LOS ANGELES — In the first collaboration between public television and a commercial network news division on a news event, PBS and NBC announced yesterday they will jointly cover the Democratic and Republican conventions next summer.
The coverage will come from both the NBC News Division and PBS' "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour" with reporting teams led by Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer for PBS and Tom Brokaw for NBC.
The move is the latest cost-containment move by NBC, which has closed domestic and international news bureaus and reduced its work force in the news division.
PBS officials, speaking at a meeting of television critics in Universal City, said the network would broadcast three hours per night from the conventions. The coverage will be live in the East, and officials said it was likely, but not certain, the broadcasts also would be live for West Coast viewers.
The Democrats will meet in New York July 13-16 while the Republicans convene in Houston Aug. 17-20, 1992.
Neither ABC nor CBS had plans to follow NBC's lead in teaming up with another news organization.
Besides pooling resources, NBC will give up less of its lucrative prime-time entertainment hours to covering the conventions. NBC's convention coverage will begin later in the evening than PBS'.
Neither NBC nor PBS could attach a cost to what they would be spending for the collaboration, saying it was too early in planning. Lester Crystal, the executive producer of "The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," said it would add somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million to the show's costs.