ON AND OFF THE AIR:
* The unprecedented collaborative PBS/NBC coverage of the Democratic National Convention July 13-16 showed notable gains in viewership for public stations, according to figures released yesterday by Maryland Public Television.
In 25 metered markets -- not including Baltimore, whose viewership figures come in monthly doses -- PBS is noting that it consistently outdrew CNN coverage in the expanded "MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour," with hosts Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer joining NBC anchor Tom Brokaw and other correspondents in the 8 to 10 p.m. hours.
"Clearly, there is a sizable audience for conventions and we're looking forward to continuing this innovative collaboration for the Republican Convention," said Jennifer Lawson, executive vice president for national programming and promotion for PBS.
When CBS, ABC and NBC-alone were on the air from Madison Square Garden, however, each network drew more viewers than did PBS.
On the negative side, another conclusion that can be drawn from the New York numbers is that vast numbers of viewers did not watch. Even on Thursday's final night, when nominee Gov. Bill Clinton delivered his acceptance speech, the total "share" of viewers recorded (which measures the percentage of viewers tuned to a particular network) was only around the 40-share level.
* Yes, that really is Clint Eastwood doing the promo spots this weekend in and around a four-movie "Best of the West" film festival on WBFF-Channel 45.
The local station's Mike Schroeder says the one-time "man with no name" of such westerns as "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" recorded the package in connection with a promotional effort for his upcoming new western feature film, "The Unforgiven."
The Channel 45 westfest includes: on Saturday, "Two Mules for Sister Sara" at noon and "The Wild Bunch" at 2 p.m.; on Sunday, "Eldorado" at noon and Eastwood's own "High Plains Drifter" at 3 * What was bad for Dennis Miller may be good for Baltimore-roots comedian Jeff Marder.
Comedian Miller's late-night talk show, airing here at 12:30 a.m. weeknights on WBAL-Channel 11, has been canceled and was taping its final original installment today.
And Channel 11 program chief Emerson Coleman says as a result, "I am hopeful that things can be worked out" to carry the CBS late-night game show "A Perfect Score," of which Marder is host.
Coleman says the station's contract to carry "The Dennis Miller Show" extends to Sept. 11, but that the station is talking with CBS officials about carrying "A Perfect Score," and perhaps even the network's "Crime Time After Prime Time" programming, at that time.