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NETWORK NEWS: EVERYTHING'S COMING UP N-B-C
Published April 23, 1996
NBC's ranking as the top-rated prime-time network is examined by Greg Baxton of the L.A. TIMES, who writes, "The momentum is so strong that some experts are saying that NBC may be poised to dominate the TV landscape as it did during the '80s" (L.A. TIMES, 4/23). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke is equally generous to NBC Sports, with NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol crediting the deal with the NBA as possibly preserving the division "as people knew it" in the wake of losing baseball (USA TODAY, 4/23). ELECTRONIC MEDIA notes NBC posted a nearly 45% increase in first quarter operating profit on a 25% increase in sales, "spurred largely" by $15M in net earnings from Super Bowl XXX and $5M net from the post-game episode of "Friends" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/22). BROADCASTING & CABLE reports NBC "is shopping" for an entertainment cable channel to join its cable news channels and regional sports holdings. Sources said NBC has made offers for USA Network and the Family Channel (B&C, 4/22). WIDE WORLD'S 35TH: On ABC's "Good Morning America," Jim McKay, Robin Roberts and Frank Gifford discussed the 35th anniversary of ABC's "Wide World of Sports." ABC airs a two-hour anniversary special this weekend. Roberts noted how much "Wide World of Sports" has done for women's sports: "The way they were treated, it was never condescending, it was always with respect" ("GMA," ABC, 4/23). NEW LOOK FOR USA: Lacking the "brand identity" essential to success in the cable world, USA Network will launch a $5M "makeover" called USA Studios, centered around a central in- studio home from which the channel's programming will originate. The redesign also will include a new logo (Lee Hall, ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/22). CBC'S HOCKEY NUMBERS: CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" averaged 2.17 million viewers last Tuesday (Blues-Leafs, Canadiens-Rangers), 1.47 million on Wednesday (Jets-Wings, Flames-Blackhawks), and back up to 2.12 million on Thursday (Blues-Leafs, Canadiens-Rangers) (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/23). E! GOES OLYMPIC: E! Entertainment Television is working with Atlanta's MediaOne Cable system to produce a daily Olympic report, focused on "the Olympics from the entertainment point of view" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/22).