AMERICAN NOTES: Watergate's TV Beneficiaries

When the Senate Watergate hearings pre-empted daytime serials last spring, local stations were flooded with protest calls. By last week, when the hearings recessed, viewers were demonstrating a change of heart. In Minneapolis, for example, the switchboard of WCCO-TV blazed indignantly when people tuning in for Watergate found a baseball game instead. Forging ahead of the soaps and game shows, Watergate topped all daytime rivals in the latest Nielsen ratings.

The happiest beneficiaries of Watergate's popularity are Public Broadcast System stations, whose budgets were curbed at White House insistence and whose survival depends on viewer contributions. The nationwide network has...

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