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Dec 5, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Some NBC Affiliates Won’t Carry Sharpton ‘SNL’

All four NBC affiliates in Iowa are at the head of a list of about 20 NBC affiliates in several states that are declining to carry “Saturday Night Live” this week because the stations say that the Rev. Al Sharpton’s appearance as guest host and his status as a Democratic presidential hopeful would trigger “equal time” obligations toward other presidential candidates.

The affiliates pre-empting the Sharpton “SNL” episode are said to include stations in California, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, where Rev. Mr. Sharpton has filed candidacy papers. He also has filed papers in Washington, D.C., according to a spokesman for his campaign.

“The equal time rule states that television stations must treat all legitimate candidates equally. KWWL-TV cannot be responsible for providing equal opportunity for up to eight candidates. NBC has taken the position that it is up to the individual stations to comply with these rules. Iowa is in a unique position with the early caucuses and no clear-cut definition of who is qualified and who isn’t,” said the statement.

“Since NBC is declining to offer equal time during network programming and is not offering any alternative ‘Saturday Night Live’ programming, we have no choice but to pre-empt [the] network,” said the statement. “NBC is aware of our decision and supports our decision.”

“Since Sharpton’s appearance on SNL is not a regularly scheduled newscast, the ‘equal time’ rules would apply,” said Jim Boyer, general manager of New York Times-owned WHO-TV in Des Moines, in a statement on his station’s Web site. WHO-TV planned to air an “SNL” encore Saturday night.

Sigler Sued by Talent Agency: “Sopranos” actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is being sued by her talent agency for unpaid fees. Writers & Artists Group claim the agency negotiated Ms. Sigler’s contract to continue her role as Meadow Soprano for the fifth and sixth seasons of the HBO drama and is owed a 10 percent commission for her work those seasons, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Nov. 25. Ms. Sigler paid Writers & Artists commissions on the first three episodes of the fifth season but has refused to pay the agency for additional episodes, according to the complaint. Writers & Artists is asking for damages of more than $40,000.

Fox Whacks ‘Wanda’: Fox has pulled the plug on sitcom “Wanda at Large.” “Wanda” has been off the air since the beginning of November sweeps, after it turned in disappointing numbers in its Friday night time slot. Its time slot companion “Luis” was canceled before the sweeps started. “Wanda,” produced by Warner Bros. Television, debuted midseason last year.

NBC, CBS Split Thursday: In a night mixed with originals and reruns, NBC won adults 18 to 49 while CBS took the total viewers title.

NBC had strong performances from originals of “Will & Grace,” which won its time slot against a “CSI” rerun with a 7.5/19 in adults 18 to 49, and “ER,” which easily won its time slot at 10 p.m. with a 10/26 against a “Without a Trace” repeat.

CBS won the 8 p.m. hour with “Survivor” pulling an 8/22 and 22 million viewers against a repeat of “Friends” and a special airing of “The Tracy Morgan Show.” “Tracy” finished second in its time slot with a 5.5/14 in adults 18 to 49 and 11.6 million total viewers. A repeat of “CSI” (21.6 million) won total viewers at 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For the night, NBC won adults 18 to 49 with a 7.5/19, followed by CBS (6.7/17), ABC (2.4/6), Fox (2.0/5), UPN (2.1/5) and The WB (1.2/3). In total viewers, CBS won the night with 19.2 million, followed by NBC (15.7 million), ABC (7 million), Fox (5.3 million), UPN (5.1 million) and The WB (3.0 million).