Chairman Richard E. Wiley of the Federal Communications Commission, apparently responding to increasing pressure from the Justice Department, public interest and various broadcasting groups, has called for an inquiry into "network dominance" of the television industry.
Wiley, in a speech delivered yesterday to the California Broadcasters Association, said the inquiry "will focus most directly on the special relationship that exists between the networks and their affiliated stations."
A spokesman for the FCC said Wiley's proposal will be considered in a commission meeting set for Thursday and will "probably be adopted."
Last Fall, Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. (Group W) petitioned in the FCC for a major rulemaking on the alleged problems.
Group W charged that networks profited increasingly unduly in compensation agreements with their affiliates encroached on affiliate time and sought more time for review of network programming before granting clearances.
Wiley said yesterday that "the production, selection and distribution of entertainment programs are integral elements of the overall TV industry and the exercise of monopoly power in any of these areas might have adverse consequences."
Channel 9 received several hundred telephone calls this weekend from viewers protesting that the third and final reel of its late Saturday movie, "The Hireling" came out in French, except for the last minute and a half.
A sloppy syndicator in New York had slipped in one reel of an overseas version of the English-made film. But most viewers could still figure out the chauffeur was plenty sore when his aristocratic boss jilted him.
President Ford yesterday resubmitted to the Senate the names of three persons to be members of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Charles Crutchfield of Charlotte, N.C.; Leslie N. Shaw of Los Angeles; and Paul Stevens of Fort Worth, Tex., had been named in July.
The Senate Commerce Committee refused to act on the appointments this fall and a Hill source indicated yesterday the chances are unlikely they will be moved forward now, with the Carter administration only 10 days away.
ABC has announced that a one-hour comedy-drama series "loosely based" on columnist Tom Braden's book, "Eight Is Enough," will be launched in March along with two other new series.
ABC Entertainment president Fred Silverman did not reveal what programs will be dropped to make way for the new shows.
Braden's story of the fun and tribulations of raising eight children sold 25,000 copies in hardback cover and is currently in a paperback version.
According to Braden, Lorimar Productions purchased the rights to the book "some time ago." Braden said yesterday he'd heard Lorimar, which produces "The Waltons," had been dickering with NBC where, he said, "I think the program might have a better chance considering this season."
Other new one-hour series announced by Silverman for launching in March were "Westside Medical," starring three newcomers as young doctors who run a private practice on the side, and a comedy drama called "Future Cop," starring Ernest Borgnine and John Amos in addition to a bionic policeman, played by Michael Shannon.