By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Apr 12, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Like many of you, I had heard late last week that the weekend was going to offer the potential of explosive weather, along with unusually warm temperatures. And like other TV viewers, I was alerted that Channel 4's Michael Fish and Brian Gotter were going to be on duty "24/7" to report on all those explosions.

Most Stormageddon excesses come from sending reporters out into the weather to tell us that it's snowing (or, as on Sunday, raining). In this case, it was the ominous weather updates from the forecasters.

Stormageddon isn't just about snow, after all. Weather drama -- winter, spring, summer and fall -- can draw viewers to TV newscasts.

And that's what happened on Sunday evening.

Yes, a thunderstorm rumbled through the coverage area Sunday night. But throughout prime time hours on the biggest TV-watching night of the week, Gotter was interrupting programming to talk about weather that didn't effect more than a tiny corner of Fond du Lac County, on the the most outer reaches of the Milwaukee TV market.

I have great respect for the weather forecasters who are right more than we like to think. And they're very clear that weather unfolds dynamically. Storms can change course.

But as early as Saturday, it was clear that southeast Wisconsin was no longer in the area of the greatest danger from Sunday's storms. What it looked like was that Channel 4's newsroom management had locked them into Stormageddon coverage early, and couldn't pull back when the big storms hit elsewhere.

Frankly, much of Sunday's weather could have been handled with the crawl at the bottom of the screen.

The weather drama was, after all, elsewhere.

Something going on at 12: Channel 12's newscasts moves to a temporary set with the start of the 5 p.m. newscast this evening, with a new permanent set with "major upgrades" coming later this month.

While the ABC affiliate is being all mysterious about the changes, one thing to speculate on is the launch, at last, of a high-definition newscast, joining Channels 4 and 6 in the modern world. (Some viewers think Channel 12 is already high-definition, but they're only broadcasting their standard definition format in widescreen.)

But that's only speculation. At the very least, the new set is likely to be ready for that transition when it comes.

On TV: NBC says Steve Carell's April 28 "The Office" finale will run 50 minutes. That night's "Parks and Recreation" will run 40 minutes.

  • CBS' (for now) Katie Couric drops by NBC's "Today" on Wednesday morning to peddle her new book, "The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives." 
  • Speaking of Katie Couric, I'll be talking about her future and the end of Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel show on Joy Cardin's show on the Ideas Network of Wisconsin Public Radio in the 6 a.m. hour Wednesday. In Milwaukee, you can hear the show on WHAD-FM (90.7).
  • Comedy Central launches Norm MacDonald's "Sports Show" at 9:30 tonight.

The future of "reality" TV: Good sport (and "Survivor" host) Jeff Probst offers this glimpse at the future of his TV genre, which isn't going to disappear:

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.