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Two years after the CFL's "failed expansion" into the U.S., it "appears no games will be televised south of the border," as there is no U.S. TV contract in place and "nothing imminent," according to Perry Lefko of the TORONTO SUN. The CFL had been talking to Fox, but CFL Chair John Tory said that the league is "finding it difficult to agree on acceptable terms with (a) U.S. network." Tory: "I'm not going to do a bad deal just to get coverage in the United States because frankly it's more important that we get good coverage in Canada." CFL games aired in the U.S. were seen mostly on a tape-delay basis on ESPN2 (TORONTO SUN, 5/19).
David Falk's FAME "hopes to launch a new cable channel and fill it with programs featuring the agency's 40 or so non-[Michael] Jordan clients," according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. Four or five shows "are already in development, from the newly formed New Urban Entertainment." One is a talk show featuring Wizards F Juwan Howard called, "Where Juwanna Go Today," which "may appear" on the DC Fox affil first. FAME VP Rob Urbach said that Howard's show is "kind of loosely based on [ABC's] Politically Incorrect." Urbach: "We've got the production part of this thing down and really the shows we're developing could air anywhere, but we're close to a deal on the distribution part that we'd probably own with partners. The idea is that we're involving our players for content and our player's corporate sponsors as possible sponsors" (Terry Lefton, BRANDWEEK, 5/18 issue).
In L.A., Sallie Hofmeister reports that NBC will "unveil a landmark proposal this week" to affils in L.A. "to phase out nearly" $200M paid to TV stations annually "to carry its programs" in favor of a new system, which "would be the most radical restructuring of the economic model governing broadcasting and affiliates." NBC is trying to make up for the loss of "Seinfeld," the cost to renew "ER" and its Olympic and NBA deals (L.A. TIMES, 5/19)....NFL Sunday Ticket expanded its distribution into the Bahamas via Cable Bahamas Ltd. (NFL)....Raycom Sports and The Sporting News will jointly produce, distribute and market TV programming in '98 and '99. The programming will include eight one-hour specials branded with TSN's name and hosted by Pat O'Brien (Raycom Sports)....Speedvision will provide more than 11 hours of live coverage of the 24 Hours of Le Mans (Speedvision)....Rosie O'Donnell will narrate Lifetime's "Intimate Portrait: Rebecca Lobo" before the WNBA season-opener on June 11 (Lifetime).....In Minneapolis, Jim Souhan profiles the sports book industry: "Few sports books are printed in mass quantities or make big profits. National publishers find few sports subjects worthy of books. ... Yet sports books fill stores in seemingly increasing numbers, because sports figures increasingly crave control over their stories" (STAR TRIBUNE, 5/19).