Let's get this out of the way at the start, the Casey Anthony murder trial isn't really national news even though it gets national coverage.
The case has no legal or cultural significance. It's just a tragic story of the death of a little girl and her mother's trial for her murder. But since the days when Court TV launched back in the early 1990s, wall-to-wall trial coverage has been a staple of daytime TV.
And although I've avoided it until the past couple days, I have to admit that this trial is compelling television.
Court TV is now truTV, and although it covers fewer trials, it is giving hours of airtime to these court proceedings.
It and, Time Warner sister channel HLN (The former CNN Headline News), are the places to check out if you want to dip into the testimony, which should continue for a few more days as the defense presents its case to get Anthony cleared in the death of her daughter, Caylee Anthony, almost three years old.
On Tuesday, it was meter reader Roy Kronk, who discovered Caylee's body, who faced defense attorneys. He wasn't exactly a willing witness, since the opening argument from lead defense lawyer Jose Baez claimed Kronk moved the body and was interested in a reward.
The exchanges between Kronk and another member of the defense team were testy, but Kronk stood his ground, methodically laying out his story. It wasn't fireworks, but it was one of those mini-dramas that can fill a trial.
What everybody is really watching, however, is the split-screen featuring Casey Anthony's reactions. Often, she looks disconnected from what's going on, and, only rarely, does she express the emotion you might expect.
What everybody -- including the numerous analysts across the cable dial -- is waiting for is whether she we'll testify.
That'll be fascinating television.
On TV: Summerfest kicks off on television tonight at 9:30 on Channel 12, when the ABC station again airs HD coverage of the "Big Bang" fireworks that formally open the biggest music festival in the universe. The actual fireworks are preceded at 9 by the locally-produced "Big Summer Spectacular." And it comes a day after Channel 12 finally completed its transition to HD local news.
- Keith Olbermann's new show on little-watched Current TV beat CNN among 25- 5o 54-year-old viewers. According to Nielsen Media Research numbers quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, Olbermann's "Countdown" averaged 131,000 viewers in that key demographic, while CNN's "In The Arena had 117,000. Yes, those are tiny numbers.
- It looks like HBO's "True Blood" is off to a successful fourth season, matching its highest ratings with about 5.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen Numbers.
- Martin Short will be visiting CBS' "How I Met Your Mother" as Marshall's boss in the new season.
- Meanwhile, Tom Sizemore will play a bad guy in CBS' "Hawaii Five-O."
The good old days: If you grew up in the '90s, watching the array of Nick shows, you'll be happy to know that your nostalgia is being fed starting next month when it airs a two-hour block of "old" shows, like "Kenan and Kal," "Clarissa Explains it All" and "Salute Your Shorts."
Here's Kenan Thompson – now known for his "SNL" work – explaining it all in this promo from Nick:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. 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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.