Paramount will announce as early as today that KCBS-TV has acquired “Entertainment Tonight” and “Hard Copy” for the 7-8 p.m. access block beginning in fall 1994.
The deal will provide “Entertainment Tonight” with access clearances on the CBS O&Os in New York, L.A. and Chicago. “Hard Copy,” meanwhile, will air in access on the CBS stations in L.A. and New York.
In Chicago, “Hard Copy” will remain on NBC-owned WMAQ-TV, which currently airs the show in the late afternoon/early fringe time period. Its deal for “Copy” extends until the 1995-96 season.
The show could wind up movingto WBBM later, but it is no more likely to put “Copy” in access than WMAQ.
With “ET” airing at 6:30 p.m. on WBBM (for a reported price of $ 24,000 per week), the CBS O&O would be forced to take the unlikely action of blowing out its profitable 6 p.m. newscast to make room for the show.
The move, which had been expected (Daily Variety, June 24), follows KNBC-TV’s announcement Wednesday that it had licensed the new Warner Bros.’ magazine show “Entertainment News Television” for fall 1994.
Par sources maintain the deal with KCBS was in place long before NBC O&O prez John Rohrbeck suddenly announced that he was pulling the two shows off KNBC-TV’s access sked next year.
The CBS TV Stations had reportedly come to Par months ago seeking the shows to help bail out the troubled L.A. station, which has been suffering greatly in access since “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” jumped to KABC-TV last September.
By acting first, Rohrbeck insisted that he had parted with the two Par shows because he wasn’t willing to meet the high asking price (believed to be in the neighborhood of $ 50,000 to $ 75,000 per week for each show) at a time when they were faltering in the ratings.
But Par insiders suggest that there is nothing wrong with the ratings. They say Rohrbeck was just trying to put the best spin on a bad situation by making it seem as though he had dumped the programs before Par took them away from him.
Par and CBS had already reached an informal agreement on price prior to Rohrbeck’s announcement, and that reportedly didn’t change after KNBC bowed out.
For Par, the KCBS deal could prove to be a mix blessing.
While it generally provides its shows with clearances on the same station group in the top-three markets, “ET” and “Hard Copy” will be moving to the third-place news station in L.A.
New KCBS general manager Bill Applegate has said that he hopes to make news his top priority, but the station is so far behind KABC and KNBC in the ratings that it will have to make up a lot of ground.
It also raises questions about the future of Par’s recently announced fall ‘ 94 firstrun strip, “The Price Is Right.”
With CBS committed to Par’s newsmag shows and the ABC stations locked up with King World, that leaves NBC — and Rohrbeck may not look very kindly on a show from Par after this week’s travails.