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Richard Deitsch
March 24, 2003
CBS Barters with ESPN, CNN Noize
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March 24, 2003

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CBS Barters with ESPN, CNN Noize

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Two broadcasting rivals are doing some mutual back-scratching during the NCAA tournament. ESPN is lending Jay Bilas and Len Elmore to CBS, which has the tournament locked up until 2013; in exchange for those analysts ESPN will get better positions at the Louisiana Superdome, site of the Final Four. The SportsCenter set will be just outside the Louisiana Superdome (last year it broadcast from a mall near the site), and ESPN will operate another show's set at courtside (an upgrade from the mezzanine). CBS will also loosen its highlight restrictions for the post-national-championship SportsCenter show on April 7 and will up its promotion of the women's tournament, which ESPN is airing. ( ESPN will promote the men's tournament by citing specific matchups and starting times, which it hasn't done in recent years.) Says CBS Sports president Sean McManus, "We have an 11-year deal with the NCAA, so we're not viewing ESPN or ABC as real competitors for the tournament. They can help us and we can help them, so why be so proprietary?"

Wassup with the sports updates on CNN Headline News? An e-mail leaked to the media in October revealed that a producer from the network sent a slang dictionary to writers trying to get hip-hop terms such as freak and fly into the on-screen graphics. Staffers were told to "use this guide to help all you homeys and honeys add a new flava to your tickers." More recently, the network has begun blaring hip-hop tracks over its sports highlights. Last Friday night, music by Eve and 50 Cent thumped and bumped so intrusively, it nearly drowned out news of Steve Bechler's autopsy. Here's a memo from us: Big ups and plenty of bling bling to whoever ends this nonsense.