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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

Ora TV's "Larry King Now" is King's first return to television since CNN.

Will we see a digital TV revolution?


As technology advances, our habits change.

Think about it: the wheel, fire, electricity, cotton gin, wind turbines, airplanes and Oprah. This list of innovations changed our habits in how we work, live and interact with others.

The same can be said with the small screen. The oldest working person in television is possibly on the cusp of the changing the form of TV entertainment as we know it.

"Larry King Now" is a new production by Ora TV. If you haven't heard of Ora, it isn't surprising. Ora doesn't have a channel on a cable or satellite provider. It has a website and is using Hulu as a delivery platform. And it makes money that way.

This is the first regular gig by Larry King since he left his talk show on CNN. This time, he's interviewing celebrities. If you are a fan of his interviewing style and like the lighter fare, then this is for you.

It will be interesting to see if content providers can create enough of an audience using a digital platform to make a profit and stay relevant. As our viewing habits change and our technology allows us to watch something beyond the big box on the wall in our living rooms, smaller ventures like this can lay siege on the platform and find success. I wonder if the major networks will follow this lead and if they are flexible enough to own this space, as well.

When I worked in print, we talked about steering the dinosaur ... could newspapers provide content beyond the printed page. Here, ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS are the ancient ones learning how to survive in a new environment.

You can see a clip from "Larry King Now" here:

BROADCASTING: Beverlee Brannigan has been named the vice president of programming for the Journal Broadcast Group. In her new role, she will also be the operations manager for the company's two radio stations in Milwaukee, WTMJ-AM 620 and WLWK-FV 94.5 The Lake.

"It's a double privilege to step into this position – I get to work with the outstanding Journal team in Milwaukee, and with the incredibly talented and committed radio programmers all across our group. I can't wait to get started," Brannigan said in a statement.

A WEEK AND COUNTING: It's been almost a full week since WISN-TV Ch. 12 pulled its signal off of Time Warner Cable. The TV station and Hearst, the station's parent company, is asking for more money from the cable outlet to retransmit its signal to subscribers.

"As of today, Time Warner Cable is attempting to portray a stalemate – when none exists." Hearst Television's president, David Barrett, said in a release Wednesday. "We're disappointed to say that Time Warner Cable is refusing to participate in a negotiating process that has enabled us to conclude more than 150 agreements, without service interruptions, in recent months. Instead, Time Warner is acting as the conductor of the public relations bandwagon ridden by other multi-channel video distributors in various unrelated negotiations with program providers."

Barrett is referring to a breakdown in talks that Viacom – with channels such as Spike TV, MTV and Comedy Central – is having with DirecTV and that AMC is having with Dish Network.

Hearst also said that is has offered a deal within 5 percent of what Time Warner offered back on July 9, and hasn't received a response.

"We find it deplorable that Hearst has pulled the plug on Milwaukee television viewers," Time Warner released in a statement early today. "Our customers are tired of this dispute and so are we. Hearst and WISN can't continue to demand huge price increases and expect us to silently pass those cost increases on to our customers. We will continue to stand up for consumers and against outrageously large price increases that serve no purpose other than to line network pockets at our customers' expense. Thank you, Milwaukee customers, for your patience. Remember that you can still watch ABC national programming for free at abc.com."

MORNING DRIVE: Jordan Lee and Dori Zori will be the new morning show co-hosts on WYMS-FM 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

"Dori's years of experience in non-commercial radio, her love and knowledge of music and her high energy easily made her our top choice for the position," Executive Director Mary Louise Mussoline said in a statement.

Zori comes to the station after working in various roles at WMSE-FM 91.7. Lee moves over from a weekday afternoon slot at the station he's been at since 2008. Current managing director and morning show co-host Brianne O'Brien is leaving the station to pursue an international journalism degree in London, and her partner Kallao will take over Lee's afternoon slot.

"Listeners enjoy hearing two hosts on our morning show, and because of their longstanding friendship and natural chemistry, Jordan and Dori will create an Engaging blend on 'aMKE,' our morning program," Mussoline said.

The hosting line-up changes begin on Monday, July 30.

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