‘News’ offered as option for kidvid compliance

Viacom Enterprises has joined the first-run fray of syndicators seeking to help stations comply with the Children’s TV Act with “Nick News,” the weekly half-hour kids newsmagazine hosted by Linda Ellerbee for fall 1993.

The show has been airing on Viacom International’s Nickelodeon cable channel.

“Nick News” will run both in syndication and on cable, with broadcasters getting first crack prior to its Sunday night, 8 p.m., airing on the cabler.

Clearances for the all-barter entry already exceed 100 stations covering almost 75% of the country, including WCBS, New York; WPWR, Chicago; KRON, S.F.; WSBK, Boston; WXYZ, Detoit; WUSA, D.C., and WJW, Cleveland. Viacom said most clearances are between 7 a.m.-noon on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Barter split on “Nick News” is 2 1/2 local, 2 1/2 national. Viacom’s One World Entertainment is handling national barter sales for the show, said to be already more than 80% sold for fourth quarter ’93.

“It really crosses a wide variety of subjects and does them in a wonderful way that is interesting to children,” said Rick Jacobson, president, domestic markets, Viacom Entertainment Group. Jacobson said the company started formulating its marketing plans and for the past six weeks has been actively clearing the program.

Jacobson asserted it’s exactly the kind of show to satisfy the Federal Communications Commission.

“Nick News,” which debuted in April 1992, “covers the behavior of nations, not how crayons are made,” Ellerbee stated. “This kind of program is what the Children’s Television Act is all about.”

Topics have included Joe Camel, economic difficulties following the Cold War, recycling projects and the tensions in Northern Ireland. “Nick News” has won the Columbia duPont Award, a Peabody Award and two Parent’s Choice Awards.