By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jul 23, 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.

There was only one show airing during prime-time Thursday night, and we were all staring in the drama as TV went wall to wall with the Deluge of 2010.

With a weather drama that covered southeast Wisconsin, and flash flooding that made driving difficult, TV crews couldn't get everywhere.

For hours, the only image of the sinkhole at Oakland and North Avenues was a picture on Twitter.

TV stations relied on video from viewers, like this view of the flooding in Whitefish Bay shot by Justin Wiemer, which he sent out to the media via Twitter:

In addition to viewers helping out in the coverage, one TV station helped another.

Flooding knocked out Channel 58's transmitter, cutting off over-the-air broadcasting. Channel 4 stepped in and is carrying Channel 58's programming on its Channel 4.3, temporarily displacing "The Cool TV" music programming.

If you're trying to recapture your lost Thursday night, Channel 6 says it's rescheduled last night's "Glee" rerun" for 2 p.m. Sunday, with the pre-empted episode of "So You Think You Can Dance" following at 3.

The weekend's big TV: As long as the weather complies, we can turn to TV for entertainment, rather than information this weekend with the launch of the fourth season of AMC's "Mad Men" at 9 p.m.

We pick up the story as Don Draper and the gang start their own ad agency. And if you're looking for some reading material to go with the show, consider the newly published "Mad Men and Philosophy," co-edited by James  B. South, chair of the philosophy department at Marquette University.

South, a serious TV watcher, worked on a similar book about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and he's serious TV watcher. The collection of essays on "Mad Men" looks at various aspects of the show. The final piece is written by South.

He tells me that niche channels like AMC are offering state-of-the-art TV shows.

"I do think that this is a time that TV has recognized, in a way maybe Hollywood and the movies have lost, that story telling and character development are key," he says.

Meanwhile, TBS' "My Boys" starts what's likely its final season at 9 p.m. Sunday with two new episodes of the sitcom about a Chicago sportswriter.

In addition to the watchable Jordana Spiro, it's chock-a-block with  Chicago references and even a few Wisconsin mentions to make it seem like it's really in Chicago.

Those "Idol" auditions: Something like 10,000 young singers tried their luck at the "American Idol" auditions this week at the Bradley Center, and the TV edition of OnMedia gives you a feel for the scene starting today on Time Warner Cable Channel 411.

Among the people you'll see is 15-year-old Emma Negrete, from Des Moines, who shared her powerful voice with us, as well as the "Idol" producers. I'm not sure if she made it through the first round, but she's definitely talented.

On TV: Reporter Hillary Mintz starts Aug. 4 reporting for the weekday Channel 12 morning news. She replaces Kyler Burgi, who's heading to law school. Mintz comes from Des Moines' WOI-TV.

  • Also starting Aug. 4 is Abe Lubetkin, who's a new general assignment reporter at Channel 12. He comes from KVIA-TV in El Paso, Texas.
  • CBS has axed "The Bridge" after just three episodes. Reruns will replace it on the Saturday night schedule.
  • Speaking of CBS, it's replacing "As the World Turns" this fall with a "View"-like talk show featuring Julie Chen, wife of CBS boss Les Moonves.

A radio veteran passes:  From 1955 until last December, Ralph Schoenleben was the host of "Sunday Evening Concert," a classical music show that aired on Racine's WRJN-AM (1400). Schoenleben died this week at the age of 94.

His show was said to be the longest continuously-running  classical music show in American radio, although such facts are always the subject of debate. 

Since he stopped doing the show, WRJN has been airing recorded episodes at 9:30 Saturday nights.

There's a memorial service at 2 p.m. Sunday at Racine's First United Methodist Church, 745 Main St. Schoenleben, of course, chose the music.

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.