Despite reported talks with WFAN in New York, Marv
Albert "is in counseling and won't take any of the job
offers he's getting until he repairs his shattered personal
life," according to Hinckley, O'Connor & Schwartzman of the
N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Albert's spokesperson Howard Rubenstein:
"He is undergoing counseling now in an effort to straighten
out his life and career." Rubenstein didn't reveal any job
offers or Albert's "timetable to return to work." But he
said Albert "certainly wants to resume his career at some
time." On Friday, the N.Y. Daily News reported that Albert
and WFAN had been negotiating for him to join the station in
January. Industry sources said the station made Albert a
"firm offer," but WFAN GM Joel Hollander called the talks
preliminary. MSG President Dave Checketts criticized the
station's move: "This was a cheap, two-bit grandstanding
move, preying on Marv at a time in his professional life
when he is most vulnerable" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/11).
Fox's coverage of last night's ALCS Orioles-Indians
Game Five earned an 11.1/17 overnight rating. Fox earned a
10.8/17 for Sunday's Game Four and a 8.4/18 for Saturday's
Game Three. On NBC, Saturday's NLCS Braves-Marlins Game
Four earned a 6.1/11, while NBC's Friday night coverage of
Game Three "took a rare Friday night win in the national
ratings with" a 9.9/19 (WASHINGTON POST, 10/14). NBC's Game
Five Sunday earned a 9.7 overnight (USA TODAY, 10/14).
FOOTBALL: ABC reports a 16.2/25 preliminary overnight
for its Cowboys-Redskins "MNF" game (THE DAILY).
LOCAL NUMBERS: In Baltimore, Orioles coverage on WBFF
drew a 23.3/43 on Saturday, and a 27.8/38 on Sunday (Milton
Kent, Baltimore SUN, 10/14). In Cleveland, WJW reported a
34.9 rating in Northeast Ohio for Saturday's Game Three and
a 51.1 for Game Four (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/14).
NETWORK REVIEWS: A sampling of reviews of NBC's and
Fox's LCS coverage: In Toronto, Rob Longely: "As it has done
with the NFL, Fox Sports has brought [MLB] to life with its
pictures, enhanced sound and graphics and refreshing
commentary." Longley adds that Fox's play-by-play man Joe
Buck "may be one of the brightest young talents on the tube"
(TORONTO SUN, 10/13). In Baltimore, Milton Kent wrote that
"in general," Fox analysts Tim McCarver and Bob Brenly "were
up to the level of the drama that unfolded" at Jacobs Field
on Saturday. Kent added that "while director Bill Webb is
doing a generally good job, his tendency to stay with tight
shots of hitters and pitchers or split-screens ... is
becoming a little irritating" (Baltimore SUN, 10/12). In
DC, Leonard Shapiro wrote that viewers are "frequently
bombarded by the hippest technology money can buy," while
some of it is "incomprehensible, hard to read and often an
unnecessary intrusion." Shapiro added that NBC's Bob Costas
"remains fabulous," but asked, "Why do both networks insist
on three men in the booth?" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/11).
NO MUST SEE MLB: In Boston, Peter Gammons reported that
NBC has the NLCS "because the network could not televise
baseball on Thursday nights" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/13).
ESPN has "become the latest bidder" for Rockets home TV
rights, joining Houston's KHTV and Fox Sports Southwest for
the rights to 37 games, according to David Barron of the
HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Rockets Exec VP John Thomas said that
ESPN's interest "did not come as a shock" as there has been
"industry speculation" that it is looking to create a local
sports network. Thomas: "ESPN is participating in this
business now and building a brand-new business, and you can
imagine with the size of the entity the value they could
potentially bring. We need to carefully consider the
possibility." Barron added that ESPN would have "to come to
an agreement with the Rockets and then negotiate with local
cable carriers for a spot to broadcast the games." ESPN's
interest may "play out as incentive" for Fox Sports
Southwest to increase its bid for the team, as the Rockets
have the best rating of the 11 NBA teams that are broadcast
on Fox Sports Net (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/10).
CABLE DEAL: In MI, MSO Media One reached a deal with
Fox Sports Net, allowing its 400,000+ Detroit-area customers
to receive the network. Media One was among the only cable
systems in MI without a deal with Fox (DETROIT NEWS, 10/11).
BOOKS: In Sunday's N.Y. TIMES Book Review, Bruce McCall
reviewed "The Franchise: A History of Sports Illustrated
Magazine." McCall: "'The Franchise' has a little something
for almost everybody. ... The aspiring journalist will get
fair early warning on the value of growing a thick skin.
The S.I. fan will learn everything that he or she ever
wanted to know about the magazine" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/12).
RIDERS ON THE STORM: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann will co-
host NBC's World Series pregame shows starting this weekend
and will join Hannah Storm in the studio (Mult., 10/13).
Larry Bird "is selling the story of his first season as
a head coach," according to Michael Shain of the N.Y. POST.
Bird began "quietly circulating a proposal for the book, to
be called 'Full Court Press,' late last week." Bird's
agent, Frank Weimann of the Literary Group, said Bird could
get a $750,000 advance. The book is to be co-written by
Mark Shaw and golf observer Pete Dye. The book will be
written over the course of the upcoming season and likely
hit stores in the fall of '98 (N.Y. POST, 10/12).