By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Dec 22, 2009 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.

With the chance that the Packers just might make into the post-season, national reports of a contract dispute between Fox and Time Warner Cable may be causing a few jitters.

Relax. It has absolutely nothing to do with Milwaukee's Fox affiliate, Channel 6, although some Fox cable outlets could be affected. Time Warner is the largest program provider in southeast Wisconsin, with more than half of area TV households as subscribers.

"We have an agreement with Time Warner, so there will be no disruption of service," says Channel 6 general manager Chuck Steinmetz. "That includes everything we broadcast, from our local news to the NFL to prime time to 'Seinfeld'."

In another potential trouble spot for Milwaukee-area cable viewers, a spokesman for Fox Sports Wisconsin says the cable sports channel is also unaffected by this dispute.

At issue is the retransmission agreement between the cable company  and TV stations owned and operated by Fox. Channel 6 -- once owned by Fox's parent, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. -- is currently owned by Cincinnati-based Local TV LLC, which owns eight Fox stations.

Other channels that could be blacked out if an agreement isn't reached by the end of the year include FX, Speed and Fuel.

Not surprisingly, money is the sticking point. Published reports say Fox seeking a $1 per subscriber payment from Time Warner, double what some other station groups charge the cable company.

At least two Fox-owned cable outlets, Fox News Channel and National Geographic Channel, aren't covered by this retransmission agreement.

The star-spangled finalists: The finalists in Steve "the Homer" True's national anthem-singing contest sing live today on the his WAUK-AM (540) afternoon show, broadcasting from the Painted Parrot, 8028 W. National Ave.

Voting by phone, text and on-line opens at 5 p.m. The winner will open the show for the next month and sing at the Jan. 26 Marquette-Rutgers game at the Bradley Center.

On TV:  CBS will air a new "reality" show, "Undercover Boss," in the post-"Super Bowl" slot on Feb. 7. Usually, it's an already-airing show that gets the key spot after the biggest TV show of the year.

  • Speaking of CBS, "Cold Case" moves to 9 p.m. Sundays starting Feb. 14, with the next season of "Amazing Race," at 7, leading into regular airings of "Undercover Boss."
  • Latin-themed Nota, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, won NBC's week-long "Sing-Off" a capella competition on Monday night, receiving $100,000 and a recording contract.
  • PBS has joined in with the rest of broadcasting and will have its viewership measured by Nielsen Media Research. It's designed to give potential advertisers a detailed look at the PBS audience, according to the national public TV program provider.

Hey, that's me: Thanks to Milwaukee Public TV's policy of posting video of all of its productions, you can watch my appearance last week on "I Remember" with Jim Peck.

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.