ABC, CNN WORK OUT PACT FOR LIBERTY COVERAGE
ABC has come to an agreement with CNN in the television news squabble over coverage of the opening ceremonies of Liberty Weekend and appeared near settling with NBC and CBS.
“We are getting what we asked for, and we’re very pleased,” said Cable News Network spokeswoman Judy Borza.
The fight arose when ABC, which paid $10 million for exclusive television rights to the weekend, announced plans to severely limit what its competitors could tape of the July 3 ceremonies at which President Reagan will officially relight the Statue of Liberty.
CBS, NBC and CNN argued that any ceremonies involving the President were news events and rights to televise them could not be sold. CBS and CNN threatened to go to court over coverage rights.
ABC originally planned to provide its rivals with nine to 10 minutes of events, including Reagan relighting the statue’s torch and the swearing-in of new citizens on Ellis Island by Chief Justice Warren Burger, ABC spokesman Tom Goodman said.
The other networks demanded additional footage of remarks by Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel; Lee Iacocca, chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation; Secretary of the Navy John Lehman and French President Francois Mitterrand.
ABC now has agreed to allow its rivals an additional six to seven minutes of footage of Hodel, Iacocca, Lehman and Mitterrand, Goodman said.
The opening ceremonies run from 8:30 to 11 p.m. on July 3 and include appearances by Frank Sinatra, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gregory Peck, Helen Hayes and Neil Diamond.
ABC retains exclusive rights to broadcast Liberty Weekend entertainment events, including the Americana concert with John Williams on July 4, the classical music concert in Central Park with Zubin Mehta, the New York Philharmonic on July 5 and the Sports Salute and closing ceremonies on July 6.