CBS brass told affiliates at a closed-door NATPE meeting earlier this week that the web will not go ahead with a Sunday sports magazine show to replace “NFL Today” when the National Football Conference franchise moves to Fox Broadcasting Co., according to sources.
The network is trying to hold on to the noon-1 p.m. and 3:30-6 p.m. blocks on Sundays this fall, but a number of CBS affils have been busy making deals at NATPE for female-oriented syndicated programming to counter football.
Separately, Fox will hold a press conference today in Atlanta — the site of Super Bowl XXVIII — to announce additional talent for its NFL coverage, with former CBS analyst Terry Bradshaw and play-by-play man Pat Summerall topping the list.
Other CBS alumni expected to make the move to Fox include Ed Goren, a senior producer expected to be named exec producer of Fox’s NFL telecasts; and producer Bob Stenner and director Sandy Grossman, who worked with Summerall and broadcast partner John Madden at CBS.
Fox announced a four-year deal with Madden, valued at $ 32 million, earlier this week (Daily Variety, Jan. 25).
At a news conference Wednesday to tout a Super Bowl-related cable special, Bradshaw — who’s been with CBS since 1984 — said of the Fox deal, “It’s not finalized, but it will be soon.” Bradshaw had hinted at going to Fox Monday on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”
CBS’ Pat O’Brien has also been mentioned for a Fox slot, and colleague Lesley Visser said her contract expires Sept. 1 and that she’d welcome the chance to join Fox or another network that’s still televising NFL games.
NBC Sports officials weren’t thrilled about Fox preempting NBC’s Super Bowl hype by holding an Atlanta press conference.
Fox agreed to pay $ 1.58 billion over four years for the NFC package, which CBS had held for 38 years.