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Volume 24 No. 117

Sports Media

          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).