I sensed a little confusion from some viewers of Channel 4's morning newscasts over the weekend, when an unfamiliar face popped up doing the weather.
Let me explain.
That new face is Jesse Ritka, and she's the official replacement for Craig Koplien, who left the NBC affiliate late last year, and has been blogging for us at OnMilwaukee.com for the past few months.
Koplien explained his own voluntary departure in a blog post that provides an interesting insight into TV news and weather.
Blogged Koplien: "I was told I would spend much of my time being a news reporter. I would also be the weather guy on the Saturday and Sunday night newscasts. With all due respect to news reporters and weather guys on Saturday and Sunday night newscasts, it wasn't my dream job anymore."
Ritka's job description includes doing the weekend morning weather, filling in for other forecasters and some reporting duties during the week.
She comes from KDLT-TV, the NBC affiliate in Sioux Falls, S.D., where she spent the last three years and was most recently worked the morning shift.
She's a native of suburban Minneapolis, but her grandparents live in Manitowoc, and she claimed on Saturday's newscast to be a life-long Packers fan.
But didn't Channel 4 replace Koplien with Lance Hill? After all, he's been doing weekend morning weather and had a lot of on-camera time during the Groundhog Day blizzard.
From the start, Channel 4 made it clear that Hill -- who left Channel 12 when his contract ended in November 2009 because his job was changing to hybrid weather/general assignment reporting position (much like Koplien's situation) -- was a freelancer.
In other words, he was just filling in, although his professionalism was clear as he blended in easily. He's obviously passionate about the weather -- a trait among TV meteorologists.
Just as that freelance gig ends, Hill is back doing the weather regularly, doing mornings on Channel 58. He started this morning.
On TV: Milwaukee "American Idol" finalist Naima Adadepo is on Twitter, if you want to follow her. Her first tweet: "Blessed Love beautiful people! Thank you for all of the support! Brand new to the twitter joint, forgive me for my lack of communication!"
- Speaking of "Idol," Thursday night's results show was up against reruns elsewhere on the dial, and that gave Fox the highest Thursday ratings for any network in four years.
- NY Magazine is reporting that CBS has signed up "How I Met Your Mother" for two more seasons. There's nothing official yet.
- ReelzChannel will have a pretty complicated schedule for its airing of the eight-part miniseries "The Kennedys." It premieres Sunday, April 3, when the first two parts will air. Episodes three through six will air the next Tuesday through Friday, with the final two parts airing Sunday, April 10. The schedule was adjusted because the NCAA Men's Basketball championship is April 4.
The Tiger Blood update: If you missed Sirius XM satellite radio's all-Charlie Sheen channel that ran over the weekend (seriously), there are still plenty of chances to sample some of that Sheen magic.
VH1 is going the serious route at 7 tonight with one-hour special. Drew Pinsky hosts "Charlie Sheen: Winning … or Losing It? with Dr. Drew."
A far less serious offering comes from Spike TV at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. "Charlie Sheen's Winningest Moments," will consist of animated segments on Sheen produced by the Taiwanese production company, Next Media Animation. The countdown of Sheen's "most outlandish moments" will be hosted by two Taiwanese female characters dubbed "The Goddesses."
No deal is done, but Mark Cuban tells RadarOnline.com that his HDNet channel talking to Sheen about a possible show.
Meanwhile, Funny or Die is offering Jerry O'Connell in an over-the-top mock audition to replace Sheen on "Two and a Half Men."
And when I say over the top, consider that a strong warning for the squeamish among you.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. 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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.