Sunday is the biggest viewing night of the week, and last night's schedule was jam-packed with "reality" programming: a two-hour "Celebrity Apprentice" on NBC, CBS' successful new "Undercover Boss" and an ABC tryout for TV cook Jamie Oliver.
But over on the all-news channels, real reality was really unfolding as the House of Representatives passed health care reform.
One of the emotional high points came when U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, a Democrat representing Michigan's Upper Peninsula and an ardent abortion opponent is heckled as a "baby killer" by an unidentified voice from the Republican side.
Ornery Wisconsin Democrat David Obey was presiding over the House at the time, one of two Dairylanders playing a prominent on-camera role. The other was perpetually-boyish Republican Paul Ryan, an increasingly visible face on the all-news channels.
But the way the vote, or series of votes, unfolded Sunday night, the action never interrupted the "reality" on the big broadcast networks -- despite the historical nature of events in Washington, D.C.
On NBC, the political high point came when disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was stopped on the street by a woman who said she picked his name as her nickname.
"Who did you think I was?" Blagojevich asked.
"Donny Osmond," she responded.
The Donny Osmond lookalike survived Sunday night's episode. Sinbad, whose comedy career was launched on another "reality" show, "Star Search," was sent home.
It was after 10:45 p.m. that the president and vice president appeared before the cameras in the White House to proclaim victory.
In Milwaukee, two network affiliates, Channel 4 and 12, were in the second half-hour of their newscasts, and aired it live, along with the news channels.
On TV: At a time when daytime TV soaps are dying off, NBC has given its last survivor, "Days of Our Lives," another year, it's 45th season. "Days" airs at 1 p.m. on Channel 4.
- The Hollywood Reporter's "Live Feed" blog reports that talks have resumed between Conan O'Brien and Fox.
- The coming departure of Oprah Winfrey from broadcast TV has led Rosie O'Donnell to start talking about returning to syndicated daytime television, if you believe the Internet chatter.
- The very funny Aziz Ansari, of NBC's "Parks and Recreation," is about to be named host of the 2010 MTV Movie Awards on June 6, according to the LA Times' "Show Tracker" blog. Ansari's stand-up comedy tour hits Milwaukee's Pabst Theater on June 18.
Jon channels Glenn: Comedy Central's Jon Stewart did have his Thursday night "Daily Show" as a Glenn Beck-ish monologue. If you didn't see his take on the wackiest pundit on TV, you missed a comedic tour de force.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. 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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.