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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

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Mike Hegedus, one of two co-hosts who stuck it out to the end on WBBM-Channel 2's unconventional "Monsters & Money In the Morning" early morning show, brought down the curtain on the show's seven-month run Friday with an impassioned, very unconventional commentary.

Rather than mouthing the typical "thank you's" and other innocuous pleasantries, Hegedus used the show's final moments to suggest he didn't necessarily agree with the decision to pull the plug on the show. Hegedus said "Monsters & Money" was dying for all the wrong reasons.

From there Hegedus went on to mourn the decline of creativity in the TV business. His candid observations caused Hegedus to noticeably choke up at one point, but he regained his composure as he ended with a plea for the courage to be different.

Though Hegedus' remarks seemed to come down hard on WBBM management for cancelling "Monsters & Money" before it had been given sufficient time to prove its viability, the powers-that-be at the station nonetheless allowed Hegedus to speak his mind. "Monsters & Money" co-host and Sun-Times financial columnist Terry Savage was seated next to Hegedus during his brief speech, and she reached over to shake his hand and commend him as soon as he was finished.

Meanwhile, WBBM management has decided it will call its new, more traditional early morning show that debuts Monday "The CBS2 Morning News at 4:30." That will change to "The CBS2 Morning News at 5" at 5 a.m. and again at the start of the 6 a.m. hour.

Speaking of "Monsters & Money In the Morning," the overnight Nielsen ratings for the show's debut Monday on CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 weren't promising. The first hour of the show from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. pulled a .6 rating. But that small number fell dramatically to a mere .2 rating in the show's second hour from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

That means the show lost around two-thirds of its audience after the first hour. Some viewers may have headed off to work, but others may have simply headed to another local TV station. Per the January 2010 Nielsen numbers, WBBM's old, more traditional early morning news show had averaged a .8 rating from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. from Jan. 7 to 27, and that number grew to a 1 rating in the 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. hour.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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