Open highlights a no-show on Ch. 11

September 01, 1992|By Ray Frager | Ray Frager,Staff Writer

Twirl that fist in the air and woof it up for Arsenio Hall -- unless you're a tennis fan.

Channel 11 has opted to pre-empt CBS's 11:30 p.m. to midnight U.S. Open highlights program on weeknights this week and next in favor of Hall's syndicated talk show.

"We're committed to running Arsenio at 11:30," WBAL-TV programming director Emerson Coleman said yesterday. "We're not going to move that from its time period."

The Open highlights show is being carried by Washington's CBS affiliate, WUSA (Channel 9). WUSA also regularly telecasts Hall's show at 11:30, but is delaying it a half-hour.

A CBS spokesman said 88 percent of the network affiliates are showing the Open highlights program. Among the other large markets not carrying late-night tennis are Sacramento, Calif., San Antonio and Kansas City, Mo.

USA Network's coverage of the U.S. Open includes evening programs that run until 11 p.m., but USA has the option of staying with a match until 11:30. At that time, the cable network must yield to CBS, which can pick up the action live. Last year, compelling matches involving Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe were seen live on late-night shows.

Many around Baltimore can pick up Channel 9, either via antenna or as a cable channel. But seeing the CBS late show could be a problem for viewers -- such as those in Baltimore and Baltimore County -- whose cable systems do not include the Washington station. A viewer following a late match on USA Network would have to disconnect his cable and switch to an antenna to get Channel 9.

And that's probably not what Arsenio means when he says, "Let's get busy."

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