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Nicklaus sells off TV production company

Golfing legend Jack Nicklaus has sold his majority interest in a golf show productions company to Gaylord Entertainment Co.

Terms of the sale of the privately held company were not disclosed.

Jack Nicklaus Productions, based in Los Angeles, produces more than 50 hours of programming for ABC, CBS, FOX and ESPN networks each year. During its 13 years, the company has produced events including Diners Club Matches, Shell's Wonderful World of Golf and The Quality Challenge, as well as home videos, pay-per-view events, video magazines and an interactive online golf tournament.

Nicklaus said in a statement today that the sale should provide "significant growth opportunities and a bright future" for the company he founded in 1987 with Terry Jastrow and Ken Bowden.

Jastrow, who has won seven Emmy Awards, will continue as president through 2002 with an option through 2004. The company will continue to operate from Los Angeles.

Terry London, president and chief executive of Nashville-based Gaylord, said the businesses would complement one another.

Gaylord's golf interests include Cornerstone Sports, which manages several professional golfers, and the Springhouse Golf Club, site of the PGA Senior Tour's BellSouth Senior Classic.

Other Gaylord properties include the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland Hotel, CMT International and Word Entertainment.

"Golf is important to our hotels and to the 80 percent of our hospitality business that comes from corporate and association meetings," London said. "Jack Nicklaus Productions will create original programming for our interactive media and creative content groups."