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FIRST OFF . . .

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

CBS management executives will meet behind closed doors today to discuss alternatives to the networks’ current hectic tradition of cramming TV pilot production into the same short two-month time period early each year. Although declining to offer specifics, CBS entertainment president Kim LeMasters and CBS Broadcast Group president Howard Stringer said Sunday that the network will explore options for staggering pilot production throughout the year to avoid the high costs and fierce competition in getting the best directors, producers and actors during pilot season. “The issue is, how do we loosen up the pilot process so it’s not just this headlong rush into a two-month decision process about programming that’s not going to air for 12 months?” LeMasters said. “We’re looking at ways to make decisions a lot closer to broadcast time.”


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