Majority of CBS Primetime Lineup to be Presented in HDTV Beginning This Fall

Last week, CBS announced that Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America will sponsor the most extensive digital broadcast programming package ever, underwriting exclusively the costs associated with producing the majority of the CBS Television Network's primetime series entertainment programming in HDTV, beginning this fall and running through the 1999/2000 television season.

Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, commented that "CBS is very pleased to have forged this partnership with Mitsubishi. It will give American television viewers their first sustained exposure to high-definition television. This agreement, which allows us to present the majority of our primetime lineup in the highest-definition television format, represents the most significant step any network has taken in HDTV, and further establishes CBS's leadership in the transition to digital broadcasting."

According to CBS, 14 of its owned and affiliated stations are currently broadcasting in digital, covering approximately 30% of the nation. By November 1, CBS expects to be transmitting digital programming across more than 40 stations, reaching well over 50% of the country. CBS began its commitment to digital programming with the presentation of the John Glenn Space Shuttle Launch in HDTV in October 1998, and aired the first live NFL game in HDTV the following November. Also in November, CBS recorded and aired in HDTV an episode of Chicago Hope, marking the first-ever broadcast of a primetime series in that format. In December 1998 and January 1999, the network aired the films The Bodyguard and The Shawshank Redemption in HDTV, and on April 1, 1999, CBS broadcast 48 Hours: Striking It Rich, the first-ever news magazine in HDTV format.

"This agreement is a major milestone in the HDTV revolution and is the first time a company such as Mitsubishi has sponsored such an extensive part of a primetime lineup," said Max Wasinger, VP of sales and marketing, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America. "Furthermore, the increase in HDTV programming resulting from this sponsorship will further assure consumers who have purchased HDTV products that they have made a wise investment and can begin enjoying a greater number of programs featured in the 1080i format."