By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Apr 14, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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The series finale of ABC's "Ugly Betty" airs tonight at 9 on Channel 12.

Betty's braces are off and it's hard to think of her as "ugly," her young nephew has come out to an accepting family, and most of the characters -- including the evil ones -- are so much nicer than they once were.

It's time to end the whole thing.

Both U.S. networks and TV viewers seem reluctant to end a successful series, even if its creative juices are running dry. Obviously, the ratings ultimately did in the once-innovative "Ugly Betty." 

The four-season run of this melodramedy take on Spanish-language telenovelas would be just about right even if the Nielsen numbers were better.

At its best, the saga of Betty Suarez trying to make her way through the cutthroat world of New York fashion, was a stylish, entertaining fantasy painted in broad colors. But it began to run out of steam as the plots and counter-plots by the various forces that swirled around the smart but naive Betty became repetitive.

There were bits of reality thrown in, with a sensitive handling of two gay characters, Betty's young nephew, Justin, and her frequent nemesis, Mark.

And the show was mostly successful in melding its storylines about high-fashion Mode Magazine and the Hispanic Suarez family from Queens.

But those stories all have been told. And it's a good time to move on.

Coco tweets directly to motorists: You can thank the Lamar outdoor advertising company for posting tweets from Conan O'Brien to its billboards around the country, including at least one Milwaukee site.

As of Tuesday afternoon, you could see the messages from the newly signed TBS late-night talker if you're driving northbound on I-94 at Walnut Street. The billboard is just west of the freeway.

The company's Conan site explains that the stunt began a month ago: "Until this talented, brilliant, voluptuously coiffed man has his show back, we shall offer him our screens."

Now that he has a deal with TBS, that could change.

Meanwhile, here's a devilish Internet look at "Team Leno."

On TV: After only one episode of its new post-Katrina New Orleans series "Treme" has aired, HBO has ordered a second season.

  • Channel 6 weather guy Vince Condella blogs about that Facebook page calling for him to re-grow his old mustache, and uses it to talk about Buddhism. He writes that his mustache initially drew negative reactions. "The most important lesson I take away from my facial change is the lesson of impermanence.  It’s been a nice reminder that life is all about change."
  • Soap star Aiden Turner and his professional dancer partner Edyta Sliwinska were cut from ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" Tuesday night.
  • If you haven't had enough of Kate Gosselin -- who wasn't cut from "DWTS" this week -- she co-hosts "Entertainment Tonight" at 6:30 on Channel 12. It repeats at 12:36 tonight.
  • The WWE's "Friday Night SmackDown" is moving from MyNetwork TV to Syfy starting Oct. 1 in the 7 p.m. slot. Syfy Friday night dramas will move to Tuesdays.
  • Kevin Eubanks told the audience for Monday night's "Tonight Show" that he's leaving after 18 years. He'll stick around for six more weeks. "American Idol" music director Rickey Minor will replace him.

The revenge of the celebs: Comedy Central's "South Park" marks its 200th episode at 9 tonight with a collection of celebrities targeted by the show uniting for a class-action lawsuit.

Here's a preview:

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.