By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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TLC, the TV home of Kate Gosselin and all those other Gosselins, has picked up the Mark Burnett-produced Sarah Palin show about Alaska.

Burnett, of course, is best known as the man behind CBS' "Survivor," which launched the modern "reality" TV genre.

Palin needs no introduction.

The working title, "Sarah Palin's Alaska" makes the programs sound like a travelogue, and Burnett's good at the nature scenes in "Survivor." But there are sure to be controversies attached to the show, with Palin's stands on drilling for oil, hunting and climate change likely to fuel them.

In fact, you have to expect the show to focus on those lightning rod issues -- otherwise, it's  likely to be just another forgettable travelogue.

TLC got a big bump last year with "Jon and Kate Plus 8," a show about a larger family that evolved into the story of the dissolution of Jon and Kate Gosselin's marriage.

The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, who quit last year before serving out a full term as Alaska governor, has an enthusiastic conservative following that could be converted to ratings points for TLC, which used to call itself "The Learning Channel" and now focuses on "reality" programming.

In this morning's announcement that it would air the eight-episode "Sarah Palin's Alaska," TLC president Eileen O'Neill said the channel is "grounded in great storytelling, strong characters, and passionate audiences drawn to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things."

On the radio: WSSP-AM (1250) will carry all 16 games of the Arena Football League's Milwaukee Iron for the season starting April 2, along with any post-season games. The sports/talker will also air pre- and post-game shows.

  • WMYX-FM (99.1) is looking for summer interns. For details tweet music director Tony Lorino, or email him at
  • Sorry for the late notice, but I was on "Lake Effect," on WUWM-FM (89.7) this morning, talking with Bonnie North about conservative radio and TV talkers in the wake of president's health-care victory. It repeats at 11 tonight, and you can find the audio here.
  • Steve Cochran has had his afternoon drive-time slot on Chicago's WGN-AM (720) extended through June, according to Chicago media watcher Rob Feder. His contract was supposed to expire at the beginning of this month, and there's been talk that Fond du Lac's own Jonathon Brandmeier could replace him.

The end of "At the Movies:" The syndicated show that made Chicago movie critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert national celebrities has formally been canceled after nearly three decades on the air.

The show airs in Milwaukee at 2 p.m. Sundays and 12:30 a.m. Sunday night / Monday morning. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips and A.O. Scott of The New York Times are the current hosts.

Ebert, who left the show four years ago, and has been unable to speak for several years because of cancer surgery, tweeted the news Wednesday night: "RIP, 'At the Movies.' Memories."

The movie reviewing landscape has changed dramatically since Siskel and Ebert started doing a local Chicago TV show in the 1970s. Many newspapers have dropped their movie critics as an unnecessary expense, and the Internet has spawned countless amateur film critics.

Here are Siskel and Ebert, reviewing Tom Hanks' 1984 comedy, "Bachelor Party." Note Siskel's description of Hanks as a "poor man's Bill Murray by way of Michael Keaton."

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.