By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM

A perusal of the demographics and more detailed ratings information from the February ratings period shows that one of the busiest Milwaukee TV news months in memory -- featuring a blizzard, a Super Bowl and the Madison mess -- drew lots of viewers in to local newscasts.

And those detailed numbers from Nielsen Media Research show that the top late newscast during that four-week ratings period, among the key demographic of viewers 25 to 54,  was Channel 6's 9 p.m. hour of news. The Fox station had a 4.6 rating in the 9 p.m. hour, which means it pulled in 4.6 percent of that total demographic in southeast Wisconsin.

If you further slice and dice the numbers, it had a 4.9 among women, 25 to 54. These demographic numbers are important because it's what the stations use to sell advertising time.

Channel 6 had a couple things going for it in February, starting with its Fox Super Bowl coverage, and the latest season of "American Idol," which has brought in good numbers, at least partly thanks to the Milwaukee auditions and contestants.

Looking at the flagship 10 p.m. half-hour, among viewers 25-54, Channel 4 was in first with a 4.53 rating -- up 19 percent from the previous February. Channel 6 was a close second with a 4.31, up a whopping 31 percent from the previous February.

Channel 12 was third with a 3.82, up 6 percent from the previous February and Channel 58 had a 2.55, up 42 percent from February 2010.

Looking at prime time -- from 7 to 10 p.m. -- Fox's lineup on Channel 6 and its 9 p.m. news had a 10.78 rating among adults, 25-54, up 54 percent from the previous February.

CBS' lineup on Channel 58 had a 5.65 rating, up 71 percent from February 2010. ABC's lineup on Channel 12 had a 5.42, up 36 percent from February 2010. Channel 4 was fourth, with NBC's lackluster lineup, which earned it a 4.44 rating, up 8 percent from February 2010.)

Those prime-time numbers are important, because they show that Channel 4 lacked the lead-in that some other network affiliates had, thanks to NBC's weak lineup.

On TV: PBS' documentary king, Ken Burns, has announced his next project: a 12-hour documentary series on the war in Vietnam. It's already in production, but won't air until 2016. Said Burns in a statement announcing the project: "Our series will shed light both on the history of the war, and on our inability to find common ground about it."

  • Comedy Central has formally ordered two more 13-episode seasons of "Futurama" to start airing in the summer of 2012. These decisions are made far in advance because of the lead-time needed to get an animated series produced.
  • reports that Food Network has signed one of its old hands, Alton Brown, to stick around for three more years. He'll develop new programming and do three "Good Eats" Thanksgiving specials.
  • Entertainment Weekly is quoting Will Ferrell as saying his stint on "The Office" was "a regular, full-time gig," although there are doubts that NBC would pay what Ferrell would ask to keep him as permanent replacement for Michael Scott next season.
  • CNBC's Melissa Francis offers a one-hour look at modern "Divorce Wars" at 8 tonight. Among the new rules of divorce: cheating doesn't matter, and there's no insurance you can buy to protect yourself.

Gilbert Gottfried's answer: After getting dumped by Aflac for his insensitive tweets after Japan's earthquake and tsunami, Gilbert Gottfried has taken to with a video answer about his own style of inappropriate humor. You can decide if he goes too far, too soon.

Be warned about some rough language before you click:

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.