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'Amerika' Watchers Get A Forum On Abc

February 21, 1987|LEE MARGULIES

ABC, under pressure for months to provide air time to the critics of its miniseries "Amerika," finally announced Friday that it will devote a late-night "Viewpoint" program to the drama. Among the panelists will be representatives of the Soviet Union, the United Nations and ABC-TV's entertainment division.

The 90-minute program will be broadcast Monday at 11:30 p.m., in place of "Nightline." Ted Koppel will moderate.

Meanwhile, figures released Friday showed that the ratings for the controversial miniseries took another nose dive Thursday night. The fifth installment was watched in about 13.6 million homes--its smallest audience of the week and 2 million fewer than had tuned in Wednesday. Thursday's episode ran second in its time period from 9 to 10 p.m. and third from 10 to 11 p.m.

"Viewpoint" is an irregularly scheduled series produced by ABC News to let critics and viewers address issues about the media.

Among those who will appear Monday is Ted Sorensen, the attorney and former adviser to President John F. Kennedy who was hired by the United Nations last year to express its concerns about "Amerika" to ABC. He subsequently made a variety of requests to the network, including one for an on-air forum to discuss the miniseries, which depicts life in the United States under Soviet rule.

Joining Sorensen will be three others whose anti-"Amerika" views already have been expressed: Jeane Kirkpatrick, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations; Gennadi Gerasimov, official spokesman for the Soviet Foreign Ministry, and Ted Turner, president of Turner Broadcasting.

Appearing on "Amerika's" behalf will be Donald Wrye, its writer, director and executive producer, and Brandon Stoddard, president of ABC Entertainment.

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