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Network revenue for ABC, CBS and NBC fell 3.6% in the 4thQ to $2.15B from $2.23B as the baseball strike, the loss of football and lower revenue from children's programs "deflated results," according to the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association's quarterly report. Network revenue rose in every category except sports and children's programming during the 4thQ. The Association only measures the Big Three's revenues. The report noted that the lost revenue was due to Fox's foray into football and children's programming (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/3). IN WASHINGTON: President Clinton's telecommunications adviser Larry Irving told the Senate Commerce Committee that the administration favors allowing "unfettered foreign investment" in U.S. telephone and other telecommunications businesses, but "draws the line when it comes to easing rules that bar foreigners from owning more than 25% of broadcasting properties" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/3). BALCK HUMOR AT BLACK ROCK: David Letterman: "My name is Dave. You are watching CBS. By the way, would you like to buy this network?" ("Late Show," CBS, 3/2).
The Maple Leafs and Molstar Commun. are close to a deal for local TV rights rumored to be worth C$15M. "There is virtually no chance of a company other than Molson grabbing the rights" (William Houston, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 3/3).
Last weekend's live coverage of the Goodwrench 500 on TNN drew the highest average household audience any TNN program has ever attracted in the network's history (TNN). ....Phil Mushnick comments on Lawrence Taylor's foray into wrestling and notes it will "serve as the last straw for his gig with TNT" (N.Y. POST, 3/3)....Michael Hiestand reports that back in '93 when ESPN2 was looking for on-air personalities, running back Marcus Allen gave a reference for a now famous personality: Kato Kaelin (USA TODAY, 3/3).
CompuServe announced the availability of Sports Illustrated and The Sports Network Online. According to CompuServe, the new "team," with contributions from AP, "brings the most extensive array of sports information and materials available" to an online service. Together SI and The Sports Network will provide up-to- the-minute sports news, scores and statistics, live conferences with SI editors and sports figures, online shopping and online sports fantasy games (CompuServe/SI/The Sports Network).