ESPN MAGAZINE REVIEWS: In L.A., Larry Stewart reviewed
ESPN Magazine, writing that the photography and writing "are
good," but that the magazine "is too big" and "too thick,"
with "far too many ads," some of which "are hard to tell
from the articles." Stewart adds, "Sometimes you wonder who
is publishing this magazine, ESPN or Nike. The cover
definitely has that Nike look, which isn't good." More
Stewart: "Maybe it's too early to be critical, but we're not
canceling our [SI] subscription just yet" (L.A. TIMES,
3/18). But in Philadelphia, Stan Hochman gives the magazine
a "7 on a harsh scale of ten." Hochman: "Good stories spark
questions, discussion, debate. There are enough good
stories in the first issue ... to make you think it will
prosper" (Stan Hochman, PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/19).
TV/VIDEO: Although Red Sox GM Dan Duquette's agent John
Flynn said his client was "very upset" over the team's
decision to cancel his proposed TV show, Duquette said he
understands the reasons behind the move. The show was to
air on WBZ-TV, which does not hold the team's broadcast
rights. Duquette: "The over-the-air rights are critical for
our long-term success, and there may be other opportunities
[for me] in the future" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19)....In DC, CBS
affil WUSA-TV "relied on a viewers' poll" to pick Game One
of tonight's NCAA doubleheader, and 76% of respondents voted
to watch the North Carolina-Michigan St. game over the West
Virginia-Utah game. The second game will be Maryland-
Arizona (WASHINGTON POST, 3/19)....Ozzie Smith will return
for his second year as host of "This Week In Baseball" this
season (TWIB). Smith will also work 30 Cardinals home game
broadcasts on KPLR-TV (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/19)....The
Bengals reached a deal with CBS affil WKRC-TV to broadcast
the team's four preseason games (Bengals)....ESPN Video has
released "We Got Next: The Story Of The WNBA's Inaugural
Season." The video, with narration by Robin Roberts,
retails for $14.99 (ESPN Video).
HOLLYWOOD: Wayne Gretzky will be the first athlete to
guest star on the new ABC drama, "The Game," which stars
Luke Perry as a sports agent. While the show is "certain to
get sports star visits," Perry says it "will not be Love
Boat with professional athletes" (DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).
....Ving Rhames, who recently portrayed Don King in HBO's
"Only In America," will play former heavyweight boxer Sonny
Liston in a Paramount-produced biopic to be directed by
William Friedkin (Michael Fleming, DAILY VARIETY, 3/19).
ONLINE: Web simulcasts of sports events are examined by
Matt Richtel of the N.Y. TIMES. CBS SportsLine President
Ross Levinsohn said that Webcasts, which are now updated
through audio and/or text only, will "eventually"
incorporate video streaming and still shots "to make for a
much richer experience." Levinsohn: "We've just built the
Edsel. This is the forebear to the Rolls-Royce, which is
still three to six years away" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19).