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FSN reached a deal with Time Warner Cable in the Raleigh-Durham, NC, area to carry last night's ACC doubleheader on CNN/SI, which featured GA Tech-Univ. of NC and Clemson-Duke to begin FSN's new national Sunday night ACC package, according to Lucianna Chavez of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. FSN is not available on Time Warner in the area. Until a permanent deal is reached, Time Warner will "preempt regular CNN/SI programming to carry the Sunday ACC games." FSN Dir of Media Relations Tom Chiappetta: "What that basically is is an interim solution. Because we're trying to get a full distribution deal for [the] area and a couple of others in northern [NC] with Comcast Sports Net." Chavez noted the '01-02 ACC TV schedule on the package "includes 18 nationally televised games that will reach an expected 70 million homes through FSN." While FSN and Comcast are still working on a "permanent distribution deal," without one, the Sunday ACC package is "without a permanent home" (NEWS & OBSERVER, 12/2). In Charlotte, Mark Washburn reported ACC games on FSN will have a "well-known alumnus doing color commentary," and last night's GA Tech-UNC game featured former UNC G Phil Ford. Meanwhile, Coordinating Producer Roy Hamilton, a former UCLA player, said, "One of our approaches is to cover the action a little lower and more intimately" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/2).
TV MONITOR: Last night's 10:30pm ET 30-minute edition of FSN's "NSR" led with Cardinals-Raiders followed by Colts-Ravens, Patriots-Jets and Vikings-Steelers. The first non-NFL report was Notre Dame firing football coach Bob Davie. Last night's 11:30pm ET 60-minute edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" led with Patriots-Jets, followed by Colts-Ravens and Broncos-Dolphins. The first non-NFL story was Davie. See THE DAILY INSIDER's TV Monitor for a complete listing from last night's sports news shows.
ON THE AIR: Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis will make an appearance on "MNF" tonight. Mavericks G Tim Hardaway, Lakers F Robert Horry and Lions QB Charlie Batch will be on FSN's "Best Damn Sports Show Period." Bob Costas served as guest co-Host on NBC's "Today" this morning. "Today" profiled U.S. moguls skier Donna Weinbrecht. Univ. of TN football coach Phil Fulmer and Univ. of CO coach Gary Barnett will be on "Unscripted." Magic F Grant Hill will be on "Live with Regis and Kelly" tomorrow morning.
Have a submission for On The Air? If so, please contact Schuyler Baehman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NBA: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick reported ABC/ESPN "is prepared to make a strong play to unseat NBC and/or TNT/TBS for national TV rights to the NBA" (N.Y. POST, 12/2). In a separate piece, Mushnick reports that before Saturday's Magic-Wizards telecast, NBC "had Michael Jordan in sit-down Q&A with surprise! Ahmad Rashad." Mushnick writes Rashad has a "credibility-killing kinship" with Jordan and adds, "That both NBC and Rashad see fit to continue along this path doesn't say much for either's regard for their audiences" (N.Y. POST, 12/3). But in Atlanta, Prentis Rogers: "If NBC executives wanted sizzle in the NBA studio, they've got it. Dull will never be used again to describe NBC's studio show with Jayson Williams, Pat Croce and Mike Fratello" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/3).
NOTES: Disney Chair & CEO Michael Eisner introduced last night's airing of the "Brian's Song" remake on ABC (THE DAILY)...Marlins TV announcer Dave O'Brien "is being courted by ESPN for a fulltime announcing position. ESPN is interested in having O'Brien do a 90-plus package of [MLB], college basketball and football games." O'Brien has three years remaining on his contract with the Marlins and FSN (SUN-SENTINEL, 11/30). ...Univ. of AZ football coach John Mackovic, on allowing ESPN access to his team for a documentary this season: "I feel comfortable that this isn't a snow job. Here we are. This is what happens in college football. Would I do it again? Yes" (AZ DAILY STAR, 12/2).
The NFL is "once again plenty peeved by the battering its game officials are taking, on all of its networks, by announcers who simply don't know the rules of the game," according to Phil Mushnick of the N.Y. POST, who reported that last Tuesday, the league "took the unusual step of distributing to the media a written explanation of an incomplete call made by referee Ron Blum" during the Bucs-Rams game on ABC's "MNF" last week. The announcers said Blum's call was wrong, but the NFL "insists that Blum, based on the rules, got it right." One NFL exec: "The TV guys don't pay attention to the rules seminars we conduct, they don't watch the rules tapes we send them and they don't take the time to study the rulebook. Then they sit there and scream that the officials blew the call" (N.Y. POST, 12/2).
THE KURT AND MARSHALL SHOW: In St. Louis, Dan Caesar cited sources as saying that the Rams are "close to signing a new deal for their radio rights, and that incumbent Clear Channel is the favorite to keep the broadcasts." Clear Channel carries the games on KLOU-FM and KATZ-AM, but its new bid "calls for it to move the AM broadcasts to KTRS [-AM], which has separate ownership and would pay Clear Channel a fee for those rights." But KMOX-AM GM Karen Carroll "also has made a strong push" for the rights. The Rams' old radio deal is "believed to have brought the club slightly more than" $3.7M annually, and sources say that the new deal would average about $2.7M and run for three years. If Clear Channel gets the rights, KTRS would pay about $300,000 annually (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/1).
OFF THE BEAT: In San Diego, Jay Posner reported that Chargers officials have told San Diego Union-Tribune Chargers beat writer Jim Trotter that team GM John Butler and President Dean Spanos "aren't going to talk to him anymore" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 11/30).
Wally Dallenbach's five-year extension with NBC and TNT to continue as an analyst for Winston Cup and Busch Series races "includes an interesting twist," as NBC/TNT "will allow him to compete in select Winston Cup events as 'an announcer in a race car' and run" the '02 IRL season, according to Godwin Kelly of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. Dallenbach: "They said, 'If your [IRL deal] is going to happen, we're willing to work with you on that. If you want to run the Daytona 500, we'll figure something out to have you commentating from the car'" (NEWS-JOURNAL, 12/1).
THE UP SIDE: While Fox, NBC and Turner have reportedly lost a total of $100M during their first season of NASCAR coverage, NASCAR VP/Broadcasting Paul Brooks said, "There are additional benefits to any broadcaster who has a sports property. Look at FX, how they drove cable penetration with the NASCAR product." In Charlotte, David Poole noted that FX was in about 55 million HHs before the net began carrying NASCAR programming, but that number has reached 70 million HHs. Brooks: "I assure you there are more NASCAR fans watching Fox programming and NBC programming because they've been able to market to our audience" (CHAR. OBSERVER, 12/1).
MAX-IMUM EXPERIENCE: DAILY VARIETY's Michael Fleming reports that Imax and NASCAR have agreed to "collaborate on a film that will seek to capture in the large-screen format the experience" of NASCAR. Imax execs said that the film "could well become the biggest-grossing Imax effort to date." The film will premiere in '03 (DAILY VARIETY, 12/3).