Dawson Leaving Channel 7 Sports; Channel 2 Eyeing Lampley
Ted Dawson is out as a Channel 7 sports reporter, and Jim Lampley may be headed for Channel 2.
Dawson, demoted from No. 1 sports anchor, was told by Channel 7 News Director Terry Crofoot on Tuesday that he could remain at the station as a sports reporter until his contract expires a year from now. But Thursday he was told that today would be his final day in sports.
Dawson’s job fell into jeopardy when Channel 7 made a big-money deal with former Channel 2 sportscaster Jim Hill earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Bob Hyland, Channel 2’s general manager, while in New York on business, is scheduled to talk with Lampley’s agent.
“I really can’t say anything about that,” Lampley said from his home in New York. “I will tell you that the combination of working for KCBS and CBS Sports does appeal to me.”
Lampley recently left ABC Sports after 13 years there.
Dawson was anything but down Thursday night. “I’ve just been made a fantastic offer by Channel 7, but it has nothing to do with sports,” he said. “I’m taking five weeks vacation, then I’ll decide what I’m going to do.
“I can’t tell you what they’ve offered, but I’m really excited about it. I’m not lying to you. I think it’s going to be the best thing for everybody. I don’t think Jim would want me hanging around. But I hope he does great, both on the network and at Channel 7. I’m sure he will.”
Dawson, however, said he was dejected when he received the news early Thursday. And you couldn’t blame him.
Before he found out about the hiring of Hill last Monday, he was often told that rumors about Hill’s coming to Channel 7 were not true. Then he was told he would be retained in sports as a reporter. Then he was told he was gone.
But now he’s up again, or at least he said he was. That’s the crazy television business for you.
It has been reported that Hill’s salary will be in the $750,000-$800,000 range. That’s at least double what any other sportscaster in town is making.
When Hill was playing professional football in the 1970s, his top salary was about $55,000.
Why is Channel 7 willing to pay so much for a sports anchor?
John Severino, the station’s general manager, who denies that Hill is making as much as has been reported, mentioned Hill’s personality several times during Tuesday’s press conference.
“Jim adds a high degree of personality to that impersonal signal we have coming off Mt. Wilson,” Severino said.
What does Channel 4’s Fred Roggin think of Hill’s big-bucks contract? “It’s great for sportscasting free agency,” he said. “Seriously, I wish Jim the best.”
Poor Taste Dept.: Paul Moyer, Channel 7’s million-dollar news anchor, as a tease for Wednesday night’s sports, said: “The Dodgers lose a lot more than a game. Stay tuned for sports.”
Something like that is usually said when a player is injured and will miss a few games. In this case, Dodger scout Don McMahon had died.
NFL update: Channel 11 has won the rights to the Ram and Raider games included in ESPN’s Sunday night package this season.
The independent station, according to a source, paid about $770,000 for one Ram and one Raider exhibition game and one Ram and one Raider regular-season game.
The exhibition games that Channel 11 will carry, along with ESPN, will be the Rams’ game at San Diego on Sunday, Aug. 23, and the Raiders’ game at Dallas on Sunday, Aug. 30.
The regular-season games in the package are Raiders at San Diego Nov. 15 and Rams at San Francisco Dec. 27.
The Rams’ exhibition opener Sunday, Aug. 9, against Denver at London, will be televised at 10 a.m., PDT, by NBC. Game time is 6 p.m. in London.
The Rams’ other exhibition games, against Seattle on Thursday, Aug. 13, and against Denver on Saturday, Aug. 29, will not be televised in Los Angeles. Neither will any of the Raiders’ three home games during the exhibition season.
The NFL returns to television when ABC shows the annual Hall of Fame game at Canton, Ohio, between San Francisco and Kansas City on Saturday, Aug. 8.
ESPN’s first of four exhibition telecasts will be Chicago at Miami on Sunday, Aug. 16, at 5 p.m.
Joining regular announcers Mike Patrick and Roy Firestone as a guest commentator for that game will be former Chicago Bear linebacker Dick Butkus.
Butkus, although he lives in Malibu while pursuing his acting career, is also the Bears’ commentator on radio station WGN. This will be his third season.
Guest commentators that ESPN has lined up for other games include former Raider Lyle Alzado and actor Ed Marinaro, a former Minnesota Viking and Cornell running back who was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting to Auburn’s Pat Sullivan in 1971.
ESPN has also hired former Denver linebacker Tom Jackson as a studio commentator. He will work with Chris Berman and Pete Axthelm on the pregame shows.
NBC announced last week that it had hired Jackson as a commentator to work a minimum of four NFL games. “We thought we had a verbal agreement,” an NBC spokesman said.
Said Jackson: “I was talking with NBC, but then the ESPN deal came along.”
Add Butkus: Some people have compared hotshot linebacker Brian Bosworth with Butkus, but Bosworth, instead of being flattered, says he doesn’t like being compared with anyone.
Said Butkus: “Brian is young and has a lot to learn.”
About Bosworth’s salary demands for signing with the Seattle Seahawks, Butkus said: “If it were up to me, I’d make him an offer and tell him if he didn’t like it, he could sit out the year.”
KMPC’s Jim Healy reported Thursday night that Ann Meyers, wife of Chicago White Sox announcer Don Drysdale, had given birth to the couple’s first son, Don Jr., Thursday. Coincidentally, Thursday was Drysdale’s 51st birthday. Big D was born in Van Nuys on July 23, 1936, at 9:10 a.m., and 51 years later Little D was born in Chicago at 8:52 a.m., a difference of 18 minutes. . . . The Dodgers and Angels will both appear on NBC Saturday. The first game of a doubleheader, at 10:15 a.m., is the Angels at Detroit, and the second game, at 1 p.m., is the Chicago Cubs against the Dodgers. . . . Channel 5 is carrying the Angels tonight and Sunday. . . . ABC’s Monday night game is San Francisco at Los Angeles. The game will be televised live at 5 p.m. by Channel 7. . . . ABC will televise the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J., on Aug. 1. The race marks the first rematch of Alysheba and Bet Twice since the Triple Crown races. Lost Code, the winner of seven straight stakes races, is also in the Haskell.
Wimbledon champion Pat Cash will be one of Johnny Carson’s guests next Wednesday night. Carson attended Wimbledon while on his honeymoon. . . . Sunday’s baseball Hall of Fame inductions will be televised by ESPN, delayed, at 3 p.m. . . . ESPN is televising the weekend Davis Cup matches between the United States and West Germany at Hartford, Conn. Coverage today begins at 10 a.m., and coverage Saturday and Sunday begins at 9 a.m. The featured players are John McEnroe for the United States and Boris Becker for West Germany. . . . Angel announcer Al Conin had to miss the series in Boston because his father is ill, so Joel Meyers handled the play by play.