By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published May 10, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The annual disruption of our public TV viewing, "The MPTV Great TV Auction," has again broken the million-dollar mark and this year some of the credit is being given to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

First, the numbers: The 43rd auction – the biggest in the nation – hit $1,132,514 as the nine-day event ended at 1:30 a.m. Sunday night/Monday morning. That's up $103,188 from last year's total. (If you like all those numbers, auction director Art Langlais counted 3,500 volunteers, 3,000 donors and 8,000 bidders.)

The auction helps support programming on Milwaukee Public TV's two stations, Channels 10 and 36 -- along with its lineup of digital sub-channels.

Sports items led the list of popular items at the auction -- especially items signed by Rodgers.

Internet streaming of the auction brought buyers from as far away as Hawaii.

Speaking of public TV: PBS has announced its fall programming lineup, scheduling an eight-part look at "Prohibition," set to debut Oct. 2, from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Peter Coyote will narrate, Wynton Marsalis will provide the music.

"Nova" is also behind a four-part miniseries on "The Fabric of the Cosmos," scheduled to air in November.

Another long list of awards: All the TV and radio stations are touting their winnings in the annual Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards.

In the the headline awards, best large market TV news operation and station of the year, went to Channel 4. Among radio stations, Madison's WMGN-FM was large market station of the year and WTMJ-AM (620) was large market news/talk station of the year.

You can find the complete list of winners – and it's a long one – at the WBA Web site.

On TV: While Meredith Vieira has confirmed that she's leaving NBC's "Today," co-anchor Matt Lauer says he has no plans to leave – and no plans to join Katie Couric in a daytime talk show.

  • Speaking of Vieira's departure, it means Savannah Guthrie is moving onto the "Today" team. That means Chuck Todd will be solo anchor of MSNBC's "Daily Rundown" at 8 a.m. weekdays.
  • It shouldn't be a surprise, but Bristol Palin has landed a "reality" TV show on cable's Bio Channel about moving to Los Angeles and living with her "Dancing with the Stars" co-star, Kyle Massey, and his brother.
  • Kid Rock has agreed to be roasted by Comedy Central in August.
  • TMZ passes along a quote on French radio from Marg Helgenberger saying Justin Bieber was "kind of a brat" during his "CSI" stint. Is that surprising?
  • Fox has ordered new seasons of "Family Guy" and "Cleveland." The network's full fall schedule will be released Monday, kicking off a week when we get official word on what's coming back and what isn't.
  • Fox News Channel mudwrestler-in-chief Bill O'Reilly will play himself (and a potential murder suspect) on the upcoming season of TNT'S "Rizzoli & Isles," according to TV Guide. Angie Harmon's show starts its second season on July 11.

An early "Dexter" teaser: I haven't seen a premiere date yet for the sixth season of Showtime's "Dexter," but that hasn't stopped the premium channel from releasing an early look at the season to come:

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.