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January 12, 1988|DEBORAH CAULFIELD | Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press

Cynical sportswriter Slap Maxwell (Dabney Coleman), of ABC's "The 'Slap' Maxwell Story," who is continually in conflict with the women in his life on screen, is also having problems attracting female viewers. ABC Entertainment President Brandon Stoddard said recently that a "perception problem" that "Slap Maxwell" is for men has led to a shortage of female viewers. "We have a problem with women on the show," Stoddard admitted, adding that the show's writers are working fast to soften Slap's flinty persona to woo new women viewers.

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