In the aftermath of this week's disasterous earthquake in northern California, several stories of grace and dignity under pressure have emerged - one of them involving Utah PBS affiliate KBYU.
Ch. 11 has one of the best-equipped portable production facilities in the West, regularly employed by television stations and networks around the country to help with national sports coverage. So with all the attention being focused on San Francisco for the Bays-ball World Series, it isn't surprising that the truck was in place outside Candlestick Park for Tuesday night's game.What is at least mildly surprising is the lack of courtesy technical teams from the various broadcast entities were showing toward each other while preparing for Game Three. Network and Big Market types were rude and uncooperative as the KBYU personnel tried to set up before the game. Sneering networkers refused to cut the Ch. 11 truck in on their electrical sources, forcing KBYU officials to go looking for enough portable generators to power their equipment.
But guess who suddenly became the most popular tech crew in the stadium after the earth shook and the stadium's power went down? That's right - the crew from Utah, the ones (if you'll pardon the expression) with the portable generators.
Network and Big Market types came groveling for help, most of them waving their checkbooks in the faces of the same people who had earlier needed help from them. So did the KBYU crew treat their colleagues with the same competitive contempt with which they were treated? Or did they take advantage of the opportunity to make a killing in a prime time marketplace were demand far exceeded supply?
Nope. Neither. KBYU made their generators available to all comers. And they didn't charge a cent.
Talk about classy, huh? Way to go, KBYU. Ya done good.
-THE LAST TIME a network other than NBC came out on top in the weekly Nielsen ratings wars, Ronald Reagan was still president, television writers were still on strike, "Lonesome Dove" was still just a book and Randall Carlisle, Karen Carnes and Paul James were still making regular appearances on Utah television sets.
That was more than a year ago - 68 weeks, to be precise - when NBC started the most incredible run of ratings success in television history. But the streak came to an end last week, when ABC took advantage of two prime time World Series games and its ever-stronger stable of situation comedies to dethrone the Peacock.
Interestingly, the first two games of the World Series performed way below what is normally expected of the Fall Classic. Neither game was able to make its way into the A.C. Nielsen Co. top 10, although both finished in the top 20. The localized nature of the series, with both teams coming from the San Francisco Bay area, is probably to blame for that, although recent events will probably make future Series games blockbusters when it resumes next week.
The top 10 programs for the week were: 1. Roseanne (ABC); 2. The Cosby Show (NBC); 3. Cheers (NBC); 4. A Different World (NBC); 5. Wonder Years (ABC); 6. Who's the Boss? (ABC); 7. Golden Girls (NBC); 8. Murder, She Wrote (CBS); 9. Chicken Soup (ABC); and 10. Dear John (NBC).
The second 10 consisted of: 11. Empty Nest (NBC); 12. 60 Minutes (CBS); 13. Country Music Awards (CBS); 14. Growing Pains (ABC) and Head of the Class (ABC); 16. World Series, Game 2 (ABC); 17. Hunter (NBC); 18. World Series, Game 1 (ABC) and Doogie Howser (ABC); and 20. Monday Night Football (ABC).