Every once in a while, "reality" TV actually shows some reality.
An example is the explosion of bitterness that erupted from Monona's Russell Kook II, the Chicago-based sous chef who ended up in second place on the latest run of Fox's "Hell's Kitchen," which wrapped up Wednesday night.
"I'm pissed," Kook said bluntly after his loss to come-from-behind winner Nona Sivley, an Atlanta native.
That reaction came after Gordon Ramsay told him, "You have done an amazing job." The usually abrasive chef told Kook, "Look at me, you keep that up, OK?"
But the on-camera bitterness kept flowing.
"I'm not happy at all," he said to the camera, blaming failed contestants who were part of his kitchen crew.
"I chose the team that I wanted and I thought they would help me win. And, in fact, they helped me lose.
"So, you know, thanks a lot guys. You will never get a job in any city I work. I will definitely blackball you guys because you definitely because you guys (bleeped) me so royally tonight."
At one point, Kook hugged his father, who was in the crowd, appearing to tell him, "I felt like I was being set up." His father responded, "you did your best."
The 30-year-old Kook is currently a sous chef at downtown Chicago's Florentine restaurant, in the JW Marriott Hotel.
The winner got an annual salary of $250,000 to be head chef at L.A. Market restaurant in Los Angeles, and will be spokesperson for a winery.
On TV: NBC is capitalizing on the surprise ratings success of its "Sing Off" to try out Olivia Munn's new sitcom, "Perfect Couples" Monday at 9:30 on Channel 4, following a two-and-a-half hour season finale of the acapella singing competition. "Perfect Couples" starts its regular run Jan. 20.
- Larry the Cable Guy was in Milwaukee last weekend filming an episode of his upcoming History Channel show "Only in America" at the Lakefront Brewery. The comedian, whose real name is Daniel Whitney, worked as a beer delivery guy for the episode.
- Fox has scheduled the final five episodes of the dying "Running Wilde." Two episodes will air starting at 6 p.m. Sunday on Channel 6, an episode will run the following Sunday at 8:30, and the one-hour season finale (certainly the series finale) will air Dec. 28 at 8.
- Channel 58 will air a one-hour special compiled from its "Making Milwaukee Great" segments that regularly air on the 10 p.m. news. The "Making Milwaukee Great Holiday Special" airs at 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Christmas Day.
- Subscribers to AT&T U-verse have access to the interactive "Santa Tracker" application on Channel 98. In addition to keeping tabs on Santa's progress, holiday movies on demand and other features, there's a countdown to Christmas Eve.
- Movie critic Elvis Mitchell is now gone from PBS' new "Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies," which launches in January. A new co-host will be named next week to sit beside AP critic Christy Lemire.
- Comedy Central has picked up its animated "Ugly Americans" for a second season. It'll air next year.
- PBS' "American Experience" is looking for 40 college students from around the country to participate in the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Ride in May. If you're interested, you'll find an application here. The deadline is Jan. 17.
- Speaking of deadlines, you have until Feb. 28 to apply for the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship. Three $10,000 scholarships will be given out to undergraduate and graduate students studying children's media and education. Recipients will also be assigned a children's programming professional from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. You can get information at the academy Web site.
So long, Larry: CNN's Larry King hosts his has live show tonight at 8 on CNN, and the guests on the final hour are still a mystery. Piers Morgan takes over the hour after the first of the year.
Here's a clip of a guest who appeared just once on "Larry King Live," back in 1991:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. 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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.