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NAB 2010: ABC Affils Board Focuses On Development

Attracting more male viewers was a main theme at the ABC affiliates board meeting in Las Vegas this week. The board met with two emissaries from the network, who shared development details with them.

The affiliates association met at the NAB show April 11. Chairman Darrell Brown said he was "encouraged" by both the quality and quantity of ABC's developmental slate, which includes a dozen comedies and almost as many dramas. The network and affiliates board share three primary goals for development: put some winners on at 10 p.m., build on the current season's success in launching comedies, and broaden the network's appeal to male viewers, particularly as that group migrates to proven sports programming like Monday Night Football on cable. "We've still got some work to do there," said Brown.

ABC set its summer schedule, which is heavy in reality fare, last week. Brown said the cop drama Rookie Blue, which debuts June 24, was one of the standout clips in the meeting.

NAB President/CEO Gordon Smith also visited the affiliates board for about 45 minutes to reinforce the points he was to make in his opening address the next day, including retransmission consent and the FCC's plans for broadcasters' spectrum. While ABC has been pushing affiliates to share retrans spoils as part of their affiliate agreements, Brown said the topic didn't get much play in the board meeting.

Smith encouraged the board to make their feelings heard on Capitol Hill. "He made a plea to stations to engage with the political leaders representing their markets," said Brown.