By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jul 05, 2011 at 11:00 AM

When I talked to Danny Gokey late last week while he was packing up to leave Atlanta for Charlotte, N.C., he was excited about coming home over the weekend to spend the holiday with his family.

And Milwaukee's top "American Idol" finalist was still finalizing his song lineup for Wednesday's 1o p.m. show at Summerfest's Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard with Coors Light and Tap Milwaukee stage.

"We'll take that set we do here, and do it elsewhere.

"Summerfest is probably the one show, the most rewarding show for me as an artist, it's a real festival for me to play at," Gokey says. "It's just the hometown crowd."

Playing Summerfest on Wednesday has given him a rare extended hometown visit, arriving Sunday and celebrating the Fourth with his family. Nothing too special, just normal family stuff.

"We just get together, every day. I just wish I was there more, and I could spend more time with the 15 nieces and nephews."

But Gokey has a lot of work, promoting his new single, "Second Hand Heart." 

"It's a song for people in relationships that haven't worked. It leaves 'em bruised, and tattered, basically broken," he says. "It's not a sappy love song. It's a positive, upbeat love song about a guy basically looking for love."

Last week he was traveling the country music heartland, traveling from radio station to radio station to talk about the single.

Always in the background is Gokey's Sophia's Heart Foundation, a charity he created to help keep his late wife's memory alive.

"We're experiencing growing pains," he tells me. The foundation was recently given a 77,000-square foot building in Nashville, and it's now housing its first homeless family. It'll will be an educational facility, as well.

"It takes a lot more than you'd think," he says of operating the organization, saying the foundation had hired a consultant. "You have to build a team that you can trust. That's not an easy process."

On TV: CBS says the Charlie Sheen-less "Two and a Half Men" will start airing Sept. 19. Expect a huge audience to see how he's replaced by Ashton Kutcher. The continuing rumor is that Sheen's Charlie Harper will be killed off.

  • Chord Overstreet's Sam character has been dumped as a regular on Fox's "Glee."
  • Speaking of Fox, it's planning a huge "X Factor" preview during its broadcast of the Major League All Star Game on July 12 – which doesn't seem like a way to target the likely audience for Simon Cowell's heavily hyped talent competition.
  • And one last bit of Fox news, reports "So You Think You Can Dance" has recruited Lady Gaga to come on sometime before the August finale as a judge. Ratings have been sagging on the dance competition.

A "Jackass" tribute: The boys from "Jackass" have released a tribute video for late comrade Ryan Dunn. If you're still interested in all this, here's the video:

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.