More than two years after he was banished from MSNBC, morning lighting rod Don Imus launched a new version of his TV show this week, this time on Fox Business Network.
It was a familiar experience for viewers of his old show, despite the glitzy FBN set and the strong business and finance component to the program, which airs from 5 to 8 a.m. weekdays on the channel, available on satellite and digital cable.
Imus' strength has always been his guest list, and CBS' Bob Schieffer was back this week, as was John McCain. Political analyst Craig Crawford is due on Thursday and the New York Times' Frank Rich is scheduled for next week.
This is where you shoulda always been," Kinky Friedman told him on Wednesday morning.
You may remember that Imus' TV and radio world fell apart in the spring of 2007 after a crude and racially insensitive reference to the Rutgers women's basketball team. He was dropped by both MSNBC and CBS Radio.
In the interim, he has continued doing a radio show, which was simulcast on RFD-TV, a cable channel with little penetration in larger markets.
Fox Business Network, which launched in October 2007, could benefit from a name like Imus as it attempts to challenge CNBC and other financial news outlets.
The Fox news brand attracts conservative viewers, although the perennially grumpy Imus isn't quite a conservative -- he backed Democrat John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race and McCain last year.
But, most importantly, he's not a team player, which could make it interesting to watch how he fits in with the Fox News family.
"Do you hate me?" Beck asked Imus.
"No," answered Imus. "But I'm not competing with you ... I have no mission here."
But of course Imus is competing with Beck; competing for attention and headlines outside the TV show, a simulcast of his syndicated radio show (which doesn't air within earshot of Milwaukee). And Imus does have a mission, as he tries to reach the audience he once did.
MORE FOX BUSINESS: The business channel is airing a web-only morning show at foxbusiness.com starting at 5 a.m. weekdays. "Live: Morning Edition" is available to stream live on iPhones.
ON TV: One of Milwaukee Public TV's most familiar faces, Mark Siegrist, debuts "In Service to Milwaukee" tonight. It's a one-hour special bringing together 10 representatives of various community organizations to talk about volunteerism in greater Milwaukee. It airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday on Channel 10.
- Time Warner Cable has picked up Channel 6's digital sub-channel Retro TV, on Channel 991 for digital cable subscribers. It's Channel 6.2 for over-the-air viewers. The on-screen schedule still needs to be updated, however.
- Variety quotes Matt Groening as saying there won't be another big-screen "Simpsons" movie until the TV show wraps up for good -- and there's now word on when that will happen. Fox has the show for at least two more seasons.
- The Internet buzz points to cancellation for Fox's "Dollhouse."
THE HAMMER HANGS IT UP: One-time Republican powerhouse Tom DeLay said goodbye to ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Tuesday night.
Although he and partner Cheryl Burke would have survived the night, he had medical advice to quit the show because of stress fractures in both feet.
"You can't practice, and if you can't practice you make a fool of yourself out here," he said.
The Texan had been planning to do the Texas Two-Step next week.
Host Tom Bergeron invited him back to do the dance on the show's season finale if his feet are up to it.
Video of DeLay's Monday night performance follows below.
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.