SBD/21/Sports Media

FALLOUT FROM CNN/SI: NFLP'S LEVINSON TO HEAD PROJECT?

     CNN Sports Exec Producer Jim Walton said CNN/SI, the new 24-
hour sports news channel, will "absolutely not" try to take from
ESPN's talent.  Walton: "Our infrastructure is in place.  We're
not in the raiding business" (USA TODAY, 2/21).  VARIETY reports
that NFL Properties President Sara Levinson is the "chief choice"
to take the top job at the new sports channel (VARIETY, 2/12-18
issue).  CNN will own 75% of the channel, with SI holding 25%.
Officials "are not disclosing start-up costs or distribution
goals," nor a projected break-even point.  Local system
programmer Phil Laxar notes, while "it is difficult to launch a
sports news service currently because of the channel-capacity
crunch, it is an area that I think there is an opportunity in,
longer term."  However, Laxar did say it is harder to justify
another sports channel "when you have other genres that are
underrepresented" (Rich Brown, BROADCASTING & CABLE, 2/19).
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