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This Squabble Still Tangled Up in Cable

September 19, 1997|LARRY STEWART

Although the result might not have been pleasing to most people in these parts, at least Thursday's Dodger-Giant game was on Channel 5 instead of Fox Sports West 2.

That way, more people got to watch the exciting 12-inning game.

Wednesday night's 2-1 Dodger loss was on Fox Sports West 2 and next Wednesday's game--a 5 p.m. start against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium--will also be on Fox Sports West 2.

Even though Fox Sports West 2 now reaches 2.1 million Southland homes, the problem is, there are still many homes it does not reach.

Time-Warner, Comcast and Century, which service

about 900,000 homes, are the main companies not offering the offshoot channel that was launched in January.

But only Century has been the target of a counterattack by Fox Sports West and West 2 because Time-Warner and Comcast at least are negotiating and Fox officials say they're close to agreement.

Century, meanwhile, has broken off negotiations, thus shutting out subscribers in such communities as Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Westwood and others.

Century can afford to take such an arrogant stance because the cable industry is set up so that each franchise has a monopoly in its area, meaning subscribers have to take whatever programming their cable company offers them. They can't turn to another company.

But at least they can turn to a mini-satellite dish system, which Century is pushing many of its subscribers into.


Fox Sports Net is made up of 10 regional sports networks, such as Fox Sports West and Fox Sports West 2. The newest member is Fox Sports Detroit, which launched this week. Nine more regional sports networks from the SportsChannel family will join the Fox family in the next few months.

Fox Sports Net hopes that its nightly "Fox Sports News" might someday compete with ESPN's "SportsCenter." With that in mind, programming chief Arthur Smith brought in John Terenzio as the new executive producer for "Fox Sports News" about six weeks ago.

Terenzio comes from a news background, having worked at ABC and NBC. More recently, he was the executive producer of "A Current Affair" and the weekly series "The Crusaders."

Smith and Terenzio made a major move this week when they hired Van Earl Wright, the former CNN anchor known for his voice inflections--"He goes DEEEEEP!"--and colorful personality.

"He brings a human touch and a tremendously strong personality to the table and we think he'll help other members of our team blossom as personalties," Terenzio said.

Terenzio said Wright is the first of several planned additions. Wright begins Monday but won't appear on the air right away. He'll work the prime-time edition.


With Stu Nahan, 71, having retired from doing sports on the nightly "News at 10" telecasts for Channel 5, the station is looking for a replacement.

Candidates include Ed Arnold, the station's popular weekend sports anchor who is now filling in on weeknights; Bret Lewis, formerly of Channel 4 and taking Arnold's weekend spot for the time being, and Gary Cruz, formerly of Channel 9. Another possibility is Gordie Hershiser, brother of Orel, who has done sports broadcasting in smaller Eastern markets.

Said Arnold: "It's really a great job at a great place to work. I'll do whatever they want. If they want me to stay on weekends, that's fine. I like weekends. That's when the most sports take place."


The next edition of HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel," with a first showing Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., takes an inside look at the unsavory business of sports handicapping, explores discrimination at country clubs, profiles Greg Maddux and examines the Prairie View football team and its 70-game losing streak. . . . Chuck Muncie and Hank Aaron are featured on "More Than a Game," a new syndicated show, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on Channel 7.

There seems to be no stopping ESPN. The national baseball package formerly held by CBS radio has gone to ESPN radio for a reported $40 million over five years. The package, which includes the World Series, moves to ESPN next season. . . . Ready for pro beach hockey? Yes, roller hockey will be on ESPN and ESPN2 next year. Games at Huntington Beach in May will be taped for showing in June. . . . The Ryder Cup, which begins in Spain next Friday, will be previewed by NBC Saturday at 3 p.m. and by the Golf Channel Saturday at 5 p.m. . . . Fox Sports Net has made a deal to televise college basketball's John Wooden Classic from the Pond of Anaheim on Dec. 6. It has been on NBC the last three years.

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