The "Today" show has penciled in a four-minute segment on Thursday, Aug. 19, for an appearance by Federal Trade Commissioner chairman James C. Miller. . .
Miller's appearance on the program would end a skirmish between FTC staffers and the NBC morning program that first broke out July 21 when "Today" aired a four-minute segment prepared by a free-lance reporter (and a former head of the Consumer Federation of America) that suggested there was little support for Miller's proposed rewrite of the FTC's authority to halt deceptive practices. . .
The FTC chairman was due to appear the next day before a Senate Commerce subcommittee regarding his proposal. . .
The timing and the tone of the "Today" segment angered members of the FTC public relations staff . . . which then spent most of the day on the telephone contacting the program's offices here and in New York trying to arrange an appearance by Miller or a top aide on the July 22 show, prior to Miller's Senate appearance. . .
But by mid-morning of the 21st, word had reached NBC of the death of Dave Garroway, "Today's" first host, and arrangements for a tribute the next day on the program became a top priority . . .
Nevertheless, one FTC aide says now that a Washington producer for the "Today" show promised to send a camera crew to the agency for an interview sometime during the 21st and indeed, an FTC official stayed in the building until 9 that night waiting its arrival. . .
The network, on the other hand, says no such promise was made; that after a review of the tape they had decided the demands for equal time weren't justified; and anyway they got tired of the badgering from FTC staffers during a difficult day. . .
Subsequently, the FTC sent letters to NBC president Robert Mulholland (that one still hasn't been answered) and to NBC News president Reuven Frank . . . and although Washington "Today" staffers are reportedly still sore about the "pressure" from agency employes . . . the network has had second thoughts. . .
As a result, instead of the conventional 1 1/2-minute "news" appearance Miller might have received originally . . . he will now have a full four minutes. . . equal to the original "Today" segment . . . if he chooses to appear on the 19th, for a fuller airing of his legislative proposals . . . He would be scheduled during the 7:30 to 8 a.m. time period. . .