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Volume 24 No. 156

Sports Media

          NETWORK: NBC Sports and their pan-European and pan-
     Asian sports arm, NBC Super Sports (NBCSS), have formed a
     new venture to distribute NBC Sports and NBCSS programs
     worldwide.  NBCSS will be the int'l distributor for NBC
     Sports programming and VP/Int'l Sales & Distribution Mark
     Jeffers will oversee the venture.  Jeffers, who will be
     based in N.Y., will work with Thierry Pascal, who is in
     NBCSS' London office.  Jeffers comes from NBC Enterprises,
     where he was the Dir of Sports Sales & Ops (NBCSS).....In
     N.Y., Steve Zipay examined the upcoming TV contract
     negotiations for both the NFL and NBA.  Zipay, on the NFL:
     "[T]he gut feeling is that the current networks and cable
     partners will ink new deals.  Having seen CBS lose not only
     status but affiliates and ad revenue to Fox, the NFL
     partners can't afford to bow out."  Zipay, on the NBA: "The
     early line: NBC ... and TNT each will pay more, but not
     twice as much, to keep shooting hoops" (NEWSDAY, 10/10).
          PUBLISHING: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports that Rick
     Reilly "turned down" an ESPN/Disney offer and will remain at
     SI for "more than" $500,000 annually.  Reilly will "add
     duties" at HBO, CNN and Warner Bros (USA TODAY, 10/10)....In
     N.Y., Keith Kelly reports that with SI Publisher David Long
     moving to become President-Media Sales & Marketing at Time
     Inc., "there is an intense intramural competition going on
     to land his old job."  Kelly: "Insiders say the two leading
     candidates are Time publisher Jack Haire and Life publisher
     Ed McCarrick" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/10).
          

          WFAN "has been seriously negotiating" with Marv Albert
     "in hopes of landing" him to join the station in January,
     according to sources of Bob Raissman in a front-page feature
     in today's N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  A source said: "There have been
     numerous discussions, including phone conversations and a
     meeting."  Albert would reportedly "join a lineup" anchored
     by Don Imus in the morning and Mike Francesa and Chris Russo
     -- "Mike and the Mad Dog" -- in the afternoon.  WFAN GM Joel
     Hollander said "no offer" had been made to Albert but would
     not confirm or deny negotiations with him.  Sources said
     that Hollander has "approached MSG Network executives about
     moving Albert into the Knicks radio both sometime in the
     first quarter of 1998, but MSG brass would not agree to the
     move."  But Raissman writes there are "a variety of
     assignments WFAN could offer Albert," including a talk show
     format, Mets baseball or Jets and Giants football (N.Y.
     DAILY NEWS, 10/10).  Also in N.Y., Ian O'Connor reports the
     offer from WFAN consists of a one-hour, five-nights-a-week
     show.  But O'Connor calls Hollander's interest in Albert a
     "tawdry move, inspired by the bottom line."  One industry
     source told O'Connor that Albert "'might very well reject'
     the offer because he realizes it will be perceived as too
     much, too soon."  But O'Connor adds that Albert "is said to
     be in dire need of cash" to pay off his legal bills, leaving
     himself "vulnerable.  Perhaps vulnerable enough to accept an
     offer he should refuse" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/10).
          MORE MARV FALLOUT: WFAN's Mike Breen will replace
     Albert as lead play-by-play announcer for Knicks telecasts
     on MSG Network (N.Y. TIMES, 10/10)....In Chicago, Michael
     Hirsley reports that NBC "is not rushing to name a
     replacement" for Albert, since its first NBA telecast isn't
     until Christmas.  Greg Gumbel, Tom Hammond, Dick Enberg, Bob
     Costas and Mike Breen are all mentioned as possibilities.
     Hirsley: "If NBC seeks talent elsewhere, it will get a good
     look at TNT's Bob Neal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/10).  Also in
     Chicago, Jim O'Donnell reports that NBC "insiders" say the
     network is "finalizing a plan to use an expanded five-man
     play-by-play staff on NBA games this season," and not
     filling the top spot until next spring.  Sources also said
     that Bob Costas asked NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "not
     to be considered for the first chair" (SUN-TIMES, 10/10).

