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Under Review

MICHAELS GETS HOOPY In a 28-year network career, in which he has
called the World Series, the U.S. hockey miracle of 1980 and, of
course, the NFL (he's done Monday Night Football for 18 years),
Al Michaels had never called an NBA game until Christmas Day,
when he debuted as ABC's lead announcer next to analyst Doc
Rivers. "There was trepidation about not having followed the
league the way a broadcaster who had been involved in the league
would have," says Michaels. "I understand people will say, 'What
is he doing there?' if I don't live up to a certain level."
Michaels, who said he "filled up his TiVo" with NBA games to
prepare and sought advice from NBA voice Marv Albert about
getting used to basketball's rhythm, acquitted himself well. He
and Rivers--who established himself as an insightful observer in
a 1996-99 stint with Turner Sports--had a chemistry that ABC's
team of Brad Nessler, Bill Walton and Tom Tolbert lacked last
year. The pair will work five more regular-season games and some
playoff games before the NBA Finals.

DEPORTES, TODO EL DIA ESPN Deportes, the first 24-hour
Spanish-language sports network in the U.S., was set to launch
this week. The network will rely on ESPN's programming deals with
U.S. sports leagues to show more than 200 live events this year,
including the four major sports and UEFA Champions League soccer.
Deportes will initially be seen in just a few TV markets,
including L.A. and San Antonio, but general manager Lino Garcia
expects the network to be in the top 20 U.S. markets by the end
of 2004. The nightly 30-minute SportsCenter will resemble the
English-language version but will focus on Latino athletes. (The
anchors will work out of Mexico City.) Starting this month
Deportes will also air games from the Liga del Pacifico, Mexico's
winter league baseball. --Richard Deitsch