Inside Moves

WASHINGTON — It could have been one heck of a birthday.

The day Cablevision CEO James Dolan’s youngest turned 4 last week, the headlines blared the latest rumored marriage of sports and media: Was Cablevision Systems Corp., the nation’s fifth-largest cable company, buying the New York Yankees?

“I walked my 4-year-old to pre-pre-K,” Dolan, son of company chairman Chuck Dolan, said Tuesday. “It happened to be my son’s birthday that day and the teacher was armed with the cover of Newsday, which I had not seen yet. I looked at it and said, ‘Well, he (Chuck) must be buying it for his grandson’s birthday.'”

Then again, maybe not.

Dolan, in Washington, D.C., for a press conference on his company’s venture into local telephone service, again emphatically denied reports that Cablevision is negotiating to buy the team.

The news, Dolan said, was “a surprise … We are not purchasing the Yankees. The Yankees, as Mr. (George) Steinbrenner has said, are not for sale … Should there ever come a time when he would not want to own the Yankees, we certainly would be one of the interested parties. But that time is not now.”

So what time is it? Time to work on extending the contract, set to expire in 1999, that puts most Yankee games on Dolan’s Madison Square Garden network, Dolan admitted Tuesday. One possible threat is Disney Co.-owned competitor ESPN, which won’t say if it is trying to steal the Yankees broadcast rights away from Cablevision.

* * *

NBC’s remake of the 1970s series “Wonder Woman” from Warner Bros. TV will not be considered for the fall schedule, but will remain in development for midseason, sources say. The nationwide casting search for the woman to succeed Lynda Carter in the lead role has so far left the studio empty handed, and there were problems getting the show’s scripts ready in time for fall.

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