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SPECULATION HAS THE MLB TV DEAL BEING ANNOUNCED THIS WEEK
Published October 24, 1995
"The faxes and phone calls between executives" at Fox, CBS and MLB's TV negotiators are continuing, according to NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay. He reports a formal announcement of MLB's reported $1B, four-year deal with Fox, CBS and cable partners could happen Thursday or Friday (NEWSDAY, 10/24). ABC OUT OF THE BIDDING? The current issue of BROADCASTING & CABLE reports that a "well-placed ABC source" told the magazine that ABC would not make a bid for MLB (Jim McConville, BROADCASTING & CABLE, 10/24). CBS/FOX AFFILIATES HAPPY: Many CBS and Fox affiliates "said last week that they would welcome the chance to carry" baseball, according to BROADCASTING & CABLE. Station managers at many Fox stations "were smiling at the prospect of televising the World Series, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Super Bowl in 1997." And in spite of heavy losses incurred by CBS' last go at baseball, CBS affiliates "still say the network needs a major sports franchise to maintain credibility with sports fans." Overall, Fox affiliates back the network's goal to become a year- round player in sports programming. WSVN-Miami GM Robert Leider, who is also chair of Fox affiliates' board: "Going after the sports audience will give us the chance to expand our reach in both audience delivery and ad sales" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 10/23 issue). SOME FRIENDLY ADVICE: Former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson, who was "at the helm when the network lost" $500M on baseball from '90-93, was "skeptical" of the dollars and the format being discussed for MLB's new network contract. Pilson: "Unless the economics of baseball has improved, I would be surprised if a deal gets done at those levels." As for CBS, Pilson would be surprised if CBS picked up 14 prime-time weeknight regular season games. Pilson: "CBS needs to restructure its fall entertainment schedule and it's hard to imagine how regular-season baseball is part of the scenario" (Steve Zipay, NEWSDAY, 10/24). WORLD SERIES NOTES: The Gillette promotion, in which an Ohio man will attempt to throw a strike for $1M, is not expected to be shown live on tonight's NBC telecast (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/24)....ABC's Al Michaels was not the only one nominating potential MLB commissioners last week. NBC's Bob Costas, during his conference call with sports media writers, suggested that Cal Ripken agent Ron Shapiro would make a good commissioner. Costas called him a "moderate" acceptable to both sides (Baltimore SUN, 10/24). HOWDY, PARTNER: ABC, NBC's partner in The Baseball Network, counters Game 3 tonight with the premier of "NYPD Blue" -- which was hyped enthusiastically by Dan Dierdorf during last night's "MNF" broadcast (THE DAILY).