Unlike last month's New Hampshire primary, when Southern California viewers had to wait until 10 p.m. for any of the major networks to present their election night specials, extended coverage of tonight's so-called Super Tuesday round of presidential primaries will begin at 6 p.m. on CBS (Channels 2 and 8).
CBS originally had scheduled its Super Tuesday report for 11:30 p.m., but opted for a prime-time broadcast in the Eastern and Central time zones after last Tuesday's primaries failed to produce a front-runner on the Democratic side and columnist-television commentator Patrick J. Buchanan continued to attract Republican voters to his insurgent challenge to President Bush.
The decision to go live on the West Coast was made because of the news value of the story and the difficulty of updating results from the 11 states that will be conducting primaries and caucuses, said Lane Venardos, the director of special events for CBS News.
CBS is dropping a rebroadcast of the 1989 movie "Uncle Buck" to make room for the election coverage. The other vacant hour will be filled with an episode of "Top Cops."
Because of the time difference, Channel 2 will be doing some shifting, airing an hourlong local newscast from 10 to 11 p.m., making up for time lost from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. when the normally scheduled newscasts are preempted for the "CBS Evening News" and Super Tuesday coverage.
ABC (Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42) will present its Super Tuesday special from 7 to 8 p.m. KABC Channel 7 will move "The New Candid Camera," to 10 p.m. and "Inside Edition" to 10:30 p.m. "Nightline" will be preempted at 11:30 p.m. for an election wrapup.
NBC (Channels 4, 36 and 39) will be the last of the major networks with a Super Tuesday special, with a broadcast updated for West Coast viewers set for 10 p.m.
"We looked at the program options and decided that the 10 o'clock feed would give our viewers more updated information," a KNBC spokeswoman said.
Despite the major networks' earlier start, cable will still be the first source to provide extended coverage. Cable News Network is preempting "Moneyline" at 4 p.m. to start its special coverage. The 8:30 p.m. edition of "Moneyline" is also being preempted. Election results, analysis and interviews will also be included on the regularly scheduled "Politics '92" (1:30 and 9:30 p.m.), "The World Today" (3 p.m.), "Prime News" (5 p.m.) and "World News" (7 p.m.).
C-SPAN will simulcast coverage provided by WFLA, the NBC affiliate in Tampa, Fla., and KHOU, the CBS station in Houston, beginning at 7 p.m.