THE FOURTH STEPS FORTH
A fourth television network is scheduled to begin operation in the fall of 1967. It will be called the Overmyer Network after its chairman, Daniel H. Overmyer, who heads a group of companies that includes a warehouse system, a credit corporation, an industrial leasing concern, a national bank, a business newspaper and six TV stations. Its president is Oliver E. Treyz, formerly president of ABC, and its vice-president and director of sports is Thomas J. McMahon.
"In TV today we have followership not leadership," McMahon said the other day. Of course, since the three going networks have the major sports sewed up, the Overmyer Network has little choice but to innovate, if not exactly lead.
So, what's on McMahon's mind? Well, for one, he's thinking about putting on the Continental League, which plays professional football. "They're playing a schedule," McMahon said somewhat defensively. "People are paying to come in." Then he's investigating drag racing, which, he said, is the sport in which "the most money is spent by teen-agers, dollarwise," but he's not sure what kind of picture he'd get as the dragsters are enveloped in clouds of exhaust. He also is considering televising minor league baseball on a regional basis. "Everybody is major league conscious, but the grass roots is the story of success," he argued rather obscurely. "You'll find excellence in one phase of play in the minors compared to a balance of ability in the majors, but not peaks of ability."
McMahon is thinking, too, of reviving boxing on a weekly basis; he has talked with Lloyds of London about insuring a gimmicky kind of bowling show, evidently having something to do with 300 games, and he wistfully mentioned skiing, lacrosse, yachting and skin diving. "Everywhere you go there's a guy in one of those suits," he said.
Next, McMahon waxed mysterious and sibylline. "I've got two things so hot I'd lose them if I talked about them," he confided. "I'm going to beat pro football. Tie or beat them. That sounds bold. But it's not the time to say it. It's the time to do it."
Less visionary, perhaps, is a show he proposes to call Yesterday in Sport. It seems the Overmyer Network has nine million feet of film depicting what McMahon calls great moments in sport. " Bobby Jones!" he said. "Lenglen-Wills! Barney Oldfield! Babe Ruth playing for the Red Sox! If we can't be great today, we'll be great yesterday."
Now you're talking, Mac.
The lot of the average man has rarely been so poignantly expressed as in this want ad appearing last week in the Los Angeles Times: