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  • BILLY PACKER GIVES NEW MEANING TO MARCH MADNESS IN DIATRIBE

              CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer criticized
         CBS's "60 Minutes" for its recent segments on college
         basketball, with much of his remarks relating to Mike
         Wallace's examination of the Frenso State program which
         aired March 15.  Packer told Larry Stewart of the L.A.
         TIMES: "'60 Minutes' is a cancer in our organization, and
         you can quote me on that.  I don't care how much money they
         bring in. ... They've done four college basketball stories
         around NCAA tournament time, and they always look for the
         most negative thing they can find.  They go in with a
         preconceived plan and stay on the story until they get what
         they want.  About 99% of college basketball is positive, and
         they look for the 1% that is negative.  I'll tell you, I
         wouldn't want to find them on my team in a foxhole." 
         Packer: "[T]hey spent three days on a story that bastardized
         the University of Louisville and Denny Crum and they had
         Leslie Stahl do a story on sneakers.  Leslie Stahl wouldn't
         know a sneaker if she saw one" (L.A. TIMES, 3/20).
              WALLACE'S RESPONSE: CBS's Mike Wallace responded to
         Packer's comments: "Although I've never met him, I'm sure
         Billy Packer is a fine fellow. ... I believe our report on
         the Bulldogs was a fair one."  As for Frenso State coach
         Jerry Tarkanian, Wallace said, "I actually like the man, and
         he is accurate when he says I told him he wouldn't be
         disappointed in the piece.  But that was before we got very
         deep into the story.  As it developed, I mean, what could we
         do?" (L.A. TIMES, 3/20).  In L.A., columnist Tim Kawakami
         called Packer's comments "sadly revealing -- about Packer
         and CBS. ... '60 Minutes' is the best hour of journalistic
         story-telling ... on TV.  Granted, it is sometimes naive
         when it reports on sports issues, but it is always brave and
         the reporting is usually indefatigable" (L.A. TIMES, 3/21).
    
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, NCAA, Media, Viacom
  • MEDIA NOTES

              CBS'S NCAA MEN'S TOURNAMENT COVERAGE: CBS Sports
         President Sean McManus said CBS, in conjunction with the
         NCAA, is "exploring the long-term benefits of possibly
         providing out-of-market games as the NFL does on DirecTV's
         'NFL Sunday Ticket'" for the NCAA tourney.  USA TODAY's Rudy
         Martzke writes that PPV games may be available by the 2000
         Tournament, with CBS making all games in the first and
         second weekend available in a package for $69 or $79 (USA
         TODAY, 3/23).  In N.Y., Phil Mushnick calls CBS's Tournament
         coverage the "best logistical work in the 16 years it has
         owned the rights" (N.Y. POST, 3/23).  But in Boston, Howard
         Manly wrote that studio analyst Dean Smith "is not an asset
         on the air.  For one thing, his Southern storytelling style
         does not fit today's sound-bite world" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22).
              WHITHER ESPN TOWN HALL? While a White House
         spokesperson said last week that a Presidential Town Hall
         meeting focusing on race and sports would be held April 14
         in Houston, an ESPN spokesperson said Sunday "that while the
         idea had been discussed, neither the date nor the site has
         been set in stone" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/23).  Charles
         Barkley, on the meeting that will focus on race and sports:
         "I find that racist in its own right.  The black people
         can't do anything but sports?" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/21).
              OTHER NOTES: The IOC's new TV deal with the CBC/TSN,
         from 2000-2008, "marks the first time the IOC has handed a
         Canadian broadcaster rights to a series of Olympic games
         under a multiyear deal.  Previously, rights were sold on a
         Games-by-Games basis" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 3/23)....MSG
         Network and Fox Sports NY have a toll-free number (1-888-
         6743769) that viewers can call to locate their teams on
         nights when multiple games are being telecast (N.Y. POST,
         3/23)....Reggie White is being considered for a studio
         analyst position with CBS (MIL. JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/22).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Canadian Broadcasting Corp., CBS, DirecTV, ESPN, IOC, Madison Square Garden, NCAA, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • SOURCES SAY USA NETWORK WILL DROP BOXING IN AUGUST

              Despite denials by USA Network, sources said the cable
         network will "drop its long-running" weekly boxing series,
         "Tuesday Night Fights," later this year, according to Royce
         Feour of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.  USA Network
         spokesperson David Schwarz called it a "pure rumor."  But
         boxing industry sources, including Top Rank promotor Bob
         Arum, said the network will drop its boxing coverage in
         August.  Arum said that the series' possible demise makes
         Monday night's Fox-televised card "even more important for
         boxing."  Arum said that Fox "might enter" a contract with
         Top Rank for several boxing cards per year, "particularly if
         the first card is a success" (L.V. REVIEW-JOURNAL, 3/22).
              OH, OSCAR! Fox took out ads for tonight's "Oscar De La
         Hoya's Big Fight Night," up against ABC's Academy Awards
         telecast, in today's sports sections of USA Today and N.Y.
         Post reading: "Tonight, It's Oscar's Night on FOX." 
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, News Corp./Fox, Media, USA Networks, Walt Disney
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