5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Paige Wiser


5 Questions with...Sun-Times' Paige Wiser

Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2010

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weekly local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guesta standout journalist who actually gets paid to watch TV for a livingshes a veteran staff member of the Chicago Sun-Times who now provides the latest entertainment news and on-going critiques for the wonderful world of televisionshes also a working mom with two small children who would just love to get a break from watching Dora the Explorer for the ten millionth timehere are 5 Questions withPAIGE WISER!

BIO: Paige Wiser is the resident TV critic for the Chicago Sun-Times. She has worked at the Sun-Times since 1994, in a variety of capacities. Over the years, she has written columns devoted to late-night cable movies ("Camera Obscura"), celebrity biographies ("BioFeedback"), and fringe entertainment ("Contrary to Popular Opinion"). She also penned a popular Sunday column, entitled Planet Paige, that looked at the quirkier side of the news.

Paige earned her bachelor's degree in English from the University of Notre Dame, and her master's in journalism from Northwestern University. She grew up in the northwest suburbs, dabbled in an urban lifestyle for a few storied years, and then packed up her all-black wardrobe for the inevitable move back to the suburbs.

Her husband, Jim Wiser, is the producer of "The Greg Jarrett Show" on WGN Radio AM 720. A busy mom with two kids, Paige usually does most of her writing at 4 a.m.

1) CSNChicago.com: Paige, as you are well awareas the world is well aware, our citys very own Oprah Winfrey just began her farewell TV season this week. In your opinion, when she finally does sign off for the last time, at least in this chapter, of her unprecedented television career next spring, how much of a void does she truly leave behind in the TV entertainment industry and do you think her departure will have a positive or negative effect on other existingfuture daytime talk shows?

Wiser: Personally, I think Ill be all right. I never had an Oprah phase, and right around the time she was touting the magic of The Secret, I began to feel like her influence could be dangerous. Thank God she uses her powers for good. If I may quote Breakfast at Tiffanys and I do, way too often Shes a phony, but shes a real phony. You know why? Because she honestly believes all this phony junk that she believes.

Shell definitely leave a void, and I think itll be fun to see who will fill it. Nobody saw Oprah coming, and now that our supreme tastemaker is onto greener pastures, Im hoping some visionary will reinvent daytime. There was a time when you could depend on reruns of Murder, She Wrote and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer to get you through the day, but lately, it doesnt seem like it could get any worse.

2) CSNChicago.com: With the fall TV season about to get underway, what season-ending cliff hangers from the end of last season are you most looking forward to seeing be resolved in the next few weeks?

Wiser: The art of the cliff hanger! I try to end each day with one.

The Big Bang Theory: Jim Parsons nabbed a well-deserved Emmy, and now his character seems to have met his match in Mayim Bialik, who will be back this season. Yes, Blossom! I also would have accepted Winnie from The Wonder Years, as shes so talented in math in real life.

Gossip Girl: I happen to be insanely attracted to Chuck (Ed Westwick), who was shot in the last episode. He could only improve with a mysterious scar. And Blair and Serena took off for Paris, so Im really just hoping for some dressing-room montages. I am a woman of simple pleasures.

The Office: Michael (Steve Carell) was on the verge of true love by asking for his sweetie Holly (Amy Ryan) to be transferred back. Dorks in love! Did you notice that Holly had a picture of Ed Grimley as her computer desktop?

Glee: Its not a perfect show, but its interesting to see how its evolving. I dont think anybody can bear the wait for the Britney Spears episode. And in real life, Puck (Mark Salling) and Santana (Naya Rivera) have already hooked up and broken up, so Ill be watching for some tension there. Plus - John Stamos as a dentist!

FlashForward: Well, it was canceled. But I would have been looking forward to it.

3) CSNChicago.com: With the onslaught of many new TV shows premiering this fall, tell us your five favorites so far that youre fairly certain will be a big hit with viewers this season.

Wiser: I make no claims about predicting hits the viewing audience has surprised me time and again (see: Two and a Half Men). But these are my five favorites:

Hawaii Five-0

Its folly to remake any show in any form (I guess puppetry would be funny), but I loved this. I love Scott Caan in anything; I think hes the arbiter of cool. And we get to hear Alex OLoughlin (basically a poor mans Keanu Reeves) say to him, Book em, Danno!

Raising Hope

Its Malcolm in the Middle, its Raising Arizona, its Martha Plimpton and malapropisms (philostrophical). Its Cloris Leachman wandering around in her bra. A financially (and somewhat mentally) challenged family tries to raise a baby without killing it.


Weve seen a lot of CIA actioners, enough that its a shocker that the agency can still function. We know all their secrets! But Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Boris Kodjoe are hot as a married spy team who have to report to a very gruff Gerald McRaney.


The Bring It On movie series is one of my weaknesses, so Im beside myself that I can expect cheer drama on a WEEKLY BASIS. Ashley Tisdale is underrated (by adults, at least), and well get to see the sweater monkeys make the case that theyre a serious sport.

The Defenders

Didnt want to like it. Didnt want to see Jim Belushi with another hot wife, didnt want to see Jerry OConnell in a bad suit. But theyre hysterical together as a legal team based on a pair of real Vegas lawyers.

4) CSNChicago.com: What would you consider to be the biggest mega pre-hyped shows in TV history that absolutely bombed with viewers?

