By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jan 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Ryan Seacrest said the 12,000 people who showed up in Chicago last summer was the biggest audition crowd ever for Fox's "American Idol."

But all they got out of the tryouts was 13 young singers to send on to the Hollywood round.

And considering the nearness to Milwaukee, all we got on Tuesday night's Chicago episode on Channel 6 was one recognizable Wisconsinite -- and she didn't make the first cut.

It was Chantelle Graczkowski, a 23-year-old cashier from Fond du Lac, who got five seconds of face time, singing "The First Cut is the Deepest."

Country star Shania Twain was a guest judge for the Chicago auditions, and Graczkowski opened a segment of failed auditions with Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much" as the background music.

Graczkowski tweets: "I was glad they didn't show the bad part of my audition."

She plans on auditioning again next season.

On TV: Final numbers showed Packers-sized ratings for Sunday's playoff victory by Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings on Channel 6, pulling in 332,000 southeast Wisconsin homes, according to Nielsen Media Research, a 64 percent share of homes watching TV at the time. Saturday's playoff had half the audience, and half the share. This Sunday's numbers will be interesting.

  • Former Channel 12 anchor Rebecca Kleefisch formally launched her bid Tuesday for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. Her husband, former Channel 12 reporter Joel Kleefisch, is a Republican state representative. She had been doing video reports with a conservative theme of late for the blog of WTMJ-AM (620) talker Charlie Sykes.
  • Sheboygan stay-at-home mom Lisa Dziadulewicz -- she's originally from Mequon -- goes for the cash on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" at 2 p.m. Friday on WMLW-TV, which is over-the-air on Channel 41 or 58.2; or Channel 7 on Time Warner Cable, Channel 8 on Charter. And if you're watching on cable in Sheboygan, try Channel 23.
  • Channel 12 has launched an Internet initiative called "Local Voices," bringing together three dozen local bloggers ranging from WKLH-FM (96.5) morning guy Dave Luczak to publisher Andy Tarnoff.

The new "Tonight Show": It sure looks like Friday's "Tonight Show" will be Conan O'Brien's final night in Johnny Carson's old spot.

One more clue to a Friday finale is that Will Ferrell has been scheduled as a guest. He was the first person to sit on O'Brien's "Tonight Show" couch last June.

That leaves us at least three more nights of comedy spinning off the NBC late-night mess, including this from CBS' David Letterman:

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.