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Red & Blue Don't Make Purple

Media ponders the deep divide

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When you look at the post-election map of how Americans voted for President, red (GOP) states make the blue (Democrat) areas look like the fringes of the earth. If you look a little closer, though, you'll note that even in some red states, big cities often went for Kerry while the vast sea of Big Red screamed Middle America.

The people who run newsrooms and create talk or entertainment programming have got to be looking at Big Red, too, and wondering if they're in touch with those folks.

In entertainment television in particular, Middle America is "the place we fly over to get from New York to LA," as one exec haughtily told a TV industry magazine recently. But demographics don't lie, and there may be changes being made in reaction to the election, so the predictions go.

1. If, as some exit polling suggests, many Bush voters cited "moral values" as as an issue, the FCC will continue to get tough by fining broadcasters who get naked or profane on radio or TV. But HBO and Showtime will thrive as well.

2. With 11 states saying no to gay marriage, it might be harder for broadcasters to greenlight shows with gay themes, despite mainstream show like Will and Grace. Cable will pick up those programs.

3. GOP-centered media like rightwing radio talkers and Fox News may actually see flat ratings or a dip due to the fact that their guy is back in for four more years. Nothing to bitch about, in other words.

FROM BEYOND THE PALE
The Charlotte Observer is trying out yet another TV partnership. This time, the O is dating WCNC-TV. The two promise cooperative news work, and meteorologist Terri Bennett has moved onto the weather forecast page.

WCCB-TV bids adios next month to Paul Butler, who's developing his media coaching business geared to sports people.

WTVI honors the memory of Betty Seizinger, former League of Women Voters president in Charlotte, by repeating a special on League history November 17. Seizinger, who died October 22, worked with news types in town during elections, when the League sponsored political debates. In a city where women with "oomph" aren't often in the limelight, she'll be missed.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at Shannon.Reichley@cln.com

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