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Flagging first-run? Dont tell them

Syndicators and station heads met in Los Angeles last week for Michael Lambert's annual Partners Station Network winter meetings. Nearly every studio pitched its first-run fare for the 2001-2002 season and wined and dined station executives, including Emmis, Pappas, Post-Newsweek and Raycom. Bob Raleigh, head of Carsey-Werner's syndication unit (which at the moment has no first-run offerings), turned a few heads when he advised stations to stay out of first-run. "I told them we had been doing some investigating of the fundamental health of the broadcast audience and how some of what we had found was very disturbing," says Raleigh. "And what we found was there is an over-supply of first-run [programs]." Raleigh said with a laugh that the reaction was "thoughtful, emotional and poignant."