The trend of having several sports figures on ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" will continue when the show's 16th season begins on March 18. Gold Medal-winning U.S. figure skater DOROTHY HAMILL, Ravens WR JACOBY JONES, boxer VICTOR ORTIZ and Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast ALY RAISMAN will all compete for the mirror ball trophy. The full cast was announced this morning on "GMA," and "DWTS" co-host TOM BERGERON called Jones a “Super Bowl superstar.” Co-host BROOKE BURKE noted Raisman “killed it in the floor exercise" last summer at the London Games, but asked, "How’s she going to do on the dance floor?” Hamill said one of the moves she made famous, the Hamill Camel, probably “isn’t going to help” in the competition, “but I can try.” Raisman said, “I’m excited. This cast is really amazing. It’s going to be a really good season.” Jones ended the segment by performing Ravens LB RAY LEWIS' "squirrel dance," prompting Burke to say, “Well, they’re not shy" (“GMA,” ABC, 2/26). ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser noted Jones joins former NFLers like EMMITT SMITH, JERRY RICE, JASON TAYLOR and CHAD JOHNSON to appear on the show, but they were “real stars.” Jones made a "couple of really nice touchdowns in the playoffs,” but "at this moment has zero star appeal.” ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said he "will be a star ... once he appears” on the show. Kornheiser: “That will make him a star if he stays in long enough” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/25).
People and Pop Culture
Cal State Univ.-Northridge named Univ. of Oklahoma Senior Associate AD/Administration BRANDON MARTIN AD, effective April 1 (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/26)....Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania named Millersville Univ. Associate AD/Compliance STEVE ROACH to the same position (THEPENN.org, 2/22)....The MLBPA named former MLBer JOSE CRUZ JR. Player Services Department Special Assistant (MLBPA).
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A report from Stifel Nicolaus yesterday said that MSG "may sell its Live Nation Entertainment stake" following Chair JAMES DOLAN's resignation from the concert promoter's board. The report stated that MSG's 3.9 million Live Nation shares, representing about 2% of the company's stock, are worth about $40M "before taxes." Dolan's resignation follows IRVING AZOFF's decision to "step down as chairman of the company in December" (N.Y. POST, 2/26). Azoff is "said to be close to MSG and Dolan." Live Nation is controlled by JOHN MALONE's Liberty Media, which has been "raising its stake in the company" (VARIETY.com, 2/25).
COURT REPORT: Former USA Swimming VP MIKE SALTZSTEIN claims that the organization's "new screening procedures failed to detect a coach with multiple identities and a felony conviction." Saltzstein yesterday filed a complaint "asking for a review of a person known as JAMES PANTERA." He questioned whether USA Swimming's new screening policies "were doing enough to protect swimmers in the wake of numerous sexual abuse cases involving coaches and underage athletes" (AP, 2/25)....WorkSafeBC last year "imposed penalties for safety violations" totaling C$2.9M, with the "biggest single fine against" Canucks co-Owner FRANCESCO AQUILINI and his family for "failing to maintain some vehicles on their blueberry farm" (CP, 2/25).
SCREEN TIME IN PHILLY: Director JEFFREY BELL is "deep into shooting a feature-length documentary about the rise of the rabid" Sons of Ben, which is the fan club for the MLS Union. The film explores the club's "pivotal role in redefining the local soccer landscape." The movie, titled "Sons of Ben," is expected to premiere in early '14. Sons of Ben co-Founder & First President BRYAN JAMES said, "It's kind of crazy. You do something for a specific purpose, not envisioning its impact beyond its initial goal, which was to get a soccer team here in Philadelphia." One theme of the film is "how the Sons of Ben came to embrace" the city of Chester, Pa., where PPL Park was built (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 2/25)....Phillies 1B RYAN HOWARD will appear as "an exaggerated version of himself" in the March 28 episode of NBC's "The Office," alongside actors JOHN KRASINSKI (Jim) and CRAIG ROBINSON (Darryl), which will see the "marketing reps at Athlead attempt to sign one of Philadelphia's biggest sports stars" (ESPN.com, 2/25).
NAMES: Under Armour President, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK on March 6 will receive the '13 Governor's Int'l Leadership Award (WTCI)....NASCAR team owner RICHARD PETTY and son KYLE "helped dedicate the limited-edition America on the Move: Muscle Cars Forever Stamps, which went on sale Friday at post office's nationwide" (NEWS-JOURNALONLINE.com, 2/22)....Golfer BRANDEN GRACE has signed with IMG for representation (THE DAILY)....Boxer CURTIS STEVENS has signed with New Jersey-based promoter Main Events (ESPN.com, 2/25)....Basketball HOFer DENNIS RODMAN is joining three members of the Harlem Globetrotters in North Korea "for a Vice Media production to air on HBO in early April" (AP, 2/26).