FSN Prime Ticket is jettisoning its "Bruin Mondays" and "Trojan Tuesdays" shows, and combining them in a new format that will go up against "Monday Night Football."

The first show will debut Aug. 25, before the football season kicks off and the day after closing ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics. The premiere of "Lexus Gauntlet Live," will feature the accomplishments of the Bruins and Trojans who competed in the summer games. The two schools sent about 70 current and former student athletes, including Rebecca Soni of USC, who won silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

The Los Angeles-based regional sports network, a subsidiary of News Corp., has revamped its coverage of the local universities and rescheduled the program to start at 9 p.m. before the end of "Monday Night Football." It's a move that executive producer Tom Feuer expects to bring higher ratings for several reasons chief among them is passionate interest in college football in Southern California.

"Sports programmers have ceded Monday night to NFL football, but in this market there is more interest in USC than any NFL team," Feuer said.

In addition, Feuer said the 9 p.m. time slot gets the highest ratings of television on Monday nights and most National Football League games have been decided by then.

He decided to scrap "Bruin Mondays" and "Trojan Tuesdays" because the shows were not resonating with fans, who could get some of the same material on the Internet. The programs were broadcast at a later slot and competed against local news shows.

Once the football season starts, "Gauntlet Live" will be at the beginning of "FSN Playbook," a three-hour show. "Gauntlet" will be divided into three segments. The first two will be devoted to UCLA and USC football, while the third block will focus on athletes competing in Olympic sports. After "Gauntlet," a classic UCLA or USC game will run in a two-hour format.

"Gauntlet" will also show a short profile of a professor and his or her connection to the athletic program.

The sponsor, Southern California Lexus Dealers, decided to cut back on its media buy and pulled all its sponsorship dollars from the show less than two weeks before its debut. Lexus remains the sponsor of games played between any UCLA and USC teams. Sales of Lexus vehicles in L.A. County are down 9 percent for the 12-month period ended May 31 compared with the prior year.

After considering several options, including retitling the program, FSN Prime Ticket executives decided to keep the name "Lexus Gauntlet Live" for this year.

Card Trick

China may be best known for its Great Wall, but businesspeople know that there are other formidable barriers there.

When trying to penetrate the growing Chinese economy, many executives looking to establish business ties in the country turn to the translation services of Sam Chong, president of Alhambra-based Los Angeles Chinese Learning Center. Chong kept busy in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics by translating business cards into Chinese. He provided text to businesspeople who could then design the cards as they liked.

"I typed out the characters so people could copy and paste them onto a business card," Chong said.

The service costs $40. He received requests from a wide array of professionals including architects, doctors and journalists.

For those who need to know: Etiquette in China calls for handing a business card to a new acquaintance with both hands.

Trolley Dodgers

When Robbie Hurwitz, an associate at Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP, was invited to a Dodgers game last Tuesday, he decided to try out the Metropolitan Transit Authority's free shuttle from downtown to Dodger Stadium. The shuttle, which was launched in late July, makes three pickup stops around downtown, then heads up to Chavez Ravine to drop off passengers at the center field gate.

He wasn't alone.

"The shuttle was packed," Hurwitz said. "I had to stand about halfway toward the back of the bus."

Hurwitz said that he made it to the stadium in about a half-hour, with about half that time spent walking from his firm's office to the nearest shuttle stop.

While most fans take the shuttle back to downtown and can take other transportation to get home, Hurwitz caught a ride back to his office from a friend. He tries to avoid walking around downtown at night.

"There are still some seedy blocks," Hurwitz said.

The Dodgers reported 14,000 fans using the shuttle during its first run, when the team was in town from July 25 to Aug. 3.

Dodgers executives expect that number to increase as more fans hear about the free transportation in advertisements and on the team Web site.

Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.

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