Show Business: The Cavett Crusade

By their followings ye shall know the talk-show hosts. When CBS canceled Merv Griffin's nightly program last December, Merv's late-night fans seemed barely ruffled. When Westinghouse dropped David Frost in May the Frost constituency kept its cool. But when ABC announced in April that Dick Cavett would get the ax unless his ratings improved by July 28, Cavett's admirers raised a howl of protest that was immediate, loud and long. At stake, they charged with some justice, was the last haven of wit and urbanity in the wilderness of late-night network TV.

Early in the Cavett crusade, maverick FCC Commissioner Nicholas...

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