--Doug Collins may be persona non grata in Washington these days,
but there are a few organizations that still think he's a wizard.
His lawyer, John Langel, says Collins has been contacted by TNT
and ESPN regarding a return to broadcasting. With TNT analysts
Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Fratello mentioned as candidates for the
myriad NBA coaching openings, Collins is the network's top choice
for a replacement should either former coach return to the bench.
Collins was Turner's lead analyst for six years. In 1998 he
joined NBC, at which he solidified his reputation as pro
basketball's best color man. "We always said to him that if the
opportunity ever arose, we would be more than happy to have him
come back home," says TNT executive producer Mike Pearl.
--Who'll be TV's lord of the rings? That question could be answered
as soon as next week, when executives of ABC, Fox and NBC will be
in Switzerland to present sealed bids to the IOC for the U.S.
television rights for the 2010 Winter Games and 2012 Summer
Games. Dick Pound, the former IOC vice president who handled the
last round of TV negotiations, has said the price tag for the
pair of Olympics could reach a record $2 billion--an amount that
has already scared off CBS, which pulled out of the bidding. It's
the first time U.S. rights have been up for grabs since 1995,
when NBC procured five consecutive Games, beginning with Sydney
2000, for $3.55 billion without a bidding process. The Olympics
remain one of the few guaranteed ratings bonanzas, and
conventional wisdom says NBC will not let the crown jewel of its
sports coverage get away. If it loses the Games, it would be left
with partial rights to one major sport: NASCAR, which it shares
with Fox and TNT. --R.D.