By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jul 29, 2010 at 11:00 AM
Watch Tim Cuprisin's On Media on Time Warner Cable's Wisconsin on Demand Channel 411, with new episodes posted Fridays.

Get ready for Time Warner Cable and Disney to try and get you involved in their contract talks over the next month or so.

The national deal between the two entertainment giants expires Sept. 2, and with Time Warner the source of TV for a majority of southeast Wisconsin homes, it's always a big deal to face the loss of the network of ESPN channels.

In some markets, the local ABC station is part of the deal. It's important to note that Milwaukee's ABC affiliate, Channel 12, isn't owned by the network. So Hearst-owned Channel 12 is not affected by this dispute. 

As long as we're talking local, it's important to note that these contract negotiations have nothing to do, directly, with Milwaukee. These matters are handled at the corporate level, not the local level.

My main advice is that you shouldn't get too caught up in this contract dispute. In the overwhelming majority of cases, these things are solved by the deadline -- or a temporary deal will keep the programming coming. It's in the interest of both sides to keep the programming on Time Warner.

In the meantime, both sides have launched Internet sites to spread their side. Here is Disney's

Disney's main point: "Time Warner Cable decides what to charge its customers for monthly cable service and these rates are not part of our contract negotiations ... Facts are that like most cable systems, programming costs represent less than a third of Time Warner Cable’s total costs."

Here is Time Warner's site. Time Warner's main point: "The single largest expense we have in delivering you video service is the price we must pay to the companies that own the programming."

My take: Let 'em duke it out. They're almost certain to reach a settlement without disrupting any of your TV viewing.

On TV: CBS says Kim Schaefer, CEO of Madison-based Great Wolf Resorts chief executive officer, will be part of the next season of "Undercover Boss."

  • CBS' new Julie Chen-hosted daytime talk show will be called "The Talk." No, it's not a copy of ABC's "The View," other than the fact that it features a panel of woman talking about the events of the day. Sara Gilbert came up with the idea.
  • Speaking of "The Talk," one of its panelists will be former "King of Queens" co-star Leah Remini, who's also got a deal to develop a sitcom for CBS.
  • NBC's "Today" says Jessica Simpson is the latest celeb being considered for a judge's slot on Fox's "American Idol."
  • Billy Baldwin has been hired to romance Lauren Graham's Sarah, along with being the boss to Peter Krause's Adam on NBC's "Parenthood" this fall.
  • CNBC will launch a new series called "Bizography" on Aug. 11 at 8 p.m. with a look at George Foreman. Other subjects will include Hugh Hefner, Merv Griffin and Quincy Jones.

The return of the "Jersey Shore" gang: Some readers have the mistaken notion that I endorse every show that I write about. Well, here I am mentioning that the second season of "Jersey Shore" premieres tonight at 9 on MTV. And I'd be very happy if you didn't watch it.

A first-season marathon begins at noon, but I wouldn't mind if you don't tune in for that, either.

I had hoped that interest in this toxic waste dump of "reality" TV peaked last season. But the show has a ton of buzz, and it's likely to do even better in season two, as the gang migrates to Florida. MTV has already announced that there will be third season.

Earlier this week, the cast even had the chance to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, making me fear for the safety of my tiny portfolio: 


Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.