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"Despite recently casting doubt on the economic viability" of Australia's pay TV market, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. plans to join government-owned Telstra Corp in a $226.4M shared investment. The two companies plan to develop programming, including sports and news, as well as ethnic and children's channels and "some limited interactive services" such as home shopping via cable in '95 (Witcher and Brindal, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/14).
CBS' "Ice Wars" pro figure skating event needs "more guts, less glitz" to become more than "just another ice show," according to a review by Jim Donaldson in the WASHINGTON POST. The show "lacked the intensity, creativity and competitiveness" of a world-class competition, but it provided entertainment for a sizable national TV audience. Wednesday's Long Island performance drew a 10.8. Brian Boitano said he prefers the brightly lit atmosphere of a world competition rather than the spotlights used in "Ice Wars," but he noted, "People prefer shows. They're not going to sit and watch competitions they don't understand." Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan, who, according to Donaldson, "took it easy" on Saturday night: "The audience wants to see us do well. They don't want to see us fall down. We're professionals now" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/14). Saturday's "Ice Wars" received a preliminary 12.5 rating, beating ABC, NBC and Fox in the 9-11pm prime-time slot (AP/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 11/13). USA Today's Michael Hiestand called it simply "nice TV" (USA TODAY, 11/14). THE NANCY FACTOR: In New York, Frank Litsky writes that CBS "was delighted to have [Kerrigan] here because figure skating is such a television gold mine and Kerrigan is quite a draw, too." CBS Sports Senior VP Rick Gentile: "I don't know if all this Nancy stuff is good or bad. You wonder, I suspect it makes people watch because they want to see her and what happens next." Litsky writes that figure skating is a "hot sport," attracting "nonsports fans, even in prime time. It puts paying customers in arenas." But ProServ President Jerry Solomon, Kerrigan's agent, said the sport "needs to pull its elements together and figure out at the pro level where it's going" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/13).