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BROADCAST NEWS: MURDOCH'S GRAND PLAN TAKING HOLD?
Published October 5, 1994
Rupert Murdoch's "football mega-investment has fumbled in its drive to carry an audience in to Fox' prime-time lineup on Sunday's." Ratings are down 13% compared to last season when there was no football lead-in and two Sunday shows have already been cancelled. Murdoch's quest for new affiliates has led to "viewer confusion," left a trail of "bitter" former Fox affils, and two "simmering lawsuits." These troubles, combined with a 17% drop on "advertiser-rich" Thursday, were enough to cost Fox Network Chief Sandy Grunshow his job (Eric Mink, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/5). PEACOCK WATCH: "Speculation mounted on Wall Street" that GE was close to selling its retail brokerage operation, Kidder, Peabody & Co. A Wall Street source said "the disposition of Kidder was linked to an effort by GE to sell its NBC television network" (REUTERS/BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4). ....The Patriots are a "financial bonanza" for WBZ Channel 4 in Boston. The team is attracting huge audiences at a time when "TV sponsor money that would have gone to baseball and hockey is looking for action and ... political advertising, always sold for a premium, is pouring in" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/4). After declining ratings, NBC declined to renew its deal to cover the Heisman Trophy presentation. ESPN announced it had reached agreement to cover it in '95 (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 10/5). EASY AS ABC: ABC won the second straight week of the new fall season, finishing with a 12.2 rating, .2 points over NBC, and .5 points over third place CBS (Mult., 10/5). Bad News -- Monday Night Football continued to be slide, and fell 3% below last year's average. In Baltimore, it placed third in its time slot (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 10/5). BOXING'S BACK ON CBS: CBS Sports is now the only broadcast net with boxing, and N.Y. TIMES' Richard Sandomir writes they may have scored a "coup" by "snaring a fighter like Oscar de la Hoya." CBS hopes it can "sustain boxing beyond this year" and that their sponsor Quaker State will return. In the past, advertisers have been "reluctant about the image" of boxing. CBS Sports Senior VP Rick Gentile: "We're not in this to be minor leagues. We're optimistic we'll be in boxing for a long time" (NEW YORK TIMES, 10/5).