By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Sep 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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The first show of the season to get the ax is usually not mourned by critics. It's almost always a clunker that never should have taken up valuable prime-time real estate.

But this season, it appears that Fox's critically acclaimed "Lone Star" is already dead.

With Nielsen Media Research counting an opening night audience last week of just over 4 million viewers, the story of a con man with separate lives in Houston and Midland, Texas was DOA.

Fox is giving it one more chance chance tonight at 8 on Channel 6, and if it shows significant growth it just may survive.


Creator and executive producer Kyle Killen took to his blog last week to compare his new show to a "legless horse in the Kentucky Derby." But, still, he was hoping for a "stunning upset" to keep the show alive.

Blogs Killen: "For us to survive we're going to have to pull off a minor miracle. Statistically, new shows tend to lose viewers in their second week. We're aiming to gain them. In fact, screw it, let's just double our audience. The good news is, our audience was so small that if my Mom AND my Dad watch it we'll pretty much be there."

It's good to have a sense of humor in the face of near impossibility.

Critics were positive about the show, a modern "Dallas," about a guy living more than one lie with two women, a oil business job he's not qualified for and a scheme to scam folks out of their cash. And he's torn up by his deceptions, by his less than healthy relationship with his dad, played by David Keith.

Why it flopped so quickly will be studied by the folks who make TV. Was it the fact that the central character is played by James Wolk, a virtual unknown? The recognizable faces in the show are Keith and Jon Voight, who plays Wolk's oilman father-in-law.

It's likely that all the talk about the almost certain demise of "Lone Star" will boost tonight's audience from last week's abysmal numbers. 

But if you really, really want to see this show, watch tonight's episode.

On the air: Since Channel 12 is simulcasting ESPN's telecast of the Packers-Bears game tonight, "Dancing with the Stars" is pushed back to 1:36 a.m., if you want to set your DVR. (Consider recording the show after it, in case things run long). "Castle" is delayed until Sunday at 2 p.m.

  • Milwaukee's two non-commercial music stations -- WYMS-FM (88.9) and WMSE-FM (91.7) -- made the list of "The 40 Best Little Radio Stations in the U.S." by Paste Magazine editor-in-chief Josh Jackson. He surveyed followers on Twitter and Facebook to come up with his list.
  • Steve Cochran, bounced a couple months back by Chicago's WGN-AM (720), has  joined, an Internet radio service.
  • Speaking of WGN, Wisconsin-born Orion Samuelson -- he was born 76 years ago on a dairy farm in Ontario, Wis.,  is marking a half century at WGN.

Today at the Milwaukee Film Festival: A restored version of Jean-Luc Godard's 50-year-old "Breathless" runs at 9 tonight at the North Shore Cinema.

Here's a rather silly trailer for the new version:


Tickets are $10 and available at the Milwaukee Film Festival website.

The day's screenings start at 3 p.m. at the Oriental with "Rejoice and Shout," a documentary on American gospel music that features legends like Mahalia Jackson and Mavis Staples.

Here's a sample from Sister Rosetta Tharpe:

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.