By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Apr 09, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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As "The Tudors" begins its fourth and, supposedly, final season at 8 p.m. Sunday on Showtime, regular viewers know that it's an odd blend of English history and naughty soap opera.

Still, it's hard to forget Henry VIII should be a much older, fatter monarch as he watches his teenage fifth wife, Catherine Howard, dance around the castle. But despite a festering leg wound, the king, as portrayed by Jonathan Rhys Meyers is forever young.

His court is peopled by pretty young men and women, frequently in various stages of undress. His penultimate bride, played by Tamzin Merchant, would look as comfortable prancing around the mall as she does squirming in her throne, next to her hubby.

Having said all that doesn't mean I think "The Tudors" is an unwatchable bit of fluff. Last season dealt with Henry's war on the Roman Catholic opposition, dealing with issues of theology of politics in between all the bed-hopping.

It makes for an entertaining blend of history and hokum.

The blood and guts of history survive amid the soft-core sex. It frequently leads me to Wikipedia, if not further, to find out more on this topic or that reference in an episode.

A basic question of the first half of this season concerns the king's basic smarts. How could he think he could keep his young wife from straying -- even if he really looked like Jonathan Rhys Meyers at that stage in his reign? The first several episodes of this season offer glimpses of the complicated man Henry was -- brilliant and self-deluding -- behind the series' pretty facade. 

As I said, this is supposed to be the last season. But Henry's children: Edward, Mary and, of course, Elizabeth, provide enough royal drama for at least a couple more seasons.

God save "The Tudors."

On the radio: Traditional AM and FM radio listening has declined from 22 hours a week in 2005 to 18 hours in 2010, according to an interesting study from Bridge Ratings. Among listeners 55 and older, it's only gone from 24 hours to 23 per week. Among listeners 25 to 54 it was 23 hours in 2005 and is currently 19 hours  a week.

  • Another shakeup at Chicago's WGN-AM (720) sends Garry Meier to the important 3 to 7 p.m. shift, and moves Steve Cochran to the 1 to 3 p.m. slot starting today. There are some other changes on the schedule.
  • The weekly "Racing Round Up Show" starts its 26th season at 7 p.m. Monday on WAUK-AM (540). The 90-minute look at motor sports will broadcast from Paulie's Pub & Eatery in West Allis.
  • NPR correspondent John Burnett talks about covering disasters, man-made and natural, in an April 27 appearance at the Domes. Tickets are $10 and are available from WUWM-FM (89.7).
  • Sirius XM Radio will start airing the audio of MSNBC's full schedule on Monday on Sirius channel 90/XM channel 120.
  • Speaking of Sirius XM, it's airing New York City's Tax Day Tea Party live from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 15 on Sirius channel 144/XM channel 166.

Check out "Treme": The other big TV premiere this weekend is HBO's post-Katrina drama, "Treme," with its first of many airings at 9 p.m. Sunday. 

I haven't had a chance to preview "Treme," but this drama -- with a 10-episode first season -- has all the right things going for it: It comes from David Simon, who created "The Wire," and stars, among others, John Goodman and the talented Steve Zahn

Here's an advance look:

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.