CBS TAKES OFF WITH SKATING -- CAN THEY NAIL THE LANDING?
With last night's broadcast of the prime-time figure skating
competition, "Ice Wars, The USA vs. The World" -- featuring Nancy
Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Brian Boitano, Paul Wylie, Oksana
Baiul, Katarina Witt, Viktor Petrenko and Kurt Browning -- CBS
signaled its intention to make the sport one of its top sports
properties and tap into figure skating's marketing potential.
Frank Litsky writes, "Television has discovered that figure
skating produces the highest Olympic ratings." And CBS, once it
lost the NFL, "has embraced figure skating more than ever." This
week the network will feature the two-hour movie, "A Promise
Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story," on Sunday at 4:00pm against the
Dallas-San Francisco game on Fox. CBS skating commentator Scott
Hamilton: "People have lost their minds putting on figure
skating. From September to next August, I'll be doing 9 or 10
events on TV and 100 shows. It's a new era for the sport.
There's so much demand. Television wants it. Sponsors want it."
CBS "would be delighted" if the Americans won this competition
which concludes this weekend "because American sponsors like
American winners." Skater Paul Wylie: "Is it better for American
TV if the [Blue Jays or Phillies] win the World Series? But no
one has said anything about that, and I don't think any skater is
going to intentionally blow a jump for the greater glory of
American television" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10).
NANCY ON TOUR: Kerrigan's publicists released her upcoming
events. Nancy Kerrigan's new fitness video, "The Winning Body
Workout," will be in stores on November 19. Kerrigan's
"Northwest Airlines Christmas on Ice" 16-city tour begins
November 23 in Portland, ME, and ends December 18 in West Palm
Beach, FL. On December 17, Kerrigan performs in Charlotte, NC,
which will be aired on TNT (Levine/Schneider Public Relations).