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Sweeps Promise: ABC Says Laura Palmer Killer Will Be Revealed

November 9, 1990 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) _ This is sweeps time on television, when sex, violence, intrigue, bad taste, bizarre behavior and unhealthy relationships dominate the TV airwaves.

No, it’s not ″Geraldo.″ ABC promises to reveal the killer of Laura Palmer in Saturday night’s episode of ″Twin Peaks,″ the most written-about, least- watched nighttime soap opera on television.

You remember Twin Peaks, the broody little Pacific Northwest lumber town where absolutely nothing is ever quite what it seems. An FBI agent and the sheriff are tracking the killer of homecoming queen Laura Palmer.

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The sweeps, which come up four times a year, are when viewership is closely measured, so that your local network affiliate can set its advertising rates.

The network has extensively promoted ″Twin Peaks.″ Its on-air promotion is tied to ads in TV Guide, The New York Times and other print outlets that declare: ″Find out who killed Laura Palmer. Really.″

Really?

″Yes,″ ABC spokeswoman Janice Gretemeyer said Wednesday. ″I can assure viewers that on the Saturday night episode of ‘Twin Peaks,’ the killer of Laura Palmer will be revealed at last.″

Well, OK, but this isn’t the first time ABC has promised to deliver the goods. Last year, an ABC executive told reporters the killer would be revealed in the season finale. It was not revealed.

ABC says it showed us the killer in the series’ two-hour season premiere on Sept. 30.

In the last five minutes, a shadowy sharp-featured, evil-seeming, gray- haired man named Bob, whom viewers have seen only through the characters’ visions and dreams, was placed at the scene of the crime.

Bob was seen to strike vicious hammer-like blows on what presumably was Laura Palmer. That prompted one TV writer to suggest that Bob’s bludgeoning was an attempt to administer CPR.

And there’s another problem: Subsequent episodes have suggested that Bob may be a demonic force or even extraterrestrial being who requires a human host.

Goshawinkies 3/8

Hollywood gossips said the series’ creator-producers David Lynch, director of ″Blue Velvet″ etc., and Mark Frost were under the gun pressure from ABC to resolve the killing during the November sweeps.

Lynch is directing Saturday night’s episode, in which he also guest stars as Gordon Cole, the hard-of-hearing boss of FBI Agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan). Michael Ontkean plays Sheriff Harry S. Truman.

As it has in the past, ABC did not release previews of the show to reviwers. Die-hard fans of the show will have to settle for ABC’s tantalizing synopsis of the episode:

″The identity of Laura Palmer’s killer is revealed after Cooper and Truman’s investigation receives some vital help from the one-armed man; finances strain the relationship between Shelly and Bobby; Audrey Horne confronts Ben with what she knows about One-eyed Jack’s; and Leland Palmer tries to discourage Maddy from going home.″

The episode is certain to give ″Twin Peaks″ a much-needed boost in the ratings. According to the latest A.C. Nielsen Co. numbers, ″Twin Peaks″ was third in its time period on Nov. 3, with a 7.9 rating and a 16 share.

A rating point equals 931,000 television households. A share is the percentage of television sets in use in the time period that are turned to the show.