By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published May 27, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The four-week May "sweeps" ended Wednesday night and Channel 4's 10 p.m. news pulled out a win, averaging nearly 84,000 southeast Wisconsin households nightly.

That's a 16 percent share of households where TVs were on.

Nielsen Media Research numbers show Channel 12 was in second at 10 p.m. with some 77,500 area households, a 15 percent share of TVs on at the time. Channel 6 came in third with almost 47,000 households, a 10 percent share, and Channel 58 was fourth with 46,000 homes, a 9 percent share.

The 10 p.m. newscasts are the flagship news programs, and Channel 4's win comes although its prime-time lineup of NBC shows came in fourth, with Channel 12's ABC programming leading the pack.

For the record, Channel 12's 10 p.m. news was stronger than its ABC lineup, as well.

If you take away the 10 p.m. news, ABC remains the strongest station in the market, according to the Nielsen numbers, with its early evening newscasts leading the pack, and pulling in the largest audience from sign-on to sign-off.

Obviously, the win is good news for Channel 4, which works hard to bring viewers to its 10 p.m. news. It's, of course, one of the reasons its brands its "Storm Team 4" coverage.

And while you and I may find it annoying, it's been a winner for the NBC affiliate, at least at 10.

Yet the ratings period, beyond the 10 p.m. race, was good news for Channel 12, which has been consistent in controlling much of the rest of the day, when it comes to local news.

Local non-news vs. local non-news: Among the rare non-news local shows are the competing "Morning Blend" on Channel 4 at 9 a.m. weekdays opposite Channel 6's "Real Milwaukee."

They're different types of shows, with "Morning Blend" a hybrid of advertising and non-paying guests, while "Real Milwaukee" is more of a conventional morning show. But the numbers are good for "Real Milwaukee," which launched just last fall.

The Channel 6 show averaged 27,000 southeast Wisconsin households during the May ratings period, a 10.3 percent share of TVs on at the time. The Channel 4 show averaged  more than 14,000 area homes, a 5.4 percent share of TVs on at the time.

The winner in the time slot was the syndicated "Live with Regis and Kelly" on Channel 12, with almost 50,000 households, a nearly 19 percent share of TVs on at the time.

On TV: Not surprisingly, Oprah Winfrey's final show brought in her highest number of households watching in 17 years. Total viewer numbers won't be available for a while from Nielsen.

  • Since we've been talking ratings, the season finale numbers for "American Idol" were up 17 percent over last year's season finale, according to preliminary Nielsen numbers, averaging 28.2 million viewers.
  • In a little peak behind the "Idol" curtain, exec producer Nigel Lythgoe tweets that last year's winner, Lee DeWyze refused to give this year's winner the trophy. He tweeted: "I was so upset Lee DeWyze wouldn't present the winners trophy to Scotty. Especially as he'd been on the show this Season. I guess he was shy."
    Answers DeWyze
    : "It wasn't until about 2 minutes before they announced that Nigel had approached me and asked if he could 'borrow' me for a second.  I didnt feel a last second jump on stage was appropriate. It was Scotty's moment. I appreciate American Idol, and the opportunity it has given me ... I am not angry, or bitter etc."
  • NBC's "adventure-dating" show "Love in the Wild" has been pushed back to June 29. It was supposed to debut on Wednesday night.
  • Bravo is developing a "reality" show for Kara DioGuardi.

Ed apologizes, Laura accepts: Liberal talker Ed Schultz is off his MSNBC show for an undetermined time after his out-of-line comment on his radio show about conservative radio talker Laura Ingraham, calling her a "right-wing slut."

Here's the video of Schultz's on-air mea culpa on MSNBC.

Here's the audio of Ingraham accepting Schultz's apology on her radio show:

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.