11:33 a.m. Bill and John attend the excellent first meeting of the day for the 7 p.m. show. It is held in a remarkably dreary conference room. The only ESPNesque touch is a huge satellite dish, looming just outside the window, that looks like something that has fallen off the starship Enterprise. There are 14 people around a rectangular table. Ley, Linda Cohn, Tom Mees and Bill Patrick are the talent present, although Mees and Cohn will not appear live on the show tonight. The coordinating producers are Chris Martens, 35, and Stu Nicol, 34. Denis Sedory, 41, is the director. Anne Marie Jeffords, 25, the assignment editor, begins by reading a list of possible news items for the show. She does not get through many without being interrupted.
Jeffords: "Ron Dickerson is the new coach at Temple, the only black head coach in NCAA Division I-A. We can get an early feed of the press conference out of WPVI...."
Mees: "Temple is the dregs. He can't go lower than Temple football. It's an inner-city school, no press, no spirit...."
Nicol: "Also no pressure."
Mees: "Soccer's bigger than football at Temple. It's great to have a black coach in Division I-A, but they aren't going to buy tickets just because he's black."
Patrick: "It's a great career move. He can't go anywhere but up."
Jeffords (continuing the list): "An athlete arrested at Washington for selling drugs.... [Pro basketball player] Brian Williams is suffering from clinical depression...."
Ley: "What do you expect? In one year he had a car accident, collapsed on the court and got drafted by Orlando."
Jeffords: "Tony Robinson, a North Carolina State basketball forward, shot himself in the head last night. The police down there said he had no history of suicidal tendencies."
Nicol: "Let's be careful about how we handle this, but a few guys on the team said he was very upset over not playing...."