O.J. verdict ad rates soar

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Network sales executives were asking as much as $250,000 per 30-second spot--nearly 10 times normal daytime ad rates--for Monday's coverage leading up to the verdict in the O.J. Simpson murder trial.

MGM and 20th Century Fox advertised movies on ABC shortly before the verdict was announced. All four broadcast networks, plus CNN, Court TV, E! Entertainment Television, ESPN, ESPN2 and numerous local TV stations, offered live coverage of the not-guilty verdict, with some continuing up to prime time.

Both ABC and CBS planned prime-time specials Monday night, and NBC will air a one-hour edition of "Dateline" at 11:35 (ET). ABC's special will follow "Murder One," a show that was partly inspired by the Simpson trial. It will be shifted from 10 p.m. to 9 p.m. All of the "Murder One" advertisers are being moved up with the show.

It was unclear at deadline which advertisers were seeking the prime-time news specials, or what rates the networks were charging. Advertisers in the package-goods, movie and recorded music categories bought into CNN's verdict packages, which have been sold out for about two weeks.

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