          The following lists ratings from last weekend's network     sporting events.  All times are EDT.  NOTE: NBC had the NFL     doubleheader.  Numbers are from the networks (THE DAILY).
EVENT
DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR
AL Division Series: SEA-BAL
10/04
FOX
4:30-7:00pm
5.0/13
AL Division Series: NYY-CLE
10/04
NBC
7:30-11:00pm
5.6/11
NCAA Football: MIAMI-FL ST.
10/04
ABC
12:00-3:30pm
2.4/9
NCAA Football: OSU-IA/TX A&M-COL
10/04
ABC
3:30-7:00pm
4.7/13
"College Football Today"
10/04
CBS
3:00-3:30pm
0.9/3
NCAA Football: GT-BC/MISS-TENN
10/04
CBS
3:30-7:00pm
2.3/6
AL Division Series: NYY-CLE
10/05
FOX
7:30-12:00am
8.2/14
"Fox NFL Sunday"
10/05
FOX
12:00-1:00pm
4.1/13
"NFL on Fox" (Regional)
10/05
FOX
1:00-7:00pm
12.5/32
"NFL on NBC Pre-game"
10/05
NBC
12:00-1:00pm
2.8/9
"NFL on NBC" Game One
10/05
NBC
1:00-4:00pm
5.8/15
"NFL on NBC" Game Two
10/05
NBC
1:00-4:00pm
9.5/22
MORE NEWS: Fox's coverage last night of the ALCS Game Two earned a 9.6 overnight rating/16 share (THE DAILY). Fox's broadcast of Game One of the ALCS scored a final national rating of 8.9/15, a 1% increase over Fox's NLCS Game One in '96, and 14% higher than NBC's '96 ALCS Game One (Fox Sports)....USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes that college football ratings are "[s]lumping," with CBS down 14%, ABC off 13%, ESPN down 13% and NBC down 34% (USA TODAY, 10/10). PIRATES HOOK VIEWERS: Fox Sports Pittsburgh saw a 51% ratings increase over '96 for its '97 Pirates telecasts, posting a 5.6 average, up from a 3.7 in '96 (FSP).

          The National Academy of Cable Programming has announced
     the nominations for the CableACE Awards to be presented    
     November 14-15 in L.A.  In sports categories, ESPN leads the
     field with 22 nominations; HBO has five, including "Real
     Sports'" Bryant Gumbel for Best Magazine Host; MSG Network
     has four; TNT, Showtime and CNN/SI have three, while CNN,
     TBS, The Golf Channel, Lifetime Network and SportsChannel NY
     each received one nomination.  HBO's "Arli$$" garnered seven
     nominations, including Best Comedy Series.   The following
     lists the sports-related nominations:
          SPORTS EVENTS COVERAGE SPECIAL: "Stanley Cup Finals,"
     ESPN; "Jackie Robinson Game," ESPN; "NCAA Women's Tournament
     Final Four," ESPN; "Holyfield-Tyson II," Showtime.
          SPORTS EVENTS COVERAGE SERIES: "Braves Baseball," TBS;
     "SpeedWorld," ESPN; "Sunday Night Baseball," ESPN; "Sunday
     Night NFL," ESPN; "Tour de France," ESPN.
          SPORTS NEWS SERIES: "College GameDay," ESPN; "Golf
     Central," The Golf Channel; "NFL Prime Monday," ESPN;
     "SportsCenter," ESPN; "SportsWeekly," ESPN. 
          SPORTS INFORMATION SERIES: "Inside the NFL," HBO;
     "Outside the Lines," ESPN;  "Real Sports With Bryant
     Gumbel," HBO; "The Sporting Life W/Jim Huber," CNN; "The
     Sports Reporters," ESPN.
          SPORTS INFORMATION SPECIAL: "Breaking Through: Our Turn
     To Play," Lifetime; "Football America," TNT; "Long Shots:
     The Life and Times of the ABA," HBO; "NBA At 50," TNT;
     "Sports On The Silver Screen," HBO.
          SPORTS HOST: Chris Berman, ESPN; Vince Cellini, CNN/SI;
     Fred Hickman, CNN/SI; Bob Page, MSG; Dan Patrick, ESPN.
          PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER: Marv Albert, Knicks Basketball,
     MSG; Mike Emrick, Devils Hockey, SportsChannel NY; Jon
     Miller, ESPN Baseball, ESPN; Mike Patrick, Sunday Night
     NFL/College Basketball, ESPN; Dick Stockton, NBA/TNT, TNT.
          SPORTS COMMENTATOR/ANALYST: Bobby Czyz, Steve Albert,
     Ferdie Pacheco, Showtime; Tom Jackson, ESPN; Leigh
     Montville, CNN/SI; Joe Morgan, ESPN; Dick Vitale, ESPN.
          DIRECTING LIVE SPORTS SPECIAL OR SERIES: Bob Dunphy,
     "Holyfield-Tyson II," Showtime; Douglas Holmes, "Stanley Cup
     Playoffs," ESPN; Bobby Lewis, "Rangers Hockey," MSG; Marc
     Payton, "Major League Baseball," ESPN; Bill Webb, "Yankees
     Baseball," MSG.