Local TV

'Meet the Press' Opens Vault for Affiliates

NBC’s iconic, discourse-shaping Sunday-morning show goes into throwback mode for JFK assassination special 11/11/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern

Dallas Viewers Want Their Me-TV

KTXD Dallas trumpeted its split with the oldies digi-net Me-TV late last month, announcing a batch of homegrown shows, including The Texas Daily and The Broadcast, that the station hopes will set KTXD apart as a “true independent station.”

Viewers, however, said they preferred F Troop, The Untouchables and other Me-TV staples. More than 70 viewers sounded off in the B&C Talkback section, blasting KTXD for scrapping their beloved series. Dozens more did the same on KTXD’s Facebook page.

Wrote “Mike Phillips” of Euless, Texas: “Recently cutting the cable in our home made Me-TV a welcome alternative.… Goodbye channel 47 and all that that implies.”

Neal Sabin, executive VP at Me-TV parent Weigel Broadcasting, said he received more than 850 emails from Dallas viewers asking about the channel. Me-TV is searching for a new station partner in Dallas; it began airing on AT&T U-verse Nov. 8.

Brian Joyce, KTXD VP and general manager, says the London Broadcastingowned station is committed to its independent mission. “My view is, the only way to win is with good, solid local programming that’s unique to the market,” he said. “That’s how independents are going to survive.” —MM

mmalone@nbmedia.com | @BCMikeMalone

Media outlets nationwide are challenged to find fresh angles for the 50th
anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, but NBC affiliates have a chance to air a unique bit of American
history. Meet the Press has created
MTP Remembers: JFK — The Presidential
Campaign” out of three Kennedy appearances
on the Sunday-morning staple,
and has made the special available to
NBC’s owned stations and affiliates.

On MTP, Kennedy spoke about a range of topics, including
civil rights, the Cold War, the fundamental differences
between the Republican and Democratic parties
and choosing an effective VP in case the president’s
health fails. Rob Yarin, executive producer of Meet the
Press
, said Kennedy’s appearances — all three are from
his presidential campaign in 1960 — are both fascinating
and prescient. “It’s very interesting to see some of
the things he predicted come true,” said Yarin.

 Why This Matters
The network-affiliate relationship takes a new turn as NBC shares a treasure trove with stations.

The MTP Remembers concept was hatched last
summer, when Yarin in August fashioned a Martin Luther
King Jr. special tied to the 50th anniversary
of the March on Washington and
King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Yarin
asked WRC Washington news director Michael
Goldrick if there was interest in airing
the special (NBC News and WRC share a
building); the answer was a resounding yes.

The MLK special was made available to affiliates
as well and got healthy buy-in; it aired on stations
reaching 76% of U.S. homes. “It’s one of the great
things a show like Meet the Press allows us to do,”
said Valari Staab, president of NBC Owned Television
Stations. “It’s always been like one of [the
Owned Stations’] very own shows.”

Staab said the MLK special got higher ratings in
some NBC markets than Meet the Press itself. “People
[were] definitely intrigued by it,” she said. “It got
a lot of press as well.”

Thumbs-Up From Affiliates

The JFK special had a similar 75% of the nation
cleared at presstime. WDIV Detroit, for one, has it
set for Nov. 17 at noon, while KSNV Las Vegas will
air it Nov. 23 at 5:30 p.m. Yarin calls it a “tremendous
response” from the affiliates.

Jordan Wertlieb, NBC affiliates board chairman,
said the partner stations are fortunate to have such
an asset available. “Meet the Press is an institutional
program that has been a significant part of the discourse
shaping our country for more than 65 years,”
said Wertlieb, who is president of Hearst Television.
MTP Remembers: JFK is an excellent way to commemorate
this important event.”

Lee Meredith, VP and general manager of Raycom’s
WMC Memphis, said MTP: MLK did a 1.5 household
rating coming out of late news on a Sunday — not a
monster number, he said, but standout content nonetheless.
MTP: JFK will air on WMC Nov. 16 at noon.
“I’m of that age where I grew up with television and
remember these huge events, and the role television
played in these events,” Meredith said. “To be able to
see some of this stuff is great. I’d love to have more.”

Stations are free to come up with their own relevant
additive programming. NBC’s KXAS Dallas created the
iPhone app JFK 50: NBC 5 Remembers, which offers
its own archival footage of the president’s fateful visit
to Dallas; KXAS was live for three days after the fatal
shooting. The app also will allow users to live-stream
the ceremony taking place in Dallas to mark the anniversary.
“By combining today’s technology with our
deep station archives, we know this app will be of keen
interest to those individuals who remember that day in
1963, as well as those seeking a better understanding
of this critical landmark in our country’s history,” said
Tom Ehlmann, KXAS president and general manager.

The deep Meet the Press archive will allow for subsequent
specials, perhaps airing on a quarterly schedule.
Those include one focused on interviews with
sitting presidents and another centered on military
leaders, likely airing around Memorial Day. “Meet the
Press
has been on for 66 years,” Yarin said. “We certainly
have a lot of material to draw from.”

Dallas Viewers Want Their Me-TV

KTXD Dallas trumpeted its split with the oldies digi-net Me-TV late last month, announcing a batch of homegrown shows, including The Texas Daily and The Broadcast, that the station hopes will set KTXD apart as a “true independent station.”

Viewers, however, said they preferred F Troop, The Untouchables and other Me-TV staples. More than 70 viewers sounded off in the B&C Talkback section, blasting KTXD for scrapping their beloved series. Dozens more did the same on KTXD’s Facebook page.

Wrote “Mike Phillips” of Euless, Texas: “Recently cutting the cable in our home made Me-TV a welcome alternative.… Goodbye channel 47 and all that that implies.”

Neal Sabin, executive VP at Me-TV parent Weigel Broadcasting, said he received more than 850 emails from Dallas viewers asking about the channel. Me-TV is searching for a new station partner in Dallas; it began airing on AT&T U-verse Nov. 8.

Brian Joyce, KTXD VP and general manager, says the London Broadcastingowned station is committed to its independent mission. “My view is, the only way to win is with good, solid local programming that’s unique to the market,” he said. “That’s how independents are going to survive.” —MM

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