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Zenith, Sears Sponsor ABC HD Telecasts

10/13/2003 02:00:00 AM Eastern

Zenith and Sears have signed on with the ABC Television Network to sponsor key HDTV telecasts in the network's 2003-04 primetime programming season, ABC Network president Alex Wallau announced.

Zenith, for the second consecutive year, will be the exclusive HDTV sponsor of all of ABC's scripted series and movies for the full broadcast season. Sears will sponsor the HDTV telecasts of the 2003-04 season of ABC's NFL "Monday Night Football."

ABC said it is scheduled to broadcast more than 800 hours of HDTV programming for the 2003-04 television season.

ABC said Zenith and Sears will be identified through an on-air billboard as ABC's HDTV sponsor at the start of each telecast.

"These partnerships with ABC exemplify our ongoing commitment to showcase the best HDTV technology," Wallau said.

"ABC's growing commitment to HDTV programming for the 2003-04 season dovetails with our product and marketing plans, as HDTV becomes a mass market product," said T.J. Lee, president/CEO of Zenith, a primary developer of the U.S. HDTV broadcast standard.

"With more high-definition programming available, a much larger number of our customers are gathering in front of their HDTVs to watch sports, movies and other programs as part of the good life," said Janine Bousquette, Sears executive VP/chief customer and marketing officer.

The expanded sports and prime-time high-definition schedule broadcasts will bring the network's total HDTV primetime broadcasts to 17 hours per week, and more than 800 hours of HDTV programming for the 2003-04 television season. All of ABC's HDTV programming is broadcast in 720p High Definition, including 5.1-channel surround sound.

Nineteen prime-time series will be broadcast in HDTV as part of the program.

Currently, 130 of ABC's owned and affiliated stations are broadcasting digital TV, covering 82 percent of the nation, with 102 of those stations broadcasting in HDTV.

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