By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Oct 06, 2009 at 11:00 AM

There's always grumbling before a heavily hyped event like Monday night's Minnesota-Green Bay football game that it's getting way too much media attention.

I don't know how you could give this one too much attention, with Brett Favre facing his old team for the first time since he retired, unretired, retired and unretired again. The Packers have an impact beyond sports in Wisconsin, and this particular story has impact beyond the normal Packers story.

And the numbers prove there was an audience for all the hype, with a majority of Milwaukee TVs that were on last night tuned to the game on Channel 12.

The game, which aired from 7:30 to 10:56 p.m. Monday, averaged a 36.0 rating (which translates to nearly 325,000  southeast Wisconsin households), according to preliminary overnight ratings from Nielsen Media Research.

It averaged a 51 share of the audience, meaning 51 percent of area households that were watching TV Monday night were tuned to the game.

Viewing peaked at 10 p.m., when 54 percent of TVs were tuned to Channel 12. Nearly 354,000 area households were watching the game at that point.

It's Channel 12's highest-rated Monday night game since the Packers moved to ESPN in 2006.

While Sunday games can draw a higher share, prime-time TV generally draws a larger total audience, and offers far more competition for the attention of those viewers.

The game aired nationally on ESPN and cable ratings aren't available as quickly, but the Favre storyline led to speculation  

PHIL'S "PACK YACK" PLANS: Milwaukee radio veteran Phil Cianciola is plugging away on his planned daily podcast venture a month after being axed from the afternoon team at WTMJ-AM (620).

He's done some testing, and that testing continues with a planned posting at 3 this afternoon of a "Pack Yack" about Monday night's game.

You'll be able to find it on his blog.

THE RETURN OF GUY FIERI: Flashy Food Network star Guy Fieri is returning to Milwaukee Dec. 2. But this time it's not to showcase local eateries for his "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."

Instead, it's a live show at the Riverside Theater that combines cooking and rock music. Tickets range from $35.50 to $250 and are available at Ticketmaster.

ON TV: Showtime says David Duchovny's "Californication" will return next year for a fourth season.

  • CBS will air a third season of Canadian-produced "Flashpoint."
  • Bravo has ordered another season of "Top Chef" for next year.
  • Arrested Development" creator Mitchell Hurwitz tells the Hollywood Reporter than a script is being written for the long-talked-about big-screen version of the old Fox comedy.

OF COURSE IT'S NOT OVER: Last week's mea culpa from David Letterman was followed by Monday night's mea culpa from Dave. Ratings are up, at least for now, but that's not the reason.

With clear signs that his accused extortionist, CBS news producer David Halderman, is going to fight this in court, Dave's trying to stay ahead of the story, cracking jokes about the situation and offering on-air apologies to his wife and staff. CBS, by the way, has pulled the initial apology from YouTube.

But the network has posted the video of Monday night's apologizing.  You can find that below.

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.