By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Mar 08, 2011 at 11:00 AM

The question I get most frequently from readers is some form of "Where is so-and-so?"

Over the weekend, a couple folks asked what had happened to Scott Steele, Channel 4's weekday morning weather guy, apparently absent for a day.

The answer, as it is in most cases, is nothing.

At least nine times out of 10, the missing person is just doing what most of us do from time to time -- taking a day, or a week, off.

Some viewers watch so closely that even a day's absence disrupts their daily routine.  In Steele's case, he may have taken a day off, but a quick check of Channel 4's Web site (and a view of the regular on-air promos) shows Steele is still a key part of "Storm Team 4."

These days, the Web sites are pretty up to date -- especially on personnel. So that's the first place to look. The other thing to provide a quick answer to your question is to come to and type the name of the person your searching for in our search engine. If somebody left, you're likely to find that I've written about their departure.

One other common answer is that they've changed shift. Some TV news viewing is so ritualistic that a reporter leaving the morning news must be gone if they're not there -- even if they've only moved to a later schedule.

Generally, I get these questions right after a sweeps period ends. There are four four-week sweeps periods every year, and a couple months when Milwaukee TV has a special ratings period. During those periods, it's hard to take time off.

So when a sweeps period ends (February sweeps wrapped up Wednesday night) don't be surprised if there's a flurry of vacations and days off.

The next sweeps period is in May, by the way.

Interestingly, I also got this question Monday from a Twitter follower: "Is Andy Kendeigh still at channel 12?"

Nope, not since he left last July to become sports director at another Hearst TV station, KETV-TV in Omaha, Neb.

So not everybody's watching that closely.

The bottom line is that I've learned long ago that the comings and goings of Milwaukee TV people is of interest to a surprising number of people.

On TV: Monday's decision by Warner Brothers TV to fire troubled Charlie Sheen from "Two and a Half Men" isn't the end of the story. First, we don't know if this kills the show. If CBS and Warner Brothers bring it back, how do they write out the fictional "Charlie?" And how long does every wacky utterance of the real Charlie get news coverage?

  • Nothing's official, but Variety is saying that "Southland" is likely to be picked up by TNT for a fourth season. That wouldn't be surprising, since the show that couldn't survive on NBC attracts enough viewers to be a cable success.
  • Milwaukee's last "American Idol" finalist, Danny Gokey, gets a few lines in an upcoming Fox made-for-TV movie, "Truth be Told," airing in mid-April. Gokey told the "Taste of Country" Web site that he wants to do more acting.
  • ESPN is launching a sports media blog that will cover, um, ESPN. Which is actually a better idea than it may sound, since it's supposed to deal with the questions that frequently pop up about ESPN.
  • The new "Comedy Awards," airing April 10 on a slew of cable channels including MTV, TV Land and Nick at Nite, will feature a "Johnny Carson Award for Comic Excellence" as its top honor.
  • Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" may finally be dying. Sunday's season premiere was down 16 percent from the opener of the previous installment.
  • Former "Last Comic Standing" finalist Mike DeStefano has died of heart failure at 44. He had overcome drug addiction, but was HIV Positive.

Katie Couric tries on her funny: CBS News anchor Katie Couric has popped up on the Funny or Die site with a mock report on "shaking the sillies out."

No, it's not hilarious. But it's kinda funny. Sorta:

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.