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

Just over half of southeast Wisconsin's TV households were watching Channel 6 Sunday evening as the Packers moved to the next round of the playoffs, a 74 percent share of TVs that were on at the time.

Nationally, some 32.9 million people watched the game, making it the most-watched first-round playoff game in 20 years.

That 50.5 rating/74 share (which translates to 455,000 area housholds) made Milwaukee the top-rated of 62 Nielsen metered markets around the country. A rating point is the percentage of the households in the TV market.

Number two was, not suprisingly, Philadelphia. But it had a 40.4 rating/60 share.

The final overnight numbers from Nielsen Media Research aren't a surprise, but are, indeed, a solid confirmation of the power of Packers in this TV market.

Milwaukee's Fox affiliate is already getting ready for next week's playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons. A "Fox 6 Blitz Pregame Special" is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, replacing a "Seinfeld" rerun (which will air at 5 p.m. Sunday).

A postgame special will follow Fox's game coverage, which begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.

General manager Chuck Steinmetz tells me Jen Lada will be in Atlanta by Thursday, with Tim Van Vooren likely following the next day. The station's satellite truck, which was in Philly over the weekend, was heading to Atlanta on Monday.

For Channel 6, which airs the most Packers games during the season as the Fox affiliate, the playoffs are very important. And, looking ahead, the Super Bowl will air on Fox as well.

But taking the games as they come, next week's playoff game in Atlanta is the focus right now.

"It gives us an opportunity to expand and extend that brand and that coverage," Steinmetz tells me.

While you'll see plenty of Packers stories on other TV newscasts, this is

"The one thing we do exceptionally well at this television station isuse all the tools at our disposal." That includes Channel 6's high-definition capabilities, editing and music.

"It just brings the stories to life in ways that the average guy in the street can't do, and allows them to experience this."

Ignatiy Vishnevetsky's local ties: It turns out the newly named -- and little-known -- 24-year-old co-host of the new "Roger Ebert Presents at the Movies" attended Wauwatosa East High School. The Russian-born Ignatiy Vishnevetsky writes for the movie blog Mubi.

Ebert picked Vishnevetsky to join Associated Press film critic Christy Lemire as host of the program, which premieres at 11 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21 on Milwaukee Public TV's Channel 10. It will also air Saturdays on Channel 36.1

On TV: ABC has given early renewals for next season to a slew of shows: "Grey’s Anatomy," "Private Practice," "Castle," "Modern Family, "Cougar Town" and "The Middle."  

  • ABC Family Channel has renewed two of its big shows, "Pretty Little Liars" and "Secret Life Of The American Teenager."
  • AMC says "Mad Men" will indeed be back for a fifth season, which isn't a surprise. But no season premiere date has been set.
  • There's a new awards showing being added to the lengthy list. Comedy Central and the MTV Networks will be taped March 26, and aired April 10 on Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, Spike TV, TV Land and Nick at Nite. Winners will be picked by 500 to 1,000 members of the "comedy community."
  • "The Onion Sports Dome," designed to be a less-than-serious equivalent of ESPN's "SportsCenter," premiers tonight at 9:30 on Comedy Central.

The Gus Tour ends: Channel 6 veteran Gus Gnorski slipped out quietly over the holidays, retiring from the station for health reasons.

Here's his final report for the station:


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.