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ABC's Eagles-Cowboys "Monday Night Football" game earned a 17.4 national rating, making it the highest-rated game of the season, according to Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The game earned a 42.7 in Dallas-Fort Worth and a 37.3 in Philadelphia (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/17). NUMBERS: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that "despite the big endings" of TNT and "MNF" games, TV ratings "have been mixed." TNT is up 9%, to 8.6, over '96; ABC is down 9%, to 15.3....CBS' "College Football Today," carried in 34 of the 38 large markets, scored "only" a 1.0 overnight. CBS Dir of Media Relations Leslie Anne Wade: "It's going to take time for viewers to realize they can get scores and highlights on our show" (USA TODAY, 9/17)....Sunday's Country Music TV 300 NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at NH Int'l Speedway earned a 3.7 rating on TNN (NASCAR).
Fox Sports Detroit (FSD) made its official launch at 6:00am today, according to Steve Crowe of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. Fox Sports Net Senior VP Tim Krass said that only Detroit's Media One cable customers "were in danger of not getting" FSD in time for tonight's Red Wings-Penguins exhibition game. Crowe: "But that's a considerable segment -- about 400,000 homes in the metro area." Krass said talks with Media One are ongoing. Comcast, another "major local cable company," agreed to terms for carriage on Monday. Crowe adds that "it will be a while before" FSD has a local on-air presence beyond games (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/17).
TV NEWS: Classic Sports Network has launched on Cox Communications systems in the San Diego area, adding 450,000 new homes to the network (CSN)....ESPN Int'l has acquired the exclusive rights to the XXII Men's South American Volleyball Championships, and the multi-year deal began with the finals of the '97 tournament September 11-14 (ESPN Int'l)....HBO Sports will broadcast the Oscar De La Hoya/ Hector Camacho fight this Friday at 10:00pm ET (HBO). ....The Harris Corp. offered the first live broadcast of an MLB game in HDTV on Tuesday, and Joel Brinkely writes that "viewers gasped" while noting "details that would not have been discernible" on a conventional TV (N.Y. TIMES, 9/17). PUBLISHING: In N.Y., Keith Kelly wrote that Miller Publishing is "the top contender" to "snag a handful" of N.Y. Times magazines, including Tennis, Tennis Buyer's Guide, Cruising World, Sailing World, Snow Country and Snow Country Business (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/16). But TENNIS WEEK notes that Tennis magazine "is being purchased by Hearst for a reported" $20M, and will change its editorial focus to "life style" (TENNIS WEEK, 9/18 issue).