SBD/17/Sports Media

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  • FOOTBALL NETWORK TO LAUNCH WITH TAG: ENOUGH IS NEVER ENOUGH!

              The Football Network, a 24-hour-a-day cable channel,
         will kickoff on September 5, according to Tom Hoffarth of
         the L.A. DAILY NEWS.  The channel's creator, 30-year-old TV
         producer Jantonio Turner, has been working on its
         development for two years and says, "I could see us maybe
         making a splash from the start."  The channel's slogan is
         "Enough is NEVER Enough."  Turner has established relations
         with a nationwide distribution cable co-op called NCTC,
         which reps more than 5,300 local cable systems with 8.5
         million subscribers.  Hoffarth also notes that DirecTV or
         EchoStar "should have no problem providing room" for the
         station.  Programming will "likely be limited to anything
         below NCAA Division I, but not excluding semipro, high
         school and youth leagues" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 7/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: DirecTV, NCAA, Media
  • IT'S ALWAYS TARA, TARA, TARA: LIPINSKI INKS CBS DEAL

              Tara Lipinski has signed with CBS to star in a series
         of primetime specials during the '98-99 season.  Among the
         CBS Entertainment programs are a new edition of CBS Sports'
         "Ice Wars" and "The Great Eight," a new competition.  "Ice
         Wars" will pit American skaters against skaters from the
         rest of the world, while "The Great Eight" will be a round-
         robin elimination competition.  As part of her CBS deal,
         Lipinski will also tape a series of network IDs spots, on-
         air promos and anti-drug PSAs (CBS Sports).
    
    

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

              HE'S GOT THE EYE OF THE IGER: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke
         reports that ESPN/ABC Sports President Steve Bornstein "is
         among those considered successors" to Bob Iger as ABC
         President.  Martzke adds that ESPN's ratings improved 18%
         for the second quarter of '98 to 1.27, with "SportsCenter"
         up 13%.  Both numbers are still down from '97.  Martzke
         notes that ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys cited "increasing
         competition" from other nets, but did not mention FSN's "Fox
         Sports News" which was also up 13% this quarter.  Fox Senior
         VP/Media Relations Vince Wladika: "They (ESPN) have an
         unhealthy preoccupation with us.  ESPN should worry about
         the menu for Monday Night Football" (USA TODAY, 7/17). 
              OLBERMANN'S FOX HUNT? In Tom Hoffarth asks, "Why was
         Keith Olbermann touring the Fox Sports Net studios in
         Century City earlier this week?  Is he already beyond
         miserable with his career in purgatory at MSNBC, even though
         it gets him an occasional appearance on NBC's occasional
         baseball coverage?" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 7/17). 
              OTHER NOTES: Former Browns and Steelers Personnel Dir
         Mike Lombardi will be the off-air information man for CBS's
         "NFL Today" (USA TODAY, 7/17)....In Detroit, the Red Wings'
         Stanley Cup video "Return to Hockeytown" produced by NHL
         Productions, premiered last night at Detroit's Fox Theatre. 
         In Detroit, Helene St. James writes "perhaps the most
         glaring omission" from the video is the "annual bloodfest"
         with the Avalanche (FREE PRESS, 7/17)....TSN anchor Mike
         Toth is leaving at the end of July (TORONTO STAR, 7/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Cleveland Browns, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, ESPN, NBC, News Corp./Fox, NFL, NHL, Pittsburgh Steelers, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney
  • MORE SPECULATION HAS NBC LOOKING TO EXPAND CABLE PRESENCE

              After yesterday's L.A. TIMES report that said GE was in
         talks with Barry Diller about merging his USA Networks with
         NBC, Kyle Pope writes in today's WALL STREET JOURNAL that
         NBC's "search for a cable network has intensified," as the
         net "is stepping up its efforts to expand its cable holdings
         as the economics of the broadcast-television business
         continue to sour" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/17).  
              VIACOM A TARGET? In N.Y., Jon Elsen notes the failed
         talks between NBC and USA Networks, and floats Viacom as a
         potential partner with NBC, writing, "many media industry
         observers like the idea of such a combination" (N.Y. POST,
         7/17).  In DAILY VARIETY, Jenny Hontz reports that "several
         senior industry execs believe that a new round of mergers
         among broadcast networks is coming up, involving either NBC
         or CBS, if not both. ... Viacom is the ideal partner ...
         given its ownership of Paramount and the absence of
         regulatory constraints" (DAILY VARIETY, 7/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, NBC, Media, USA Networks, Viacom
  • MUSHNICK: ALBERT MAY END UP BACK IN NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT

