NEW YORK (AP) – Two television newsmagazines are turning their spotlights on their own networks’ hit shows.

ABC’s “20/20” prepared a feature on ABC’s drama “Lost” for Friday, with correspondent Elizabeth Vargas interviewing the cast and crew about why the show is doing well. Meanwhile, CBS’ “60 Minutes” interviewed “Everybody Loves Raymond” star Ray Romano for a segment that airs Sunday.

“Everybody Loves Raymond,” television’s favorite sitcom, goes off the air later this month.

“We could have passed on it easily,” said “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager, “but we would have passed only because it was on our network, not because of its value to our broadcast and our viewers.”

Last year, NBC News executives took heat for devoting some five hours of “Dateline NBC” programming to the season finale of “The Apprentice” and the series finales of “Friends” and “Frasier.”

In an interview on the issue of corporate logrolling sparked by the NBC shows last June, Fager told the St. Petersburg Times: “We are not going to do the one-hour special for “Everybody Loves Raymond’s’ departure . . . (because) any viewers who tuned in and saw us doing that would leave in a heartbeat.”

Fager said he saw nothing inconsistent with last year’s statement and this year’s actions, noting the Romano interview is one of three stories on Sunday’s show.

“We would never give an hour to such a story as our competitors have done regularly,” he said. “This is a broadcast also containing a story about Iraq and an interview with a world leader (Vladimir Putin). “Raymond’ is comic relief to round out a great mix of stories.”

The “20/20” feature comes two days after ABC News’ “Primetime Live” angered Fox executives with its attention-getting investigation into an alleged affair between “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul and a former contestant.

“Having tackled subject matter as varied as the terrorist attack in Beslan, the selling of Cambodian orphans, the investigation into activities of peacekeepers on the Congo, advancing the Mathew Shepard story and busting the Balco steroid story wide open, we’re more than happy to focus occasionally on a show like “Lost,’ which is by any measure a huge cultural phenomenon,” said ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider.

“Dateline NBC” plans no stories on NBC television shows this month, a spokeswoman said.

AP-ES-05-06-05 1736EDT


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