By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Nov 01, 2011 at 11:00 AM

In the 4 p.m. weekday time-slot on Channel 12, Oprah Winfrey was not only the queen of the hour, but believed to set up the ABC affiliate for the launch of its evening news block at 5 p.m.

Although the audience slipped measurably from a year ago in October, thanks to Oprah axing her syndicated daily show, Channel 12 continued with an ever-so-slim lead over Channel 4 in that 5 p.m. half-hour.

That's important to the ABC station, which maintains the No. 1 news position through much of the day – although Channel 4 has been winning at 10 p.m., still the symbolic prize.

Ratings numbers from October show Channel 12 averaged a 6.2 rating (the percentage of all area households, with a 14 percent share of available households, with TVs on at the time, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers. Channel 4 was slightly behind at a 6.1 rating, but close enough to also report a 14 share.

Channel 6's 5 p.m. news had a 3.3 rating, with a 7 percent audience share. Channel 58 had a 1.8 rating, with a 4 share.

Now Channel 12 did lose viewers over October 2010, when it had a 7.6 rating, with an 18 percent share of the audience. Meanwhile, Channel 4 grew from a 4.4 rating, with a 9 share.

Channel 12 knew there'd be an impact, but as the November sweeps go on, they're still in the lead at 5.

That's one race to watch as the four-week ratings period unfolds.

On TV: Fox and DirecTV reached agreement Monday, before their old deal ran out, to continue carrying Fox programming on the satellite service. You should not be surprised, neither side wants to lose the audience.

  • Fox is resurrecting the old "In Living Color" sketch comedy show with two specials. While Keenen Ivory Wayans will host and executive produce, it'll have a new cast.
  • FX has ordered a second season of its new "American Horror Story," thanks to the ratings.
  • Fox has picked up "Bob's Burgers" for a full 22 episodes this season. It'll start after the first of the year.
  • E! Entertainment TV hasn't decided whether the end of Kim Kardashian's marriage will mean the pulling of repeated airings of her wedding special from the channel's lineup this week.

Christmas TV has launched: Believe it or not some channels, especially cable channels, have started airing Christmas programming. If, for some reason, you need to start watching some stuff, check the calendar at

The first new special of the season comes on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday night, something called "Mistletoe over Manhattan."

Here's a promo for it:

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.