Now Here's the News
Tomorrow night, "Misfits of Science" moves to 8 p.m. on the NBC schedule, as previously announced, to give "Miami Vice" a look-see at the 9 p.m. time slot against "Dallas" while NBC tries out an entertainment magazine called "Fast Copy" at 10 . . .
On Christmas Eve, NBC announced further that "Misfits" will remain at 8 p.m. for the indefinite future, while "Knight Rider" will return in the 9 p.m. time slot for the time being when it returns Jan. 3 . . .
Reason: NBC Entertainment President Brandon Tartikoff still feels kindly toward the low-rated "Misfits" and thinks it may have a bigger, younger audience at 8. The move probably will stand until March, at least . . .
Shaun Sheehan, who has been in charge of public affairs at the National Association of Broadcasters for the past eight years . . . most recently as senior vice president for public affairs and communications . . . will leave NAB early next year to establish a Washington office for Tribune Broadcasting Co. . . .
Sheehan will be vice president, Washington . . .
Tribune Broadcasting is one of the largest groups in the country and recently closed a $510 million deal to purchase KTLA in Los Angeles. It already owns major-market independent VHF stations in New York (WPIX), Chicago (WGN) and Denver (KWGN) as well as UHF stations in Atlanta and New Orleans and radio stations . . .
The company also operates Independent Network News, the Chicago Cubs and newspaper properties. It recently sold the Los Angeles Daily News to Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke . . .
Sheehan said a separate Tribune company is currently selling off its cable systems, including the troubled Montgomery County system here . . .
Sheehan said Tuesday he would probably leave NAB in February, but said, "I'll stay a little longer if they need me" . . .
Most recently Sheehan has had a major role in the broadcast industry's apparently successful fight against proposals in Congress to ban or limit beer and wine ads on TV and radio . . .
Milt Grant, who got Channel 20 here off the ground years ago, continues to expand his broadcasting empire . . .
After making a killing in the Houston and Dallas markets in recent years, this week Grant raised some $125 million through a major New York brokerage firm to purchase Channel 57 (WGBS) in Philadelphia, which is now on the air . . . The GBS stands for "Grant Broadcasting System" . . .
He also has Channel 66 (WGBO -- for "Grant Broadcasting Organization") in Chicago and Channel 33 (WBFS -- with no apparent meaning) in Miami . . .
The last, which has been in operation only one year, currently is "tied for number one among all independent TV stations in south Florida," according to Grant's assistant, Jerry Carr . . . More Importantly
To local Washington viewers, Grant serves as consultant to Urban Telecommunications Inc., which is awaiting final Federal Communications Commission approval to operate Channel 14 here . . .
Its call letters would be WTMW -- representing the initials of Urban owner and Washington businessman Theodore M. White . . .
Carr said Tuesday that lawyers for the station expect the FCC to dismiss several petitions to reconsider its award to licensee White shortly after the first of the year so construction could go forward on transmission facilities . . .
More than a dozen groups had originally sought the license and Carr speculated "there could be a settlement" between White and the remaining petitioners . . .
Rival stations in the Washington market believe Grant, as consultant, has been busy trying to lock up any and all good movie packages and syndicated network reruns still available and, to their chagrin, has apparently been offering top dollar . . .
Carr would not comment on Grant's progress in obtaining product for WTMW . . .
He did say, however, that Grant, White and others at Channel 14 "hope to be on the air sometime this spring" . . . As Captain Airwaves reported Tuesday, Channel 50 (WFTY -- standing for fifty, if you haven't guessed) already plans to be on the air as a full commercial independent station sometime in March . . .
So by late spring, there could be four independent stations in this market -- Channels 5, 20, 14 and 50 -- offering nearly similar menus of kiddie cartoons, off-network series reruns and prime-time and weekend movies and competing for viewers' and advertisers' attention . . .
That possibility, plus pending changes in ownership at Channels 5 and 9, foretells a very interesting new year for Washington audiences . . . Also in the News
Bill Abrams, who has been covering television for The Wall Street Journal, will become assistant to Capital Cities Communications Inc. President Daniel Burke when the latter assumes the presidency of Capital Cities/ABC Inc. sometime early next year, as the merger of the two communications giants is completed . . .
NBC, which is leading in just about everything else in prime time, also has the highest rating among the new series introduced in September . . .
NBC entries averaged a 16.0 Nielsen rating and a 25 percent audience share through the first 12 weeks of the season, ending Dec. 15 . . .
CBS' new series averaged only a 12.4/20 while ABC's did an 11.3/18 . . .