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HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" returns on March 11 with three new segments. Featured: "A Remarkable Journey," Frank Deford's piece on Hakeem Olajuwon; "Pioneers," on the '66 Texas Western basketball team that became the first all-black team to win the NCAAs; and "New Sensation," on the growth of women's college basketball, focusing on the Univ. of Tennessee (HBO). In the Deford piece, Olajuwon, a Muslim, said he has turned away efforts by Louis Farrakhan's followers to interest him in the Nation of Islam. Olajuwon: "When I talked to them, you realize that it's part of the Nation of Islam, and they are teaching what is totally against what Islam teaches. Islam is against nationalism, racism, language -- no barriers" (Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY, 2/29).
In addition to auditioning to be an analyst on Fox's baseball coverage, former Mariners 2B Harold Reynolds could head the Diamondbacks' community relations department (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/29)....The TV industry is expected to announce today that it will develop a ratings system, similar to one for movies (WASHINGTON POST, 2/29)....Fox's James Brown will handle play-by- play duties on five Bullets HTS games starting March 10. Brown provided commentary for the team from '78 to '83 (HTS)....TCI announced it has given the Colorado Special Olympics $50,000 to co-sponsor the '96 Colorado State Winter Games (TCI)....The Nashville Network's telecast of the Goodwrench 400 achieved a 5.4 rating, becoming the most-watched NASCAR Winston Cup telecast on any cable network since TNN began covering the circuit six years ago (TNN)....Prime Network will run a preview of the NCAA Division One Women's basketball tournament with the Dial Soap NCAA Women's Tournament Preview. The show will be distributed by Prime on March 13, but air dates and times will differ by region (Prime).
SportsNet, Inc. of Dallas will launch its sports news and entertainment home page on the World Wide Web this spring at http://game-time.com. The customized system will offer sports enthusiasts worldwide comprehensive entertainment packages, including "real time" sports info, in-depth game and events analysis and commentary along with a Game Time Challenge. SportsNet works with providers Sun Microsystems and SportsTicker. Robert Wright is Exec VP/COO, while Daniel Green is President (SportsNet). TIGHT FIT: ESPNet SportsZone launched its ScorePost, a live scoreboard which users can pull down and keep on their own screen for late-breaking news and scores. New advertisers include Levi- Strauss and networkMCI. Ad rates for the ScorePost are undisclosed (AD AGE ONLINE, 2/29).