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Fox Sports Detroit (FSD) "hasn't come to terms" with two "major" cable operators, Media One and Comcast, according to Bev Eckman of the DETROIT NEWS. Media One "charges" that FSD has raised fees "drastically," while FSD execs contend that its phone calls to negotiate "are not being returned." Media One's Bill Black: "Fox overpaid the state's hottest sports team (the Red Wings) to buy a way into the market, and they would like to see their excessive costs put on the backs of our customers." Black would not say what FSD is charging for carriage. Fox VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika said that FSD "has agreements with more than 30 cable systems totaling 1 million households, and everyone thinks [FSD] is a good channel and a good value." FSD is in talks with Comcast (DETROIT NEWS, 9/16). FOX DETROIT, DIRECT: DIRECTV will offer FSD as part of its programming lineup (DIRECTV)....FSD's promo campaign, with the tagline, "Home Teams. Fox Attitude," features outdoor, print, radio and TV ads in the Detroit market and includes Grant Hill and Steve Yzerman (FSD)....CA-based WorldLink will expand its relationship with Fox Sports Net beginning October 1 where WorldLink, the exclusive infomercial sales reps for FSN affils, become the exclusive direct response spot sales reps and will add infomercial and direct response spot sales for FSD (WorldLink).
RATINGS: TNT's Jets-Patriots game on Sunday night earned a 9.2 rating, making it the 8th-highest rated game in network history. It was watched by an estimated 6.7 million households, which would be the third most in network history (THE DAILY). The game's simulcast on N.Y.'s WPIX-TV earned a 12.3 rating, the highest since a '94 Giants-Cards game that earned a 15.2 (N.Y. TIMES, 9/16). In Boston, WLVI-TV earned a 27.7 rating for its simulcast of the game. With TNT's 14.1 rating, the game earned a 41.8 in Boston, a record for a regular-season game (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/16). RADIO: In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes that MLB's national radio deal will be moving from CBS Radio to ESPN Radio for a reported purchase price of $40M (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16). TV/VIDEO: The first live HDTV broadcast of an MLB game will take place today with the Indians-Orioles. The Harris Corporation will show the game on digital TV equipment at Washington, DC's National Press Club (MLB)....BRANDWEEK reports that MLB "is considering a divorce" from Phoenix Communications, its video production house and video library, which handles "This Week in Baseball" and other league productions (BRANDWEEK, 9/15 issue). PROFILES: In the AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW, Mark Lisheron writes a career profile of Keith Olbermann. Olbermann: "I have never mistaken myself for Coca-Cola or Pepsi. I'm birch beer or ginger ale or Dr. Pepper. If you want what's in the middle you don't hire someone like Keith Olbermann (AJR, 9/97 issue)....Polly Perkins, the new president of Petersen Publishing's Sport magazine group is profiled by Ylonda Gault of CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS. Industry "insiders" say that Perkins "has a fighting chance" to make Sport "a big hit" (CRAIN'S N.Y. BUSINESS, 9/15 issue).
Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said that the team could announce a TV deal this week that will put 25 to 30 games on three networks during the '97-98 season, according to Scott Michaux of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. Games will be seen on Fox SportsSouth, HTS and Capital Broadcasting. The NEWS & RECORD'S Michaux adds that the package "is far smaller" than had been desired (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 9/16). NEWS & NOTES: The Lightning has added WLVU-FM to the SportsChannel Radio/Lightning Network for the '97-98 season (Lightning)....Entercom Communications "landed" the Royals' radio broadcast rights and its local station, KMBZ-AM, will be the team's flagship in '98 (K.C. STAR, 9/13).