Television: Scandal as Entertainment

High ratings—beratings from the real Watergators

The new slogan of television programmers might well be a version of Lord Acton's aphorism: "Power corrupts, but oh! so intriguingly." ABC'S $7.5 million miniseries, Washington: Behind Closed Doors, an unabashed takeoff on Watergate, was just about as successful as the network had hoped it would be. The show climbed steadily from an opening-night Nielsen 34 share, and at week's end had captured a 40 or more share of tube watchers in major American cities. That was not quite a blockbusting success on the scale of Roots (viewing...

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