Cabler revisits credits plan

Discovery to leave choice up to the program producers

NEW YORK — The Discovery Channel has backed off on its plan to force the removal of end credits from its programming.

Instead, in a statement issued Tuesday, John Ford, president of the content group of Discovery Networks U.S., said it would be up to the producer of the program whether to continue with end credits or allow Discovery to drop them.

Even though end credits would disappear under Discovery’s blueprint, the network said that “an on-air throw at the end of the program” would direct viewers to the Web site discovery.com/credits. The site would not only list the credits of a specific program for six months but contain links to the production company’s Web site.

Ford is convinced that the cyberspace alternative Discovery is offering will get producers to embrace the elimination of on-screen end credits. “Many of our producers,” Ford said in the statement, “told us that they prefer the new option as a way to help them build their businesses — by improving audience flow, providing front-end credits and giving them robust credit links on the Web.”

But Bryce Zabel, chairman and CEO of the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences, said, “I hope the vast majority of producers will stick with” the status quo. Zabel cited a 38-0 vote of the Academy’s board of governors last week that rejected the notion of a Web site as substitute for credits running at the end of a show.