Word that Oprah Winfrey has lined up Sarah Palin for her Nov. 16 show is one more example of the power of the queen of daytime TV.
November's a key month in television, one of three main "sweeps" months when detailed ratings information is gathered by Nielsen Media Research. Here in Milwaukee, where the show airs at 4 p.m. weekdays on Channel 12, the show is an important lead-in to the ABC affiliate's evening news casts.
Despite Oprah's people calling the interview a "world exclusive," it's likely to be just the first of a number of interviews as the former Republican vice-presidential nominee sells her new book, "Going Rogue."
In September 2008, when the presidential race was heating up, Oprah said she wasn't interested in having Palin on her show. Of course, the queen of daytime talk was also out campaigning for Barack Obama last year. At the time, she told ABC News that it wasn't anything personal against Palin. It's just that she wasn't having candidates on her show.
With Palin's memoir is due to hit the stores on Nov. 17, expect her to be all over TV that week after launching the sales effort on Oprah's couch.
Now, if only Palin will follow up her Oprah chat with a visit to the Ed Sullivan Theater to sit down with David Letterman.
Now, that would be the biggest event of the November ratings period.
CHARLIE AND SARAH: Speaking of Palin, she'll be making a Nov. 6 Milwaukee appearance on behalf of Wisconsin Right to Life. Master of Ceremonies for the event will be WTMJ-AM (620) talker Charlie Sykes, who's not expected to be asking her any tough questions.
IT WAS INEVITABLE: MTV learned years ago that it couldn't sustain an audience with music videos, TV Land figured out that old TV shows could be rerun so many times in prime-time. Now cable's Weather Channel -- which long ago moved beyond just weather forecasts to include weather-themed documentaries in its prime-time lineup -- will start airing movies.
The first Friday night flick scheduled for the Weather Channel is George Clooney's "The Perfect Storm," from 2000, which will air at 7 and be repeated at 9:30. Don't worry, there will also be weather updates provided through the evening.
ON TV: Buzz from the entertainment media is that George Stephanopoulos will take over the chair vacated by Diane Sawyer when she moves from ABC's "Good Morning America" to replace retiring Charlie Gibson on "World News" at the end of the year.
- ABC has given a full-season run to its Monday night drama, "Castle."
- New York's Gov. David Paterson tells NY1 that he wants to go on to NBC's "Saturday Night Live," where Fred Armisen has done an impression of the blind governor. "I thought I would help them get ratings," he said.
- Rachael Ray's syndicated daytime talk show has been renewed through 2012, Broadcasting and Cable reports.
- NBC is planning a companion series to its "Biggest Loser," sending trainer Jillian Michaels around the country to help folks lose weight.
OUR GAL, HEATHER: OK, so the only connection between Heather Graham and Milwaukee is that she was born here. But maybe that's enough of an excuse to keep a close eye on her.
Her latest is a TV commercial for MoveOn.org pushing the public option option in the health care reform debate. Her spot follows below.
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.