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  • "SHOOTING" FROM THE LIP -- LUPICA TO HOST ESPN2 SERIES

              N.Y. Daily News columnist and ESPN contributor Mike
         Lupica will host a weekly series, "The Mike Lupica Show," on
         ESPN2.  The show will premiere May 4 at 5:30pm ET with NBA
         Commissioner David Stern as the first guest.  Each 30-minute
         episode of the program, which is being produced by CT-based
         Valerio Productions, will begin with commentary from Lupica,
         followed by an interview with a sports personality.  After
         the interview, both Lupica and his guest will field
         questions from a live studio audience.  The show, taped in
         NYC, will be reaired twice each week on ESPN2 (ESPN2).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, NBA, Media, Walt Disney
  • MEDIA NOTES

              TV: Hall of Fame RB John Riggins will join WFAN's Chris
         Russo as co-host of "Riggins and Russo Live," an NFL pregame
         show which will air on N.Y.'s WCBS-TV Sundays at 11:00am
         this season.  The duo will also contribute to the station's
         "Sports Rap" Sunday night highlights show during the season
         (N.Y. POST, 4/23)....In Boston, Bob Ryan, on NBC NBA 
         analyst Doug Collins: "When he's done completing a thought,
         Isiah Thomas might just as well head to the men's room,
         because it's all been said" (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/23)....In Las
         Vegas, Tim Graham rated sports broadcasters and called
         ESPN's Chris Berman the "most overrated sportscaster in the
         history of the profession." Graham cited NHL announcer Bill
         Clement as the "most underrated," and wrote that MSNBC's
         Keith Olbermann is "right where he belongs. ... Olbermann is
         finding out he needed 'SportsCenter' much more than it
         needed him" (LAS VEGAS SUN, 4/22)....In '99, the PGA Tour
         will broadcast 196 hours of early-round coverage of its
         events in int'l markets, an increase of 59% from this year. 
         Weekend coverage will rise 14%, and total hours of int'l
         coverage will jump 32% (GOLFWEEK, 4/18 issue)....NHL Rangers
         F Kevin Stevens and Panthers F Bill Lindsey will serve as
         guest analysts on ESPN2's "NHL 2Night" throughout the first
         round of the NHL playoffs (ESPN2).      
              NOTES: Traffic to ESPN SportsZone, NFL.com and a
         special NFL Draft site accessible from both sites generated
         more than 34 million page views and 4.7 million visits last
         weekend (ESPN)....In N.Y., Paul Tharp reports that magazine
         launches numbered 852 last year, down from a record 933
         startups in '97.  Experts say, however, that the "cooling-
         off" of the magazine boom "is only temporary."  Sports
         titles were the second-most-popular category of startups
         last year, with 103 titles launched (N.Y. POST, 4/23).
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, NBA, NBC, New York Rangers, NFL, NHL, PGA Tour, Media, Walt Disney
  • PENGUINS, FOX TRADE BARBS OVER IMPENDING TV RIGHTS SUIT

              The Penguins and Fox Sports Pittsburgh (FSP) execs "are
         bulking up for a postseason brawl over broadcasting rights,"
         according to Jon Schmitz of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  In
         a court document filed this week, the Penguins "accused Fox
         of trying to defraud the team and the [NHL] of fees owed for
         TV rights."  Fox officials contend the Penguins are trying
         to break a contract that gives FSP broadcast rights to
         Penguins games through the 2008-09 season in order to form
         their own network, Marino Sports Network.  Fox Sports Senior
         VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika said that the net "felt
         betrayed" by the Penguins "after bailing the team out of
         financial binds on several occasions in recent years." 
         Wladika said that FSP "lent" the Penguins $11M in '94,
         "helped arrange" a $31M loan from Bank of America to the
         team in '95, and guaranteed a $5M loan in '96 when the
         Penguins "lacked the credit-worthiness."  Wladika said that
         the team's "financial situation was in such disarray that
         the network sent its payments for rights fees directly to
         the bank rather than to the Penguins."  In the court
         document, the Penguins alleged Fox "intentionally" and
         "deceitfully" underreported the numbers of outer market
         subscribers to minimize fees it owed.  Fox puts the amount
         in dispute at less than $600,000, but Penguins Dir of
         Business Development Bill Craig, a former FSP exec, said the
         fee owed by Fox "might be twice" that.  Wladika: "Not even
         remotely true."  As for the loans to the team, Craig said
         they were "cold, hard" business deals: "Fox is not noted for
         being in the social welfare business.  To portray this as
         some benevolent act on their part is absurd" (PITTSBURGH
         POST-GAZETTE, 4/22).  The case is scheduled for trial June
         29 (David Brown, Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 4/22). 
    
    

    Print | Tags: Bank of America, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins, Media
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