Business World

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A Sunday without NBA?

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Any fans expecting to watch Game 3 of the National Basketball Association finals in its traditional Sunday night time slot better make other plans. For the first time that anybody can remember, the best-of-seven championship series will miss an entire weekend. Instead, NBC will show Game 2 of the series on a Friday and Game 3 the following Monday.

In doing so, NBC won't have to compete with CBS's highly rated Sunday night lineup 60 Minutes, Touched by an Angel and a weekly movie. There's no guarantee, though, that NBC will get higher ratings on Monday, analysts said. "Sunday night is usually perceived as a great slot," said John Mansell, a sports media analyst with Paul Kagan & Associates. "The move might very well diminish the numbers." The best-of-seven championship series between the San Antonio Spurs and either the New York Knicks or Indiana Pacers will begin on Wednesday in San Antonio. Game 3 of the series -- which is played under a 2-3-2 format -- historically is played on Sunday. This year the NBA and NBC agreed to a two-year trial of putting the game on Monday. The network, a unit of General Electric, is in the middle of a four-year $1.75 billion contract with the NBA. NBC spokesman Ed Markey said the switch was made to give players more time to rest. Waiting for wierdness NEW YORK (NYT) -- The runaway success of Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace has been particularly good news for Rob Burman. He and Sticks and Stones, the company he runs with his wife, specialize in unusual makeup design, and they are struggling with a recession in movie production. "Let's just say that we're coming up on the second worst year in our history, and we've been doing this for more than 20 years" Burman said. "It can't last forever, I'm sure, but I would say out of 35 competitors in Los Angeles, three have jobs right now." He added that his own company had ballooned to about 22 employees at its peak several years ago and that it is now down to just him and his wife. The American economy may be booming, but Hollywood is hurting. To get inflated costs under control, most studios are cutting back on the number of movies they produce and on the overall budgets. This is having a pronounced impact, particularly on the thousands of little companies that provide services from catering to makeup. Jack Kyser, an economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., said that California state figures show employment in the movie industry in Los Angeles has declined from a peak of 142,500 in February 1998 to 127,200 as of April 1999, the latest period for which figures are available, and that the decline is continuing. "It's been a very pronounced slowdown and it just goes on," Kyser said. He added that there were 637 feature movies initiated in Los Angeles County in 1997 and 510 last year. This year he estimates there will be about 480 based on current trends. Burman said he hoped that the success of Star Wars will encourage more big budget pictures with creatures and the like, requiring elaborate makeup. "No more of these romantic comedy clones, please," he said. Cable for women NEW YORK (AP) -- Turner Broadcasting System is teaming up with two major magazine publishers to launch a cable television channel aimed at women, going up against Lifetime Television. The new channel, which has yet to be named, will be launched together with an accompanying Web site early next year. TBS' partners in the venture are Time Inc., which like TBS is part of the Time Warner media conglomerate, and Conde Nast, which is owned by the privately held company Advance Publications. The new service will be headed by Pat Mitchell, who heads the production division at CNN that won a Peabody award for its series on the Cold War. "Women represent the fastest-growing Internet population and a television audience that remains underserved," Mitchell said. …