Robservations on the media beat:
All five of Chicago-based Weigel Broadcasting’s digital broadcast networks — including MeTV and the brand-new Story Television — are available in live streaming for the first time. Thanks to a carriage agreement announced this week, the Frndly TV streaming service adds Weigel's MeTV, Story Television, H&I (Heroes & Icons), Decades and Start TV to its lineup. “We welcome the subscribers of Frndly TV into the family-friendly world of MeTV and our full array of entertaining and engaging networks,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting. “The warmth of 'Andy Griffith,' the thrill of all five original 'Star Trek' series, newer and classic crime and court dramas are just a part of what our networks are bringing to Frndly, and we are thrilled to be with this well-positioned service.” Launched in 2019 by former Dish Network executives, the Denver-based Frndly markets itself as “the most affordable live TV streaming service in America,” offering cord-cutters more than 35 channels for $6.99 a month.
Great news for fans of Pat Tomasulo, morning sports anchor at Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9. He just released "What A Time To Be Alive," his debut stand-up comedy special on YouTube. (Here is the link.) Tomasulo calls the one-hour special, taped awhile back at Zanies Comedy Club, his "best work by far." I agree. It's a polished, impressive performance that showcases Tomasulo's curmudgeonly talent to the max. (One bit has him imagining Donald Trump as a local TV weatherman. I wouldn't give Nexstar any ideas.) Many still miss Tomasulo's late-night comedy show “Man of the People,” which aired for 18 months before WGN canceled it in 2019.
The Chicago Sun-Times takes the spotlight in "Shining Girls," an upcoming Apple TV+ series starring Elisabeth Moss as an archivist for the newspaper who learns a recent murder mirrored her own assault six years earlier. Billed as a “metaphysical thriller,” it's based on a 2013 novel by Lauren Beukes. (Here is the link to the trailer.) Moss, who starred in “Mad Men” and “A Handmaid’s Tale,” also serves as executive producer of the series, which was shot last year in Chicago. The first of three episodes premieres April 29. Another time-travel series that featured the Sun-Times prominently was "Early Edition," which ran on CBS from 1996 to 2000. (Hat tip to Sun-Times entertainment editor Darel Jevens.)
Highly recommended reading: Eric Zorn’s massive takedown of former Chicago Tribune colleague John Kass is a masterpiece that could only have been written by an insider. With dispassionate precision, Zorn lays out what really happened between Kass and his former Tribune colleagues before both columnists left in the Alden exodus of 2021. In a definitive account on Zorn's Picayune Sentinel weekly newsletter, headlined "Setting the record straight on John Kass, George Soros and the Chicago Tribune Guild," Zorn also points out how Kass continues to distort the facts surrounding the Tribune's move of his column from Page 2 in July 2020 — all designed to portray Kass as a victim of the "woke mob."
Buzz Kilman, longtime Chicago radio newsman and bluesman, breaks out the harmonica Friday to play "The Star Spangled Banner" to open a night of professional boxing under The Dome at Parkway Bank Sports Complex in Rosemont. It's Kilman's first post-pandemic performance — but not the first time he's played the National Anthem before an event produced by boxing promoter Bobby Hitz, his longtime pal. That happened about 20 years ago, Kilman recalled, adding: "I think it went well, but the crowd was so loud I couldn’t really hear anything!"
Nereida Moreno, a producer on "Reset," the midday news/talk show on WBEZ 91.5-FM, has shifted to a new role as an education reporter for the Chicago Public Media station. She'll focus on kids in Chicago Public Schools and private and parochial schools as well as youth culture. Before joining WBEZ as a producer on "The Morning Shift" in 2018, Moreno reported on immigration and Latino communities for the Chicago Tribune.
Pete Rosengren, the former Daily Herald sales and digital strategy executive who drowned after saving children from a dangerous rip current in Florida last year, posthumously was named a Carnegie Hero Medal winner this week. The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission honors civilians who risk their lives to save others. "This award comes as no surprise to those of us who knew Pete and worked with him these many years," Scott Stone, president and chief operating officer of Daily Herald Media Group, told reporter Jake Griffin. "Whether at work or home, Pete was the type of person you could count on to do the right thing."
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Ted Okuda: Great to know Ed [Curran] will be returning. Best forecast ever!