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CBS Postpones Fall Season Because of Strike

April 28, 1988

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ CBS, citing the writers strike and the possibility of a strike by craft workers, said today it would postpone the opening of its fall television season until at least the end of October.

CBS, third in the Nielsen ratings for the first time in its history, had planned to begin new fall programming on Sept. 5. That would have given it an earlier start than NBC, which took first place in the season just completed, and second-place ABC.

Notice of the postponement was sent to CBS affiliate stations by Thomas F. Leahy, president of the CBS Television Network.

″Gene Jankowski (president of the CBS Broadcast Group) stated today that, given the continuing strike by the Writer’s Guild of America and the uncertainty over the IATSE/Teamsters negotiations in the film industry this summer, the previously announced Sept. 5 start date for the 1988-89 season is no longer feasible,″ Leahy said in the statement.

″We are looking forward to a new season start date at the end of October 1988. Further details and an exact start date will be forthcoming,″ the statement said.

The writers struck the film and television industry on March 7. There are no negotiations at this time.

IATSE, the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employes, represents the various crafts in the film industry, from stage hands to cameramen to makeup artists.

ABC will not announce its fall season start date until it reveals its new schedule on May 23, said a network spokesman.

Brandon Stoddard, president of ABC Entertainment, said during a news conference on April 18 that he did not know when the season would begin.

″Our schedule is okay so far,″ said NBC spokesman Jay Michelis. ″But it will all depend on how long the strike lasts. We will announce our fall schedule on May 18.″

NBC has an advantage because it will telecast the Summer Olympics from Korea from Sept. 16 to Oct. 3. It will also telecast the World Series in late October.

Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC, has said that for all intents and purposes NBC would not begin its fall schedule until after the World Series.

A strike by movie and television actors in 1980 caused a delay in the opening of that year’s television season for all three networks.

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