Television: Future Schlock

There is no truth to the rumor that business is so depressed in the television industry that the networks are piping canned laughter into their elevators. But times are not exactly prime when cheapie daytime game shows are scheduled after dark and when reruns start in January (sec following story). Another ominous signal: news specials are being threatened with low-visibility time slots—and there may be fewer such programs.

Clearly, the networks are in a tight profit squeeze. Their combined advertising billings were off 3.8% in the last quarter of 1970, and some commercial minutes are currently being "fire-saled" at discounts of up...

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