Top HTS producer Brown goes to Fox

Media Watch

September 20, 1996|By MILTON KENT

Bill Brown, Home Team Sports' director of programming and executive producer, will leave the Bethesda-based channel to become senior producer at Fox Sports.

Brown, an Emmy-award winning producer who has been with HTS since it went on the air in 1984, will take over the No. 2 production slot with Fox beginning next month.

"In my world of broadcasting, there are a handful of jobs that are unbelievable and this is one of them," Brown said. "I was given an offer that I could not turn down."

Brown has risen steadily through the sports television ranks, starting his career with HTS general manager Jody Shapiro on the staff of "This Week in Baseball" in 1977 before going to CBS in 1981, where he was John Madden's first broadcast associate for three years. Then he returned to work with Shapiro in starting HTS.

During Brown's tenure at HTS, the regional channel attracted a reputation within the industry as an innovator, particularly in baseball coverage, where its positioning of cameras down the foul lines and in particular base positions have become the norm.

"Bill Brown is a hidden secret in this business. He's been hidden away there in Baltimore and we're glad to have him. I'm thrilled to get him," said Fox executive producer Ed Goren, who has been courting Brown for the network since last winter.

Brown's departure for Fox, ironically, comes at a time when another Fox division is attempting effectively to carve HTS out of the market by grabbing the rights to the Orioles, Washington Bullets and Capitals, the cornerstone of HTS programming.

"People can perceive whatever they want, but, in reality, this involves two different parts of the [Fox] company," said Brown.

Watch out, defenses

With the largest crowd in college football history expected to see two teams with national championship aspirations and Heisman Trophy-caliber quarterbacks to boot, who could ask for more than tomorrow's Florida-Tennessee clash?

Not Craig James, CBS' studio analyst, who says the real pressure tomorrow (Channel 13, 3: 30 p.m.) is on the Volunteers and Gators defenses, who will have to control Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel and his Tennessee opponent, Peyton Manning.

"With the talent of these two quarterbacks, if you're the defense and you get caught in a blitz or something like that, you might as well get the extra-point block team on the field, because these guys will score," said James.

James says Tennessee, the nation's second-ranked team, should best fourth-ranked Florida, even though the Gators have won the last three games and eight of the last 10 in the series.

"Tennessee is hungrier and I think they're ready to step up, but they've got all the pressure," said James. "But if they don't win, they'll be second fiddle to Florida for a long time. This is a monumental game for Tennessee and they have no excuses if they lose."

Baseball, anyone?

All three games of this weekend's Orioles-Toronto series, as well as Monday's makeup game with Milwaukee, air on Home Team Sports. Tomorrow's Fox game (Channel 45, 1 p.m.) and the Sunday night ESPN broadcast (8 p.m.) feature the same matchup: the hated Red Sox against the cursed Yankees.

By the way, the ratings are in for Wednesday night's Orioles-Yankees game on HTS, and it set another seasonal high, attracting a 14.1 rating and 21 share of the audience, finishing just behind the season premiere of "Law and Order" on Channel 11.

The Miami Pound Machine

Seems as though the entire HBO operation has moved to Miami for the weekend, what with a Gloria Estefan concert, a comedy performance from Jon Stewart and the perfect bridge between the two, boxing.

Tonight's pugilistic twin-bill pits welterweight Pernell "Sweetpea" Whitaker in a 12-round world championship fight against Wilfredo Rivera, a rematch of a controversial April fight won by Whitaker on a split decision.

On the undercard is a 10-round heavyweight bout, matching two unbeatens, Darroll Wilson against David Tua.

Festivities begin at 10 p.m.

Pub Date: 9/20/96

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