By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jun 23, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Readers often ask (or complain about) the amount of column space I dedicate to Fox's "American Idol." It's not any personal interest in the show - this column is my job, after all.

But numbers from May ratings period will provide the reason for what some folks think is an "Idol" obsession. Nielsen Media Research numbers for the Milwaukee TV market show the weekly "Idol" performance show is the number one show for all the major demographic groups measured in the May sweeps.

That would be among adults 18-49, adults 25-49, adults 25-54, adults 35-64; and women 18-49, women 25-54, women 35-64, among ratings data compiled by Channel 6.

But what comes in second place. That depends.

It's ABC's "Modern Family," for adults 18-49, adults 25-49, and adults 33-64. But among adults 35-64, it's the Thursday night "Idol" results show. "Modern Family" is number seven in the oldest demographic.

In that oldest group, adults 35-64, the top five prime-time shows were "American Idol," "American Idol" results show, "Dancing with the Stars," "Dancing with the Stars" results, and "Grey's Anatomy."

Here's May's top 20 shows among Milwaukee adults, 25-54 (the key group for advertisers):

  1. "American Idol"
  2. "Modern Family"
  3. "American Idol" results show
  4. "Glee"
  5. "Grey's Anatomy"
  6. "The Office"
  7. "Survivor"
  8. "Desperate Housewives"
  9. "House"
  10. "Big Bang Theory"
  11. "The Voice"
  12. "Castle"
  13. "Dancing with the Stars"
  14. "Private Practice"
  15. "Celebrity Apprentice"
  16. "Bones"
  17. "Fox 6 News at 9"
  18. "NCIS: LA"
  19. "Dancing with the Stars" results show
  20. "NCIS"

On TV: NBC's Pro Football Talk blog reports University of Wisconsin Athletic Director  Barry Alvarez will do a cameo in the series finale of HBO's "Entourage," along with Mike Ditka.

  • Travel Channel's "Sand Masters" show is filming at Noah's Ark in Wisconsin Dells. The show airs at 8 p.m. Sundays. This episode of the sand sculpting series is scheduled to air Sept. 4
  • PBS will air a two-hour edited version of the the 12-hour landmark 1973documentary "An American Family" on July 7. The original series was the grandfather of modern "reality" television.
  • The only surviving original "American Idol" judge, Randy Jackson is shopping around a day-time talk show that would be hipper than your average day-time talk show.

The latest from Ricky Gervais: The creator of "The Office," Britcomedian Ricky Gervais is taking on a taboo in his new series,"Life's Too Short." HBO has picked it up for airing next year.

Here's a quick look:

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.