Fox will prepare for its "unprecedented" five hours of
Super Bowl pre-game coverage by putting crews "not only in
New Orleans," but in Green Bay and Foxboro, MA, for the next
twelve days," according to Joanne Weintraub of the MILWAUKEE
JOURNAL SENTINEL. The crews will follow Packers, Patriots
and their families, "compiling video diaries of both teams."
Asked if a five-hour pre-game was too much, Fox Exec
Producer Ed Goren said, "No, as long as Madison Avenue keeps
buying, we'll keep doing it" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL,
1/14). IMG's Barry Frank, on the Super Bowl matchup: "Green
Bay is going to be every bit as attractive as Dallas in the
Super Bowl for Fox. The Packers have Brett Favre, Reggie
White and tradition. And Bill Parcells leads the Patriots"
(USA TODAY, 1/14). In Tampa, Pat Yasinskas notes "for the
first time in recent memory, this one is going to be fun, in
a refreshing sort of way ... [the teams] bring a youthful
enthusiasm to Bourbon Street" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 1/14).
NFL NEWS: The Packers' Santana Dotson will write a
playoff journal for Superbowl.com (Tony Rome). ....CABLE
WORLD's Alan Breznick reviews the NFL's regular-season
ratings, "as national TV carriers are scratching their heads
over a surprisingly disappointing pro football season."
Breznick: "Back-to-back annual ratings declines may mean
that the league's popularity has finally peaked after nearly
four decades of steady growth" (CABLE WORLD, 1/13).
The Phoenix Gazette afternoon newspaper will print its
final edition on Saturday. Phoenix Newspapers will continue
to publish the morning Arizona Republic (ARIZONA REPUBLIC,
1/14)....Former ESPN exec Roger Werner is featured in
FORBES. Werner has started two CT-based sports channels,
"Outdoor Life" and "Speedvision." Werner "believes the
appetite for sports viewing is as insatiable as his own for
participation." Werner: "Our rollout is constrained [only]
by the industry's ability to add capacity" (FORBES, 1/27).
...The Orlando Sentinel and Time Warner Cable will launch a
24-hour local news channel on cable TV this fall. The
station will offer local sports, news and weather to about
400,000 Time Warner subscribers in Central Florida (ORLANDO
Top Rank, Inc. plans a monthly series of live boxing
events on DirecTV beginning February 12, according to Carl
DiOrio of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. It would mark the first
time fights are "exclusively transmitted via a satellite TV
service." The monthly boxing series, called DirecTV
Ringside, "marks the first original programming effort for
DirecTV," and it will offer the series to subscribers on a
PPV basis. Top Rank will produce DirecTV Ringside and will
"use some of its video library for related boxing specials
and promotions." Top Rank President Bob Arum said the deal
won't affect his current relationship with HBO. In a
separate deal, DirecTV agreed to carry the next three fights
of Oscar De La Hoya (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 1/14).