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TNT CALLS ITS FIRST NIGHT AT THE FIGHTS AN "EXPERIMENT"
Published August 7, 1998
TNT will televise three world title fights live from The Theater at MSG on "Title Night on TNT," a live boxing card on September 22. The event marks TNT's first entry into boxing, which will be produced by Turner Sports, MSG and Cedric Kushner Productions (Turner Sports). Kushner will receive "only $200,000" from TNT for the show. Turner Sports Senior VP/Programming Kevin O'Malley said that TNT is "not looking at a regular weekly or even monthly boxing series," but rather "special events" four to six times a year (Michael Katz, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 8/7). O'Malley characterized the event as an "experiment." DAILY VARIETY's Rich Katz writes that TNT's move to boxing "is a surprise" because Time Warner Vice Chair/TNT Founder Ted Turner "is an outspoken critic of boxing." O'Malley said that Turner Sports decided to enter boxing "because the cable net's wrestling ratings are so strong and sister web HBO had encouraged either TNT or TBS to televise the sport" (DAILY VARIETY, 8/7). The event "will be promoted heavily to TNT's pro wrestling audience" (Scott Hettrick, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 8/7). NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay reports, "Insiders say a second TNT event could be scheduled for December, and the chance of TNT Tuesday night telecasts replacing USA's boxing series next year are 'better than 50-50'" (NEWSDAY, 8/7).