              The "people most interested" in giving Marv Albert an
         opportunity to return to national TV "are those at Turner
         Sports," according to Phil Mushnick of the N.Y. POST. 
         Mushnick writes that "in the coming weeks," Turner Sports
         execs "will closely monitor public and advertiser response"
         to Albert's return to MSG.  Mushnick: "If the negative
         reactions blow over -- and they should -- and if Albert
         stays clean, expect him to be named TNT's lead NBA voice
         early this fall" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y. POST, 7/17).
              CHECKETTS TALKS STRAIGHT? In N.Y., Mark Kriegel writes
         that the "single moment of high candor" at the MSG press
         conference announcing Albert's return was when MSG President
         Dave Checketts admitted that Albert's presence may boost
         ratings and said, "I won't deny we made a business decision,
         too" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/17).  Phil Mushnick writes that
         Checketts' candor "wins our admiration" (N.Y. POST, 7/17). 
         In Milwaukee, Michael Bauman gives Checketts "points for
         honesty, although no points for anything else" (JOURNAL
         SENTINEL, 7/17).  But in Hartford, Jeff Goldberg writes that
         if MSG brought Albert back for ratings, "then MSG is clearly
         sending the wrong message" (HARTFORD COURANT, 7/17).
              MORE REAX: In Denver, Bob Kravitz offers a point/
         counterpoint on Albert's return, and writes that Albert has
         "every right to return to work, and [MSG] has every right to
         employ him" (DENVER POST, 7/17).  In L.A., Tom Hoffarth
         writes that MSG "was right to take him back" (L.A. DAILY
         NEWS, 7/17).  In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley: "The lesson of the
         Marv Albert case?  If you are a celebrity in the field of
         sports, have talent, have at least one powerful friend and
         you screw up, don't worry.  You'll get another chance"
         (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/17).  In L.A., Larry Stewart
         writes that Albert's "stock went up during the NBA
         playoffs," as NBC's Bob Costas "didn't make viewers forget
         Albert."  Stewart: "He deserves another chance, and starting
         out on a local basis in New York seems the way to go" (L.A.
         TIMES, 7/17).  In San Antonio, Kevin O'Keefe writes under
         the header "Albert Hiring Another Affront To Women"
         (EXPRESS-NEWS, 7/17).  In N.J., Adrian Wojnarowski: "Thirty
         years of sparkling work as a New York sportscaster should
         give him the right to a second chance here."  But he added,
         "The national networks aren't going to touch him" (RECORD,
         7/16).  TV Guide's Greg Fagan, on Albert's reputation: "His
         name has been dragged through the mud, but a lot of people's
         names have been dragged through the mud in this modern media
         environment.  I think that he'll have to face that music
         every night every time he goes on" ("Extra," 7/16).  
    
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, NBA, NBC, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner
  • RATINGS FOR LAST WEEKEND'S SPORTING EVENTS

              The following lists final national ratings from last
         weekend's network sporting events.  All times are EDT.  The
         numbers are from the networks (THE DAILY).
    
    
    EVENT DATE NE TIME RAT/SHR
    Sr. PGA: Players Championship
    7/11
    ABC
    1:00-2:30pm
    1.5/5
    World Cup: Croatia-Netherlands
    7/11
    ABC
    3:00-5:00pm
    2.3/7
    Sr. PGA: Players Championship
    7/11
    ABC
    5:00-6:00pm
    2.1/7
    Shell World of Golf: Hogan-Snead
    7/11
    CBS
    4:00-5:00pm
    1.0/3
    CBS Sports Spect: NASCAR Special
    7/11
    CBS
    5:00-6:00pm
    1.2/4
    Fox MLB Saturday: Regional Games
    7/11
    FOX
    1:00-4:00pm
    2.8/10
    "WNBA on NBC": Shock-Mystics
    7/11
    NBC
    2:00-4:00pm
    1.1/4
    Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship
    7/11
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    1.6/5
    CART: Cleveland Grand Prix
    7/12
    ABC
    12:30-2:30pm
    1.3/4
    World Cup: Brazil-France
    7/12
    ABC
    3:00-5:00pm
    5.7/16
    Sr. PGA: Players Championship
    7/12
    ABC
    5:00-7:00pm
    2.9/7
    NASCAR Trucks: NAPA 200
    7/12
    CBS
    3:30-6:00pm
    1.1/3
    Isuzu Celebrity Golf Championship
    7/12
    NBC
    3:00-6:00pm
    2.0/5

    RATINGS NOTES: Fox's MLB coverage is averaging a 2.7/10, which is even with its ratings from the same period in '97....NBC's coverage of the WNBA is averaging a 1.7/5 through 5 games, down 32% from the same time last year, when the net was averaging a 2.5/8 through 4 games (THE DAILY).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Champ Car World Series, MLB, NASCAR, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Palace Sports & Entertainment, PGA Tour, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney, Washington Mystics, WNBA
  • WILL ARLISS' CLIENT GO THE CHAPEL AND GET MARRIED?

              On the next episode of HBO's "Arli$$" (Sunday, 9:30pm
         ET), AMM client Amadou M'Bow is in love.  And the NBA center
         from Senegal plans to marry his beloved Miss Lisa Klein of
         Long Island.  When Arliss insists that Amadou sign a pre-
         nup, Lisa balks, wedding bells are put on hold and Amadou
         plans to hang up the high-tops.  Cameos: Kenny Anderson,
         Jerry Colangelo, Mia Hamm and John Randle (THE DAILY).
              SENIOR PROJECT: Brian Robbins and Mike Tollin, exec
         producers of "Arli$$," are currently in post-production on
         an "unusual sports movie" called "Varsity Blues," according
         to James Sterngold of the N.Y. TIMES, who writes that the
         film could indicate whether the MTV generation can "learn to
         take sports seriously as a moral guide?"  "Varsity Blues"
         stars Jon Voight as "an overbearing football coach" and
         "Dawson Creek" star James Van Der Beek as a second-string QB
         "suddenly thrust into the limelight."  The film is due in
         theatres this fall (N.Y. TIMES, 7/17).
    
    

    Print | Tags: HBO, NBA, Media, St. Louis Blues, Time Warner
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