Antenna TV launched on Jan. 1, with the Chicago Tribune-owned channel featuring a schedule of reruns and old movies to provide programming for the growing number of sub-channels made possible by the transition to digital television.
These sub-channels frequently play videos, weather forecasts or, as in the case of Antenna -- airing on Channel 6's sub-channel 6.2 -- recycled programming.
The goal of commercial television is, of course, to sell advertising time on these channels. But that requires evidence of an audience.
Well, Channel 6 is touting some Nielsen Media Research numbers showing a surprising strength for Antenna on one night this week.
On Tuesday night, prime-time programming on Channel 6.2 edging out programming on a couple main broadcast channels, Channel 24's "My Network" game shows and, more interestingly, two CW Network shows on Channel 18: "One Tree Hill," and "Hellcats."
We're talking relatively small numbers, a 1.0 rating for two "All in the Family" reruns and a 1.1 rating for a recycled "Sanford and Son" on Channel 6.2. A 1.0 rating translates to 1 percent of TV households in southeast Wisconsin, or 9,019 homes.
The Channel 24 and Channel 18 shows were just behind Channel 6.2 numbers. And the Antenna TV ratings don't come close to the big network shows.
But this snapshot from one night this week shows there are measurable numbers of people interested in watching sitcoms from the 1970s.
The sub-channel list: Just to keep you updated on what's available, here's the list of digital sub-channels currently broadcasting over-the-air on Milwaukee TV:
4.2 -- Storm Team 4 Weather (Time Warner 999)
4.3 -- The Cool TV (Time Warner 994)
6.2 -- Antenna TV (Time Warner 986)
10.2 -- MPTV World (Time Warner 976)
10.3 -- V-ME (Time Warner 975)
10.4 -- weather (Time Warner 980)
24.2 -- music videos
36.2 -- V-ME (Time Warner 975)
36.3 -- MPTV Create (Time Warner 977)
36.4 -- classical music (Time Warner 978)
36.5 -- jazz (Time Warner 979)
36.6 -- traffic (Time Warner 981)
43.2 -- religious
43.3 -- religious
43.4 -- Spanish religious
43.5 -- children's religious
49.4 -- Telemundo
55.2 -- Qubo
55.3 -- Ion Life
58.2 -- WMLW-TV (Channel 41.0/ Time Warner 7/Charter 7, 8, or 21) simulcast
58.3 -- This TV (Time Warner Channel 983)
58.4 -- Shorewest Realty (Time Warner 984)
On TV: There shouldn't be any surprise that Milwaukee's talented Naima Adedapo is among the first five singers to make the list of 24 semifinalists on Fox's "American Idol." The remaining 19 will be revealed on a two-hour "Idol" tonight at 7 on Channel 6.
- NBC has given early pickups for next season to "The Biggest Loser," "The Sing-Off" and network TV's best "reality" show, "Who Do You Think You Are?"
- Now that the Hallmark Channel says it's working on a made-for-cable movie about the romance of Prince William and Kate Middleton that won't air until Aug. 13, Lifetime says it will air its William and Kate flick on April 18. The royal wedding is scheduled for April 29. And, no, I haven't received my invitation yet.
- Fox has renewed the animated "American Dad" through the 2012-'13 season. No word yet on whether "Bob's Burger" will make it to a second season.
- Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell confirms that she's been asked to compete on "Dancing with the Stars." She hasn't announced a decision. I'll be surprised if she turns down the invitation.
- British TV journalist Martin Bashir, most recently of ABC, and best known for interviews with Princess Diana and Michael Jackson launches a weekday MSNBC show 2 p.m. Monday.
- Mr. Skin, the website of nude photos from TV and movies, is behind the annual "Anatomy Awards." The best TV show award is a tie between HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and Starz' "Spartacus: Blood and Sand." (The link shows no real nudity, but the photos may not be suitable for your work computer).
Getting ready for Sunday's Oscars: As Sunday night's Oscar telecast approaches, there are plenty of guesses out there about who'll win (I'll run down the best picture nominees and make my guess in Friday's column).
But here's an unconventional take on the Oscar pre-show, with a couple familiar faces:
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.