Election Doesn’t Get Prime Treatment

The City of Brotherly Love’s TV news teams spurned lengthy election coverage in favor of network programming on election night – an evening that proved to be worthy of national attention as Pennsylvania democrat Harris Wofford beat Bush-backed Richard Thornburgh for a U.S. Senate seat.

The city mayor’s job and a congressional seat also were at stake in the Nov. 5 election.

Except for a few brief updates in primetime, KYW-TV’s election night coverage began with the station’s 11 p.m. newscast. But staffers at KYWTV, which aired NBC’s entire primetime lineup, did participate in a joint project with the city’s three cable operators, Comcast, Greater Media and Wade Cable vision. From 9 to 11 p.m., city cable subscribers saw KYW-TV reporters covering election returns on a public-access channel (the first hour originated at KYW’s studios, the second at Comcast’s).

WCAU-TV aired the two-hour CBS telemovie “Posing,” but the station began the broadcast at 8 p.m. and stretched it to 11 p.m. airing frequent news updates. This plan proved to be bad news for WCAU’s 11 p.m. news, which rated third for the night.

Only WPVI-TV dropped any primetime programming – ABC’s “Coach” – for a half-hour special report. That spec earned a 14/20 rating, compared to 25/38 for the previous week’s “Coach.”

The 11 p.m. newscasts were extended on each station. WPVI, on Barbara Walters’ coattails, scored an 18/36. KYW, usually a distant third at 11 p.m., was second with 9/18, and WCAU was 6/13.

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