Prime Ticket recently broke off negotiations on a deal with the Clippers that would have taken effect this season. Sources said Prime Ticket President John Severino decided to say thanks but no thanks, after the Clippers asked for a five-year arrangement that would have earned them an average of $110,000 a game during the term of the contract.
NBC Sports' top executives, Dick Ebersol and Terry O'Neil, are convinced that Pat Riley's drive to excel will make him a success as NBC's NBA host. Riley spent Monday and Tuesday in a Hollywood studio rehearsing for the role he will assume full time on Nov. 3, the day of NBC's regular-season opener-the Lakers vs. the Spurs at San Antonio. Riley, who returns for another practice session today, said he thought the rehearsals went well, and O'Neil said the improvement from Monday morning to Tuesday evening was incredible. "He still has a lot of work to do, but I think he's gaining confidence," O'Neil said. NBC has helped Riley set up a mini-studio, complete with camera, teleprompter and tape machine, at his home in Brentwood.
Paul Olden is off to a fine start as Channel 5's new Angel play-by-play announcer. Olden, more accustomed to radio, may talk a bit too much for television, but this is curable. . . . KMPC will pair Cal State Fullerton announcer John Rebenstorf with Olden on UCLA football this season. Rebenstorf replaces Bob Steinbrinck, the station's news director who had been doing double duty. Rebenstorf will continue to handle Fullerton basketball and baseball. . . . Prime Ticket's new nightly news show, set to begin Oct. 16, will be called Prime Ticket Press Box. Channel 11's Rick Garcia is a candidate to become one of the show's four anchors. . . . SportsChannel reports that more than 9,000 viewers responded to a recent three-day summer preview, when the pay service was offered free to its affiliate base of 1.5 million homes in Southern California.