Shawn Patrick signed on this morning as co-anchor of Channel 6's "Wake-Up News," as the Fox affiliate calls its four-and-a-half hours of morning news, filling the spot opened by the departure of Mark Concannon.
His on-camera debut came at 4:44 a.m. promoting an upcoming piece on how "the first brat of the season getting to the field, we'll explain about why it's all about the hand-off."
"Welcome to Milwaukee," said morning weather guy Rob Haswell. "You had to say 'brat' and 'Brew crew' all in those first few sentences."
Patrick, a native of suburban Chicago, knows Milwaukee TV viewers take things like bratwurst and the Brewers seriously. And mornings are an increasing important part of local TV news.
"Increasing" is a key word here, because in most parts of the day, the audience is shrinking. Morning is a rare growth area.
And with the length of morning newscasts -- Channel 6's stretches from 4:30 to 9 a.m. weekdays -- there's a different style than on, say, the 10 p.m. news.
"You have to deliver the news, the traffic, the weather," Patrick told me last week in a telephone interview. "At the same time you want to be relaxed with it. Nobody's sitting there glued to the TV."
Patrick, who comes from the morning anchor desk at Denver's NBC affiliate, KUSA-TV, recognizes the difference in style required. The morning news teams are looser, less tightly scripted than later in the day.
"I don't take myself too seriously," he said of his on-camera persona. "But I'm serious about what I do."
He spent last week getting the lay of the land, visiting places like the Harley Davidson Museum and heading up to Green Bay to see Lambeau Field. He's getting schooled in pronunciation from various sources, including Channel 6's weather team.
"The weather person's always good to talk to," he said.
Filling the anchor chair vacated by a veteran like Concannon -- he moved on after 20 years on the shift -- can be a tough thing. And Patrick's well aware that he's the new face joining an anchor crew of familiar faces like Kim Murphy and Nicole Koglin.
"I know it takes time," he said. "You have to build the chemistry. I have to prove myself, I know that."
An odd little movie to check out: "Gabriel Over the White House," a 1933 movie about a fictional president who's guided by an unseen force to take dramatic action to deal with the Depression has one of its periodic airings on Turner Classic Movies at noon Tuesday.
If you're a history buff, the film, produced by William Randolph Hearst's Cosmopolitan Productions, offers a forecast of the New Deal, mixed with an authoritarian tone that veers toward fascism.
On TV: Here's a reminder that the cancellation of "WorldFocus" has caused a shuffling of Milwaukee Public TV's evening news programming on Channel 36 starting today. The biggest change: "PBS NewsHour" moves up 30 minutes to 6 p.m. weeknights.
- Disgraced former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was canned by Donald Trump on Sunday night's "Celebrity Apprentice."
- "Precious" star Gabourey Sidibe will host NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on April 24. Ryan Phillippe hosts April 17. Tina Fey hosts this weekend, with Justin Bieber staying up way too late for a kid his age to sing. The Betty White Mother's Day edition -- likely to pull in huge numbers because of all the hype -- airs May 8.
- There's talk that Charlie Sheen wants out of his still highly-rated "Two and a Half Men," which would effectively kill the show. Not having a full-time job would give him more time to get in trouble.
- Michael Ausiello breaks the news that S. Epatha Merkerson is leaving NBC's "Law & Order" after 16 seasons as Lt. Van Buren.
Julianne Moore returns to her soapy roots: She's a big-time movie actress now, but Julianne Moore got her start on CBS' "As the World Turns," playing Frannie Hughes from 1985 to '87.
She's back in her old role today on "ATWT," which airs at 1 p.m. weekdays on Channel 58.
Here's a look back at the soap opera version of Julianne Moore:
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.