We Were Only Teasing


Another battle over noncompete clauses in a TV broadcast contract looms, this time in Las Vegas. KVBC(TV) has gone to court to try to stop KTNV(TV) from using KVBC 's recently departed weathercaster, Nate Tannenbaum, in promotions and off-air teases.

Tannenbaum worked for KVBC until December, the last several months without a contract-which could become an issue in determining when the noncompete clause in Tannenbaum's contract expires. Meanwhile, the two stations are in court over KVBC 's efforts to enjoin Tannenbaum's new station from using him as it has.

According to KVBC attorney Al Marquis, KTNV "is attempting to circumvent the contract by telling viewers that he's 5 feet away while they give the weather" and using word bubbles to convey Tannenbaum's involvement with KTNV 's weather reports. The station started with a cameo appearance by Tannenbaum, Marquis said, use of photos with Tannenbaum's characteristic plaid jacket and bow tie, "and they got bolder and bolder."

KTNV maintains that Tannenbaum's contract provision barring him from performing on-air does not bar use of his likeness. The station says it plans to put Tannenbaum on the air Sept. 1, the day after it believes the noncompete expires. So far, KVBC has been unable to get a temporary restraining order against its rival because, Marquis said, the judge was unsure whether the issue is supposed to be arbitrated. It may be difficult for WVBC , the market's top-rated station, to demonstrate that it can be irreparably harmed by its rival's actions. The stations will face off again in court later this month.