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TV sprouting 'biz shows' -- and a new one's coming

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Television was once the great wasteland of economic and business reporting. But today it's becoming lush with new programs on economic and business events of the day.

The networks and cable TV stations are capitalizing on the recent demand for business news. Ten years ago, the Public Broadcasting System's ''Wall Street Week'' seemed to have the stage to itself. But the last two years have seen a horde of new entrants to the television scene: ''The Wall Street Journal Report, '' ''The Nightly Business Report,'' and ''Enterprise,'' all from PBS; the US Chamber of Commerce's ''BizNet News Today,'' distributed by Modern Satellite News, a cable company; Cable News Network's ''Moneyline''; and Financial News Network, which broadcasts financial news seven hours a day.

And starting March 1, yet another show, ''Business Times,'' will air weekdays between 6 and 8 a.m. (the second hour a repetition of the first) on a sports-oriented cable medium, Entertainment and Sports Programming Network.

The question is, does the American public have enough interest to support yet another business television show? Not surprisingly, James C. Crimmins, president and editor in chief of ''Business Times,'' thinks it does. ''Six million people read the Wall Street Journal every day, and [business] is a subject that interests many more,'' he notes. He cites a survey by A.C. Nielsen & Co. which found that the best time periods for reaching business executives (age 25-54, with salaries over $30,000) is between 6 and 8 a.m., and occasionally between 8 and 9:30 p.m.

But Paul F. Kagan, a cable television financial analyst and president of Paul Kagan Associates, is more skeptical. ''Business may be getting a bigger audience ,'' but public interest remains ''very narrow.''


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