Wiser: You have to know how heartbroken I was about Melrose Place being remade. The show had a very special place in my heart, and introduced communal viewing to an entire generation. I wanted the magic back. And it was just . . . the same set, really. But Katie Cassidy is a find. Id also be remiss in not mentioning Cop Rock. And The Ropers, maybe?

5) CSNChicago.com: Finally, lets shift to sports for this one. Who do you consider to be the greatest television game announcer in Chicago sports history?

Wiser: I do not have the section of the brain that responds to sports. At all. So I asked my husband, so who says, Before the days of Pat Foley, Blackhawks play-by-play announcer Lloyd Petit was the best. Len Kasper and Bob Brenly are very good, too.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to plug Paige? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Wiser: Oh gosh, not really. I have a 6-year-old and a 5-year-old who have caught WAY too many scenes from Dexter, Rescue Me and True Blood. I will say that being a TV critic, you actually see less TV than youd like to; there are so many advance DVDs to review that its hard to keep up with, say, Big Brother minutiae. Also, the job is really not good for the metabolism.

Wiser LINKS:

Chicago Sun-TimesPaige Wiser columns

Chicago Sun-TimesThe TV Paige blog

Paige Wiser on Facebook

Paige Wiser on Twitter

Cubs announce lineup for Game 1 of the World Series...and yes Kyle Schwarber is in it

Cubs announce lineup for Game 1 of the World Series...and yes Kyle Schwarber is in it

CLEVELAND - Kyle Schwarber is in the Cubs starting lineup for the first time since April 7.

It just so happens to also be the Cubs' first World Series starting lineup since 1945.

The Cubs released Joe Maddon's Game 1 lineup against Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians Tuesday afternoon ahead of a historic World Series matchup.

Schwarber is hitting fifth at DH:

1. Dexter Fowler - CF
2. Kris Bryant - 3B
3. Anthony Rizzo - 1B
4. Ben Zobrist - LF
5. Kyle Schwarber - DH
6. Javy Baez - 2B
7. Chris Coghlan - RF
8. Addison Russell - SS
9. David Ross - C

And Jon Lester is on the mound.

Schwarber is already the Cubs' all-time leader in postseason homers with five longballs in last season's playoff run.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Coghlan in the lineup is also a surprise as defensive stalwart Jason Heyward gets the boot to the bench for the second straight game.

The Cubs put Albert Almora Jr. in right field at Wrigley Saturady night when they beat Clayton Kershaw and locked up the NLCs.

Heyward is hitting .071 with a .312 OPS in the postseason, collecting only two hits and a walk in 10 games.

Coghlan has appeared in five games - all as a pinch-hitter - and is 0-for-4 with a walk and a run. 

The Cubs have scored 23 runs in the last three games after being shut out in 21 straight innings prior to that.

Cubs' Javy Baez, Indians' Francisco Lindor cross paths again, this time at World Series

Cubs' Javy Baez, Indians' Francisco Lindor cross paths again, this time at World Series

CLEVELAND -- Francisco Lindor and Javy Baez have always traveled a similar path, from Puerto Rico to Florida to being selected one pick apart in the 2011 amateur draft.

The young star infielders will take another monumental step together on Tuesday night when they square off in the World Series.

Baez has been a breakout star this season for the Cubs, who return to the Fall Classic on Tuesday night after a 71-year absence against Lindor and the Cleveland Indians. 

A first-time All-Star in 2016 and runner-up for the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year award, Lindor said he and Baez, whose families once celebrated Thanksgiving together, reflected upon the significance of the moment over the weekend.

“He texted me after he won and said, ‘Hey man, is this a dream?’” Lindor said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I think it is because I haven’t woke up yet.’ I’m excited.”

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

Baez and Lindor, the Indians’ shortstop for the past two seasons, grew up 20 miles apart in Puerto Rico and knew of each other. Both moved to Florida — about 160 miles apart — where their paths crossed again in high school and travel baseball games. Their proximity to one another got even closer when in 2011 the Indians selected Lindor with the eighth overall pick of the draft and the Cubs grabbed Baez with the ninth pick.

Lindor said Monday that their two families celebrated Thanksgiving together about a year after that with Baez’s family hosting the event. There was food and ping pong — Lindor said each player won a few games — and a good time was had by all.

“It was cool,” Lindor said. “His family made food and my mom brought something over and we just chilled. We ate, we had fun --- it was cool man. It was fun. That’s what kids do.”

Now those same youngsters are set to oppose each other in baseball’s most prestigious event. Not only that, both men’s franchises are attempting to snap lengthy World Series droughts and Baez and Lindor, who each have played starring roles this October, could potentially play big roles in their teams’ fortunes. Lindor said he can’t wait to get to shortstop and engage in some friendly banter with his longtime friend.

“Just like regular athletes we’re very competitive,” Lindor said. “We’re going to enjoy the game. But at the same time he likes to enjoy the game and that’s how I am too. You’ll see us whenever he’s at second base and I’m in the dugout -- you’ll see us saying stuff to each other and throughout the game. It’s fun. I’m really excited and can’t wait to go out there and play against him.

“I’m happy for him, happy for his family because he deserves it. All the things he has done, I’m super happy for him. I can’t wait to go out there and have fun. I just want to see him and give him a hug and say congrats.”