By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jan 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM

While Saturday is usually a night of low TV ratings, the Saturday night playoff match-up between the Green Bay Packers and the Atlanta Falcons was more than half the TV homes in southeast Wisconsin.

The tally from Nielsen Media Research showed a preliminary overnight rating of 51.1, translating to more than 460,000 area homes. Nearly three-quarters of TVs on at the time -- a 73 percent share -- were tuned to the Packers' win.

The previous Sunday, the wildcard playoff game pulled in a 50.5 rating -- a 74 percent share of TVs on at the time.

There was also a healthy crowd for Sunday's Bears win over Seattle, which sets the scene for next Sunday's NFC Championship battle between Green Bay and Chicago.

Preliminary overnight numbers showed nearly 348,000 southeast Wisconsin households watching the game in Soldier Field, a 38.6 rating. That was a 67 percent share of TVs on at the time

On TV: Yes, that was former Channel 12 weather guy Lance Hill you saw doing some forecasting on Channel 4 this weekend. General manager Steve Wexler says Hill is doing freelance weather work for the station, so don't be surprised to see him pop up now and again.

  • Speaking of Channel 4 and weather, did you catch the promo "explaining" the NBC affiliate's wintry focus. It features a woman's voice asking, "What's all the fuss about snow, this is Wisconsin after all?" The answer from John Malan: "It's a big deal to you, which makes it a big deal to us." OK, then. Debate over.
  • Not surprisingly, Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcasting reached an "agreement in principle" to keep Channels 18 and 24 on the area's biggest pay TV source. The dispute was national, affecting 28 Sinclair stations in Time Warner markets around the country and one of a continuing series of contract negotiations.
  • Sarah Palin has her first TV interview since the Tucson shootings tonight at 8 when she talks to Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel.
  • FX says the finale of "Rescue Me" will air Sept. 6, so that it runs in the week of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • Christina Aguilera will get a huge national audience on Feb. 6 when she sings the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.
  • Showtime is ordering another season of "Californication," and has scheduled the season premieres of "Nurse Jackie" and "The United States of Tara" for March 28.
  • The second episode of the third season of "Jersey Shore" did even better than the record-setting first, pulling in 8.6 million people, according to Nielsen numbers. The season premiere had 8.4 million.

The Ricky Gervais show: Sunday night's "Golden Globes" began as the Ricky Gervais show, with the Brit hosting for a second year in a row, ripping Hollywood folks from Tom Cruise to Bruce Willis.

By the way, you can find all the winners listed at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Web site.

These are the least important -- although best-produced -- of the awards' shows. Time limits are kept, and unlike the bloated Oscar telecast, the Golden Globes end on time. And, just like last year, the producers appeared to be giving the show away to Gervais, who spent his time making presenters nervous, such as introducing Bruce Willis as "Ashton Kutcher's dad."

He introduced presenter and "The Office" star Steve Carell thusly, "He's now leaving the show and killing a cash cow for the both of us." Gervais, of course, created "The Office."

Gervais also turned on the folks organizing the event, speaking of the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, "I just had to help him off the toilet and put his teeth in."

But then Gervais seemed to disappear from the middle of the show, coming back near the end, seemingly chastened. Was he told to tone it down?

If so, he decided to end with a big one, thanking everybody, closing, "And thank you to God, for making me an atheist."

On U.S. TV, that's the kind of crack that's not likely to get you invited back.

I'd be shocked if he hosted next year, which can only lead to a bland awards show.

Here's a sampling of his lines:

Here's Gervais offering a serious explanation of the limits to his hosting humor:

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.