Congrats on Tennis reaching its 1-yr anniv (May 15). Any advice for the newbies at National? Be patient, be patient, and be patient. And plan accordingly. We’re connected and experienced cable people; we knew 1 year after launch we weren’t going to be king of the world. Launching a cable network as an independent is exciting, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Your programming’s been impressive, as have your Beta results. Carriage always is the sticking point. Has it met expectations? Let’s you and I agree to change the way this industry looks at success (laughter). We get fixated on how many people can watch and are watching, instead of just the quality of the programming. I know it’s an uphill struggle but I think you and I can do it together (more laughter). Seriously, we’re pleased to have been launched by 22 different distributors in 75.2% of the country. In actual launches, we’ll have been launched in a bit more than 30% of US cable systems as of May 15. These are great numbers. What about being on sports tiers? Something that’s new takes longer to reach maturity and grow. So, penetration in those instances is not as great. We think it’s unrealistic that these tiers will endure, just because the evidence isn’t there that they’re working. Historically tiers haven’t done that well when the cable industry’s tried them. Tennis Channel’s role in the new U.S. Open Series wasn’t clear at the announcement late last month. Can you clarify? We don’t believe there’s been a tectonic shift. We’ve done the bulk of the telecasting of these tournaments last year and we will do the bulk of the telecasting this year. We expect to do more hours of those tournaments in the series than all the other networks combined. 28 of 32 matches in a typical tournament occur during the week, that’s what we will telecast. The USTA has set things up to try to get ESPN’s exposure for these tournaments’ finals. And that’s great. There will be more awareness of who wins, so that will benefit tennis, tennis fans and the Tennis Channel. Who’s playing in your ‘dream’ tennis match? Assuming I can’t play with a trio of Bo Derek, Salma Hayek and Brigette Bardot—all in our prime, of course—I’d like to see legends like Jack Kramer and Pancho Gonzales using the training and tools of today’s stars.

The Daily


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