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Volume 24 No. 156
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          John Madden has signed a new five-year deal to return
     to Fox Sports.  The 61-year-old Madden rejoins his partner
     of 17 years, Pat Summerall, as Fox's No. 1 NFL team (Fox
     Sports).  Industry sources said that Madden's contract "was
     close" to the $8M a year he was paid to join the network
     (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 1/16).  USA TODAY's Rudy
     Martzke writes that Madden will be paid $8M a year (USA
     TODAY, 1/16).  Madden's agent, Barry Frank, said the deal
     was for "at least" $8M a year (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/16).      
          A 2ND BOOMER? In Cincinnati, Geoff Hobson reports that
     ABC "went after" Bengals QB Boomer Esiason on Thursday with
     a five-year contract to be an analyst for "MNF" (CINCINNATI
     ENQUIRER, 1/16)....In N.Y., Richard Johnson of the POST's
     "Page Six" reports that Kathie Lee Gifford, is "threatening
     to quit her own show" if her husband, Frank Gifford, "gets
     axed" from "MNF."  Johnson adds that Kathie Lee met with ABC
     President Bob Iger (N.Y. POST, 1/16).
          EASY, DAVE: CBS' Jim Nantz was on the "Late Show" with
     David Letterman last night.  Letterman, on speculation that
     Madden would return to CBS: "That carpetbagger, we're not
     bringing him back.  I'm telling you, before the ink was dry
     on the deal at Fox he was outta here."  Nantz: "[W]e would
     love to have him back."  Letterman: "No, no, no.  We don't
     want him back.  He's a traitor. ... Who needs him?  And Pat
     Summerall, how old is Pat Summerall? ... (imitating
     Summerall) 'You know when I used to kick, we wore cardboard
     helmets.' ... It certainly shows, Pat" ("Late Show," 1/15).
          KEEPING AN EYE OUT: CBS announced that it "has ended
     its long-standing policy of automatically making matching
     contributions to employee 401(k) retirement plans."  Tim
     Jones of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that future payments
     "will be tied to CBS meeting overall company objectives and
     profit goals."  Jones: "Although the policy switch was made
     before CBS announced its expensive return to NFL broadcasts,
     employees are grumbling that the football contract will only
     heighten corporate cost pressures" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/16).