix-it show. Elements of "Bengals Weekly" will be merged with "Bengals Nation" for a one-hour show at 7 p.m. today. Gary Sullivan's "Homeworx" has the 11:30 Sunday time slot through August, so if the Bengals win Sunday, next week we'll see another combo "Bengals Nation/Weekly" during the week.

Mike likes the Bengals
Did you hear Mike Greenberg's prediction on ESPN's "Mike & Mike In The Morning" show? He's picking the Bengals, going against oddsmakers favoring the visiting Steelers. Said Greenberg today: "When things look THIS EASY, they seldom are." "Mike & Mike," the best national morning sports show I've ever heard, airs on ESPN2 6-10 a.m., and on Hamilton's WMOH-AM (1450). Surprisingly, I can get WMOH all the way to downtown on my car radio.

Connie Chung's comeback
Connie Chung returns to network TV with her hubby for "Weekends with Maury & Connie" at 10 a.m. Saturday on MSNBC. Chung and Maury Povich will do a half-hour show -- though expect it to expand if gets any ratings. "Maury & Connie" repeats at 4 p.m. Saturday, and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Still think CNN blew it a few years ago by not pairing her with Larry King, for a Chung King report.

Back on the Blog
Thanks for your patience during my Christmas vacation.. My New Year's Resolution was to post a blog every weekday this year... but breaking news this week got me off to a bad start. See you Monday.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bengals TV specials all week, game in HDTV

Here’s a TV alert for all Bengals fans. The four TV sports staffs in town each will produce a Bengals special, starting tonight. Here’s the gameplan:
--6:30 p.m. today: “SportsWrap: Playoff Edition” airs on Channel 19 immediately before the UC-DePaul game.
--7:30 p.m. Thursday: Ken Broo's “Restore the Roar” airs on Channel 5.
--7-8 p.m. Friday: Channel 12 expands “Bengals Nation” show (taped 6-8 p.m. tonight at GameWorks at Newport on the Levee) to include the team’s “Bengals Weekly” show. “Bengals Weekly” loses its 11:30 a.m. Sunday time slot to “Homeworx” this weekend.
--2:30 p.m. Saturday: “Stars in Stripes” with Dennis Janson and John Popovich airs on Channel 9.
Game in HDTV
CBS will broadcast the Bengals-Steelers game in high-definition 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Channels 12, 7). A CBS Sports spokesman says CBS will do all its NFL playoff games in HDTV.

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