By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Sep 15, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Starting today, WMLW-TV changed its look and brand to "The M … and The M means Milwaukee."

In other markets throughout the country, a rebrand, especially among the independent stations without a major network affiliate, is something pretty common. Here in our backyard, it happens less often.

New shows, and a new on-air look through graphics and sounds will welcome viewers to the Weigel-owned-station. WMLW, will now market itself as "The M," and the station’s staff promises, "a whole new fresh attitude … and will now be the entertainment destination for Milwaukee television viewers."

That’s a big statement, considering the number of stations available through antenna, cable, digital and satellite service in our area. WLMW has been more local than some other independents, with the inclusion of a weeknight half-hour newscast at 9 p.m., from sister station WDJT-TV CBS 58.

"We are excited to bring this entertaining line up and new look to the No. 1 independent station in Milwaukee. With the strength of our programming combined with the CBS 58 News at 9 p.m., The M is a great choice for Milwaukee viewers," said Mark Strachota, vice president and general manager.

"Mike & Molly" will join the line up on Sept. 22. The comedy is in its first year of syndication and will anchor the afternoon comedy lineup on The M. Returning shows from last season are "The Middle," "The Big Bang Theory" and "Modern Family."

Actor Terry Crews, known as the dad on "Everybody Hates Chris," and his work on "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," "Are We There Yet?," starring in the Old Spice commercials and in the "Expendables" films as Hale Cesar, will bring his big personality to The M. Crews will be on weeknights at 7 p.m. as the new host on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

The M will also be the home to a number of syndicated talk shows, including "Dr. Phil" at 9 a.m., "The Doctors" at 10 a.m. and "Queen Latifah" at 11 p.m. Court shows "Judge Mathis" and "The People’s Court will run at noon.

Promotion wise, The M is working with WKLH-FM 96.5 and Dave and Carole in the morning with a give away. Viewers will have the chance to answer a question about the previous night’s show for a chance to see Billy Gardell on Sept. 26 at the Potawatomi Hotel and Casino.

WMLW-TV is over the air on 49.1, AT&T U-verse 7/1007 HD, Charter 8/608 HD, DIRECTV/Dish 49 and Time Warner 7/1007 HD.

DOMESTIC ABUSE AND THE NFL: CBS had a huge ratings win with last week’s broadcast of "Thursday Night Football." The game between Pittsburgh and Baltimore had an average of 20.8 million viewers, which was the largest for a Thursday night game since 2007.

The game was played right after Ray Rice, a player with the Ravens, was suspended from the NFL for life following a domestic abuse incident with his wife, Janay, that was caught on video earlier this year.

The commentators across all of the sports TV, radio, digital and print outlets had comments to share. But I have to praise James Brown of CBS for putting the incident into frame, in context, that was fitting for a national game broadcast. It also proved why Brown has been around football for so long and is well-respected among his peers:

"Two years ago, I challenged the NFL community and all men to seriously confront the problem of domestic violence, especially coming on the heels of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. Yet, here we are again, dealing with the same issue of violence against women. Now let’s be clear: this problem is bigger than football.

"There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women and, as they said, do something about it? Like an ongoing, comprehensive education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about.

"And it starts with how we view women.

"Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says, ‘You throw the ball like a girl,’ or ‘You’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women. And attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion. Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena, and whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are.

"Consider this: according to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night of February 15 in Atlantic City, more than 600 women have died.

"So this is yet another call to men to stand up and take responsibility for their thoughts, their words, their deeds, and as Deion (Sanders) says, to give help or to get help because our silence is deafening and deadly." 

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.