CBS OFFICIAL SAYS NETWORK DID NOT GIVE DAYTONA AN ULTIMATUM
CBS Programming VP Len DeLuca says the network did not
threaten or give an ultimatum to NASCAR officials during Sunday's
rain-delayed Daytona 500. DeLuca: "We don't issue ultimatums.
The big bad network message is not one I like to see written."
Monday's WASHINGTON TIMES reported that NASCAR officials "paraded
the field under caution for about 20 miles to finish drying the
track so the race could be restarted by 3:45 p.m. keeping CBS
from 'pulling the plug' and switching to basketball." DeLuca
says CBS moved the tipoff on its Michigan-Indiana game to
accommodate the rain delay. DeLuca: "Our first decision is that
the Daytona 500 is the priority." DeLuca says the network's
decision to move the tipoff was "entirely in terms of when the
race would have to be restarted to complete almost two hours of
competition before darkness, rather than suggesting the game
would be broadcast to hold viewers." According to DeLuca, the
race was the top-rated sporting event of the weekend, with a 6.6
rating. Even the rain-delayed portion finished ahead of the
Knicks-Rockets on NBC when the two competed head-to-head.
Daytona's delay had a 5.5 rating compared to the NBA's 5.4 (Frank
Murray, WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/23).