By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 28, 2011 at 11:00 AM

It's likely you've never heard about ReelzChannel, even though it's readily available to you if you have satellite or digital cable.

The folks behind the channel -- which carries movies, syndicated reruns and programming about movies -- are hoping that next weekend's premiere of the controversial eight-part miniseries "The Kennedys" will change all that.

The mini-series was originally produced for The History Channel, which ended up dumping it, saying "The Kennedys" didn't fit the channel's "brand." It was produced by "24" creator Joel Surnow, an outspoken conservative, and there's been talk of pressure from members of the Kennedy family, talk that's been denied.

After that, numerous cable outlets turned it down, until ReelzChannel finally decided to pick it up.

"The Kennedys" premieres at 7 p.m. Sunday.

If you're a subscriber to southeast Wisconsin's biggest TV service, Time Warner Cable, you can find ReelzChannel on Channel 275.  It's on Channel 299 on Dish Network, and Channel 238 on DirecTV.


Here's a trailer for "The Kennedys":

Some radio numbers: The new portable people meter ratings system is showing good signs for John Mercure's "Wisconsin Afternoon News" on WTMJ-AM (620), according to Arbitron numbers.

In the key demographic of listeners 25-54, Mark Belling's show on WISN-AM (1130) remains in first place, but the WTMJ afternoon show, which launched in January, was in second.

Obviously, February was an unusual month, with a blizzard, the Super Bowl and then the mess in Madison, but it's a healthy start for the show that succeeded Jonathan Green's long-running afternoon program.

On TV: "Modern Family" picked up best comedy series honors, Alec Baldwin of NBC's "30 Rock" was named best TV comedy actor and Kristin Wiig of "Saturday Night Live" was best TV comedy actress in the first Comedy Awards. The awards show will air April 10 on various channels, including Comedy Central, MTV and TV Land. You can find the full list of winners here.

  • President Barack Obama's speech on Libya airs today at 6:30 p.m., and the broadcast networks plan to air it.
  • There's increasing talk that Katie Couric is leaving CBS News when her contract is up in June, accompanied by talk that Scott Pelley will take her spot on the anchor desk.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, Fox has renewed cult-favorite "Fringe" for a fourth season. It's a rare network vote for quality over ratings.
  • Tom Hanks tweets that he'll be a guest on NBC's "30 Rock."
  • Thursday's season finale of MTV's "Jersey Shore" pulled in 7.6 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers, broadcast network size ratings.
  • If you're planning head, the final new edition of Oprah Winfrey's syndicated talk show will air May 25.
  • CBS has renewed "The Amazing Race" and "Undercover Boss" for next season.

The new Michael Scott (at least for now): NBC's "The Office" will be saying goodbye to Steve Carell's Michael Scott, and Will Ferrell will be coming by to take his spot -- at least for the remainder of the season.

There won't be new episodes of the show until April 14, when Ferrell's character is introduced.

Here's a brief 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.