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John McEnroe is looking for a publisher for his book, according Jacobs & Flamm of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Sources said McEnroe's agent, IMG's David Chalfant, has "demanded" a $1M bid. Chalfant said the book is not a tennis book, but rather, "a hybrid of Dennis Miller's 'Rants' and John Madden's insights into the sports world." The book is tentatively titled "You Cannot Be Serious." One editor on McEnroe: "He's charming and witty. But there aren't many sports figures worth a million dollars" (EW, 12/19 issue).
Sports Illustrated "is planning major design changes and is mulling a monthly spinoff -- moves that ESPN officials characterize as defensive reactions to their forthcoming" ESPN Magazine, according to Jeff Gremillion of MEDIAWEEK. A Time Inc. exec said SI will unveil a new design "changing everything, from the cover logo to the length of columns." ESPN Senior VP & Exec Editor of ESPN Magazine John Walsh called the SI design changes "reacting to our prototype." Walsh also "charged" that the SI changes are "styled after an ESPN sample that has been shown to advertisers." SI Manager/TV & Business Publicity Robin Shallow "denied that the launch of ESPN or the title's prototype are factors in SI's new look." Shallow: "We do have plans for some exciting changes, but not a major re- design." Gremillion also reports that SI is "considering launching an oversized monthly spinoff" that would be "hipper than SI, for younger readers." SI's Shallow "would not confirm the spinoff discussions" (MEDIAWEEK, 12/15).
Fox Sports Net will launch two sports news shows early next year, according to MEDIAWEEK. "Goin' Deep," a weekly sports newsmagazine to air Sundays from 9:00-10:00pm, is scheduled to begin in February. It will examine current sport issues. "The Last Word" will begin in early January and will debate "the day's top sports stories." It will air Monday-Saturdays at midnight (MEDIAWEEK, 12/15 issue). FOX TV: News Corp. VP/Finance William Sorenson said that Fox's TV stations will generate cash flow of about $650M for the FY ending next June. He said that is up from roughly $400M in '96, a 62.5% increase, and puts Fox "on target" to reach $800M by '98 or '99 (MEDIA CENTRAL, 12/15).
HEISMAN TALK: In N.Y., Steve Zipay, on Charles Woodson winning the Heisman Trophy and ESPN's coverage of the event: "You have to wonder how embarrassed ESPN was after airing an hour-long special Friday night: 'Peyton Manning: All Access Granted.'" An ESPN spokesperson: "It was a long-range call, we didn't just whip it up on Thursday. We made the decision at the beginning of the season to follow around a big name and do a diary" (NEWSDAY, 12/16). NOTES: NBC's Steelers-Patriots game Saturday drew a 41.3/67 rating in Pittsburgh and a 32.6/58 rating in Boston (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/16)....In N.Y., Saturday's Redskins-Giants generated a local rating of 16.7. Fox's Bucs-Jets game on Sunday earned a 19.7 local rating (N.Y. TIMES, 12/16). ...Going into this week, ABC's "MNF" was averaging a 14.8, "not drastically lower than the 16.4 of a year ago." In Denver, Todd Phipers writes that ABC should get a ratings boost with the Broncos-49ers game and the Pats-Dolphins finale, both with playoff implications (DENVER POST, 12/16).