The LPGA and Golf Channel today announced a three-year extension for the network to air the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the season’s first major, which begins Thursday. As part of the deal, Golf Channel will air six hours of daily, live coverage Thursday and Friday from 12:00-3:00pm ET and 6:30-9:30pm. Weekend coverage will air live from 4:30-8:30pm. Kelly Tilghman will serve as the net’s host, joined by play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon and analyst Judy Rankin (THE DAILY).
PULLING THE PLUG: In Chicago, Robert Channick reports Tribune Co. TV stations in "16 markets across the country, including WGN in Chicago, are threatening to cut off programming to millions of DirecTV subscribers after negotiations over retransmission fees broke down Monday.” The contract is “set to expire March 31” and Tribune is “seeking compensation from the satellite TV provider to carry its programming, something it does not receive.” Without resolution, the plug “will be pulled Saturday at midnight.” Cubs and White Sox broadcasts on WGN America are at stake. Baseball fans would also lose access “to the Mets via WPIX-TV in New York, and the Phillies on WPHL-TV in Philadelphia” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/27).
TUNING IN: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht noted Sunday’s Heat-Thunder game “set the team regular-season ratings record" in the market with a combined 14.9 rating on ESPN and FS Oklahoma. The record had been 14.5 rating for TNT's Thunder-Lakers game Feb. 23. FS Oklahoma last week also “set a network record for a regular-season Thunder telecast" with a 9.8 local rating for Clippers-Thunder Wednesday night. The net's Thunder games this season are averaging a 6.2 rating, up 138% (NEWSOK.com, 3/26).