The Sponsor Moves In

The Days, owned by its advertisers, may boost ABC'S bottom line. But will they control content?

In 1948 the men at Texaco (who famously toiled from Maine to Mexico) decided to take the variety program they sponsored on radio and transfer it to network television, which was then in its infancy. With Milton Berle as host, Texaco Star Theater has been credited with inspiring millions of Americans to purchase their first television set. Now, as network TV seems to be in its dotage, executives at ABC are hoping that a new corporate sponsorship scheme will come to the rescue again.

Beleaguered by management problems and several flopped prime-time seasons, the network was looking for another source of...

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