SBD/20/Sports Media

NETWORK NEWS: TROUBLE BREWING IN THE MAGIC KINGDOM?

     Just nine months after coming on board as President of Walt
Disney Co., Michael Ovitz is said to be "warring" with Disney CEO
Michael Eisner, according to this morning's N.Y. POST.  One
"well-placed source close to the company":  "Eisner regretted
hiring him from day one, and Ovitz is equally frustrated.  He's a
square peg in a round hole."  Ovitz is said to have met
"resistance" from Eisner on proposed acquisitions and expansions,
while Eisner believes Ovitz "is spending too much time on
projects of questionable value."  One such project was the move
of the Seahawks from Seattle to Anaheim.  In addition to seeking
the NFL team for Disney's planned SportsTown Complex, Ovitz also
sought the NBA's Clippers or Nuggets.  One source, on the
Seahawks' move announcement:  "Ovitz came to Eisner for the go-
ahead and didn't get it.  There was too much bad publicity and
too much time wasted -- [Eisner] pulled the plug, and Ovitz was
embarrassed" (Gregory Zuckerman, N.Y. POST, 5/20).  BUSINESS WEEK
profiles Ovitz:  "The 49-year-old is finding that corporate life
can be tricky" (BUSINESS WEEK, 5/27 issue).
     NBC NEWS:  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol is profiled by
the WASHINGTON POST's Leonard Shapiro, with a focus on how he has
changed his lifestyle and work habits in the wake of his minor
heart attack in February.  Some highlights:  Ebersol credits
ABC's Roone Arledge for much of his own success; he said NBA
Commissioner David Stern taught him "how to be a great partner";
and he says he still gets "chills and thrills from being a
dealmaker and a negotiator" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/20)....USA TODAY
notes NBC execs are "concerned" over harassment allegations
against NBC West Coast President Don Ohlmeyer.  Ohlmeyer calls
the reports (including a N.Y. DAILY NEWS report he was "groping"
women at a network event last week) "character assassination of
the worst kind" (Peter Johnson, USA TODAY, 5/20).
     OTHER NETS:  The N.Y. TIMES profiles Barry Diller's plans to
take home shopping to the Net (N.Y. TIMES, 5/20). ....INSIDE
MEDIA reports USA Network has sold virtually all of its ad time
for the French Open.  New sponsors:  MCI, Days Inn, Solaris,
Alliance Capital, BMW and Ericcson Cellular.  Returning sponsors:
AT&T, MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson, Canon, Ford, Acura, GM,
Block Drug and American Home Products.  John Cronopulos, USA's VP
of Corporate Accounts & Special Events, cited a 40% increase in
revenue for this year's tournament (INSIDE MEDIA, 5/15
issue)....Big 12 ADs met with ABC and Fox/Liberty execs to
discuss plans for the new conference's football coverage.  There
will be three prime time games on fX (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 5/20).
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