By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 05, 2011 at 11:00 AM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is likable TV presence. He speaks in a simple, straightforward manner. With his less than svelte form, he looks more like the guy who lives down the street, than some high-powered politician.

And he's been consistently saying for months that he's not running for president this time around.

Thanks to the political media, mostly driven by TV, he had to do it again Tuesday. This time, it was formal, sort of like how politicians used to announce they were, indeed, candidates for some office or another.

Even though he's said it before, he admits he thought long and hard again after all the pressure – much of it artificially generated by over-coverage. And he decided again not to run.

No, really. He's not running.

Look at the crazy time-line of former frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination:

  • Donald Trump, the most ridiculous candidate of all, was dubbed the front-runner this spring as he tried to raise doubts about President Barack Obama's birthplace, a ridiculous effort that had long-ago been debunked. He was at the top of polls because he's a famous guy, not because Americans want him to guide their future. He dropped out.
  • Michele Bachman became the surprising front-runner after cable all-news outlets over-covered the Iowa Straw Poll, a meaningless event that's not a true read of Republican voters. Her "victory" was enough to drive Tim Pawlenty out of the race.
  • Of course, her win came the same day Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy. Perry exploded quickly into the lead until he actually had to face questioners in a series of Republican presidential debates (and that was before how he handled a racist name for his family hunting camp became an issue.)
  • Herman Cain, best known as CEO of Godfather Pizza, had no traction until last month's Florida straw poll, when he surprisingly trounced Perry. Suddenly, cameras were stuck in his face, and he was asked for his opinion on everything, including that racist name for Rick Perry's family hunting camp.
  • But he's never been thought of as a serious contender for the GOP nomination, and he's been quickly eclipsed by new front-runner Chris Christie – who was never even running.

Then there's Sarah Palin, who's been running an active non-candidacy. That part of the story is yet to be resolved.

As for Christie, he isn't disappearing from the national stage. Whatever your opinion on his politics, it's hard not to see him as the real deal. That status has been reinforced by his decision not to run.

I'm betting he'll be back in four years. And I'm betting he'll be about 100 pounds lighter.

It'll help him on TV.

On TV: Time Warner Cable has added the Oprah Winfrey Network to its HD lineup at Channel 1152, just in time for next week's premiere of "The Rosie (O'Donnell) Show in the 6 p.m. hour. Also added to the HD lineup: Oxygen (Channel 1215) and two sports channels, Yes (Channel 1341) and NESN (Channel 1342).

  • NBC's "Playboy Club" has become the first (and not surprising) cancellation of the new season. It'll be replaced Oct. 31 in the 9 p.m. Monday slot on Channel 4 by Brian Williams' new prime-time magazine show.
  • Speaking of NBC, It's given a full season run to "Up All Night" and "Whitney." Of the two, I can't imagine Whitney will survive.
  • Still no word from ESPN on the future of Hank Williams Jr.'s "Monday Night Football" opening song, dropped this week because of his comments linking Obama to Adolf Hitler.

The future of "The Simpsons": I believe little of what comes out about ongoing contract negotiations, but the story is that 20th Century Fox is demanding 45 percent pay cuts for the voice actors  – threatening to cancel the show if they don't.

While the show is long past its prime, it still offers gems now and again, like Sunday's opening from "Ren & Stimpy" creator John Kricfalusi:

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.