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Ghouls and Zombies (supernatural entities)

Sagging legacy networks seek a reversal of fortune

Sagging legacy networks seek a reversal of fortune

NEW YORK — This week, the streets of midtown Manhattan will once again swarm with TV executives trying to woo ad buyers to their upcoming fall lineups with splashy presentations, star-packed cocktail parties and plentiful swag.

But there's an air of urgency for the suits at the legacy networks — CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox. They've been rocked by an ominous first: A basic cable program — AMC's zombie apocalypse drama "The Walking Dead" — outperformed every scripted show on television this season in the advertiser-coveted 18- to 49-year-old demographic.

And zombies are the least of it. Competition is closing in from every corner and on every...