CBS Change Moved Up; Kiro Details Programming

KIRO-TV (Channel 7) yesterday said it will give up its CBS network affiliation a few days sooner than previously planned and released a tentative schedule of programming to begin in March.

KSTW-TV (Channel 11) will become the CBS station on Monday, March 13, instead of Thursday, March 16.

And KSTW says it will begin network affiliation with a modest local-news effort, airing a half-hour at 6 p.m. - opposite network news on ABC affiliate KOMO-TV (Channel 4) and NBC station KING-TV (Channel 5) - then 35 minutes of news at 11 p.m., like the other stations.

KSTW spokeswoman Julie Furlong said Channel 11 has not decided when it will air "The CBS Evening News," which now airs at 6 on KIRO. In any event, CBS coverage of the NCAA basketball playoffs and Seattle SuperSonics games will disrupt early-evening programming almost every day until April.

Just about everything about the affiliation change is complicated. While March 13 is the magic day, a lot is happening before then.

KSTW already is airing the CBS basketball games, for example, as well as a CBS soap opera, "The Bold and the Beautiful," which KIRO doesn't carry. On Feb. 27, Channel 11 will begin airing "The CBS Morning News," which KIRO doesn't air, from 6 to 7 a.m.

And the new Tom Snyder late-night talk show from CBS already is airing on KSTW at 1:30 a.m.

When all of the CBS shows move to KSTW in March, the network schedule will mostly be the same as it is now on KIRO, Furlong said.

The change of the date for the move of CBS from Channel 7 to Channel 11 is the result of talks between the two stations and the network. It's designed to make the network-affiliation switch less confusing, said KIRO spokesman Nick Latham.

The original date was based on the contractually required six-months' notice CBS gave KIRO for the network's move to Channel 11.

While KSTW gets a boost in status from independence to network affiliation, for KIRO the change is traumatic. Channel 7 has had to scramble to assemble a schedule for life after CBS.

Its status as an affiliate of the new United Paramount Network (UPN) will help, but since UPN is initially offering only two nights a week of limited prime-time programming, KIRO for all intents and purposes will become an independent station on March 13.

General manager Glenn Wright will try to finalize some matters next week at the annual meeting of the National Association of Television Programming Executives in Las Vegas, where syndicated programmers sell their wares. But a tentative weekday KIRO program schedule is shaping up:

Mornings: The station will continue to do local news from 5 to 7 a.m. Without "CBS This Morning" between 7 and 9 a.m., Channel 7 will launch a similar news-oriented local morning show tentatively titled "KIRO this Morning."

"Nerissa at Nine" with Nerissa Williams will continue at 9 a.m.

Reruns of "Highway to Heaven" will air at 10 a.m. and "Maury Povich" will be broadcast at 11 a.m.

Afternoons and early evenings: KIRO will continue to air an hour of news at noon, followed by "Hard Copy" at 1 p.m. and "Entertainment Tonight" at 1:30.

Reruns of "The Rockford Files" will air at 2 p.m., followed by a rerun of "Povich" at 3. "Ricki Lake," the nation's second-most-popular talk show which now airs on KSTW at 10 a.m., will move to KIRO for broadcast at 4 p.m. That will provide Channel 7 with a strong lead-in to the early news hour at 5.

Without CBS, KIRO will do a half-hour of local news at 6 p.m., followed by "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol" at 6:30, "Entertainment Tonight" at 7 and "Hard Copy" at 7:30.

Prime time: On Mondays and Tuesdays, KIRO will carry UPN programming between 8 and 10 p.m.

On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the station will air movies.

On Fridays from 8 to 10 p.m., KIRO will show two new syndicated action series, "Hercules" and "Vanishing Son."

Late night: There will be an hour of news at 10, followed by a half-hour of news at 11. "Real Stories of the Highway Patrol" will be rerun at 11:30 and "The Jon Stewart Show" will air at midnight.

Latham said the station's weekend schedule is still being planned.

The last day CBS will appear on KIRO will be Sunday, March 12. The affiliation change is the result of a complicated deal with KSTW's owner, Gaylord Entertainment Co., which also owns a TV station in Dallas-Fort Worth.

After widespread network-affiliation changes last year, CBS found itself without a station in Dallas. Gaylord agreed to carry CBS on its Dallas station if its Seattle station could be an affiliate, too.