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The FCC ordered the SportsChannel unit of NY's Cablevision Systems Corp. to offer its programming to CellularVision of New York -- a company that competes with the cable operator in parts of New York. The FCC called on Cablevision to sell SportsChannel programming to the wireless company on "non-discriminatory terms" within 45 days (CellularVision)....Comcast Cable will make Home Team Sports' signal available to its 285,000 subscribers in Harford, Howard and Baltimore counties in MD for next Tuesday and Wednesday -- the nights Cal Ripken is expected to tie and break Lou Gehrig's consecutive game streak (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN, 8/30)....The AHL Springfield Falcons have announced an agreement with Continental Cablevision to televise six games live this upcoming season. Continental will carry a game a month, with the possibility that additional games will be scheduled throughout the season (Falcons)....SportsChannel Ohio has reached an agreement with Creative Sports Marketing to televise Big Ten and Ohio State football and basketball games during the upcoming '95- 96 season. The deal calls for 10 Big Ten football games beginning September 16, and up to 22 Big Ten 20 Ohio State hoops games. The games will only be seen in the Akron, Cleveland and Cincinnati markets (SC/Ohio).
IBM has launched the 1995 U.S. Open home page on the World Wide Web, with a schedule, statistics, and players bios all available. Address: http://usopen.org (IBM).... The L.A. TIMES reports that Microsoft's phone support services are overloaded with calls and complaints about Windows 95 and that customers are also "having trouble" getting on to the new Microsoft Network (L.A. TIMES, 8/30). ....Phil Mushnick takes issue with NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol's contention that The Baseball Network would have worked if not for the strike. Mushnick notes the following deficiencies of TBN: Blackouts of games in two-team markets on TBN nights; the end of Saturday afternoon games; 8:05 starts; not all playoff games available; inflexibility on schedules (N.Y. POST, 8/30). TBN's Ken Schanzer notes that playoff games will not be available on DirecTV, since broadcast ratings "have to be protected" (USA TODAY, 8/30). ....According to SEC filings, TCI must OK all major decisions regarding Barry Diller's new TV station group, Silver Co. Code names in the brief have TCI's Liberty Media as "the Rockies," the new partnership as "the Dodgers," and Diller as "Lasorda" (USA TODAY, 8/30).... EchoStar and AlphaStar will both launch direct satellite services between December and February. EchoStar hopes to offer programming for less than $20 a month and a DBS system for about $500 (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 8/28 issue)....A BOSTON GLOBE profile of Time Inc. Editor-In-Chief Norman Pearlstine notes the Managing Editor "bakeoff" he is conducting at Sports Illustrated to replace the retiring Mark Mulvoy. While Life Managing Editor Daniel Okrent and SI Asst Managing Editor Bill Colson are each getting their three-month runs at running the magazine, Pearlstine did not rule out adding a third contestant (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/29)....Fox's NFL coverage will feature 3-D simulations -- called "Gameations" -- of football plays, with the O.J. Simpson trial cited as the inspiration (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 8/30)....Cubs radio and TV play-by-play man Thom Brennaman will leave WGN instead of being named Harry Caray's eventual successor. Brennaman reportedly refused to stop working on Fox NFL broadcasts, as WGN had requested (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/30).
"In a stunning climax to a summer of mammoth media deals, Time Warner Inc. is offering $8.5 billion to acquire Turner Broadcasting System," according to Mark Landler of the N.Y. TIMES. Turner has not yet decided whether to accept the offer, but execs close to the discussions say that TBS Chair Ted Turner is "enthusiastic" about the idea. The combined entity would be "the world's largest media company" -- surpassing even Disney/ABC. If TBS agrees, the Atlanta-based company would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner with Ted Turner becoming Vice Chair of Time Warner. The key is the response of TCI Chair John Malone, who is a 24% shareholder in TBS (N.Y. TIMES/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 8/30). According to USA TODAY's David Lieberman, "TCI is unsure whether to give up its strong voice in the cable industry's most important programmer in exchange for a stake in its chief rival" (USA TODAY, 8/30). The WALL STREET JOURNAL notes that the deal is "far from assured" -- as Turner has considered selling before and then changed his mind, and there could be other bids. News Corp. and GE are possible Turner suitors. One source close to Turner: "Everybody is paranoid because of Disney and ABC. Everybody is saying, 'I've got to get enormous, too" (Sharpe & Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/30). The N.Y. POST's John Durie: "Whether this deal ever sees the light of day remains to be seen. There are enormous regulatory and personality hurdles to cross before such a deal could close" (N.Y. POST, 8/30). INSIDE MEDIA: "As the story progresses, the key will be what [Time Warner CEO Gerald] Levin offered Malone, and if Malone approves" (INSIDE MEDIA ONLINE, 8/30). WHAT ARE THEY HOLDING: Turner Broadcasting includes CNN, WTBS, TNT, the Braves, the Hawks, SportSouth, and New Line Cinema and Castle Rock Entertainment. Time Warner includes Time Inc. -- Time, People, SI, Fortune, as well as Warner Bros., the WB Network, HBO, and TVKO (THE DAILY).