At Press Time

Dec 17, 2001  •  Post A Comment

NBA, ABC make TV deal
Los Angeles-The Walt Disney Co. reached a deal with the National Basketball Association to carry games on ABC and ESPN starting with the 2002-03 season, AdAge.com reported late Friday. Disney is said to be working out a deal worth more than the reported $1.3 billion that NBC made as a final offer. “We’re still having conversations,” said an ESPN spokesman. NBC’s deal with the league expires at the end of the current season.
Meanwhile, AOL Time Warner reached a separate deal with the NBA to carry games on Turner Broadcasting System’s TNT. AOL TW plans to remodel CNN/SI into less of a sports news network and more of an ESPN competitor, AdAge.com said. CNN/SI is expected to carry 100 NBA games in the 2002-03 season. That network, which may be rebranded as AOL Sports, will be 50 percent owned by the NBA and 50 percent by AOL TW.
Both the Disney and Turner contracts are expected to be signed soon. Turner, NBC, and NBA spokesmen declined comment.
Talks gain momentum for NBC purchase of KNTV
New York-There were indications late Friday that discussions about NBC purchasing KNTV-TV, the Granite-owned San Jose, Calif., station scheduled to become an NBC affiliate on Jan. 1, were suddenly on a fast track to conclusion. Young Broadcasting, which owns KRON-TV, the San Francisco station losing its NBC affiliation, had hoped to convince the network to buy the station that is doomed to become and independent Jan. 1. But NBC would not consider offering more than half of Young’s $800 million-plus asking price. The most recent speculation puts NBC’s bid for KNTV in the neighborhood of $200 million to $250 million. A source familiar with the NBC-KNTV talks said the deal could be done by Monday.
NBC may resurrect `Network Stars,’ `Deal’
Los Angeles-Development of reality programming, a genre taking some lumps in the ratings lately, is still steaming ahead at the broadcast networks. NBC, which still has been experiencing some ratings success with “Fear Factor” and “Weakest Link,” is said to have other almost a dozen alternative series in active development. The Peacock Network is said to have licensed the rights to “Battle of the Network Stars,” a campy series of 19 celebrity-driven athletic specials that previously aired on ABC (1976-88) and was hosted by the late Howard Cosell. Trans World International, a TV sports production/distribution company owned by sports management firm International Management Group, is said to own the rights to “Battle of the Network Stars,” but company officials were not available to confirm if TWI was leasing the air time on NBC for future airings on the network.
Talent agency sources said NBC may also be interested in a revival of the former network game show “Let’s Make a Deal” (ABC 1963-77; NBC, 1989-91). “Let’s Make a Deal” had been in development last summer for a potential future syndication run. NBC officials and NBC spokespeople were unreachable for comment on the status of alternative series development.
Nielsen to meter N.C.-S.C. market
New York-Nielsen Media Research has selected the Greenville-Spartanburg-Asheville-Anderson market as one of the next two to be metered in 2002, Electronic Media has learned. The market is the 35th-largest DMA in the country. Asheville is in North Carolina; the other three cities in the market are in South Carolina. “Good catch,” said a Nielsen spokesman, confirming the pick.
Court TV, A&E execs leaving ad posts
New York-Two senior cable ad-sales executives are leaving their posts. At A&E, 16-year veteran Ron Schneier, executive VP of sales and marketing, will be leaving in March with the intention of joining either an independent film company or taking another entertainment/media-company post.
Additionally, at Court TV, eight-year veteran Gig Barton has left to pursue other interests, according to a network statement. He has been replaced by Charlie Collier, who has been appointed executive VP of advertising sales. Mr. Collier was previously at Oxygen Media, where he was senior VP for ad sales, and before that he was an ad sales VP at A&E.