Television: The Losers Are ...

TV programming executives are consummate gamesmen. But traditionally, the fall schedules they announce close to Washington's Birthday—unlike the trial balloons they float down Madison Avenue earlier—are the ones they really mean. This year, there was an unprecedented amount of delay and, in the words of one ABC vice president, "a lot of lying." The explanation came last week with the schedules: 35 of TV's 77 prime-time series, including the longest running program of them all, The Ed Sullivan Show, were jettisoned. It was the most convulsive upheaval in network history.

The turnover was...

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