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LATE NIGHT: From last night's "Late Show," Letterman's Top Ten signs that Michael Jordan is out of shape. 10) Played whole 4th Quarter in a golf cart. 9) Constant interruptions in play because his loud wheezing sounds like a whistle. 8) Now he's only three times as good as the rest of the players. 7) More fans hurt by stray balls than at a presidential golf tournament. 6) Indiana Pacers using my mom to guard him. 5) Every timeout: Two hot dogs and a big wad of cotton candy. 4) Got winded giving the finger to Reggie Miller. 3) Richard Simmons followed him home from yesterday's game. 2) When he fakes left and moves right, his ass keeps goin' left. 1) The Gatorade I.V. ("Late Show," CBS, 3/20). SPORTS PROGRAMMING: Frank DeFord discussed Jordan's comeback on ESPN's "SportsCenter." DeFord: "Jordan is not just coming back as a star. No, he is returning to do the one thing he never had a chance to do: Ride in on a white horse and rescue the whole NBA." DeFord chronicled Jordan's development in the NBA from the "The Circus Attraction," to "The Endorser," then "The Champion," "The Patriot" in the Olympics, "The Human Being" during his father's death, and then as the baseball player, "The Dream," and now, "The Comeback" ("SportsCenter," 3/20). TNT was granted permission to carry Jordan's first home game, Friday against the Magic (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/21). BUSINESS NEWS: Chiat Day's Marian Salzman says like the recent surge for Jordan-related stocks, Jordan's ad appeal will be short-lived: "You can't go home again" ("Business Insiders," CNBC, 3/20). In New York, Peter Vecsey notes talk that Jordan's sponsors (Nike, McDonald's, Gatorade, Sara Lee) were asked to "ante up" $5M apiece for him to return. Jordan's agent, David Falk, responds: "I was greatly concerned that everyone but Michael stands to make a huge profit off his return. We didn't think it would have been right to ask companies already paying him to pony up. Our concern was with others [Vecsey notes, NBC] who'll get rich off him and aren't paying him" (N.Y. POST, 3/21). ENTERTAINMENT SHOWS: "Extra" reported the ratings for yesterday's Jordan's return were very high, 1/3 of viewers nationally, and 2/3 of the TV audience in Chicago. The show also filed reports from Jordan's hometown, Wilmington, NC, and his restaurant in Chicago ("extra," 3/20).
PAULA STACY MOGLEY has been named Dir of Affiliate Sales & Marketing at Prime Sports-Midwest (VARIETY, 3/21). ....CHRISTOPHER JONES left as Dir of Business Development for MLB Properties to become Dir of Hanna-Barbera Enterprises....EDWARD HUGUEZ was named VP/New Media & Interactive Programming at DirectTV (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 3/20 issue)....Figure skater NICOLE BOBEK has retained Silverman, Warren/Kremer for PR management (Silverman, Warren/Kremer). ....BRUCE KARPAS has been named President & CEO of Liberty Productions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TCI designed to create event programming for PPV and other domestic and int'l distribution (Liberty)....MIKE FRANCESA signed a new five-year deal with WFAN (N.Y. POST, 3/21).