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         The MLB Television Committee announced yesterday the hiring
    of Barry Frank, Senior Group VP of Trans World International, as
    "consultant and negotiator" for its new TV contract.  Frank has
    previously served as TV consultant to numerous Olympics
    organizing committees, the NBA, the NFL, U.S. Open tennis, the
    America's Cup, and the Orange Bowl, among others.  Phillies
    President Bill Giles, Chair of the TV Committee, said Frank "is
    recognized as the premier sports properties negotiator" (MLB).
    Giles said that Frank was told to get a deal that has all
    postseason games televised, with acting Commissioner Bud Selig
    restating that playoff games will not be on cable (AP/BOSTON
    GLOBE, 7/14).
         THE LETTER:  Reaction continued concerning a letter sent
    from ABC to Fox, Turner and MLB reminding all of ABC's and NBC's
    exclusive negotiating period with baseball, which expires in
    January.  ABC Sports spokesperson Mark Mandel said they did not
    want the letter released, and sources at the networks claim the
    letter was leaked from Turner Sports  (Mike Bruton, PHILADELPHIA
    INQUIRER, 7/14).  Mandel:  "We're surprised Turner is showing
    people the letter."  In Minneapolis, Rachel Blount sees the
    letter as a "signal that [ABC] might not be ready to give up the
    sport" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 7/14).  In Boston, Jim Baker
    writes that the letter "is meant to tie Barry Franks's hands"
    (BOSTON HERALD, 7/14).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes, "The
    letter opens questions whether ABC is merely playing hardball
    with baseball and the other networks or if it is truly interested
    in getting back into baseball and is perhaps buying itself more
    time while owners and players thrash out a labor agreement"
    (Baltimore SUN, 7/14).
         MEANWHILE, BACK AT TBN ... This weekend marks the beginning
    of The Baseball Network's "Baseball Night in America" coverage.
    In New York, Steve Zipay notes that the low rating for the All-
    Star Game (13.9) "won't mean a crisis for The Baseball Network.
    It can simply add some make-good spots during the regular-season
    games.  But it sends a signal to advertisers that postseason
    ratings likely will follow suit" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 7/14).  Michael
    Hiestand notes, "From the corporate Big Guy view, ABC and NBC
    don't have much incentive to push TBN.  They won't have to sell
    1996 ad time off this year's ratings."  But in the production
    rooms, it "makes no difference," according to TBN Coordinating
    Producer John Filippelli (USA TODAY, 7/14).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Anheuser Busch, MLB, NBA, NBC, NFL, Philadelphia Phillies, Media, Walt Disney

         Cap Cities/ABC, GE's NBC and News Corp.'s Fox are all
    expected to post second quarter gains, with one analyst
    predicting that NBC is on their way to a "blockbuster year."
    Smith Barney's John Reidy:  "Overall, broadcasting is looking
    strong.  CBS's results misstate what's going on in the industry"
    (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14)....Ratings for the season premiere of
    Arena Football on ESPN may be 21.2% higher than last year, but
    the league did not break the 1.0 barrier.  The AFL's July 1 debut
    drew a rating of 0.8, up from 0.66 in '94 (AFL)....In Houston,
    Carlton Thompson notes Pam Oliver's move from ESPN Houston bureau
    chief to join Fox's NFL coverage.  Oliver:  "ESPN was a great
    experience for me.  They allowed me to carve out a niche for
    myself in the NFL and the NBA.  But Fox affords me an opportunity
    to grow" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/14)....ABC is touting Lyn St.
    James as the first woman to work the booth on network auto
    racing.  St. James joins Paul Page and Sam Posey in coverage of
    the Molson Indy Toronto on Sunday (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA
    CONSTITUTION, 7/14).... ESPN's "Up Close" prime time special,
    with Roy Firestone, hosts Hideo Nomo and Greg Norman (Larry
    Stewart, L.A. TIMES, 7/14)....Sean McDonough may be considering a
    "part-time" job announcing BC football on Boston's all-sports
    WEEI-AM.... Patriots VP/Corporate Marketing & Sales Daniel Kraft
    says the team has sold out all ad spots for the three exhibition
    games to be shown on WCVB.  Kraft, son of Patriots Owner Robert
    Kraft, promises a production comparable to the networks....Danny
    Ainge has an audition for the TBS/TNT analyst job, as he
    contemplates retirement from the NBA (Jim Greenidge, BOSTON
    GLOBE, 7/14). ....The Astros will begin negotiations on a new
    radio contract later this summer.  All-sports KILT is expected to
    join incumbent KPRC in the bidding for the team's rights (HOUSTON
    CHRONICLE, 7/14). ....NBC Super Sport, a joint venture between
    NBC and Parallel Media Group, will provide a "broad range" of
    programming to NBC's pan-European Super Channel, including Notre
    Dame football, NCAA basketball, MLB and the Volvo PGA European
    Tour (NBC Super Channel).... Boston-based ad agency Houston
    Effler Herstek Favat will create an image campaign for "The NFL
    on TNT."  The assignment was based on Houston's work for "The NBA
    on TNT" (ADWEEK, 7/10)....PrimeStar reports a 700% growth rate in
    its DBS service.  Officials there say they have hit the 500,000
    household mark and are on their way to a million subscribers by
    the end of the year (GOULD MEDIA, 7/13).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, Houston Astros, MLB, NBA, NBC, NCAA, New England Patriots, NFL, PGA Tour, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney

         Mike Myers, of "Wayne's World" and "Saturday Night Live"
    fame, is writing a film called "Hockey Night in Mexico" for
    Disney.  Myers will also star, as a player shipped to the first
    expansion team South of the Border, the Tijuana Aztecs.  Myers:
    "I'm happy -- playing hockey and writing" (VARIETY/TORONTO SUN,

    Print | Tags: Media, Walt Disney

         The Justice Department filed a legal brief yesterday
    concerning Microsoft's "much-anticipated" Windows 95 operating
    system and its access to the Microsoft Network.  The brief "stops
    short of charging Microsoft with any legal violations, but it
    provides the most solid indication yet that the Government may
    try to force changes in Microsoft's new program" (Edmund Andrews,
    N.Y. TIMES, 7/14).  According to the WALL STREET JOURNAL, the
    memo's language "seems to hint that the government might be
    satisfied with some scheme to give PC makers a choice about
    buying the MSN software" (Don Clark, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14).

    Print | Tags: Microsoft, Media

         "After playing the field for better offers," Labatt and its
    buyer-to-be Interbrew S.A. of Belgium "is poised" to sell The
    Sports Network and Labatt's other broadcast properties to a group
    headed by TSN management, according to sources cited by today's
    TORONTO SUN.  Others in the group include ESPN, Stephen Bronfman
    and Jeremy Reitman.  Other bidders include Alliance
    Communications, Baton Broadcasting and CanWest Global
    Communications.  Sources say the TSN group "did not sweeten its
    offer" -- said to have been C$600M -- but that it wasn't matched
    by the other bidders (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 7/14).  Polar
    Communications, a radio syndication company, has warned potential
    buyers of its C$3M suit against TSN for "misappropriation" of
    Polar's radio network (William Houston, GLOBE & MAIL, 7/14).

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Labatt Brewing, Media, Walt Disney
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