Aggressive Trends in Programming on ABC and NBC Magazines
This chapter will deal with networks that were historically latecomers to magazine programming but did have considerable competitive impact in the 1980s and 1990s. These networks are ABC and NBC. We will examine ABC first and will make only brief comments about NBC.
Alan Wurtzel, who in April 1994 was senior vice president for magazine programs for the ABC network, made the following comment about magazine programming:
World News Tonight is like the front section of the Washington Post. Magazine programs are like the Style section, Business, and the like. The issues are different and there is a different approach.
The lead time is a function of the structure of the broadcasts. On World News Tonight there is 24 hours. The magazine programs work on a weekly basis. Magazine programs have analogies to "the back of the book." They have different purposes.
The ABC executive also said that if one goes back and looks at the coverage of World War II and Korea, one can get a historical context for the Persian Gulf coverage. He said he wasn't in this position at that time, but historical analogies help. Edward R. Murrow did Person to Person at the same time he did See It Now." We didn't call them magazine programs then, he noted, but one was "soft news" and one was "hard news."