The USA Network has carried the opening rounds of the U.S. Open for 25 years and has always done an amazing job with the tournament. For one reason or another, the network has decided to focus all attention and resources on its “Characters Welcome” campaign (and will give you more episodes of Law & Order you can handle!) and won’t be renewing its TV contract with USTA next year….

The network is giving up sports to focus on its character-driven programming. ESPN and the Tennis Channel will televise from Flushing Meadows for at least the next five years.

For two weeks, USA has been reminiscing over its 25-year history of covering the tournament, replaying moments like the Barbra Streisand “Zen” interview.

The cable change probably won’t make too big a difference to tennis fans — McEnroe & company hop from network to network — but it will be strange without relentless commercials for programs like “The Starter Wife.” (In 1995, the network did so many promos for a made-for-TV thriller called “The Colony,” I broke down and watched it. Let’s just say it was best shown in 60-second snippets.)

Over the years USA has been purging themselves of Sports like the Masters, and after this move they’re only left with just the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and RAW (not really Sports, but you get what I’m saying). I understand that $140 Million dollars is a lot of money, and I’m personally not breaking any doors down to watch Burn Notice or Monk, but maybe someone is. I’ve watched the U.S. Open on the network since I was a kid, so it’s definitely sad to see it go to another network, but at least McEnroe and Co. are staying on board.

With that said, I’ve always been a fan of season ending or year ending montages and this 25-year one ranks up there with the best of them. Especially when you set it to a cover of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ In The Years”….

Closing Time for USA Network (NY Times)