SBD/10/Sports Media

"DATELINE" REVISITS BEN WRIGHT-LPGA CONTROVERSY TONIGHT

     Tonight, NBC's "Dateline" examines the comments made by CBS
golf analyst Ben Wright about lesbianism on the LPGA Tour --
which eventually led to Wright's suspension from the network --
with a focus on the ensuing "eight-month battle" between CBS and
Wilmington (DE) News Journal reporter Valerie Helmbreck.  The
piece also examines Wright's status and his battle with
alcoholism (NBC).  Noting that the piece accuses CBS of trying to
"discredit" and "smear" Helmbreck, CBS execs responded with
charges of unfairness.  CBS Sports Dir of Communications
LeslieAnne Wade:  "We applaud NBC for taking valuable news time
to attack a direct competitor."  CBS Senior VP of Communications
Gil Schwartz chalked it up to sweeps week and said the story has
"no new news value."  But NBC News VP David Corvo noted it is the
first time Helmbreck has spoken on TV and that it is the one-year
anniversary.  He called it a "big story."  CBS Sports President
David Kenin:  "This story has been done" (Rudy Martzke, USA
TODAY, 5/10).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent calls NBC "the worst of
vultures" for attacking CBS and refers to the piece as "lurid and
sensational" (Baltimore SUN, 5/10).
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Related Topics:

CBS, LPGA, NBC, Media, Viacom

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