Television: Due Bills

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A funny thing happened on the way to the debut. Patty Hearst surfaced. "This is the kind of newsbreak we want on the show," crowed a staffer, but ABC failed to hustle her parents on camera. Instead, Arledge had to make do with Howard being joshed, on tape, by Senators Edward Kennedy and Lowell Weicker. Monday-morning quarterbacks will have their greatest field day with Howard's uncharacteristic tension. "Our show will have a different feel with Howard," Arledge had boasted. But alas, even Cosell's talent for sardonic invective was dulled. Obviously reading from cue cards, he made his finest hour seem 90 minutes long. Sinatra was not punning when he predicted: "This will be a millstone on American TV."

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