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MYERS GETS UP CLOSE: ESPN's Chris Myers interviewed O.J. Simpson in a "no-holds-barred" session on yesterday's "Up Close." In N.Y., Larry Sutton writes that Myers "fired tough questions" at Simpson (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16). In L.A., Larry Stewart: "Myers, who had more to lose than gain by doing the interview, didn't soften the questions, nor did he badger Simpson. If anything, Simpson badgered him. Give credit to ESPN for letting the live interview run minutes over the allotted time" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16). In N.Y., Steve Zipay writes that Myers "played the role of interrogator" (NEWSDAY, 1/16). In Philadelphia, Bill Conlin writes that Myers "maintained enough editorial control to prevent O.J. from [a] Don King-style monologue" (DAILY NEWS, 1/16). Also in Philadelphia, Raad Cawthon writes that "as the hour ended with a deadly serious Myers saying good-bye, an off-camera Simpson could be heard saying, 'I thought I was going to be talking about sports with you'" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 1/16). In Baltimore, Milton Kent: "In the biggest moment in his career, Chris Myers did himself, his network and his profession quite proud" (Baltimore SUN, 1/16). TV: In N.Y., WNBC-TV President/GM Dennis Swanson has both Jets coach Bill Parcells and Giants coach Jim Fassel under contract, and even though NBC doesn't have the NFL anymore, Swanson "is planning to do both a Jets and Giants show next season" (Bob Raissman, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16). ...WCBS-TV in N.Y. ran a station promo which showed the CBS eye and the voiceover: "CBS-2 your home for the Olympic games and this fall, home of the NFL." The end of the spot featured the NFL and WCBS eye logo (THE DAILY)....CNN will debut a new weekly series, "CNN's Page One With Nick Charles" on Saturday from 11:00-11:30am ET (CNN).
John Madden has signed a new five-year deal to return to Fox Sports. The 61-year-old Madden rejoins his partner of 17 years, Pat Summerall, as Fox's No. 1 NFL team (Fox Sports). Industry sources said that Madden's contract "was close" to the $8M a year he was paid to join the network (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 1/16). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke writes that Madden will be paid $8M a year (USA TODAY, 1/16). Madden's agent, Barry Frank, said the deal was for "at least" $8M a year (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16). A 2ND BOOMER? In Cincinnati, Geoff Hobson reports that ABC "went after" Bengals QB Boomer Esiason on Thursday with a five-year contract to be an analyst for "MNF" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 1/16)....In N.Y., Richard Johnson of the POST's "Page Six" reports that Kathie Lee Gifford, is "threatening to quit her own show" if her husband, Frank Gifford, "gets axed" from "MNF." Johnson adds that Kathie Lee met with ABC President Bob Iger (N.Y. POST, 1/16). EASY, DAVE: CBS' Jim Nantz was on the "Late Show" with David Letterman last night. Letterman, on speculation that Madden would return to CBS: "That carpetbagger, we're not bringing him back. I'm telling you, before the ink was dry on the deal at Fox he was outta here." Nantz: "[W]e would love to have him back." Letterman: "No, no, no. We don't want him back. He's a traitor. ... Who needs him? And Pat Summerall, how old is Pat Summerall? ... (imitating Summerall) 'You know when I used to kick, we wore cardboard helmets.' ... It certainly shows, Pat" ("Late Show," 1/15). KEEPING AN EYE OUT: CBS announced that it "has ended its long-standing policy of automatically making matching contributions to employee 401(k) retirement plans." Tim Jones of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that future payments "will be tied to CBS meeting overall company objectives and profit goals." Jones: "Although the policy switch was made before CBS announced its expensive return to NFL broadcasts, employees are grumbling that the football contract will only heighten corporate cost pressures" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/16).
Fox Sports begins its fourth season of NHL coverage Sunday with the 48th NHL All-Star Game from Vancouver at 4:00pm ET. Mike Emrick and John Davidson return as Fox's No. 1 team, with analysts Joe Micheletti and Craig Simpson serving as reporters. James Brown and Dave Maloney will do the studio show from Vancouver during pre-game, intermission and post-game coverage. Fox's Saturday NHL regular season coverage begins next week (Fox Sports). TECH-TALK: Fox Sports Exec Producer Ed Goren said that "technical advances will be noticed" during Sunday's game. Goren: "We're testing a helmet cam on a linesman for face- offs, and we plan on as many as five robotic cameras around the rink to bring the viewer more of the excitement you feel at a hockey game in person" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/16). ESPN will debut the "MaskCam," a 16-ounce lipstick-sized camera affixed to Sabres G Dominik Hasek's mask, during its coverage of "NHL All-Star Saturday" at 9:00pm ET. He will wear the camera throughout the skills competition. ESPN's Brian Engblom will wear a version of MaskCam on his helmet and a microphone for commentary. Gary Thorne and Barry Melrose will host ESPN's coverage, with Bill Clement and Darren Pang serving as ice-level reporters. Steve Levy will host ESPN's weekend-long coverage (ESPN).
The following lists ratings from last weekend's network events. CBS' regional NCAA basketball was Mississippi- Alabama or St. John's-Georgetown. All times are ET. The numbers are gathered from the networks (THE DAILY).
EVENT DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR PGA Tour: Mercedes Championships1/10ABC2:00-4:30pm3.2/8 U.S. Figure Skating Championships1/10ABC4:30-6:00pm6.4/14 U.S. Figure Skating Championships1/10ABC8:00-11:00pm13.0/21 NCAA Basketball: Kansas-Texas1/10CBSNoon-2:00pm1.3/4 NCAA Basketball: Regional1/10CBS2:00-4:00pm1.7/5 NCAA Basketball: L'ville-Syracuse1/10CBS4:00-6:00pm1.6/4 Discover Stars on Ice Fig Skating1/10NBC2:00-3:30pm2.6/8 PGA of America Year in Review1/10NBC3:30-4:30pm1.3/4 PGA Tour Qualifying School1/10NBC4:30-6:00pm1.6/4 PGA Tour: Mercedes Championships1/11ABC3:00-6:00pm3.1/6 "Fox NFL Sunday" Pre-game1/11FOX3:30-4:00pm9.1/19 NFC Championship: GB-SF1/11FOX4:00-7:00pm26.2/47 "NFL on NBC" Pre-game1/11NBCNoon-12:30pm8.8/24 AFC Championship: DEN-PIT1/11NBC12:30-4:00pm25.0/54 Visa Celebrity Ski Classic1/11CBS1:00-2:00pm0.9/2 Canadian Pro Figure Skating Champ1/11CBS2:00-6:00pm4.1/8