ESPN names top 2 executives, expects growth here, overseas

Media Watch

November 20, 1998|By Milton Kent

ESPN is undergoing a little restructuring at its very top, with its current president getting a newly created position.

Steve Bornstein, who has been president of ESPN for eight years, has been promoted to chairman of the ESPN empire, with his second-in-command, George Bodenheimer, becoming president.

The move frees Bornstein, who also runs ABC Sports, to focus on growing the ESPN behemoth even larger, particularly on the foreign side, while Bodenheimer concentrates on the domestic operation.

Under Bornstein's leadership, ESPN has expanded its realm from one all-sports, 24-hour-a-day domestic channel to three, as well as forays into radio, publishing, retail, the Internet and restaurants.

Bodenheimer, who joined ESPN a year after Bornstein in 1981, began working in the company's mail room, but rose through the ranks and has headed the company's sales and marketing operations, with little experience in production or news-gathering.

The ESPN moves come five months after a similar move at NBC, where Dick Ebersol became chairman of the sports division and Ken Schanzer was made president.

Around the dial

The college football season moves into its meaningful stage this weekend with a number of interesting games and some fairly compelling ancillary programming.

ABC (Channel 2) has a killer doubleheader tomorrow. Michigan battles Ohio State at noon with a trip to the Rose Bowl in the balance. Then Florida State is host to Florida, with the winner keeping long-shot odds at a berth in the Fiesta Bowl should teams above them fail.

Along that line, top-ranked Tennessee closes its home schedule with a game against Kentucky (Channel 13, 3: 30 p.m.)

For an interesting perspective on the history of football at the Naval Academy, check out tomorrow's one-hour CBS special, produced by NFL Films and narrated by actor James Coburn (Channel 13, 2 p.m.).

Comcast viewers will see the Midshipmen take on Southern Methodist on Channel 69 in Baltimore County, Channel 54 in Howard County and Channel 66 in Harford County.

Meanwhile, Westminster's WTTR (1470 AM) will carry live coverage of Western Maryland College's football playoff game against Trinity University from San Antonio tomorrow, with a pre-game show at 12: 30 and kickoff at 1 p.m.

Sunday's NFL pre-game shows offer the usual varied fare, starting with Ed Werder's feature on the meltdown of the Kansas City Chiefs for ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" (11 a.m.).

Fox takes its pre-game show (Channel 45, noon) to Minneapolis in support of coverage of the big Green Bay-Minnesota game, with planned features on the Atlanta front four, Dallas running back Emmitt Smith and Vikings quarterback Randall Cunningham.

"The NFL Today" (Channel 13, noon) will examine the Cowboys' resurgence, Denver coach Mike Shanahan's preparation for Oakland, and last week's Kansas City tribute to former Chiefs running back Marcus Allen, now an "NFL Today" analyst.

From the Turner television family of channels: CNN's "Page One with Nick Charles" has a touching feature on former Redskins quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien, who suspended his career to care for his ailing family, tomorrow at 11 a.m. TBS will carry live coverage of the Motegi 500 NASCAR race from Motegi, Japan, at 10 p.m. tomorrow, rebroadcast Sunday at 8: 05 a.m.

Yes, we know the season is supposed to be over, but there's still a lot of golf to be found. For instance, Fox makes its initial foray into golf with same-day coverage of the World Cup of Golf from Auckland, New Zealand, which pits 64 players from 32 nations playing in foursomes. First prize is $400,000, but one hole will pay a $1 million bonus to anyone who notches a hole-in-one. Jack Whitaker is host of the coverage, which airs on Channel 45 tomorrow at 2 p.m., and Sunday after football. CBS will air a half-hour preview of the President's Cup tomorrow at 1: 30 p.m.

And, finally, if you've got a bit of a masochistic streak, be sure to tune in to ESPN Classic on Sunday at 4: 30 p.m. for Game 7 of the 1971 World Series. The combatants, for those too young to remember, are the Orioles and Pittsburgh, and if you don't already know how it turned out, we don't have the heart to tell you.

Pub Date: 11/20/98

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