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Volume 24 No. 155

Sports Media

     Before 800 members of the Hollywood Radio and Television
Society, officials of a new Baby Bells venture into programming
gave their new company a name -- TELE-TV --"and told Hollywood's
creative community that they are open for business," according to
this morning's L.A. TIMES.  The panel representing the new
company, TELE-TV President Sandy Grushow, Chair Howard Stringer,
CAA Chair Michael Ovitz and the CEOs of Bell Atlantic, Nynex and
Pacific Telesis, announced that before fully upgrading the wiring
to their customers' homes, they would launch programming by late
'96 via a wireless transmission.  To meet that date, TELE-TV
"will have to begin making deals for programming almost
immediately" (Saylor & Hofmeister, L.A. TIMES, 5/10).  REUTERS'
Kevin Smith reports that TeleTV claims its service will be in 20
million homes by the end of '97, with the Baby Bells installing
the wireless technology "similar to cellular phone systems" in
six of the seven largest urban areas next year ("Nightly Business
Report," PBS, 5/9).
     NEWS FROM DALLAS:  The National Cable Television Association
continued its meeting in Dallas yesterday.  FCC Chair Reed Hundt,
whose agency "has been the bane of the cable-TV industry" since
it forced cable companies to freeze rates, told the gathering
that if Congress doesn't pass a Telecom bill this year, cable
execs can expect more pro-consumer and pro-competition actions by
Mark Robichaux writes that the cable industry sees itself in the
"wild, wild West" -- with the FCC as the "tough sheriff" and a
looming "deadly showdown" with telephone companies (WALL STREET
JOURNAL, 5/10)....A survey soon to be released by investment firm
Morgan Stanley shows that the cable industry "could lose half its
customers to telcos once they start offering video services."
The survey assumes similar pricing, which the cable industry
disputes.  But Morgan Stanley telco analyst Stephanie Comfort
told the NCTA that cable customers "are not happy and are willing
to switch" (DAILY VARIETY, 5/10 issue).

     The Raptors and the Grizzlies are expected to announce a
national TV deal today with CTV.  According to Vancouver
PROVINCE's Kent Gilchrist, that "will be quickly followed" by
announcements of local TV and radio deals for both teams
(Vancouver PROVINCE, 5/10)....The Golf Channel President Joe
Gibbs estimates their number of subscribers at between 80-
100,000, short of the channel's 2 million break-even point.
Gibbs says they could hit 2 million "anywhere from 18 to 36
months" (Barry Horn, DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/9)....The Baseball
Network released its announcer line-up yesterday for the July 15
debut of "Baseball Night in America" on ABC.  New faces include
former Met Keith Hernandez, ESPN analyst Roy Smalley, CBS Radio
Sports' Jim Hunter, former pitcher Paul Splittorff and former
Royals manager John Wathan (TBN).... America Online said
yesterday that it has begun offering World Wide Web access to its
2 million subscribers (WASHINGTON TIMES, 5/10)....Following the
departure of Julie Moran to "Entertainment Tonight," Jack O'Hara,
Exec Producer of "ABC's Wide World of Sports" said the show will
employ a rotating host setup until the show's August hiatus.  A
decision will come later on what to do for next season (Michele
Greppi, N.Y. POST, 5/10)....DiAMAR Interactive has entered into a
licensing and distribution agreement with GOLF TIPS magazine to
develop an instructional CD-ROM based on the magazine's content

     NBC faces a "major challenge" as it assumes coverage of the
U.S. Open after a 29-year reign on ABC, according to a preview of
the tournament in the June issue of GOLF DIGEST. Peter McCleery
writes that pictures and words of NBC's  telecast "will be
palpably different."  NBC won the rights to the Open this year by
outbidding ABC with a $40M guaranteed deal over the first three
years of the contract.  NBC Exec Producer Tom Roy: "I think we'll
take it to new heights."  McCleery credits Roy's takeover as
NBC's primary golf producer in '92 for improved quality in golf
coverage, and writes that this year's open "will be its
culmination."  McCleery: "It's a chance to prove that NBC can do
golf, at a huge occasion, on a level with CBS and ABC."  As for
the coverage, McCleery notes that the USGA, unlike the Masters,
"is much more subtle" in imposing restrictions on broadcasts, so
the network will have more control.  NBC, unlike ABC, uses fewer
stationary cameras in its coverage, replacing them with movable
cameras mounted on the backs of utility vehicles called "rat
packs."  The network says these allow for more flexibility.
Finally, McCleery notes that NBC's addition of early afternoon
coverage will "probably" bring down total ratings numbers because
"the longer the telecast, the lower the rating" (GOLF DIGEST,
6/95 issue).

     Red Wings VP Atanas Ilitch said it was his decision to pull
the plug on the strobe lights before Game 1 of the team's opening
playoff series after complaints from players and fans, according
to this morning's DETROIT FREE PRESS.  The decision resulted in a
Sports Illustrated photographer being unable to shoot Red Wings
star Paul Coffey for the magazine's cover.  The cover -- and the
story -- were subsequently pulled by SI Managing Editor Mark
Mulvoy. Ilitch:  "The lights weren't focused perfectly in the
right directions.  We talked to our coaching staff and with
(goalie) Mike Vernon.  It's one of those jump balls.  It was a
difficult decision. ... We love all our media partners, but as
you can appreciate, we're trying to win the Stanley Cup."  The
lights will be working tonight.  But another team exec was
"outraged":  "That's a decision that affects all of us in this
league, and to have something like that cost us a chance to reach
23 million readers, something's wrong" (Gave & Bernstein, DETROIT
FREE PRESS, 5/10).

     Tonight "could be legendary" for TNT when the Bulls and
Magic meet in game 2 of their Conference semi-final, writes
Prentis Rogers in this morning's ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  Noting
the arrival of Kareem-Abdul Jabbar as studio analysts and the
Bulls-Magic's 13.3 overnight for NBC's Sunday coverage, Rogers
writes that Turner's single-game record of 4.3 million homes
"appears ripe for a fall."  To break that mark (set in Game 2 of
the '93 Knicks-Bulls Eastern Finals), TNT would need a 6.8
(ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/10).  Turner Senior VP Kevin O'Malley:
"To top a 6 rating in this day and age of cable television is
unbelievable.  We certainly have the ideal circumstances" (USA
TODAY, 5/10).
     PROUD PEACOCK:  NBC announced yesterday that the national
rating for the Bulls-Magic on Sunday was a 12.2/24, making its
the most watched conference semi-final in NBA history.  Through
six NBA playoff telecasts, NBC is averaging a 7.3/19, and
increase of 18% over ratings the same six games in '94 -- 6.2/17
(NBC Sports).