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Original Issue

Under Review

DRAFT DOINGS Good news for the hair spray industry: It doesn't
look as if Mel Kiper, ESPN's carefully coiffed NFL draft expert,
is going off the air anytime soon. ESPN's exclusive rights to the
draft, which it has aired since 1980, expire next year with the
end of the network's eight-year deal to broadcast games, but the
league is expected to re-up with the network. Apparently the NFL
prefers to sell the rights to the draft rather than broadcast the
increasingly popular two-day event on its six-month-old,
program-strapped NFL Network. "ESPN has done a terrific job with
it, and we don't anticipate that changing," says Seth Palansky, a
spokesman for the NFL Network. "[The draft] is not in the plans
at this point." This year's draft drew drew a 3.9 overnight
rating for Saturday's coverage of the first three rounds. In
contrast the network averaged a 1.3 rating for its 64 NBA regular
season games.

LONG DRIVE CONTEST On Saturday, May 8, CBS will air the first of
a three-part series called PGA Tour 18--Golf's Ultimate Road
Trip. Cameras will follow every move of two teams of four amateur
golfers (including one woman) whose handicaps range from four to
16 as they traveled across the country in RVs, playing 18 of the
Tour's toughest holes over nine days. The teams started at
opposite ends of the country and didn't know their itinerary from
one day to the next. The team with the lowest cumulative score
wins a trip to watch the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am next February.
Included are tips on how to play the holes from the likes of
Ernie Els, Arnold Palmer and Mike Weir. "This is less about how
good a player is than it is about the interaction of four people
who don't know each other being thrown together," says Stu Nicol,
vice president of PGA Tour productions. --S.P.