By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jan 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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George Clooney has been down this road before.

He was the driving force behind "America: A Tribute to Heroes," which brought together top singers and actors for a two-hour fundraiser just 10 days after the Sept. 11 terror attacks hit New York and Washington, D.C., 2001.

It established a pattern of TV concerts that's being repeated in the "Hope for Haiti Now" telecast, which he and Haitian-born Wyclef Jean will host from 7 to 9 tonight.

It's not necessary to list the channels airing it, since it's almost impossible not to stumble upon a broadcast that's on all the major networks and big cable channels.

"Hope for Haiti," designed to bring in money to help the victims of last week's earthquake, is being produced by MTV Networks.  Among the people participating are Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Keith Urban.

Jay-Z and Rihanna are scheduled to perform with U2's Bono and The Edge in London.

Songs from the telecast are scheduled to be available Saturday for purchase from Apple's iTunes music store.

Here's Wyclef Jean's performance of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" from 2001's "America: A Tribute to Heroes." It would fit well in tonight's broadcast.


My funny TV valentine: During Channel 6's 6 p.m. Thursday newscast, anchor Brad Hicks was reading a story about bad Internet passwords, ending with "'I love you' is not going to protect your account."

"And, Brad, I love you, too." chimed in smarty-pants weather guy Vince Condella with a sly smile. 

"Vince, you know, we could have a moment here," chied in Hicks, playing along with the unscripted bit.

"But we won't," said Condella. 

"It's only slightly awkward," answered Hicks, who then looked a bit embarassed. "People are gonna be blogging about this and twittering about this."

"Oh, whatever," said the good-humored Condella, who then moved into his weather report. 

On TV: There are various rumors that Milwaukee's Jamar Rogers will pop up in the Hollywood round of Fox's "American Idol." Whatever the case, there's a lists of 24 likely semi-finalists on unofficial "Idol" blogs and Rogers, Danny Gokey's pal and fellow 2009 "Idol" wannabe, doesn't show up on that on the list In fact, nobody from Wisconsin does.

  • The Hollywood Reporter says Fox has ordered a pilot of a sitcom set in a family-owned brewery. There's no word whether "Strange Brew" is actually set in Brew City.
  • Yes, tonight is Conan O'Brien's final night as host of NBC's "Tonight Show," with guests Tom Hanks and Will Ferrell. In case you've never watched it before, it airs at 10:35 on Channel 4.
  • Nikke Finke reports at her Deadline Hollywood site that Rob Lowe is dropping out of ABC's "Brothers and Sisters" at the end of the season, but may stay at the network.
  • If you saved your 3-D glasses from "Avatar," you may want to put them on for the Jan. 31 Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS. A 3-D clip from Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" is scheduled to air as part of a tribute to the late pop star. Glasses will be available for free at Target starting this weekend.

The death of Air America: Word came Thursday afternoon that Air America radio was shutting down operations as it went into bankruptcy, the final stage in the long, lingering death of the attempt to launch a liberal radio network.

Milwaukee never had an Air America affiliate, some liberal talk airs on Racine's WRJN-AM (1400). Suburban Chicago's WCPT-AM (820) isn't an Air America affiliate, and continues to air a liberal talk format that's available in some parts of southeast Wisconsin.

I've thought the network was doomed from the start, since it was launched as a political platform, rather than a commercial radio outlet.

Conservative talk radio continues its success because it targets a specific audience -- men, 25 to 54, and is especially successful at the older reaches of the demographic. Although other groups may listen, that's the audience that's sold to advertisers.

It also made an early mistake by originally only seek full affiliates, rather than syndicating individual programs.

Air America long ago lost its first-tier personalities, especially Al Franken, who's gone on to become a U.S. senator from Minnesota.  It was just a matter of time before it finally faded away.

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.