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There's a programming ploy known as hammocking whereby a network props up a struggling series by placing it between two proven hits. Recently ABC has been trying a dubious strategy that might be called sandbagging, weighing down its big hoss, Roseanne, on either side with the problematic new shows Baby Talk and Stat. (Until last month, Roseanne sat between the underachieving Davis Rules and the likable Coach.) The fact that Roseanne's ratings are down 22 percent this season may have less to do with its performance than with the company it is forced to keep.
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