Peacock pumps up HD prime

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NBC has been the laggard among the "Big Three" when it comes to prime time
high-definition programming, but there are tentative plans to catch up this
fall.

The programs currently on the short list for HD broadcasts are
Frasier, Crossing Jordan, In-Laws, Ed, American
Dreams
, Boomtown and Hidden Hills.

The trick will be sorting out who picks up the additional costs associated
with HDTV.

In May, the network took its affiliate advisory board by surprise by
proposing that affiliates pick up one-half of the cost of converting shows to HDTV.

The board rejected the idea, telling the network that it seemed inappropriate
given that the other networks have found other ways to fund those costs.

Options include having the studios pay (at least one has tentatively agreed
to), or sponsorship from an electronics manufacturer (which NBC almost nailed
down a couple of years ago).

NBC's only comment was that the funding issue is still a work in progress.

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