CBS affils nix grid idea

CBS affiliates want the network to go after female viewers on Sunday afternoons next fall rather than compete head-to-head against Fox Broadcasting’s National Football Conference franchise.

Eye web execs suggested creating a new pro football league on Monday during a closed-door affiliates meeting in Carlsbad (Daily Variety, Jan. 11), but general managers shot down that trial balloon on the second day of the gathering.

“There was little interest in competing directly against Fox’s franchise with sports,” a source said.

In stark contrast to the Monday session, which was dominated by angry CBS Broadcast Group president Howard Stringer, the affiliate members were described as much more vociferous after they emerged from regional meetings on Tuesday.

With the National Assn. of Television Program Executives confab around the corner, they reportedly demanded the network provide specifics about its plans for programming Sunday afternoons now that CBS has lost the NFC to Fox.

“No one is sure if they should go to NATPE and buy programming,” one station exec said.

The CBS brass, which consisted of all the top management except web chieftain Laurence Tisch, was not forthcoming about the network’s plans. But management agreed with affils that there should be no “trash sports,” such as bowling and cycling, to fill the gap.

Some affils said they found it interesting that CBS execs repeatedly made mention of ABC’s strong performance Saturday with three hours of primetime figure skating competition. Although affils doubt the web would go with skating on a weekly basis, one station exec said the sport could fit in as a spoke in a rotating series of sports and entertainment.

Several general managers suggested the idea of CBS airing movies or the sixth day of a soap opera in the 3:30-6 p.m. daypart, which the web intends to keep along with the noon-1 p.m. block for the “NFL Today” pre-game show.

In exchange for giving the web time on Sundays, sources said some affils are seeking an extra spot in primetime.

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