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CBS TAKES OFF WITH SKATING -- CAN THEY NAIL THE LANDING?
Published November 10, 1994
With last night's broadcast of the prime-time figure skating competition, "Ice Wars, The USA vs. The World" -- featuring Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Paul Wylie, Oksana Baiul, Katarina Witt, Viktor Petrenko and Kurt Browning -- CBS signaled its intention to make the sport one of its top sports properties and tap into figure skating's marketing potential. Frank Litsky writes, "Television has discovered that figure skating produces the highest Olympic ratings." And CBS, once it lost the NFL, "has embraced figure skating more than ever." This week the network will feature the two-hour movie, "A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story," on Sunday at 4:00pm against the Dallas-San Francisco game on Fox. CBS skating commentator Scott Hamilton: "People have lost their minds putting on figure skating. From September to next August, I'll be doing 9 or 10 events on TV and 100 shows. It's a new era for the sport. There's so much demand. Television wants it. Sponsors want it." CBS "would be delighted" if the Americans won this competition which concludes this weekend "because American sponsors like American winners." Skater Paul Wylie: "Is it better for American TV if the [Blue Jays or Phillies] win the World Series? But no one has said anything about that, and I don't think any skater is going to intentionally blow a jump for the greater glory of American television" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10). NANCY ON TOUR: Kerrigan's publicists released her upcoming events. Nancy Kerrigan's new fitness video, "The Winning Body Workout," will be in stores on November 19. Kerrigan's "Northwest Airlines Christmas on Ice" 16-city tour begins November 23 in Portland, ME, and ends December 18 in West Palm Beach, FL. On December 17, Kerrigan performs in Charlotte, NC, which will be aired on TNT (Levine/Schneider Public Relations).