By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 26, 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.

This weekend is the deadline in the contract dispute between Fox and Dish Network that could yank Milwaukee's Channel 6 from the satellite system's lineup.

Channel 6 general manager Chuck Steinmetz tells me, "the negotiations, as best I know, are continuing."

Usually, I wouldn't make too big a deal out of these carriage disputes. They come along regularly and, up until now, they've usually been settled by the deadline.

But this time Fox has a track record, pulling some of its cable channels from Dish already, and pulling its broadcast network from Cablevision for millions of cable viewers in New York City and surrounding areas.

As part of Fox's contract battle with Dish, its network-owned-and-operated stations will be off Dish's lineup as of the end of the month. While Channel 6 is part of a group of stations owned by Local TV LLC, which has given Fox its proxy to handle negotiations with Dish.

That means that if there's no deal, Channel 6 will disappear from Dish for area subscribers as the calendar page turns to Nov. 1.

Steinmetz says he's been getting calls from viewers asking for some definitive answer on when a deal will be done. He says he refers them to a Fox-run Web site, explaining its side in the dispute.

Channel 6's newscasts will be updating the situation starting today, and the station has been running spots explaining the situation.

There has been a Dish website offering the satellite company's take, but doesn't appear to be working.

Dish, by the way, is the smallest of pay TV services in the Milwaukee, behind AT&T's U-Verse, DirectTV and Charter Cable -- and miles behind the area's programming giant, Time Warner Cable. And none of those other systems are affected by the Fox-Dish contract battle.

On TV: Yesterday, I reported the stellar local ratings for the Packers-Vikings game on Channel 4. Nationally, the game was the highest-rated Sunday Night NFL game ever -- and no, the Packers weren't the reason for the national audience of 25.7 million for NBC.

  • Speaking of ratings, Channel 12 is using Nielsen Milwaukee numbers and audience estimates to estimate that Friday's U.S. Senate debate between incumbent Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican challenger Ron Johnson pulled in some 233,000 Wisconsin viewers, 12 percent more than the previous week's gubernatorial debate.
  • It looks like ABC will end "The Whole Truth" after 13 episodes. The network has picked up "No Ordinary Family" and "Better With You" for a full season. ABC ordered more episodes of "Detroit 1-8-7," but have yet to give it a season pickup.
  • PBS has revamped its Web site, offering video from national shows, and from local PBS outlets like Milwaukee Public TV. It's also adding iPhone and iPad apps that allow watching episodes of PBS shows.
  • Time Warner Cable is launching ESPN3 and ESPN OnLine for its customers. Sign up at Time Warner's MyServices page.
  • The "Glee" cast has a Christmas album coming out Nov. 16, based on a holiday episode that won't air until Dec. 7, says Michael Ausiello.
  • FX will air a 13-episode remake of an oddball Aussie sitcom
    "Wilfred" about a guy (Elijah Wood) who meets the title dog that he sees as a man in a dog suit. Here's a look at the original:


"Glee" and the election: Fox's "Glee" is the inspiration for this political spot from Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in his race to keep the job he inherited from Rod Blagojevich:


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.