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Fox Will Let Lasorda Do This Job From Home

July 05, 1996

Barring any unforeseen problems, Tom Lasorda, from the comfort of his home in Fullerton, will be a guest commentator on the Fox telecast of the Dodger-Colorado game Saturday afternoon.

"We plan to bring him on early and let him go as long as he wants," said producer Michael Weisman, who came up with the idea and persuaded Lasorda to do it.

Nice coup for Weisman, former executive producer of NBC Sports who is making his mark as a game producer for Fox.

"I'm not sure how long I'll go," Lasorda said.

The regular announcers on the telecast that will go to 21% of the country will be Thom Brennaman and Bob Brenly.

*

Although the Olympics are the sole property of NBC--there is no cable deal this time--ESPN will be offering a lot of supplemental coverage. It will have a three-hour special on July 16, daily coverage on "SportsCenter," and Chris Myers will do his daily "Up Close" shows from Atlanta.

But don't expect much Olympic coverage on Prime Sports' "Press Box." Prime isn't sending anyone to Atlanta.

There was a rumor that Prime's credentials were pulled by U.S. Olympic Committee.

"That's simply not true," executive producer Tom Reilly said. "We did not have any credentials pulled."

Although Reilly declined comment, Prime had trouble getting credentials in the first place. But then, so did most news outlets.

Still, it probably didn't help that Prime ran a three-part investigative series last December that embarrassed the USOC. It dealt with corruption within the Amateur Softball Assn. and the misappropriation of grant money provided by the USOC.

Actually, Prime never had plans do much with the Olympics anyway, although it had spent about $28,000 to rent a house for reporters and technicians.

At one time, there was talk that "Press Box" would go dark during the Olympics so the crew could move from its Century City headquarters to the Fox studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

But that move was postponed. A new-look "Press Box," the result of a merger between Fox and Prime's owner, Liberty Media, won't make its debut until Oct. 16, to take advantage of Fox's World Series coverage as a promotional tool.

At that time, Prime Sports, formerly Prime Ticket, will undergo another name change. It will become known as Fox Sports West.

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Beginning Sept. 9, Brett Lewis will again be seen on Channel 4--occasionally. No, he's not returning to his old job as Channel 4's No. 2 sportscaster. He'll be part of a Time-Warner syndicated show that the station will carry at 2 p.m. weekdays.

Maureen O'Boyle will serve as host of the yet-unnamed non-sports news and information show designed for women. Lewis will be a segment producer, writer and reporter.

Lewis, who plans to keep his condo in Marina Del Rey, moved to New York last weekend to start working on the show, and Hollywood Park honored him by naming the eighth race after him Friday night.

Lewis, who has done some acting in recent months, has a minor part in the Robert De Niro-Wesley Snipes movie, "The Fan," which premieres Aug. 16.

*

He's everywhere: NBC's Wimbledon coverage continues through the weekend, with hopes that the weather cooperates. NBC's coverage begins today at 11 a.m. and is at 6 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

John McEnroe is part of the NBC broadcast team.

But McEnroe can also been seen playing this weekend. He's one of four players in a made-for-TV event, "The Challenge," which was taped June 21-23 at Pebble Beach and will be shown Saturday and Sunday by ABC.

Jimmy Connors, Andres Gomez and Yannick Noah are also in the event, to be televised by Channel 7 at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

The event was created by ABC golf producer Terry Jastrow.

*

Golf too: NBC is scheduled to go to the Senior U.S. Open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday--today's round will be on ESPN--and the golf both days will be followed at 1 p.m. by the U.S. Olympic basketball team playing exhibitions.

"We've got nine-hour sports blocks both days," NBC spokesman Ed Markey said. "A few more day parts and we'd be ESPN."

TV-Radio Notes

Although Fox has been doing Saturday baseball and will televise the World Series, NBC has Tuesday's All-Star game, with Bob Costas, Bob Uecker and Joe Morgan announcing. . . . It really didn't come as any surprise that Chick Hearn, who has admitted in recent years that he'll never retire, signed another multiyear contract with the Lakers this week, as did his partner, Stu Lantz. . . . Attention baseball junkies: DirecTV will offer its "Extra Inning" package--up to 35 games a week--free of charge for the rest of the season to anyone who purchases one of its systems between Monday and the end of the month.

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