Through The Wire: On the Upside, He Wasnt Staying at Opryland


Talk about counting your blessings ... While some attendeesof last week's Jornados show grumbled about flight delays and stiff necks from theeight-hour flight, others were thankful that they were alive. Vince Raisa, director ofinternational sales for Philips Broadband Networks, lived everybody's worst nightmarelast Monday evening, when United flight 761, traveling from Miami to Buenos Aires, blewan engine in flight and took 50 harrowing minutes to teeter back to the airport. Thenormally unflappable and wise-cracking Raisa first quipped that he was focused on readinga book during the crisis, which occurred a few minutes after takeoff. Later, he confessedthat after United successfully slam-landed the jet, he noticed that the book that he hadbeen so raptly reading was upside-down. There was a twinge of a silver lining: When Raisagot on the next Buenos Aires-bound flight, United slipped him a complimentary first-classupgrade.

Just when you thought it was safe to return to thesatellite show: DBS insiders breathed a collective sigh of relief late last month uponleaving Nashville, Tenn. -- and the hermetically sealed biodome that is the Opryland Hotel-- for what many hoped would be the last time. The sentiment may be premature: Even thoughthe Satellite Broadcasting & Communications Association is moving its annual tradeshow to Las Vegas for the next two years, the show may return to Nashville in 2001.Another site that the association is looking at for that year is Orlando, Fla. Word cameout last week that Gaylord Entertainment Co. plans to bring its Opryland Hotel format toOrlando, too.

Cable can't get a break from Hollywood. In the newfilm, The Negotiator, Samuel L. Jackson plays a cop negotiator who takes hostageshimself after he's framed for murder. Now, he must deal with counterpart KevinSpacey. The good news: As Spacey and Jackson are sparring, the talk turns to old movies."Have you seen AMC?" Spacey asks. Great plug for cable, right? Wrong. WhenJackson replied in the negative, Spacey returned, "Do you have a satellite? Youcan get all of the Westerns." AMC itself was caught by surprise: A spokeswomanadmitted that no one at the network had seen the movie yet.

One month before the start of its Sunday-night NationalFootball League telecasts, ESPN still has yet to convince Major League Baseball to moveits remaining September Sunday-night games to ESPN2. MLB continues to maintain that ithas an agreement to appear on the 73 million-subscriber ESPN, even though ESPN2 isonly slightly behind, at 58 million subs. One source close to the situation said MLB isconsidering several other outlets for the games, including other cable services oroffering them to local TV stations in some markets.

The prince of darkness may take a backseat to the prince ofboxing this Halloween. Time Warner Sports is close to finalizing a fight telecastfeaturing flamboyant World Boxing Organization featherweight champion Prince NaseemHamed Oct. 31. The opponent has not been set, but it may be academic. The English-bredHamed -- who has one of the flashiest, if not longest, ring entries in the history ofboxing -- has already become a pop icon in the United States.

By R. Thomas Umstead, from bureau reports.