L.A. stations slow to turn on ratings code

The four major broadcast television networks have taken to the new content-based TV ratings system in a major way, but that hasn’t been the case with the other stations in the Los Angeles market.

While KTTV started rating even its non-network shows on Jan. 1, KTLA, KCAL and KCOP have yet to institute the system. And in fact, only KCOP has definite plans to have the ratings in place before the end of January.

“I think there is some confusion initially over just who should be rating the shows,” said John Reardon, VP-G.M. at KTLA, “and whether it should be the producers or the studios or the syndicator – or us. No one seems to be sure what’s happening at this point.”

A spokeswoman for KCAL, under new ownership with Young Broadcasting Inc., said Friday that the station is studying the legal requirements of the system so that KCAL will be certain to “meet or surpass the guidelines” when it finally attaches a rating to each show (aside from the exempt news and sports).

Added KCOP prexy and G.M. Rick Feldman: “The main thing we’re waiting on is our movie package. That’s what is really holding things up right now. But we fully intend to have all of our shows rated by the end of January.”

During the first half-week of the system, most of KTTV’s shows were rated either TV-G (for general audiences) or TV-PG (parental guidance), with only a few programs (including “Married …With Children” and “Tales From the Crypt”) receiving the more restrictive TV-14 label.

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