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Sweeping Up the Sweeps

February 06, 1988

Howard Rosenberg disapprovingly advised the reader that most local television stations try to "inflate their ratings by recycling and retooling past inane, exploitative and manipulative news and program gimmicks."

By way of illustration, Calendar included reproductions of three print ads run by the three Los Angeles network affiliate stations to promote special programming during the February and May, 1987, sweeps periods.

The three reproductions covered roughly one-third of the space devoted to the article itself, covering almost one-half of the front page of Calendar. The ads, one of which contained the word prostitution in type as large as the headlines of the article, featured scantily clad women in provocative poses, under which were captions explaining that these ads typify those which are used to "titillate" and "entice" viewers.

In the article, Rosenberg also mentioned that the independent television stations use "sex and violence theme weeks" in which certain movies are grouped together.

My great hope is that "Casablanca" somehow finds its way into one such grouping, so that I may once again enjoy that scene in which Claude Rains, as the prefect of police, is forced by the Nazis to close Rick's Cafe American.

Desperate for an excuse, Rains declares that he is "shocked, shocked to discover that gambling has been going on"--even as an employee of Rick's is handing him that day's roulette winnings.

JOHN DURKEE

San Pedro

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