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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports Media

     Microsoft co-founder/Trailblazers owner Paul Allen sold his
remaining 548,000 shares of America Online for $72 each, giving
him a profit of $28.5M over his original investment.  An Allen
spokesperson said the sale was on the open market and "unrelated
to reports last week that cable giant TCI was interested in
acquiring Allen's stake."  Allen is looking to build
"technological 'syunergy'" among his investments:  Microsoft,
Ticketmaster, Asymetrix, and Starwave (SEATTLE TIMES,
9/19)....The first installment of Ken Burns' "Baseball" received
a 5.1 preliminary Nielsen overnight rating.  Part I of his '90
"Civil War" documentary received a 9.0 (N.Y. TIMES,
9/20)....Rupert Murdoch is scheduled to visit the Twin Cities in
an effort to convince KSTP-TV to switch from ABC to Fox
(Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 9/17).

     Molson Hockey Night in Canada has announced that starting
this season they will double their coverage of Saturday night
hockey coverage with two consecutive NHL games.  The Saturday
night telecasts, co-hosted by Don Cherry, will be broadcast for
26 consecutive weeks by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.  CBC GM
Peter Kretz declined to divulge projected ad revenues under the
new agreement: "I would say that the second game is a nice piece
of change for us in what was before basically off-prime
programming.  It's not only a go; we're out in the marketplace
and successfully selling it."  Chrysler Canada and General Motors
of Canada have joined other advertisers in buying time during
second games.  Last season's regular Saturday night game
attracted an average of 1.4M viewers.  Molson owns the production
rights of Hockey Night in Canada and is the exclusive beer
sponsor (Don Angus, ADVERTISING AGE, 9/19 issue).

     Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner are discussing swapping
Time Warner's stake in Turner for joint ownership of either TBS,
TNT, or the Cartoon Network.  Talks have "heated up" in recent
weeks, in light of their "growing desire to break free from an
increasingly contentious marriage" (Anita Sharpe, WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 9/20).
     GE DENIES INTEREST:  GE yesterday denied that it was
involved in talks with Time Warner about a possible purchase of
the media giant.  Despite GE's denial, Time Warner stock closed
$1.38 higher on the NYSE, while GE was down $.75.  NatWest
Securities analyst Nicholas Heymann:  "There's a better chance
we'll have a World Series this year than GE will buy Time Warner"
(REUTERS/WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/20).

     Viacom and Blockbuster have settled the lawsuits brought by
Blockbuster shareholders in January of this year that challenged
the proposed merger.  The settlement "opens the door" for a
merger by resolving all pending litigation over the planned deal
(VARIETY, 9/20).  Shareholders of both companies vote on the
merger September 29.  Paine Webber's Craig Bibb predicts that the
merger will be approved at the shareholder meetings (Don
Finefrock, MIAMI HERALD, 9/20).
     VIACOM AND CBS:  In an attempt to become the "undisputed
multimedia powerhouse," Viacom has become "actively involved" in
merger discussions with CBS.  One exec close to the negotiations
told AD AGE while talks are "certainly happening," they could
take some time to conclude due to regulatory and financial
details involved:  "Viacom can't do anything until they complete
their Blockbuster and TCI deals" (Joe Mandese, ADVERTISING AGE,
9/19).