Up Front: OLYMPICS '96
THE BURNING OF MR. ATLANTA
By the time 1996 rolls around, TV viewers will probably have had their fill of Izzy, the computer-generated mascot for the Atlanta Summer Olympics. What they won't see much of is Atlanta's other mascot, Ted Turner. NBC, which paid $456 million for TV rights to the games, has announced that it won't take on a cable partner.
Turner would have been the logical choice, with his state-of-the-art broadcast facilities in Atlanta. But sources say NBC wanted him to pay cash for cable rights, while he just wanted to let NBC use his facilities in return for the games. Some people are surprised NBC cut him out. Says Porter Bibb, a banker at Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co.: "They will have to spend $150 million to $200 million to replicate what Turner already has down there."EDITED BY WILLIAM D. MARBACH AND JULIE TILSNER by Mark Landler