Pay-per-view boxing was on the ropes after the Evander Holyfield-Larry Holmes fight in June.
TVKO took a $3-million hit on that one, raising the 14-month-old company's losses to nearly $10 million.
TVKO was launched in April of 1991 with the Holyfield-George Foreman fight, and things went downhill after that.
In the fallout, TVKO scrapped its monthly shows. But it refused to take a 10-count.
Now, TVKO goes back into the ring with a vengeance--televising tonight's Holyfield-Riddick Bowe fight from Las Vegas.
Only legitimate fights such as this one work on pay-per-view. TVKO has learned that the hard way.
It has also learned about sharing the risk. TVKO paid nearly $20 million for Holyfield-Holmes and failed to recoup it.
TVKO paid only about $2 million for tonight's fight at the Thomas & Mack Center on the Nevada Las Vegas campus and will share the profits--or losses--with the promoter, Dan Duva, and the host, the Mirage hotel.
TVKO has done some revamping. Ross Greenburg, HBO's executive producer, has been brought in to handle tonight's telecast.
Greenburg is responsible for the slick boxing coverage on HBO, TVKO's sister company, but he said tonight's coverage will be pretty straightforward.
"It will be strictly boxing," Greenburg said. "There won't be a lot of frills. We won't have time. We could have as many as 34 rounds on the undercard."
Tonight's show begins at 6 p.m. with a three-bout undercard. The scheduled 12-round main event won't start until at least 8, possibly as late as 8:45.
Besides bringing in Greenburg, TVKO has replaced commentator Joe Goossen with Al Bernstein.
Goossen, who does fights with Rich Marotta for the Prime Network, has become more polished. The problem was, TVKO threw him in on big fights with no experience.
The first fight he worked was Holyfield-Foreman.
Another problem with Goossen was that his brother, Dan, is a promoter. Rival promoters said having his brother working on television gave Dan Goossen an unfair advantage.
One good thing. TVKO made the right choice in picking Bernstein, best known for his work on ESPN.
Len Berman returns on blow-by-blow, and Jim Hill will serve as host. Lennox Lewis, in line to fight tonight's winner, will be at ringside to offer periodic, between-rounds commentary. He will also be on the pre-fight show with Hill, as will Foreman.
Close call: Bernstein is not only glad to be working the fight, he's glad to be alive.
Two weeks ago today, Bernstein was in Utah, driving toward Salt Lake City, when his car flipped three times.
"It was in the middle of the afternoon, but it was really raining," Bernstein said. "I think one of my wheels went off the side of the road. I started spinning and thought it was all over."
Bernstein spent two days in a hospital in Price, Utah, but suffered only bumps and bruises.
"I'm still a little sore, but it could have been a lot worse," he said.
New career: At least new basketball commentator Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won't be making the same mistake as Joe Goossen. He's not starting at the top. Far from it.
Abdul-Jabbar, hired by ESPN this week, will work only 10 games, mostly Big West Conference games. His first telecast will be Alabama Birmingham at UC Santa Barbara on Jan. 4.
The King's finale: There's the normal fare of college and pro football on television this weekend, but the biggest event is a stock car race.
Sunday's Hooters 500 from Atlanta is not only the final race for "the King," Richard Petty, but the NASCAR Winston Cup champion will be determined. And six drivers are still in the running. ESPN is going all out in its coverage, which begins at 9:30 a.m.
Five cars will be equipped with in-car cameras (three each), including Petty's; there will be hand-held cameras in the pits, a member of Bill Elliott's crew will wear a lipstick-size camera on his headset and extra cameras will be used to focus on the championship competition.
Quick thinking: Don Sutton, scheduled to work TBS' PGA Grand Slam of Golf coverage from PGA West in La Quinta Tuesday and Wednesday, called in sick Monday, even though he was already in La Quinta. Sutton, who had hernia surgery a week earlier, developed a painful infection.
The night before, TBS executive producer Don McGuire had seen John Daly, in a taped feature, kicking field goals on television at a Denver Bronco practice and figured he must be available.
McGuire had used Daly for TBS' portion of the PGA Championship in August, and liked his work. So he put in a call to Daly Monday and got him.
Daly did a nice job. He showed he is a real student of the game, not merely a long-ball hitter. He also has a sense of humor.
Add golf: Vin Scully will be back on golf when he works the Skins Game at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert Nov. 28-29.
ABC will carry the Don Ohlmeyer-produced $540,000 event. The participants this year will be Fred Couples, Tom Kite, Greg Norman and Payne Stewart. Scully will be joined by Peter Jacobsen, Jerry Pate and Mark Rolfing on the announcing team.