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Sweeps Spread The Hype

You know it’s sweeps month when the latenight affiliate news programs do entertainment stories related to their networks’ made-for-tv movies and specials.

After Cher’s Feb. 4 tv special, for example, WCBS-TV’s 11 p.m. news featured an interview with her ex, Sonny Bono, as well as clips from Cher’s early days in showbiz. On Feb. 10, during the movie “Lucy And Desi: Before The Laughter,” the station ran numerous plugs for an interview with the couple’s daughter, Lucie Arnaz. The next day, the news followed a Connie Chung story on “Face To Face With Connie Chung” about lupus by interviewing Richard Dreyfuss and his wife, who suffers from the disease.

Meanwhile, on Feb. 3, WNBC-TV interviewed Brian Dennehy after his appearance in the tv film “In Broad Daylight.” A day later, “The Maria Hanson Story” was immediately followed by a talk with Hanson on the news. On Feb. 6 and 7, after the “L.A. Law” anniversary special, there were interviews with two “L.A. Law” stars, Corbin Bernsen and Susan Ruttan. And after “The Chase” aired Feb. 10, there was naturally an interview with the chopper pilot whose story was told in the movie.

WABC-TV has done fewer such stories lately. Art Moore, director of programming, said the station refrains from movie related interviews unless it’s a local story such as a court case. “If it makes sense, and it’s of local value, we’ll do it,” Moore said.

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