SBD/28/Sports Media

NETWORK NEWS: FREEZE OUT IN NEW ENGLAND; RED WINGS PULLED

          Fox Sports New England (FSNE) "outraged Boston
     University followers and other viewers" Sunday by "pulling
     the plug" on its coverage of the Boston Univ-St. Lawrence
     Univ. NCAA Men's hockey tournament quadruple overtime game
     to "fulfill its commitment to show a Celtics blowout loss in
     Milwaukee," according to the BOSTON HERALD's Jim Baker, who
     noted that FSNE's contract with the Celtics "precluded
     staying" with the hockey.  But Baker wrote, "Most galling
     ... was FSNE's failure to warn [viewers] between periods
     that an abrupt cutoff was coming or to explain why. ... Can
     you imagine the outrage if CBS, citing other commitments,
     told its NCAA hoop audience that it was bidding bye-bye
     before a finish?" (BOSTON HERALD, 3/27).  FSNE GM David
     Woodman "apologized to viewers" yesterday, saying, "It was
     the rarest of circumstances.  No one could predict a hockey
     game would go for six hours. ... Unfortunately, we had a
     scheduling conflict.  But that doesn't mean we were
     slighting college hockey fans."  In Boston, Howard Manly
     reports that "irate viewers flooded FSNE's telephones," even
     though the hockey game "pulled only" a 0.55 rating.  The
     Celtics-Bucks game earned a 1.1 (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/28).  
          HOCKEY NOTES: During its NHL coverage on Sunday, ABC
     switched viewers from a Rangers-Red Wings game, with the Red
     Wings winning 7-1, to a tied Avalanche-Stars game.  Marla
     Drutz, Programmer for ABC Detroit affil WXYZ, called the
     move a "good national decision," but "a lousy local
     decision."  Drutz said WXYZ received "scores of calls" from
     angered viewers (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/28)....In N.Y., Jason
     Diamos writes that the Rangers "have been so bad that ABC
     announced yesterday that it has scratched Saturday's
     Rangers-Bruins game in Boston from its broadcast schedule." 
     The game is now scheduled to air on MSG (N.Y. TIMES, 3/28).

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