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RATINGS: ABC's telecast of Michigan-Ohio State on Saturday earned a 8.7 overnight rating, while CBS earned a 6.2 overnight for its FL-Florida State game (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25)....Thursday night's Martina Hingis-Mary Pierce match on MSG Network drew a 1.1 rating, the highest ever for a tennis match on MSG. The final minutes of the match, from 9:30-9:45pm ET, drew a 3.6. The Knicks-Hawks drew a 1.1 on MSG's other cable service at the same time (THE DAILY). CABLE: In Hartford, Bruce Berlet writes to look for "quicker" ABL games "per request of Fox Sports Net," which has "been running over its two-hour window" during its ABL telecasts. Halftime has been reduced from 15 to 12 minutes, and all non-TV timeouts have been reduced to 60 seconds (HARTFORD COURANT, 11/25)....ESPN Exec Editor John Walsh, on the challenges facing its news division since being acquired by Walt Disney: "[W]e've been watchful and everybody's watchful in the news area to make sure we have the independence to cover things. ... Other people have this issue. CNN has to cover the [Braves] and pretty soon Fox is going to have to cover the [Dodgers], so it's not just Disney" (Baltimore SUN, 11/25)....Julie Foudy is featured in a Lifetime TV vignette this week, part of its "Breaking Through" series. The spot focuses on Foudy's recent trip to a Pakistani soccer ball factory (Stars & Strategies).
CBS "will receive a $5 million rebate" for not having the No. 1-ranked team in its January 2 Orange Bowl telecast, according to Rudy Martzke of USA TODAY. CBS now will pay $19M for the likely matchup of No. 2 Nebraska vs. No. 3 Tennessee. No. 1-ranked Michigan will play on ABC in the Rose Bowl. This is CBS' final year with the Bowl Alliance, as ABC gets the Super Alliance next season, when the Rose Bowl is included, guaranteeing a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 11/25).
Bob Costas will replace Marv Albert on NBC's new No. 1 NBA announcing team with Isiah Thomas, according to Rudy Martzke of USA TODAY. Martzke reports that Thomas "is completing negotiations with NBC for a contract in the $600,000 range." Martzke writes that Hannah Storm will take over Costas' role as studio host (USA TODAY, 11/25). But in N.Y., Richard Sandomir writes that either Greg Gumbel or Tom Hammond "will succeed" Albert (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25). In Toronto, Doug Smith adds that Thomas "will earn less" than $1M in his NBC deal, and that details "still need" to be finalized concerning his role at CNBC (TORONTO STAR, 11/25).