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Weekend TV : KCBS News Begins Series on Korea as Part of Sweeps Programming

November 14, 1987|STEVE WEINSTEIN

Channel 2 News begins a 23-part look at Korea this weekend, attempting to explore the country "behind the headlines" and examine the impact this developing nation has on local residents.

In light of last summer's student riots in the Korean capital, the adoption of a new constitution that will permit the first presidential elections in Korean history next month, the rapid rise of Hyundai and other Korean companies as sales competitors in this country, next year's Olympic Games in Seoul and the fact that Southern California contains the largest Korean population outside of Korea, Channel 2 sent reporters Warren Olney and Pat O'Brien to Korea for nearly three weeks in October to report on that country's tumultuous political and social scene and its emergence as a world economic leader.

Their nearly 90 minutes of reports, which begin airing Sunday during the 6 p.m. newscast and will then be broadcast one at a time on newscasts throughout the week, include segments on the Korean workplace, radicalism at Korean universities, life at the North Korean border through the eyes of a Southern Californian soldier, dawn at a Korean fish market and how the country is preparing to host the 1988 Olympics.

This marks the third time in recent years that KCBS has traveled overseas for reports from developing nations believed important to local viewers. In 1983, Channel 2 sent Jess Marlow and David Garcia to Central America and in 1984 the station broadcast a series of reports from Cuba. The Korean series is the cornerstone of the news department's November ratings sweeps programming.

"We're not going to make money on a series like this," said station spokeswoman Andi Sporkin, who declined to reveal the budget for the Korean project. "But we gain respect with our viewers and bring credibility to our newscasts. We're taking our resources during a ratings period and putting them into something like this rather than doing a series on sex addicts or testing trash bags."

Sporkin said the Korean reports might be packaged into one program for broadcast later.

Meanwhile in regular prime-time programming, three new television movies will compete for viewers Sunday at 9 p.m. "Mayflower Madam" on CBS stars Candice Bergen as the owner of a Manhattan escort service; NBC's "Perry Mason: The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel" features Raymond Burr and Robert Guillaume in a courtroom drama, and "Laguna Heat" on Home Box Office shows off "L.A. Law's" Harry Hamlin as an ex-cop unraveling a murder mystery.

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