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He's Retiring but Still Riding the Bike for Discovery

April 25, 2005 12:00 AM

Tour de France champion cyclist Lance Armstrong announced his retirement last week, just eight months after his team signed a three-year $15 million-a-year deal with Discovery Channel. Does that mean Discovery got the short end of the deal? Not according to company executives. Discovery had a separate deal with Mr. Armstrong with a commitment to do one more Tour de France in the next two years. He will retire from professional racing after this year's Tour de France in July. But that doesn't mean he'll totally retire from cycling, according to an exec. He said Mr. Armstrong will still ride and he will likely try to break the hour record in cycling. Discovery will also use Mr. Armstrong as on-air talent for health and fitness programs. Discovery said its overall cycling efforts are for the long term and that its sponsorship of the team is to foster Discovery's European network marketing efforts through a number of the team's European cycling athletes. In a statement, the company said: "We will miss watching him compete on the bike, but we look forward to working more closely with him off the bike."

-WAYNE FRIEDMAN



Major League Pitchers

The mad pitchers at City Lights Television are at it again. The producers of AMC's "Film Fakers" and "Insider Training" on FitTV are planning to pitch some 96 show ideas to 60 networks in 10 weeks. Last year they sold seven shows in a similar marathon, and they hope to beat that number this time around, said David Noll, president of City Lights Television. This year they're pitching "Cult 45," in which the hosts try to join 45 different cults; "CubiCOOL," a makeover show for people's office spaces; and "100 Exes," featuring a photographer looking to take nude pictures of former girlfriends for a coffee-table book. "It's kind of racy, but networks want racier things now," he said. Another show would examine the roots and usage of the F-word. "We want to be known as people with different, imaginative ideas," Mr. Noll said. "Yes, you have to thrive on rejection. We hate when people just ignore you."

-JON LAFAYETTE



Cleaning Up Their Act

Although the Motion Picture Association of America may spend much of its time trying to help studios hang on to their possessions in its fight against piracy, the organization had a banner year last year figuring out how to properly throw things away.

MPAA hit pause on its antipiracy brigade in honor of Earth Day last week while it informed reporters that the entertainment industry recycled more than 68 percent of its solid waste last year, or more than 20,000 tons, up from 50 percent in 2003. That made 2004 a record year for the MPAA's Solid Waste Task Force, because members stepped up efforts to inform employees on ways to recycle, said Kori Bernards, spokeswoman for the MPAA.

That includes printing on the backside of scripts, using mugs rather than paper cups in the office, using metal scaffolding instead of wood platforms on movie and TV sets and reducing the power consumption of computers by using the sleep mode. "Small things like that go a long way to ensuring we not waste paper and [do] recycle," Ms. Bernards said.

Studios in the task force include Fox Studios, The Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Studios, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and the West Coast broadcast and production centers of ABC and CBS. -DAISY WHITNEY