TVG Amends Schedule After Setback in California

On the heels of California Gov. Gray Davis' rejection of account wagering, the TV Games Network is poised to make modifications in its ambitious daily programming schedule.

Despite the big setback, California continues to be viewed as a key market for TVG's expansion. But in the meantime, the network is expected to shuffle the deck.

"Obviously, Governor Davis' veto of the backstretch improvement and accountwagering bill was a setback for TVG -- we projected that California would be TVG's largest market." said John Hindman, vice president of communications for TVG. "With that in mind, we are looking at ways to operate more efficiently moving forward while retaining much of the quality of television programming that has become our hallmark.

"Regardless, the financial commitment of TVG and our corporate parents moving forward will continue."

TVG currently offers live coverage of racing each day, with afternoon and evening hosts. Said to be under consideration is more simulcast-like programming during slower periods. On the flip side, the network added a daily Breeders' Cup workout show similar to the one it had before this year's Kentucky Derby (gr. I). The show is to air daily from Oct. 23-Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to noon (EST).

During the National Thoroughbred Racing Association membership meeting Oct. 13, NTRA commissioner Tim Smith hinted at talks he's having with TVG officials concerning what he called a "personal pet idea." Smith supports a plan whereby TVG, like the FOX network, would have regional affiliates that would broadcast racing tailored to experienced handicappers.

Smith said it's tied to the industry striking a deal with TV Guide, parent company of TVG. "If we could come up with something close ... we'd have a much easier path to adding states," he said. "The point is we need to, as an industry, take advantage of the opportunities before us without minimalizing the issues (brought up by NTRA members)."