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Apr 4, 2001  •  Post A Comment

It’s official: CBS quits NAB

Viacom’s CBS Television and Infinity Broadcasting announced this afternoon that they are pulling their 35 TV stations and more than 180 radio stations out of the National Association of Broadcasters. Sources said the network decided to bail after the NAB TV board earlier today refused to reconsider its staunch opposition to a network campaign to ax a federal rule barring broadcasters from owning stations reaching more than 35 percent of the nation’s TV households.

The fight over the cap has grown increasingly contentious at the association because its affiliate-dominated TV board has forced the NAB to lobby against CBS and the other major networks on the issue. The TV board today also made clear that the NAB on May 7 will file in opposition to a network lawsuit seeking to kill the regulations in court.

Dennis Wharton, an NAB spokesman, said in response, “It is regrettable when any member leaves the association.”

NBC and Fox Broadcasting Co. have already bailed out of the association over the cap issue. At deadline, sources said The Walt Disney Co.’s ABC is also considering quitting the NAB.

Rather apologizes for fund-raiser: After today’s Washington Post printed a front-page story about “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather serving as “the star attraction” at a recent Democratic Party fund-raiser that brought in about $20,000 for the Travis County (Texas) Democratic Party, Mr. Rather issued a statement that said, “I made an embarrassing and regrettable error in judgment by going to this event.”

Mr. Rather told the Post that he hadn’t realized beforehand that the March 21 event was a fund-raiser or that his daughter Robin (who is considering a run for mayor) was an official host. Mr. Rather’s longtime friend, Austin City Councilman Will Wynn, invited the CBS anchor to the event to discuss election coverage.

‘Cheaters,’ ‘Latino’ make way to L.A.: Two weekly series from independents will see the light of day in the country’s second-largest market.

After nearly one season on the air, Western International Syndication has cleared the voyeuristic reality series “Cheaters” in Los Angeles on KCAL-TV. After a gradual rollout throughout the year, the weekly series will air on Saturday nights at midnight. The series now stands at 80 percent clearance nationally for the second season.

Meanwhile, fellow indie player Litton Syndication has cleared “Urban Latino” on KCBS-TV, Los Angeles.

Corbin crosses over to Studios USA: Studios USA Programming has signed a drama development deal with writer-producer Samantha Corbin, who will immediately begin serving as a consultant on Dick Wolf Films’ and Studios USA’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” airing at 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. (ET) Fridays on NBC. Ms. Corbin, who most recently served as supervising producer on ABC’s “Gideon’s Crossing” hospital drama, will now be reporting to Dan Pasternack, senior vice president for drama programming at Studios USA.

Litvack upped at The WB: The WB Network has promoted John Litvack, who has been senior vice president of current programming since 1997, to executive vice president of current programming and prime-time scheduling. Mr. Litvack-who has worked closely with producers of such prime-time WB fare as “Felicity,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel,” “Charmed,” “7th Heaven” and “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”-reports to Susanne Daniels and Jordan Levin, the network’s co-presidents of entertainment.