The Baltimore Orioles and Major League Baseball will develop an RSN that will carry a number of Os games as well as contests featuring nearby newbie the Washington Nationals. Comcast can’t be tickled, as the new net seems to make the MSO’s local RSN, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, the odd man out. The Os have 2 years remaining on their contract with Comcast to produce and televise about 87 games a season; minus baseball, SportsNet still has the rights to Wizards (NBA), Capitals (NHL) and select collegiate events, plus DC United (MLS), a spokesman said. That said, the SportsNet rep had little else to offer, remarking that the net had seen nothing official from either the league or the Orioles-only an ambiguously worded press release. Under the terms of the tentative agreement, the new venture, Mid-Atlantic Sports, "will guarantee the Nats a fair market value for the club’s broadcasting rights, as well as normal protections concerning the quality and frequency of telecasts." All Orwellian syntax aside, sources say Mid-Atlantic would pay the Nats a rights fee of $20mln-30mln the 1st year and distribute 76 games to WTTG-Fox and WDCA-UPN in DC, while the rest of the games are targeted for "cable and DBS stations that agree to carry the net once it is up and running."

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Football Ratings Bump

NFL Network returned to the Top 5 cable nets in prime last week thanks to “Thursday Night Football.” The channel averaged 1.145 million viewers in prime, putting it in fourth place. Fox News , again, took

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