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The so-called "Dream Team" -- Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen -- formed a partnership with ABC/Cap Cities to produce prime-time and syndicated TV shows. CNN's Steve Young said the deal, reportedly $200M over seven years, "sheds more light on ABC than the trio." Smith Barney Media Analyst John Reidy: "The theory or rumor or myth that all the networks were going to acquire a movie studio is pretty much -- at least in the case of Capital Cities/ABC -- put to rest by this deal." CNN's Young noted the timing, with Paramount and Warner Brothers launching their own networks in '95 ("Moneyline," 11/28). ABC Television Network Group President David Westin said he hoped the new studio will eventually produce all of ABC's programming, while Cap Cities/ABC President Robert Iger said the net considers the deal its "big bet" (John Carmody, WASHINGTON POST, 11/29). The deal represents "a dramatic departure from the traditional financial relationship" between studios and networks. "The venture will be a 50/50 split between the two sides, both in financing and in reaping the profits from syndication sales and other sources" (Jane Hall, L.A. TIMES, 11/29). Wertheim Schroder & Co. analyst David Londoner: "It is the first time, to my knowledge, that a network has shared revenues with a production entity" (Geraldine Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 11/29). The deal is seen as a "coup" for Iger, and "it goes a long way toward easing concerns about his longer-term vision for ABC's future" (W.S. JOURNAL, 11/29).
NBC's FTC petition challenging the sale of several TV stations to SF Broadcasting -- a Fox partner -- will hold up the sale of the Boston Celtics-owned WFXT to Fox for "two to three months" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/29)....While WFXT claimed a $325,000 profit off buying the local rights to the Patriots-Colts on ESPN, one Boston ad exec noted the station might want a "rebate" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 11/29). Of the 25.9 total rating for the game, WFXT received a 15.7 and ESPN got a 10.2. The conclusion by Jack Craig of the BOSTON GLOBE: "Given a major event, ESPN is a powerful threat to conventional television" (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/29)....Turner Sports claims its NASCAR ratings topped ESPN and The Nashville Network for the first time. TBS averaged a 3.3 (5 races), ESPN 3.2 (14 races), and TNN 3.0 (7 races) (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 11/29). Also, NASCAR announced its Craftsman Supertruck series debut on Sunday, November 20, was TNN's top rated show that day (NASCAR).... Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone is profiled in the latest issue of FINANCIAL WORLD. "Redstone believes that the secret for a media company in this fast-changing environment is not to bet on any single delivery system, but rather to be the provider of the entertainment" (FW, 12/6 issue).