CBS has nothing better to do than offer more election coverage

November 06, 1990|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,Evening Sun Staff

So, you notice that CBS is taking two hours of its prime time for national election coverage tonight and you think that the shine is returning to the Tiffany of the networks as NBC and ABC only have an hour on the schedule.

Wrong again.

After "Rescue 911," CBS struggles in the ratings with a two-hour movie on Tuesday nights, while ABC has the highly rated "Roseanne" and NBC does just fine with "In the Heat of the Night."

CBS is giving up fewer rating points and pre-empting a two-hour show for the news tonight, while NBC and ABC are sticking with their money-makers. If "Murphy Brown" were running Tuesdays nights, you can bet that CBS wouldn't have touched it.

In any case, that means that CBS will be on the air at 9 o'clock on Channel 11 (WBAL) for two hours, while ABC on Channel 13 (WJZ) and NBC on Channel 2 (WMAR) come on at 10 o'clock for an hour of national coverage.

Locally, the three stations will be dependent on the breaks provided by the networks. Channel 11 plans on presenting some exit poll results at 8 o'clock when CBS gives it a few minutes, then during CBS' two-hour program, it will have seven-minute segments at 9:23, 9:53, 10:23 and 10:53. The 11 p.m. news will stay at a half hour, though sports is getting bumped. Ted Venetoulis will be back as the analyst.

Channel 2, which has former governor Marvin Mandel presenting his views on the election, will have five-minute updates at 8:55, 9:55 and, during NBC's program, at 10:25, with the option to stay on the air at 10:30 should the news warrant. The 11 o'clock news will be expanded to an hour.

Channel 13 (WJZ), which is adding no analysts to its popular news team, is sharing three-minute breaks with ABC during the 8 to 8:30 and 9 to 9:30 half hours and will get six minutes at 10:24 during ABC's election coverage. Its 11 o'clock news is also slated for its usual half hour, though it could spill over into an extended "Nightline" at 11:30 if needed.

And, in a demonstration of the specialized coverage that cable is capable of, the Comcast system in Baltimore County will present updates on that county's elections at five minutes before the hour and half hour beginning at 7:25. Those will be available on Channel 10, pre-empting five minutes of CNN Headline News.

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