By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 10, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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While Channel 4 dominated the ratings from sign-on to sign-off and ruled in prime time, thanks to the viewing magnet called the Winter Olympics, February still showed the strength of Channel 12's morning and evening newscasts.

Our last glance back at February starts with two examples of the power of the Olympics. 

Throughout the broadcast day, Channel 4 averaged nearly 53,000 southeast Wisconsin households, 15 percent of available TV homes. Channel 12 had 32,000, Channel 6 had more than 24,000 and Channel 58 had almost 21,000 homes.

In prime time, from Monday through Sunday, Channel 4's airing of NBC's Olympic coverage averaged 134,000 households. CBS' lineup on Channel 58 averaged more than 62,000 households. Fox's lineup on Channel 6 averaged more than 60,000.

And now, the local news breakdown:

  • In the 5 a.m. hour, Channel 12 had  more almost 23,000 homes, Channel 4 had nearly 22,000 homes, Channel 6 had about 18,000 homes and Channel 6 had more than 6,000 homes.
  • In the 6 a.m. hour,  Channel 12 had 42,500 homes, Channel 4 had had more than 35,000 households, Channel 6 had nearly 30,000 homes and Channel 58 maintained its 6,000 homes.
  • At 5 p.m., Channel 12 had almost 77,000 homes, Channel 4 had nearly 60,000 homes, Channel 6 had 33,500 and Channel 58 had more than 16,000 homes.
  • At 6 p.m, Channel 12 had 71,500 homes, Channel 4 had 58,000, and Channel 6 had almost 32,000. "Jeopardy!" on Channel 58 averaged almost 48,000 homes.

You'll notice that I didn't offer any comparisons with last year, and I didn't go through the 10 p.m. numbers. Channel 4's 10 p.m. news aired later than normal, and its numbers were clearly affected by Olympic viewing, so the comparison doesn't really show us anything about normal viewing patterns.

And not only is this sweeps month skewed by the Olympics, but last year the February sweeps period was moved to March, thanks the to digital TV transition, which had been scheduled for February before being moved to June.

Yes, I know that all sounds confusing. But the bottom line is, we're done with the numbers for a while. I hope your eyes unglaze enough so you can return to your normal TV viewing, until the May sweeps numbers start coming in.

On TV: Madison's Bradley Whitford returns to network TV, complete with a big ol' mustache, for "The Good Guys," a cop show that co-stars Colin Hanks. It previews before "American Idol" on May 19, then joins the summer schedule starting June 7. The summer lineup also includes new episodes of "Lie to Me."

  • ESPN Films says Robert De Niro will star in "Lombardi," a theatrical flick targeted for a January 2012 release.
  • The wedding of former Milwaukeean Molly Malaney and former "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick pulled in 9.3 million viewers Monday night, according to Nielsen numbers, with ABC in third place for the night. The big show of Monday night: CBS' "Two and a Half Men" with 17.5 million viewers who haven't stopped watching because of Charlie Sheen's problems.
  • By the way, Sheen is wrapping up rehab and will return to the "Two and a Half Men" set March 19, according to
  • Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich delivers the top 10 list on David Letterman's "Late Show" at 10:35 Wednesday on Channel 58.
  • CBS has ordered a second season of its successful "Undercover Boss," which was launched after the Super Bowl.
Andy Richter speaks his mind: Filling in for Regis Philbin on Tuesday's "Live with Regis and Kelly,"  Conan O'Brien sidekick Andy Richter talked about life after NBC.
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.