By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Aug 02, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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If not for Channel 4's win at 10 p.m., the July ratings period would have been a perfect month for Channel 12.

The ABC affiliate's newscasts won from 5 a.m. through 6 p.m. weekdays, with Channel 12 picking up viewers.

That 10 p.m. race was interesting. While Channel 4 was on top, both Channels 4 and 12 had large rating bumps over July 2009.

What's different between July 2009 and July 2010? Well, there was a whole bunch of weather, from 90-degree heat to torrential downpours that turned suburban streets into raging rivers.

Obviously, that Deluge of 2010 also affected TV, with Channel 12 out for a time on Thursday, July 22, and Channel 58's signal affected through that weekend.

Since summer's a low point in viewing, the four-week July ratings period that ended last Wednesday isn't considered as important as February, May and November "sweeps" months.

But with the steamy, wet July we've just been through, this one has been more memorable than usual.

A Food Network squeaker: Wisconsin-born Aria Kagan barely survived Sunday night's "Next Food Network Star," But she hung on to join the final four, as the Food Network "reality" show moves to New York for its final phase.

After a strong start in the competition to host a Food Network show, Kagan has plateaued. On Sunday's show, she was assigned a challenged to create a meal inspired by the word "joy." And while the menu focused on her family, she failed to get the emotion across as she described it to judges.

Sent home was restaurant chef Brad Sorenson, who has said on the show that he, too, is from Wisconsin, although he hasn't offered any more information.

On TV: The big event of fall TV is likely to be the live episode of NBC's "30 Rock" scheduled for Oct. 14. Tina Fey and Tracy Morgan were "Saturday Night Live" regulars, and Alec Baldwin has hosted "SNL" enough times to make this the perfect show for a stunt like this.

  • The White House Correspondents Association has moved Fox News into the front row of the White House briefing room, in a shuffle that puts AP in the center front-row seat and moves NPR into Fox's old second-row seat. The musical chairs was caused by the retirement of Helen Thomas.
  • TV Guide reports that Conan O'Brien has been invited to be a presenter on the Aug. 29 Emmy Awards on his old network, but there's no word on whether he's even going to be there.
  • The president's visit to ABC's "The View" last week earned the chat show its biggest audience ever --  nearly 6.6 million viewers -- according to Nielsen Media Research numbers.
  • There was talk that Fox would announce its new judge lineup for "American Idol" today, but word is that the deal hasn't been finished to hire Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler to join the only survivor, Randy Jackson.
  • "Law & Order" creator Dick Wolf has confirmed that the show will not be picked up on any cable channels.
  • Rob Lowe will be a regular on NBC's "Parks and Recreation" when Amy Poehler's sitcom returns at midseason.
  • NBC has moved up the season premiere of "Parenthood" to Sept. 14.
  • TNT has renewed "The Closer," "Leverage," and "Rizzoli & Isles."

Matlock talks to his demographic: Even though he's 84, Andy Griffith is hardly retired. In recent days, he's popped up on TV in a spot designed to calm senior citizens nervous about how health care reform will affect them.

Here's the Medicare-funded spot:  

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.