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The Promos, the Hype, the Swaps for the Sweeps Continue

THE SWEEPS: One in a series examining the TV industry's periodic ratings rituals.

February 12, 1988|STEVE WEINSTEIN

In a move that seemed to epitomize the station's resolve not to give an inch during the critical ratings sweeps, KABC-TV Channel 7 juggled the lineup of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" this week, apparently to avoid showing Thursday's scheduled installment about "L.A. Law" on the same day the series airs on NBC.

KABC was the only station in the country that refused to air the "L.A. Law" show as scheduled, a spokeswoman for "Oprah" said Thursday. The ABC-owned station opted to run it two days earlier instead. KABC officials did not return phone calls from The Times Thursday.

Unlike most "Oprah" segments, which are taped in Chicago the day they are to be aired, the "L.A. Law" program had been taped a few weeks earlier in Los Angeles to accommodate the schedules of the five actors who were to appear. Alice McGee, a spokeswoman for "Oprah," said that in order to get them as guests, "Oprah" agreed to air the program on a Thursday during sweeps.

Though McGee said KABC has always stood by the "Oprah" show "100%," she conceded that the producers prefer that all 198 stations that carry the syndicated talk show--split about evenly between ABC and NBC affiliates--follow the national programming schedule.

"I suppose it does have a detrimental effect (when stations alter the schedule)," McGee said. "It hurts us when the programs they air are not consistent with our promotion."

She said KABC planned to substitute a repeat "Oprah" on "phone sex" Thursday. The installment that was preempted Tuesday for the "L.A. Law" program was rescheduled for Feb. 22, she said.

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