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The Nationals are “hurriedly renegotiating their once-imminent” flagship radio deal with Clear Channel’s WTEM-AM after the company “walked away from the deal last weekend,” according to Eric Fisher of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Sources said that the deal was never signed, as Clear Channel lawyers found “several key elements missing in the proposed revenue-sharing accord.” Nationals and Clear Channel execs were scheduled to meet this morning “in an attempt to resurrect the deal,” but the Nationals have also resumed negotiations with Infinity Broadcasting, with whom they held preliminary talks late last year. Fisher writes the departure of MLB relocation consultant Corey Busch is “complicating the issue.” Busch negotiated the framework of Clear Channel’s agreement but has joined a prospective Nationals ownership group (WASHINGTON TIMES, 1/27).
Cody To Star In Spike TV’s
Sports Agent Reality Show
In “Super Agent,” a reality show to air on Spike TV this summer, NFL draft prospect Shaun Cody, formerly DE with the Univ. of Southern California, will narrow nine agents down to one over eight episodes and “make the winner his agent,” according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. Filming begins today in Mobile, Alabama, at the Senior Bowl. Exec Producer Rick DeOliviera said the show is “more like ‘The Bachelor’ than ‘The Apprentice.’ It’s all about relationships.” San Diego-based agent Jack Bechta, who reps 22 NFL players, and Josh Ripple, who has repped tennis players, helped create the show. Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez will host the Universal-produced show. DeOliviera said most of the contestants are agents, “although a couple don’t have players yet” (USA TODAY, 1/27). Development of the show was first reported by sister publication SportsBusiness Journal.
The Magic have inked a multiyear extension of their regional cable TV rights deal with Fox-owned Sun Sports. The new agreement, which begins with the ’05-06 season, calls for Sun Sports to telecast at least 42 regular-season games each year, as well as select playoff games and shoulder programming. Sun Sports began televising Magic games in the team's inaugural season of ’89-90 (Magic).
HD: The WALL STREET JOURNAL notes thousands of HDTV owners will not be able to watch the February 6 Super Bowl in HD because their cable or satellite company does not have a deal with Fox. EchoStar’s Dish Network does not have any HD deal with Fox. DirecTV, which like Fox is owned by News Corp., offers Fox’ HD programming only in the 25 TV markets where Fox owns stations. Comcast will carry the game in HD in 44 of its 62 markets that have the service available (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/27)....CABLE FAX DAILY cited a BuyingHDTV.com study as showing that ESPN HD and HBO HD are the “most-carried hi-def nets,” as both are in 100% of the top 25 U.S. DMAs (CABLE FAX DAILY, 1/26).
PEOPLE: ESPN beginning February 14 will air “Jim Rome is Burning” five days a week at 4:30pm ET (ESPN)....Sky Sports commentator Rodney Marsh was fired “for making a joke about the tsunami disaster.” Marsh on Monday said that Real Madrid MF David Beckham “turned down a transfer to English club Newcastle after hearing of the ‘Toon Army in Asia.’” Newcastle’s fans are called the “Toon Army,” which sounds like “tsunami” (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 1/26).