John McEnroe is looking for a publisher for his book,
according Jacobs & Flamm of ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. Sources
said McEnroe's agent, IMG's David Chalfant, has "demanded" a
$1M bid. Chalfant said the book is not a tennis book, but
rather, "a hybrid of Dennis Miller's 'Rants' and John
Madden's insights into the sports world." The book is
tentatively titled "You Cannot Be Serious." One editor on
McEnroe: "He's charming and witty. But there aren't many
sports figures worth a million dollars" (EW, 12/19 issue).
Sports Illustrated "is planning major design changes
and is mulling a monthly spinoff -- moves that ESPN
officials characterize as defensive reactions to their
forthcoming" ESPN Magazine, according to Jeff Gremillion of
MEDIAWEEK. A Time Inc. exec said SI will unveil a new
design "changing everything, from the cover logo to the
length of columns." ESPN Senior VP & Exec Editor of ESPN
Magazine John Walsh called the SI design changes "reacting
to our prototype." Walsh also "charged" that the SI changes
are "styled after an ESPN sample that has been shown to
advertisers." SI Manager/TV & Business Publicity Robin
Shallow "denied that the launch of ESPN or the title's
prototype are factors in SI's new look." Shallow: "We do
have plans for some exciting changes, but not a major re-
design." Gremillion also reports that SI is "considering
launching an oversized monthly spinoff" that would be
"hipper than SI, for younger readers." SI's Shallow "would
not confirm the spinoff discussions" (MEDIAWEEK, 12/15).
Fox Sports Net will launch two sports news shows early
next year, according to MEDIAWEEK. "Goin' Deep," a weekly
sports newsmagazine to air Sundays from 9:00-10:00pm, is
scheduled to begin in February. It will examine current
sport issues. "The Last Word" will begin in early January
and will debate "the day's top sports stories." It will air
Monday-Saturdays at midnight (MEDIAWEEK, 12/15 issue).
FOX TV: News Corp. VP/Finance William Sorenson said
that Fox's TV stations will generate cash flow of about
$650M for the FY ending next June. He said that is up from
roughly $400M in '96, a 62.5% increase, and puts Fox "on
target" to reach $800M by '98 or '99 (MEDIA CENTRAL, 12/15).
HEISMAN TALK: In N.Y., Steve Zipay, on Charles Woodson
winning the Heisman Trophy and ESPN's coverage of the event:
"You have to wonder how embarrassed ESPN was after airing an
hour-long special Friday night: 'Peyton Manning: All Access
Granted.'" An ESPN spokesperson: "It was a long-range call,
we didn't just whip it up on Thursday. We made the decision
at the beginning of the season to follow around a big name
and do a diary" (NEWSDAY, 12/16).
NOTES: NBC's Steelers-Patriots game Saturday drew a
41.3/67 rating in Pittsburgh and a 32.6/58 rating in Boston
(BOSTON GLOBE, 12/16)....In N.Y., Saturday's Redskins-Giants
generated a local rating of 16.7. Fox's Bucs-Jets game on
Sunday earned a 19.7 local rating (N.Y. TIMES, 12/16).
...Going into this week, ABC's "MNF" was averaging a 14.8,
"not drastically lower than the 16.4 of a year ago." In
Denver, Todd Phipers writes that ABC should get a ratings
boost with the Broncos-49ers game and the Pats-Dolphins
finale, both with playoff implications (DENVER POST, 12/16).