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French Open on Tennis Channel Begins Sunday, May 24

*LOS ANGELES, May 18, 2009 - *Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, will offer more than 100 hours of French Open match coverage this year, including same-day repeats for all men’s and women’s singles semifinals. The network’s two-week coverage of Roland Garros (commonly referred to as the French Open) averages seven hours of live match coverage per day and begins Sunday, May 24, at 5 a.m. ET.

Beyond more than 80 live hours of French Open match coverage overall, Tennis Channel will bring the Grand Slam competition to U.S. prime-time television audiences for the third consecutive year with French Open Tonight. Veteran sportscaster Bill Macatee returns to the show’s tournament-grounds set above the famed Musketeer Plaza, and will host an assortment of players, coaches, agents, Hall of Famers, past champions and other tennis-community notables. Once again French Open Tonight will feature three and a half hours each evening of that day’s best tennis, original features, previously unseen matches and coverage from in and around the city.

In all, between live matches, encore replays and French Open Tonight telecasts, Tennis Channel will devote more than 230 hours of programming to the most prestigious clay-court event in tennis over the fortnight, all in high definition. Continuing the template it introduced in 2007, Tennis Channel will work with ESPN2 to cross-promote both networks’ daily French Open telecasts and bring viewers virtually round-the clock coverage in 2009. Tennis Channel will produce all coverage for both channels, with each making use of its own on-air team.

Tennis Channel’s French Open coverage takes place from Sunday, May 24, to Saturday, June 6, and typically begins at 5 a.m. ET (see complete schedule below). Match telecasts generally conclude at noon ET, when ESPN2’s afternoon coverage begins. Following ESPN2’s match coverage, Tennis Channel picks things up again with the prime-time French Open Tonight.

On-Air Talent Two of the most recognizable names in tennis return to Tennis Channel’s French Open booth in 2009, as lead on-air analysts Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe offer Hall of Fame opinion and explanation as only they can. Ted Robinson and Ian Eagle are back in lead commentary roles, joined by network regulars Katrina Adams, Barry MacKay and Leif Shiras. Analysts Justin Gimelstob, Corina Morariu and Rennae Stubbs round out the on-air booth.

“I’m happy to be back on Tennis Channel again for the French Open, and looking forward to working with John and the rest of the team,” said Navratilova. “This year’s tournament comes with so many question marks, for both the women and the men. It will be exciting to see if anyone can even take a set from Rafael Nadal, and which women’s player can rise to the surface of the turbulent wake we still see on the anniversary of Justine Henin’s retirement at the top of the game in 2008.”

In addition to Macatee, in 2009 Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight roster will include injured singles player Tatiana Golovin in a series of in-show features that show her home city of Paris through her eyes. The network is also unveiling a news segment every hour, Court Report, hosed by sportscaster Jill Arrington. Rounding out the French Open Tonight team is longtime Tennis Channel personality and 1993 French Open doubles champion Murphy Jensen, whose features from around the tournament grounds will highlight the unique experiences that make the event unlike anything else in the world.

Broadband Coverage Tennis Channel’s French Open broadband offerings are second to none, with free access to up to five courts and 10-15 matches per day, live or on-demand. The network’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, will also include French Open Tonight interview archives, daily highlights, live scores, exclusive tournament photos, tennis columns, blogs, sweepstakes information and other original content. The channel is partnering with Yahoo! Sports to bring live streaming to that Web site’s main tennis page and their millions of viewers as well.

Tennis Channel’s Live 2009 French Open Match Schedule - Entirely in High Definition (Men’s/Women’s Singles Unless Otherwise Specified)

Date Time (ET) Event
Sunday, May 24 5 a.m.-Noon First-Round Action Monday, May 25 5 a.m.-3 p.m. First-Round Action Tuesday, May 26 5 a.m.-Noon First-Round Action Wednesday, May 27 5 a.m.-Noon Second-Round Action Thursday, May 28 5 a.m.-Noon Second-Round Action Friday, May 29 5 a.m.-Noon Third-Round Action Saturday, May 30 5 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Third-Round Action Sunday, May 31 5 a.m.-3 p.m. Round of 16 Action Monday, June 1 5 a.m.-Noon Round of 16 Action Tuesday, June 2 8 a.m.-Noon Quarterfinals Wednesday, June 3 8 a.m.-Noon Quarterfinals Thursday, June 4 5 a.m.-8 a.m. Men’s Doubles Semifinals

Tennis Channel will also offer same-day replays of the men’s and women’s singles semifinals:

Thursday, June 4 - 1 p.m.-6:30 p.m. (ET): women’s singles semifinals Friday, June 5 - 4 p.m.-11 p.m. (ET): men’s semifinals

Tennis Channel’s French Open Tonight Schedule

French Open Tonight airs Sunday, May 24-Thursday, June 4, and typically runs from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. ET, and is then repeated twice from 10 p.m.-1:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.-5 a.m. Exceptions are during the middle weekend of the competition (all times ET):

Saturday, May 30 - 4:30 p.m.-8 p.m., followed by 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.-5 a.m. Sunday, May 31 - 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m., followed by 9:30 p.m.-1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.-5 a.m.

Tennis Channel (www.tennischannel.com) is the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and passionate lifestyle of tennis. A hybrid of comprehensive sports, health, fitness, pop culture, entertainment, lifestyle and travel programming, the network is home to every aspect of the wide-ranging, worldwide tennis community. It also has the most concentrated single-sport coverage in television, with telecast rights to the US Open, Wimbledon, Roland Garros (French Open), Australian Open, Olympus US Open Series, ATP Masters Series, top-tier Sony Ericsson WTA Tour championship competitions, Davis Cup and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and Hyundai Hopman Cup. Tennis Channel is carried by eight of the top 10 MSOs and has a national footprint via DIRECTV and DISH Network.

For further information: Eric Abner, Tennis Channel, 310-314-9445, eabner@tennischannel.com

 

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