Trading (TV) Places

Trading (TV) Places

I ran into a friend today who said that the long-awaited TV station trade -- WICD-TV from NBC to ABC and WAND-TV from ABC to NBC -- is expected to occur in September.
Most interesting to me is that a year ago this looked like a bad deal for WICD. ABC was in the ratings dumps and NBC was No. 2 to CBS. In fact, T.J. Vaughan, the station manager at WAND, bragged to The News-Gazette's Don Dodson that "NBC is a higher-rated network than ABC is."
But things have changed a lot in a year. NBC now ranks No. 4 among the 18- to 49-year-old demographic, the most coveted piece of the TV viewing pie, CBS is first, followed closely by (yeech!) Fox.
And ABC is the most improved of the networks in the year-to-year overall ratings. NBC's February "sweeps" ratings, meanwhile, were off 15 percent this year compared to last.
Of course, things could turn around quickly again. "Desperate Housewives" could tank and NBC could find another "Will & Grace" (although one is more than enough).
The recently announced NFL TV contract means that WICD will have "Monday Night Football" for only one year; it switches to ESPN after next season. But that's got to be an improvement over the ratings for the Arena Football League. And WICD now gets ABC's NCAA football package, which is an improvement over the Notre Dame games on NBC, (also known as the Notre Dame Broadcasting Company). Who knows, my friend suggested, there may be a time in the near future when Illini football games will be shown regularly on ABC.

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