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Published March 19, 1998
ESPN MAGAZINE REVIEWS: In L.A., Larry Stewart reviewed ESPN Magazine, writing that the photography and writing "are good," but that the magazine "is too big" and "too thick," with "far too many ads," some of which "are hard to tell from the articles." Stewart adds, "Sometimes you wonder who is publishing this magazine, ESPN or Nike. The cover definitely has that Nike look, which isn't good." More Stewart: "Maybe it's too early to be critical, but we're not canceling our [SI] subscription just yet" (L.A. TIMES, 3/18). But in Philadelphia, Stan Hochman gives the magazine a "7 on a harsh scale of ten." Hochman: "Good stories spark questions, discussion, debate. There are enough good stories in the first issue ... to make you think it will prosper" (Stan Hochman, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/19). TV/VIDEO: Although Red Sox GM Dan Duquette's agent John Flynn said his client was "very upset" over the team's decision to cancel his proposed TV show, Duquette said he understands the reasons behind the move. The show was to air on WBZ-TV, which does not hold the team's broadcast rights. Duquette: "The over-the-air rights are critical for our long-term success, and there may be other opportunities [for me] in the future" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19)....In DC, CBS affil WUSA-TV "relied on a viewers' poll" to pick Game One of tonight's NCAA doubleheader, and 76% of respondents voted to watch the North Carolina-Michigan St. game over the West Virginia-Utah game. The second game will be Maryland- Arizona (WASHINGTON POST, 3/19)....Ozzie Smith will return for his second year as host of "This Week In Baseball" this season (TWIB). Smith will also work 30 Cardinals home game broadcasts on KPLR-TV (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/19)....The Bengals reached a deal with CBS affil WKRC-TV to broadcast the team's four preseason games (Bengals)....ESPN Video has released "We Got Next: The Story Of The WNBA's Inaugural Season." The video, with narration by Robin Roberts, retails for $14.99 (ESPN Video). HOLLYWOOD: Wayne Gretzky will be the first athlete to guest star on the new ABC drama, "The Game," which stars Luke Perry as a sports agent. While the show is "certain to get sports star visits," Perry says it "will not be Love Boat with professional athletes" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/19). ....Ving Rhames, who recently portrayed Don King in HBO's "Only In America," will play former heavyweight boxer Sonny Liston in a Paramount-produced biopic to be directed by William Friedkin (Michael Fleming, DAILY VARIETY, 3/19). ONLINE: Web simulcasts of sports events are examined by Matt Richtel of the N.Y. TIMES. CBS SportsLine President Ross Levinsohn said that Webcasts, which are now updated through audio and/or text only, will "eventually" incorporate video streaming and still shots "to make for a much richer experience." Levinsohn: "We've just built the Edsel. This is the forebear to the Rolls-Royce, which is still three to six years away" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).