Show Business: Pruning Old Friends

With the current downturn in the TV economy (TIME, Feb. 1), the networks are cutting expenses as if they were X-rated movies. Employee rolls have also been snipped a bit. But even the latest reductions—at CBS and ABC —were what one ABC spokesman called a "pruning" involving faceless people, like secretaries or technicians. The next likely cutback will affect the viewers directly: it could involve old family friends like Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk and the Beverly Hillbillies.

TV series, according to industry rule of thumb, rise in cost between 8% and 10% a season....

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