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Westin Punctuates Prime Time Return

With Prime Time Live not making it to the fall schedule Tuesday, ABC wanted to make sure that the news division knew that didn't mean ABC was bailing on the long-running news magazine.

News chief David Westin sent the following e-mail to staffers just to make sure.

From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Tuesday, May 16, 2006 8:18 AM
Subject: Newsmagazines

The primetime schedule for this fall has been announced and I wanted to let you know that our two newsmagazines, 20/20 and Primetime, have been renewed for full seasons.

This means that each broadcast will be asked to produce at least 48 hours of news programming during the 2006-2007 season.  20/20 is scheduled for 10 PM Fridays. Primetime will continue on Thursday night into September.  We expect that Primetime will be put in a new time period sometime later in the season – one in which Primetime and the overall primetime schedule will do the best for one another.  Starting with the new season, Primetime will appear as special edition sometimes more than once a week.

I realize that this is a new way of configuring Primetime.  It also provides us an opportunity to draw upon  Primetime’s unique innovation, creativity, and skill in jumping on a big story.  We will be looking for special stories and groups of stories that we can program together as limited series that draw special attention.  If anything, we may see more hours of Primetime this fall than before – with special hours during the week.

It’s good to remember that Primetime was up 20 percent this past quarter – the biggest increase for any newsmagazine.

Bottom-line: both of our newsmagazines will be called upon to produce as much or even more programming in the coming year as we did during the 2005-2006 season. Our loyal audience can expect to see tremendous journalism from our whole team of correspondents and producers.