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US West is in talks to buy a 40% stake in Cablevision Systems Corp., the U.S.'s 6th largest cable operator, operator of regional sports channels and part-owner of MSG with ITT. The deal would be for about $600M, according to the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The investment would affect US West's restructuring of its relationship with Time Warner (US West owns 25% of Time Warner's cable and entertainment franchises), but a combination with Cablevision "would create a potent cable-telephone player with a broad reach into contiguous markets" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/21)....In Toronto, Rob Longley examines Molson's decision to move the Maple Leafs to FM station, Q 107. The "tremendous value is as a marketing vehicle for the brewery," with the rock station attracting a younger audience (TORONTO SUN, 7/21). ....The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Kevin Goldman examines ad sales for the upcoming NFL season, reporting that the Super Bowl is already "well sold out," according to SFM Media Senior VP Ray Dundas. NBC is said to be getting prices of as much as $1.2M per 30-second, a 9% rise over last year's $1.1M (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/21)....Frank Herzog, Sonny Jurgenson and Sam Huff will be back doing Redskins games when the team moves to WJFK-FM (WASHINGTON POST, 7/21).... The ATP Tour has officially launched its Web Site, ATP Tour Online. Address: http:// atptour.com (ATP Tour)....America One Television has added "FastPitch USA" to its lineup of programming, which the network provides to independent stations (America One)....The different cover boys for SI's 12 regional issues of its NFL '95 special issue -- the "first-ever annual published by SI": Troy Aikman/Steve Young, Bruce Smith, Kerry Collins, Chris Zorich, Brett Favre, James Stewart, Drew Bledsoe, Dave Brown/Mo Lewis, Tim Brown, Ricky Watters, Kevin Greene and Jerome Bettis (SI).
Officials from Westinghouse and CBS are meeting this morning "to negotiate the terms of a formal takeover offer that Westinghouse hopes to make for CBS within the next several weeks," according to today's N.Y. TIMES. Geraldine Fabrikant notes that some "key issues remain unresolved," including price and the speed at which the transfer could win FCC approval. Westinghouse "wants to avoid a bidding war," but there is "speculation that another bidder might emerge." Seagram's was said to be considering swapping its 15% stake in Time Warner for Time Warner's holdings in Turner Broadcasting (N.Y. TIMES, 7/21). The N.Y. POST notes rumors that Ted Turner and TCI's John Malone are said to be teaming, while Seagram's/MCA head Edgar Bronfman, Barry Diller and Disney's Michael Eisner are also mentioned as possible bidders (Greg Clarkin, N.Y. POST, 7/21). The FINANCIAL TIMES reports that Westinghouse is seeking an "agreed bid" in order to "shut out" any rival bidders (Richard Waters, FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/21). The WALL STREET JOURNAL profiles Westinghouse CEO Michael Jordan, whose "frustration" in reviving the company led to a decision on a "new course" (Raju Narisetti, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/21).
As expected, coverage of the World Series will be split between The Baseball Network's two broadcast partners, ABC and NBC, as will the League Championship Series and the Divisional Playoffs. ABC gets Games 1,4 and 5 of the World Series, NBC gets Games 2,3 and 6. The coverage of a possible Game 7 will be determined later if necessary (The Baseball Network). TBN President Ken Schanzer said the Game 7 decision "might well be a coin flip. We don't want to trivialize it, but that's what it might come down to" (Mike Bruton, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 7/21). Schanzer: "Baseball will benefit from cross promotion on the top two broadcast networks" (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/21). NBC's Bob Costas: "I've already promised Al (Michaels) that I'll tape 'Seinfeld' and 'Friends' for him while he's doing Game 5, if he'll tape 'Home Improvement' for me while I'm doing Game 3" (USA TODAY, 7/21). Barry Horn in Dallas and Steve Nidetz in Chicago both called it a "Solomon-like decision" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 7/21).