By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Apr 21, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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The normal program schedule on Milwaukee's main public TV outlet will be blown out of the water at 5 p.m. Friday for the annual "Great TV Auction."

Channel 10 -- 10.1 if you watch over the air -- will be devoted to Milwaukee Public TV's biggest annual fundraiser, as it has since 1969.

Milwaukee's auction, the biggest in the nation, runs until May 1.

Last year's 40th auction pulled in $1,069,382, providing about a sixth of the program budgets on Channels 10 and 36.

"It's just critical." says general manager Ellis Bromberg. "It's central to our fund-raising effort."

Generally, the auction will air from 1 p.m. to midnight on Channel 10. 

Some of Channel 10's usual programming will move to Channel 36, or to one of Milwaukee Public TV's digital sub-channels. You can find the complete schedule at MPTV's Web site.

Associate auction director Sharon Fischer-Toerpe says donations of goods and services are still being accepted.

"We'll accept them throughout the auction," she said.

Forms for donors are available at the auction website. When I spoke with her last week, she reported, "We're ahead of our dollar amount, over last year." She said that more than 200 new donors were participating for the first time.

Bromberg said that the auction allows a way for smaller businesses to support public TV.

"There are companies in the region that are able to donate to the auction, but aren't able to do traditional underwriting," he said.

And Bromberg notes that he regularly hears from viewers who enjoy watching the auction.

"They see it as a very entertaining program in and of itself," he said. "We would not have it on the air if people didn't enjoy it as a viewing experience."

On TV: Comedy Central says it's signed Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to keep doing "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" through June 2013 and the end of 2012, respectively.

  • Green Bay's Doug and Carla Punzel got some network face time on Tuesday's "NBC Nightly News" from Madrid, where they were awaiting the volcanic ash to clear. They're due to be home by Thursday, but Carla really misses the couple's golden retriever.
  • HBO says there will be an eighth season of Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
  • Meanwhile, NBC has picked up "Parenthood" for a second season next fall.
  • The sixth season of Denis Leary's "Rescue Me" will begin at 9 p.m. June 29 on FX. It'll be followed by comedian Louis C.K.'s new comedy, "Louie." FX says next year's seventh edition of "Rescue Me" will end the series.
  • Despite denials from George Lopez and TBS, the New York Post quotes an unnamed source who says that said Lopez was told to back Conan O'Brien displacing him in November in the 10 p.m. slot, or face cancelation.
  • CBS' "Early Show" will become the last of the big-three network morning shows to broadcast in high-definition, starting Monday.

So long, Kate: "Reality" TV regular Kate Gosselin was finally sent home from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Tuesday night, along with professional partner Tony Dovolani.

But, no, she's not disappearing. TLC has already announced that "Twist of Kate" is coming this summer.

And she's certain to continue to be the subject of TV comedy bits, like this one from Jimmy Fallon:


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.