By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Aug 04, 2011 at 9:00 AM

"Man vs. Food" – and successor show "Man vs. Food Nation" (host Adam Richman no longer takes part in eating challenges, but coaches others) – is one of those shows that I watch regularly, but don't particularly like.

All the gorging is pretty grotesque, but the Travel Channel show frequently highlights unique local eateries.

And, of course, I had to watch Wednesday's night's installment, with Richman touring Milwaukee.

He started off eating the Italian Combo, an Italian sausage/beef sandwich topped with meaty red sauce, at Martino's at 1215 W. Layton Ave. It's hardly something uniquely Milwaukee.

He briefly toured the Milwaukee Public Market, mentioning bratwurst, and then headed up to Shorewood and Benji's.

There, he ate the meat-laden "Hear Oh Israel" sandwich.

Do either of these items, as tasty as they may be, really mean Milwaukee eats?

Where's the butter burger? Where are the cheese curds? Where's the fish fry?

Well, there was an homage to "Laverne and Shirley" filmed at Lakefront Brewery, with owner Russ Klisch driving the forklift. And, yes, we got a look at the bronze Fonz.

But the bulk of the show could've been filmed anywhere.

The back half of the show was devoted to the "Unforgiven Challenge," with competitive eater Jeremy Wheeler eating a burger, chicken, bacon monstrosity atop a pound of fries, with a half-dozen red hot chicken wings on the side at Downtown's Red Rock Saloon.

At least Richman no longer has to eat such stuff, probably on doctor's orders.

Wheeler squeaked through to win the challenge – his 15th win. (Sorry for the spoiler, but I didn't think people would be outraged.)

The show repeats at 10 a.m. Saturday.

By the way, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke got some uncredited face time early in the show, eating outside at Martino's.

On TV: NBC says Alec Baldwin will host this fall's season opener of "Saturday Night Live," his 16th time – a record for the comedy show. Melissa McCarthy of CBS' "Mike and Molly" and big-screen hit, "Bridesmaids," hosts the second week at "SNL."

  • GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination, has rated ABC Family as "excellent" in the quantity, quality and diversity of images of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people it portrays. The CW is the top broadcast network in its annual evaluation. CBS is at the bottom of the list of networks, but called "adequate" in the study.
  • TLC has ordered a 10-episode second season of "NY Ink," starting this December.
  • CBS entertainment boss Nina Tassler says Ashton Kutcher's "Two and a Half Men" character will be an "Internet billionaire with a broken heart" named Walden Schmidt. But she wouldn't talk about how the troubled Charlie Sheen's character is being written out of the sitcom.
  • reports that Ray Romano will visit ABC's "The Middle" in the one-hour Sept. 21 season opener playing a man from the past of his former "Everybody Loves Raymond" wife, Patricia Heaton.
  • The crazy heat has delayed the Aug. 16 premiere of A&E's "American Hoggers," about Texas ranchers and their battle against wild boars. No word on when it will start airing.

It's always funny in Philadelphia: If you're anxiously awaiting the seventh season of FX's "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Sept. 15, here's a brief preview to whet your appetite even more:

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.