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I've had no conversations with any executive at CBS about the NFL situation.
Whether they made a decision early on that they were going to bid so much and not pay a
nickel more, I don't know. Had I still been there, what would I have done? I think I'd have
stretched everything I had in order to keep the NFL. It's easy to second guess, you know.
I believe it's fair to say that the senior management--or the senior ownership--at CBS today
doesn't come out of broadcasting. Mr. [Laurence Alan] Tisch is a very smart and able
financial man, but he hasn't grown up in the world of broadcasting--either radio or television,
and perhaps doesn't have the same feeling that I'm portraying here. Also there are other
things on his plate besides CBS. He's got the Macy situation and other investments that he
has to worry about.
It's possible that he said to his colleagues, “You get in there and you bid up to a certain
amount, and if we get it, we'll be happy; and if we don't get it, we're not going to lose as much
money as we would have if we had to spend a lot.” Fox is not going to make money on this
deal; Fox bought itself a position in networking that I doubt it could have gotten any other
way, short of perhaps buying the top five shows in the prime time schedule. And there's no
way they can really do that, practically.
So it was a smart move for Fox, if they have that kind of risk capital, and it was, I think, not
a disastrous blow for CBS. But certainly not one that would give me comfort in going into the
fall schedule. End of story.
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