By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jan 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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It shouldn't come as a surprise after the show was dumped on the Friday night schedule that ABC has decided four seasons of "Ugly Betty" is enough. 

I have to say that it's the right time to end the English-language take on telenovelas from Spanish-language TV, maybe a year too late.

At it's best, the show has been visually innovative. It used bright and sometimes cartoonish colors to illustrate the funny, frequently cartoonish situations inside a New York fashion magazine where earnest Betty Suarez, played by the talented America Ferrera, tried to make her mark.

As show has moved along, cardboard characters have developed some depth, like the conniving Mark, a stylish troublemaker who now shares some of Betty's  innocent hopes and dreams.

But garish colors can tire the eyes and broad characters can wear on the viewer.

The network knew the audience was dipping and the move to Friday showed the future wasn't as optimistic as Betty's view of the world.  The show was moved to Wednesday nights several weeks back, but the Nielsen numbers aren't growing.

This early word of cancellation was given so the writers can conclude Betty's story. There's been talk this season of a relationship between Betty, whose less frumpy than she was when the show began, and her pretty boy boss, Daniel.

That seems like a good way to end what is essentially a fantasy.

The latest word from insider Nikki Finke, writing at her Deadline Hollywood, is that the show will wrap up by the end of March, with ABC dropping two of the episodes it had originally ordered.

A Milwaukee sighting: If you've seen this week's episode of HBO's "Big Love," you've seen a Milwaukee native pop up in a rare TV role. The woman who accompanied Bill to the Washington fundraiser is Nancy Olson. She was nominated for a supporting actress Oscar in 1950's "Sunset Boulevard," where she played Betty Schaefer.

The Los Angeles Times "Show Tracker" blog tallies a number of "Sunset Boulevard references in the episode, which airs at various times the rest of the week on several HBO channels.

Olson was born in Milwaukee on July 14, 1928.

On TV: Former Milwaukee resident Molly Malaney will tie the knot with "Bachelor" Jason Mesnick in a televised ceremony on March 8. She moved last year to Seattle to be with the guy who first jilted her, and then changed his mind.

  • Failed prime-time talker Jay Leno tells successful daytime talker Oprah Winfrey on her talk show airing today at 4 p.m. on Channel 4 that he hasn't talked to Conan O'Brien since NBC's late night mess exploded. He said he thought it better to "let things cool down and maybe we'll talk."
  • Speaking of Conan, NBC has ordered two pilots from his production company, Conaco. See, it's all business -- show business.
  •  As of Wednesday, the "Hope for Haiti Now" had raised $66 million, including album sales.

A creepy "Old Man Winter:" There's something about the character that the Wisconsin Department of Tourism is using to lure folks out into the snow and cold that creeps me out.

He's a sleek metrosexual with snow on the roof, and his beard and 'stache are a little too neatly trimmed to really look like a guy who enjoys December in America's frozen Dairyland. I just don't see him braving an icy home game at Lambeau Field, or sitting in a shanty ice-fishing on some lake up North.

He looks positively Californian.

Here's his TV spot. What do you think of him as a symbol of winter in Wisconsin?

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.