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A CURRENT AFFAIR
John Walter
November 08, 1999
By dipping its toes into bass-fishing waters, Fox hopes it has its hooks into the next big TV sport
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November 08, 1999

A Current Affair

By dipping its toes into bass-fishing waters, Fox hopes it has its hooks into the next big TV sport

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Did you know that one of the most renowned bass fishermen in America is named Mike Wurm? If enough of you take the bait proffered by Fox this Sunday at 4:30 p.m., Wurm could become a household name. Adding new meaning to the term broadcast, Fox will create major-network history by presenting 90 minutes of coverage of the final round of the world's richest bass-fishing tournament, the $3.5 million Ranger Millennium M1, in Cypress Gardens, Fla.

Ten finalists will compete, with the winner reeling in up to $1 million—$400,000 in prize money and the rest in sponsors' loot. "A number that's hard to ignore is that more than 55 million people in the United States consider themselves anglers," says Fox Sports executive producer Ed Goren, explaining his network's fishing expedition. "[This is akin to] NASCAR just a few years ago."

Fox isn't tackling this assignment lightly. Baseball play-by-play man Joe Buck will make the casting call, joined by Fox baseball analyst Bob Brenly. Though Brenly is an avid angler—he got into fishing as a Giant with teammates Dusty Baker and Robby Thompson—he realizes he's in uncharted waters. "It's not like you can watch tapes or something to prepare," he says, "because this hasn't been done on network TV before."

Our worry: With a microphone on every contestant, a copter cam and a roving boat camera, won't the fish be scared away?

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