NAB 2014

CBS, ABC Affiliates Hear From Nets, NAB

The affiliate groups of both networks get updates on programming, TV Everywhere, sales and legal issues during annual meetings held in Las Vegas during the NAB Show.

CBS’s new contract to air Thursday Night Football for the 2014 season won a blessing from CBS affiliate board members during a meeting in Las Vegas on Monday, said Chris Cornelius, the board’s chairman.

The shift in programming could disrupt prime access programming and push back late news, particularly for eastern TV stations, said Cornelius, who is also director of business development for Morgan Murphy Media. “But at the end of the day, I really think this is going to be a good thing to protect audience for CBS and a great platform to launch new programs,” Cornelius told reporters after the meeting.

Cornelius also said that Gordon Smith, National Association of Broadcasters president-CEO, told CBS affiliate board members of his “disappointment and frustration” about the FCC’s March 31 crackdown on joint sales agreements. “There aren’t a lot of options but legal options,” Cornelius said.

In addition, Cornelius said CBS reps told affiliate board members that the network is getting close to introducing CBS’s as-yet-unnamed TV Everywhere service to affiliates. “There’s going to be a partnership between the affiliates and the networks here, and I think it’s going to be a healthy one,” Cornelius said.

NAB’s Smith also briefed ABC affiliates board reps during a separate meeting on Monday, said Michael Devlin, ABC affiliates board chair. “There’s some concern really about the FCC and what their real position is on broadcasting,” Devlin, who is also president-GM of WFAA Dallas, told reporters.

Also during the session, the affiliate board discussed ABC primetime programming with Rebecca Campbell, president of ABC Owned Television Stations Group, and other ABC reps, Devlin said.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

Devlin said there was also “lots of support” expressed for The Walt Disney Co.’s announcement last month that Ben Sherwood, ABC News president, had been tapped to succeed Anne Sweeney as co-chairman, Disney Media Networks and president Disney/ABC Television Group, next February.

“I do think Ben Sherwood is a good choice, a great friend and supporter of affiliates,” Devlin said.

Devlin also said the affiliate board received an update on ABC’s TV Everywhere service Watch ABC, but declined to provide details. “It’s off to a pretty good start,” Devlin said. “I think everyone is very positive about the technology.”


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