ABC provided some extraordinary aid for owned station WPVI-TV Philadelphia in its effort to maintain late-news dominance over strong competition from NBC-owned WCAU(TV). WPVI General Manager Dave Davis sought and received permission to rearrange ABC's nighttime schedule, putting Primetime at 9 p.m. and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at 10 p.m. Not being able to use Millionaire as a late-news lead-in was a frequent complaint of affiliates last year, when the show was the season's runaway hit. ABC did the reshuffle nationally last Wednesday, the last night of sweeps.
Did the special scheduling help ABC's cause in Philly? Davis said WPVI made a slight inroad into Thursday night's ER
dominance but still expected WCAU to win the five-day late-news average. Davis said he expected to win the seven-day average, as well as the race in other dayparts. WPVI had dominated late-night news since the early 1990s-until WCAU's surge.