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In New York, Richard Sandomir comments on NBC's prime time figure skating telecast last Saturday. The IMG-produced event "operated in its own little vacuum" and made no mention of the facts that "five of the six skaters had competed on CBS' two- night 'Ice Wars' the week before, or that Kristi Yamaguchi and several other skaters repeated some CBS routines on NBC." IMG VP Yuki Saegusa defended Yamaguchi, an IMG client: "It's impossible for skaters to come up with new programs every week. She wasn't going to repeat that routine, but she got such great feedback from it is 'Ice Wars' that she added it at the last minute." But Sandomir points out that "these shows are not one-night stands in arenas in different cities; they are seen by much of the same viewer pool, which deserves something new in so short a time span." NBC lost the 8-9pm time slot to CBS' "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" -- but won 10-11pm. Overall, the show posted a 10.5 overnight (N.Y. TIMES, 11/22).
"In a move likely to further shake up the television network landscape and befuddle TV viewers," CBS and NBC agreed to swap broadcast stations and other assets in Philadelphia, Denver, Miami and Salt Lake City. For NBC, the "linchpin of the deal" is the acquisition of CBS's O&O WCAU-TV in Philadelphia. CBS had taken affiliate in Philly, the nation's 4th largest media market. To get back a VHF station in Philadelphia -- "albeit one that is one of the weaker stations in the market" -- NBC was willing to make some concessions: swapping signals and channel positions with CBS in Miami and selling CBS and Group W its news station in Salt Lake City, as well as its O&O in Denver (Robin Schatz, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 11/22). In Denver, NBC O&O KCNC switches to CBS, and Gannett's KUSA-TV switches from ABC to NBC. KUSA now becomes home to the Broncos (Gannett). ....Ad agency sources say that CBS is getting price increases of 10-15% for its college hoops schedule. One buyer says CBS has already moved 80% of its inventory. CBS also was reportedly in talks with the NCAA about extending the network's college basketball contract. The current pact runs through '98 (INSIDE MEDIA, 11/16-29 issue)....ESPN2's household count is up to 16.1M through more than 2,200 affiliates (ESPN2)....Gaylord Entertainment, the parent company of The Nashville Network, is on the block for $3B, according to USA TODAY. Disney, TCI, Tribune Co. and TBS are among those reportedly "hankering" for Gaylord. Gaylord owns 10% of the Texas Rangers (USA TODAY, 11/22)....Rudy Martzke reports a decision on Wimbledon TV rights has been delayed until late November at the earliest, with Fox/fX vying against NBC/HBO (USA TODAY, 11/22).