Sally Babinat is going to be watching one of the segments of tonight's installment of PBS' "History Detectives" very closely.
The weekly show will shine a light on the Big Bend woman's great-great-great grandfather, a vocal opponent of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War named Henry Clay Dean.
If you're a "History Detectives" regular, you know the set-up. One of the show's experts, in this case Wes Cowan, is assigned a historical quest.
Here, it's a snake-topped walking stick that may or may not have belonged to Dean, who took on the president during the Civil War. Dean was a stirring orator who pushed the anti-war cause of the "Copperhead" Democrats.
"He was almost hung a couple of times during the Civil War for treasonous utterances," said his great-great-great granddaughter, who has not seen tonight's piece in advance.
Babinat, a board member in the family historical society is currently transcribing 200 of her ancestor's letters, says Dean was "misunderstood.
"He was for unity and or peace," she told me during a phone conversation last week. "I think where he was misunderstood during the Civil War was that he wanted an end to slavery by attrition, or to it eventually dying out, rather than going to war for that."
But as Babinat continues her own research for the family historical society, she's not ready to draw any conclusions about him.
"I'm getting so much new information that I can't really conclude anything," she said. "But he's very fascinating."
"History Detectives" airs at 8 tonight on Channel 10.
Steve Cochran is out of a job: As expected, Chicago's WGN-AM (720) has given the heave-ho to Steve Cochran, who most recently did the 1 to 3 p.m. show on the station. The station has already announced it had hired Mike McConnell, a talker most recently from Cincinnati's WLW-AM.
On his Facebook page, Cochran reported Friday evening on the end of 10 years at the powerful station: "So how was your day? At about 245p as I exited the men's room (seems fitting) I was summoned to a meeting where I was sheepishly told today was my last at WGN."
On TV: Saturday's U.S. 2-1 loss to Ghana was the most-watched men's soccer match ever on American TV, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers quoted by ESPN. Nearly 15 million people watched. The 1999 women's U.S.-China World Cup final had nearly 18 million viewers.
- CBS says David Letterman has snared Gary Faulkner, the guy picked up in Pakistan for trying to track down and kill Osama Bin Laden. He's on tonight at 10:35 on Channel 58.
- Continuing TV's focus on the continuing environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, Brian Williams anchors the "NBC Nightly News" from the Gulf this week, as potentially dangerous storm moves into the area.
- Fan favorites A.J. Cook and Paget Brewster will return to CBS' "Criminal Minds" next season, although Cook will be there for the first two episodes then gone for good. Tweeted Brewster: "I am immensely grateful. I'm still angry about A.J. I'm sad this is my last year. But I wanted to thank the fans." It's one of those cases where an Internet campaign may have worked.
- Jordana Spiro of TBS' "My Boys" was supposed to be on NBC's new fall romantic comedy "Love Bites," now she's off the show and speculation is that would have been a sign that "My Boys," which returns with nine new episodes in a month was already dead.
- The New York Post is reporting that rocker Meat Loaf may end up on the next season of Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice." Mr. Loaf is apparently hoping to get as much pub as last season's rocker, Bret Michaels.
A landmark for Dave: The aforementioned Mr. Letterman marked his 30th anniversary of a late-night talk show host last week with this top 10 list:
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.