ABC, Discovery Channel to collaborate on programming
NEW YORK (AP) _ ABC News and the Discovery Channel announced a two-year deal Monday to collaborate on science-oriented television programming, including a weekly newscast that premieres this Friday.
``Discovery News,″ the weekly half-hour science news broadcast that will utilize ABC News correspondents, will air Fridays at 9 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel.
ABC will also produce nightly science ``news breaks″ for the cable network and provide live coverage of major science news such as space launches or natural disasters.
ABC announced its cable initiative on the same day broadcast competitor CBS launched its new cable network, CBS Eye on People. ABC last year had abandoned plans to start its own cable news network, but has worked from time to time with Discovery on science specials.
``Clearly, we feel that we have all this material and all this capability and the more we can disseminate it, the better it is,″ said ABC News Chairman Roone Arledge.
``Almost every story today has some scientific angle to it and more often than not, there is some major science story breaking during the week that we’d like to cover more than we do,″ he said.
The ``Discovery News″ program will be anchored by ABC News Correspondent Steve Aveson. Its executive producer, Carol Williams, has been senior producer on ``World News Tonight″ since 1993 and said she will model the new show after the ABC news broadcast.
The two networks will also collaborate on polls involving science issues and produce a daily one-minute news feature for ABC Radio Network affiliates.
ABC and Discovery spent more than $50,000 on a new ``virtual reality″ studio for the weekly newscast, constructed entirely of computer images imposed upon a blue-colored room.
It was done partly to give the science-oriented show some cutting-edge technology. But also, facilities are so crowded at ABC that otherwise the show would have to be taped on Tuesday nights _ an untenable situation for a news program, said ABC executive William Abrams.
ABC and Discovery Channel executives wouldn’t give financial details of the arrangement.
So far, nothing in the deal will result in any new programming at ABC. But Arledge and others said more aggressive science coverage should help inform all of ABC’s news broadcasts.
``There certainly will be a lot of synergy,″ he said.