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MNT Cracks Down on Affiliates

News Corp.’s MyNetworkTV (MNT) plans to crack down on affiliates offering contractual "make goods" of its primetime fare between 3 and 6 a.m. because of heavy sports preemptions.

The move became necessary after MNT changed its Nielsen measurement to reflect a new daily schedule, according to industry sources. It rolls out a different programming schedule on Monday.

Having previously offered nightly telenovela-inspired drama strips, the early-morning MNT airings were considered to be less detrimental. The ratings laggards were included in the national Nielsen Syndication Services report, which is released on Thursdays and includes all network and syndicated strips.

But since last Wednesday, when MNT introduced specials, including one on Anna Nicole Smith that garnered its highest rating ever (1.5), it has been in the final daily Nielsen Television Index report with bigger networks. MNT will also make its debut in the weekly NTI rankings report on Tuesday.

But it chose not to be included in the fast nationals, since many stations with sports preemptions frequently carry its shows after 3 a.m. ET, at which time Nielsen processes the preliminary morning network ratings. It is feared the preemptions would lead to inaccurate fast-national ratings.