It has been more than a decade since Melodie Wilson signed off for the last time from Channel 6.
But when word of her death came out Monday evening at the age of 59, it was almost as if she'd never left our living rooms.
Through her very public work to help other women cope with the cancer that would claim her life, Wilson showed there was life after television. The cause of her life, a group called After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, came the year after she ended her TV career, in 1999.
Its genesis was the calls she had been receiving from women who'd received a diagnosis of breast cancer, women with many questions. Wilson had spoken openly on the air about her disease, making her someone women could turn to.
Her idea was to pair newly-diagnosed women with others who'd already gone through what they were going to experience, a mentoring plan.
That organization and other very public work kept her a presence in southeast Wisconsin, an important and comforting presence.
When she appeared on camera earlier this year for her early admission to the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' "Silver Circle," honoring lifetime achievement in broadcasting, it was clear that her disease was nearing its conclusion.
She spoke haltingly, she needed help walking.
But her presence showed the strength and class she'd exhibited throughout a public career that began in 1974 when she arrived from Minnesota to start a job with Channel 4.
Then came 1991, when Channel 4 decided she was no longer working on the NBC affiliate's anchor desk. It made a business decision and fired the then-41-year-old Wilson. The word was that research showed she "skewed old."
It wasn't that she was old, but rather that she appealed to older viewers -- not the target audience. She wasn't edgy enough.
It was a public relations black eye for Channel 4, and Channel 6 picked her up as soon as she was available.
Wilson spent six years there before ending her career in TV news, and beginning her life's work.
On TV: ABC isn't ordering any additional episodes of Rebecca Romijn's "Eastwick," meaning the Wednesday night show has effectively been canceled when its 13 episodes are aired. Meanwhile, it's ordered five more episodes of "The Forgotten."
- Variety says Sunday night's "Mad Men" third season finale pulled in 2.3 million viewers -- up 33 percent from last year's season ender for the AMC show, already renewed for next year.
- The CW's "Gossip Girl" will take a break starting Jan. 12 and be replaced by another youth-targeting drama, "Life Unexpected." The network doesn't want to air reruns, and "Gossip Girl" will return for its final 12 episodes to end the season.
- If you're one of the 715,000 or so followers of this Twitterer, you may be happy to know that CBS is trying to turn it into a series. That'll be interesting, since the network won't be able to use its real name. "Stuff My Dad Says," just doesn't have the same ring.
Happy 40th, "Sesame Street": Pioneering kids' TV show "Sesame Street" marks its 40th birthday with today's season premiere. The episode features first lady Michelle Obama talking about healthy food.
On Milwaukee Public TV, "Sesame Street" airs at 7 and 10 a.m. on Channel 10.1
Video of one of my favorite moments from the show's 40-year-run 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.