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PROGRAMMING: On CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday, national basketball scout Bob Gibbons "contends that big-name athletic footwear makers are corrupting high schoolers -- even preteens, in some cases -- by giving them free equipment that holds out 'a false dream of a pro career'" (Michael Hirsley, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/24)....Penny Hardaway will appear on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) next Tuesday at 10:00pm ET. Hardaway will take fans' calls while selling dolls of his commercial counterpart, Li'l Penny (HSN). CABLE TV: MLS player Carlos Valderrama will announce the MLS Cup '97 in Spanish for ESPN Int'l this Sunday (ESPN Int'l)....In Toronto, William Houston writes that three weeks into the NHL season, "Hockey Night in Canada's" (HNIC) prime-time numbers "are in the cellar." HNIC, which averaged "about" 1.2 million viewers in primetime last season, has pulled in 917,000; 807,000; and 779,000 for its three game so far (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/24)....ESPN ran a full- page ad in USA TODAY touting its "Classic Sports From ESPN," which it acquired on October 9 (USA TODAY, 10/24). TEAM: In Toronto, Josh Rubin notes an industry source who says the Blue Jays "could see" a drop in radio rights from C$4M per season to C$1.5M in its new deal. Jays President Sam Pollock said that "there hasn't been any official bid" for the rights (TORONTO STAR, 10/24)....The Warriors "made their final offer" to SportsChannel Bay Area in an effort to work out a dispute over the right of first refusal in carrying the team's telecasts. Warriors Legal Counsel Robin Baggett said that if the offer is rejected, the team "will open negotiations with other outlets" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 10/24). NAMES: Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser "is expected to sign a deal" with ESPN Radio and the new ESPN Magazine (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/24)....SI Presents will publish a special collector's issue in tribute to former UNC coach Dean Smith that will hit NC retail outlets today, and begin selling nationwide on Monday (SI).
The following lists final ratings from last weekend's network sporting events. All times are EDT. The numbers were gathered from the networks (THE DAILY).
EVENT DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR NCAA Football: (regional)10/18ABC3:30-7:00pm3.0/8 NCAA Football: Miami-BC10/18CBS12:00-3:30pm1.2/4 NCAA Football: Florida-Auburn10/18CBS3:30-7:00pm4.5/12 McDonald's Championship Finals10/18NBC1:00-3:30pm2.1/7 NCAA Football: USC-Notre Dame10/18NBC3:30-7:00pm3.2/9 MLB World Series: Game One10/18NBC7:30-10:30pm11.3/22 "Fox NFL Sunday"10/19FOX12:00-1:00pm3.1/10 "NFL on Fox" (regional)10/19FOX1:00-7:00pm8.3/22 NFL on NBC Pregame10/19NBC12:00-1:00pm3.8/12 "NFL on NBC" Game One10/19NBC1:00-4:00pm11.2/30 "NFL on NBC" Game Two10/19NBC4:00-7:00pm13.3/30 MLB World Series: Game Two10/19NBC7:30-11:00pm15.0/24
Thursday's Game Five of the World Series earned a preliminary overnight rating of 18.5/30 (THE DAILY). AFTER FOUR: In N.Y., Michael Starr reports that Game Four earned a final national rating of 15.5/26, making the four game average a 14.3/24, the "lowest" in Series history. But Starr notes that "despite its low World Series numbers," NBC won Wednesday's primetime slot (N.Y. POST, 10/24). FREE SPACE: An NBC source told Starr that there's "[w]orse news for NBC," as the network "will be forced" to provide World Series advertisers with make-goods if the Series "fails to meet" NBC guaranteed rating to advertisers, which was a 16 for the Series. BJK&E Media ad buyer Steve Sternberg: "The fact that (this year's) series numbers are down means that advertisers are going to start to look at (the World Series) differently. It doesn't bode well" (N.Y. POST, 10/24). Jon Mandel of Grey Advertising, noting that Game One (11.3 rating) finished as the 20th most watched program last week: "As an advertiser, the World Series has just become another program" (USA TODAY, 10/24). In L.A., Larry Stewart writes that low ratings "aren't the only thing plaguing the World Series," as a source told him that 32% of the commercial spots for Games Five, Six and Seven "remained unsold Thursday morning" (L.A. TIMES, 10/24). OH, CANADA! In Toronto, Rob Longley writes that TSN's coverage of the World Series has been stronger than expected. TSN "had a viewership" of 490,000 for Game One, with 100,000 additional viewers for Game Two. TSN Program Dir Phil King: "It's been all doom and gloom in the U.S., but not here" (Rob Longley, TORONTO SUN, 10/24).