By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Apr 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM

You can still hear howling about last week's results on Fox' "American Idol" that sent home one of the season's best singers, Pia Toscano.

Read the chatter on Twitter and all over the Internet and there are claims that somehow the fix was in, and that long-time "Idol" viewers are done with the show forever.

Let me start with two words: Jennifer Hudson.

Back in 2004, Hudson was one of the "three divas," powerful and talented  African-American female finalists, along with Fantasia Barrino and LaToya London. Hudson was sent home.

And whatever happened to her?

Frankly, a shocker like this only juices interest in the show. Some individual Pia-nauts may leave the show, but it hardly seems likely to make a dent. It hasn't in the past.

It didn't hurt the show when Chris Daughtry went home before Katharine McPhee. It didn't hurt Daughtry's career, either.

So how did audience favorite Pia Toscano get voted off last week?

Well, maybe she wasn't the audience favorite she seemed to be. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe tells Yahoo music blogger Lyndsey Parker that the vote totals never made her a front-runner.

"The fact of the matter is, it appears that Pia didn't connect with the audience the way we maybe think she did," Lythgoe told her.

As for Pia, she was at a loss when she spoke with reporters last week.

"You can’t really say why I got voted off. Like it could have been maybe people assumed I was safe, maybe they didn’t.

"Maybe it was because the lack of connection or -- you don’t know for sure why things happen, but it did. It wasn’t my time -- I mean, it was my time to go on the show, and I’m excited to see what my future holds. I really am."

Whether she's really excited, or upset, she'll likely end up with a musical career that's enough to pay the bills.

But despite claims to the contrary, it looks like she doesn't yet have a recording deal. She's still under contract to "Idol," and will tour in this summer's live show, along with 10 other finalists.

Here's the video from last week's elimination:

On TV: ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," is again looking for a southeast Wisconsin family whose home is is need of rebuilding. If you are part of or know of a family whose single-family home makeover will make a big (and dramatic) difference in their lives, e-mail details by April 24 to

  • Oprah Winfrey has snared pals Michelle and Barack Obama for her May 2 show. They'll tape April 27.
  • PBS is quoting Nielsen Media Research numbers reporting that 6.4 million people tuned in for the return of "Upstairs, Downstairs" Sunday. Part two of the three-parter airs Sunday night at 8 on Channel 10.  
  • Hearst, which owns Channel 12 among many other TV properties, has bought a 50-percent share in Mark Burnett Productions, which cranks out "reality" TV shows like CBS' "Survivor" and NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice."
  • Ed Asner's "Working Class" won't get a second season on CMT.
  • Producer Brian Grazer says, via Twitter, that there will be a big-screen movie follow-up to "24" next year. He tweets:  "Got off the phone Kiefer yesterday and we are very excited about producing the ‘24' movie for next year."
  • Former CNN anchor Tony Harris is now anchoring for Al Jazeera English.

Showtime takes on homeland security: Showtime has ordered a new thriller called "Homeland," starring Claire Danes as a CIA agent, along with Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin.

No launch date has been announced, but here's a preview:

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.