NETWORK NEWS: EVERYTHING'S COMING UP N-B-C
NBC's ranking as the top-rated prime-time network is
examined by Greg Baxton of the L.A. TIMES, who writes, "The
momentum is so strong that some experts are saying that NBC may
be poised to dominate the TV landscape as it did during the '80s"
(L.A. TIMES, 4/23). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke is equally generous
to NBC Sports, with NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol crediting
the deal with the NBA as possibly preserving the division "as
people knew it" in the wake of losing baseball (USA TODAY, 4/23).
ELECTRONIC MEDIA notes NBC posted a nearly 45% increase in first
quarter operating profit on a 25% increase in sales, "spurred
largely" by $15M in net earnings from Super Bowl XXX and $5M net
from the post-game episode of "Friends" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/22).
BROADCASTING & CABLE reports NBC "is shopping" for an
entertainment cable channel to join its cable news channels and
regional sports holdings. Sources said NBC has made offers for
USA Network and the Family Channel (B&C, 4/22).
WIDE WORLD'S 35TH: On ABC's "Good Morning America," Jim
McKay, Robin Roberts and Frank Gifford discussed the 35th
anniversary of ABC's "Wide World of Sports." ABC airs a two-hour
anniversary special this weekend. Roberts noted how much "Wide
World of Sports" has done for women's sports: "The way they were
treated, it was never condescending, it was always with respect"
("GMA," ABC, 4/23).
NEW LOOK FOR USA: Lacking the "brand identity" essential to
success in the cable world, USA Network will launch a $5M
"makeover" called USA Studios, centered around a central in-
studio home from which the channel's programming will originate.
The redesign also will include a new logo (Lee Hall, ELECTRONIC
CBC'S HOCKEY NUMBERS: CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada"
averaged 2.17 million viewers last Tuesday (Blues-Leafs,
Canadiens-Rangers), 1.47 million on Wednesday (Jets-Wings,
Flames-Blackhawks), and back up to 2.12 million on Thursday
(Blues-Leafs, Canadiens-Rangers) (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/23).
E! GOES OLYMPIC: E! Entertainment Television is working
with Atlanta's MediaOne Cable system to produce a daily Olympic
report, focused on "the Olympics from the entertainment point of
view" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/22).