The defiant longtime owner of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders was a rebel who embraced Hollywood (and vice-versa) when he moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982. The NFL Hall of Famer had been in failing health with an undisclosed ailment for some time when he died. He was 82. The team won the first and only Super Bowl for Los Angeles in 1984, the city’s Olympic year, the last of three titles that Davis won for the Raiders all told (the others coming in 1976 and 1980). He moved the Raiders back to Oakland in 1995, and LA has been without an NFL team ever since. But Davis will forever be known as the guy who brought Hollywood bright lights and Super Bowl glamour together, even if the party was all too brief. He’ll also be remembered for the battle cry, “Just win baby!” His teams wound up doing quite a bit of that.
Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is one step closer in its long regulatory fight to take control of British Sky Broadcasting, with UK Culture Secretary telling the House of Commons today that he is ready to approve the merger. He did say he would give opponents of the tie-up a week to raise final objections over the deal, which critics have said threatens diversity in the news marketplace (News Corp arm News International publishes The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times and the News of the World newspapers in the UK). Hunt said that he has received concessions from News Corp recently that address those fears. (Meanwhile, opponents have questioned Murdoch’s influence over Hunt, the Financial Times said.) Already, the National Union of Journalists has organized a demonstration for today with other guilds and unions outside the Department of Culture, Media and Sport in London. ”Rupert Murdoch’s profit-at-all costs philosophy forces too many journalists to cut corners, compromise professional standards and set aside ethical conduct for fear of failing to deliver the sales demanded by executives,” said NUJ secretary Jeremy Dear. “This model of journalism is not in the public interest — it serves only the accountants.”
LeBron James’ decision about where he will play next season is certainly newsworthy but to devote a one-hour prime-time special on it?! That’s what ESPN is doing with the dramatically-titled The Decision tomorrow night at 9PM. (That name is usually used by news networks for their coverage of other important events, like presidential elections.) Given that the announcement of James’ choice will take a few minutes at best, expect an hour of fillers leading to it, kinda like an American Idol results episode. (UPDATE: ESPN says James will announce his team pick in the first 15 minutes, which brings up the question: Why not do it as a 15-minute special?) And if you thought that was an overkill, ESPN also plans a three-hour SportsCenter leading into The Decision that will be devoted to James’ decision as well as an expanded two-hour SportsCenter immediately following the special, which will dissect that decision. At least James is doing it for a good cause: proceeds from The Decision will be donated to Boys & Girls Club of America.
UPDATE: In a conference call with reporters, ESPN defended the editorial integrity of its decision to let James’ company LRMR Marketing sell the ad spots for The Decision, noting that the money goes to charity. ”There was no rights fee, no payment, and we will have complete editorial control over the hour,” ESPN executive VP of production Norby Williamson said.