By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Nov 06, 2009 at 11:00 AM

Yes, there's definitely a Calatrava-like quality to the interior of the "mother ship" hovering above New York City in ABC's remake of the sci-fi thriller "V."

But, no, it's not lifted from the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The museum's Adam Horwitz confirms there's been no filming at the memorable structure for the new version of the 1980s franchise that spawned a couple mini-series and an actual weekly series about lizard-like aliens who come to earth promising universal health care.

Some Milwaukee viewers noted a Calatrava-esque quality and have been wondering about it -- and some have been tweeting about it.

A look at the interior of that huge fictional craft hovering above the Big Apple does reveal plenty of Calatrava-like struts. I put a call into ABC, but the network had no official explanation or photos to offer of the interior, nor an explanation on the design.

ABC's photo marketing department passed along some interesting shots of what the actors see when they're in that mother ship. The elaborate set is projected on green screen in the soundstage where the scenes are filmed.

"V" premiered Tuesday night with an audience of some 14 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That's a healthy premiere number, but the test comes next week at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Channel 12, when we find out how many viewers come back for a second episode.

For the record, four episodes will air in November, and then the show disappears until March -- after the Winter Olympics on NBC. ABC says the plan has been to air it in chunks, almost like an old-fashioned mini-series.

Grace Weber rocks "Oprah": Wauwatosa's Grace Weber performed her version of Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman" for Oprah Winfrey and her audience Thursday afternoon as part of the top daytime talker's karaoke competition.

"That's hard to do," Winfrey said of her choice of "the queen's song." Three celebrity judges then weighed in.

Gladys Knight called it "brave," and said she had to work on "intonation," but did a "great job."

The songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, were complimentary, with Ashford warning her to watch her pitch.

Said Simpson, somewhat mysteriously,  "Something in your voice sounds like you've been here before."

The strongest praise came from Billy Ray Cyrus.

"I'm leaving on the 1:15 flight for Nashville," he said. "I'd say we could have you a deal by 4:30."

The first 10 minutes of the daytime talk show were pre-empted by ABC News coverage of the shootings at Fort Hood in Texas, but that wrapped up well before her performance.

Milwaukee viewers find out whether she makes it to round two at 4 p.m. today on Channel 12.

On TV: Speaking of Oprah, insider Nikki Finke is reporting that she'll soon announce the launch of her Oprah Winfrey Network, with the show moving to her own cable channel in 2011, with the show moving from Chicago to Los Angeles. Oprah's people say no decision has been made.

  • And while we're talking about singing competitions, Brookfield's Nora Collins has a video of her song "Don't Slow Down" in the top 32 in Country Music Television's "Music City Madness." You can see the teen's video and vote here.
  • Comedy Central and The Onion are teaming up for a show based on the Onion Sports Network.
  • Wednesday night's World Series finale averaged around 22 million viewers, making this year's baseball finale the best rated in five years, according to Nielsen Media Research.

A seasonal goodbye to "Mad Men": The third season of AMC's "Mad Men," my pick for the best TV drama currently in production, wraps up at 9 p.m. Sunday. It's a season in which Don Draper's wife finally found out the secret that is central to the show's ongoing story line.

Last Sunday's episode centered on the reaction to the JFK assassination and is one of the few TV versions that got it right, demonstrating how television coverage weaved its way into our lives during that tragic weekend in November 1963. 

A fourth season has already been ordered for next year.

As a tribute to a fine season, the video of a new parody version of "Mad Men" from follows below.

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.