By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Nov 13, 2009 at 11:00 AM

I've been looking for one of those silly TV news stories that symbolize a sweeps month; and it looks like we have a winner half-way through the ratings period.


Channel 4's been promoting a story for tonight's 10 p.m. newscast that's clearly tied to the release of the big screen's "2012," which opens today in theaters.

The promo announcer intones ominously: "Some believe it will be the end of civilization. Where's the proof? the evidence might shock you. Doomsday predictions, decide for yourself."

How much do you want to bet you won't really be shocked?

The four-week November sweeps period, which provides ratings information that help set advertising rates, runs until Nov. 25. 

An Emmy-winning documentary: The film about the discovery of the lost World War II submarine, the USS Lagarto, picked up three regional Emmys last week in Chicago is getting an airing this week on Milwaukee Public TV's Channel 36.1 at 9 a.m. Sunday. It was honored in the historic documentary category, and for music and writing.

The on-hour "Lost  and Found: The Legacy of the USS Lagarto" tells the story of the sub, one of 28  built in Manitowoc, which was lost in the Gulf of Thailand.

January in November: If you're a "Mad Men" watcher, you may want to check out January Jones hosting this weekend's "Saturday Night Live," at 10:30 p.m. Saturday on Channel 4.

She is, of course, Betty Draper, the icy hot wife of inscrutable ad man Don Draper.

On radio: Chicago's WGN-AM (720), is trying something interesting with the 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday shift, teaming with the Chicago Tribune's network of bloggers who post under the umbrella of "Chicago Now." Comedian and Chicago radio guy Bill Leff will host the show which is within easy earshot of Milwaukee radio listeners.

  • WUWM-FM (89.7) is in a 12-hour fund drive until 6 this evening. The goal is $30,000. Listeners can donate on-line or call 414-227-3210.
  • Cindy McDowell, market manager for the six Clear Channel Milwaukee radio stations -- WOKY-AM (920), WISN-AM (1130), WKKV-FM (100.7), WMIL-FM (106.1), WRIT-FM (95.7), and WQBW-FM (97.3) -- is retiring on Feb. 1.
  • Sirius XM satellite radio is launching Martha Stewart Living Radio's "Thanksgiving Hotline" from Nov. 23 to 25, with more than 30 hours spread over those days of answers to listener questions and tips for holiday cooking. It'll air those days from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sirius channel 112 and XM channel 157, repeating at 6 p.m. nightly on the subscription radio service.

A little more Oprah and Sarah: Oprah Winfrey is wisely building interest in her recorded sit-down with Sarah Palin by releasing a little bit of it before it airs at 4 p.m. Monday on Channel 12.

At least the launch of Palin's book tour will take some camera time away from Carrie Prejean.

Video from Monday's interview follows below.

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.