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Parcells Reunion Bash in TNT Package

September 12, 1997|LARRY STEWART

TNT is on a hot streak. Last Sunday, it had the Arizona Cardinals' stunning overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys, and this Sunday it has the New York Jets at the New England Patriots, featuring Bill Parcells and all kinds of story lines.

TNT will have cameras trained on Parcells from the minute he walks out of the tunnel until he leaves the field at the end of the game.

Besides Parcells' exodus from the Patriots to the Jets shortly after the Patriots' Super Bowl appearance last January, another subplot is that Patriot Coach Pete

Carroll used to coach the Jets. There is also Patriot quarterback Drew Bledsoe and his dislike of Parcells.

It all adds up to what might be one of the most hyped confrontations in sports since Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan.

"The teams should settle in after the first five minutes, and then it becomes just another game, hopefully a good one," TNT's Pat Haden said.

TNT couldn't ask for a much better game than it got last Sunday. The Cardinals and Cowboys averaged a 9.8 rating, TNT's fifth-highest of all time.


CBS begins its college football coverage Saturday and unveils its new half-hour pregame show at noon, featuring newcomer Lou Holtz with host Jim Nantz and analyst Craig James.

Look for Holtz, with his wry humor and ample opinions, to become a star.

"You look around you in this business and you see people with good looks and charm. As for me, I've got a lisp," the former Norte Dame coach said. "Fortunately, nobody has asked me to be anybody but myself."

Holtz said he might someday return to coaching, but for now he is committed to CBS.

Besides, he currently has more important things to think about than his career. His wife, Beth, has throat cancer and is undergoing radiation treatment after surgery.

"She's doing OK," he said. "When I took the studio job in New York, she was looking forward to making the trips with me and taking in plays and enjoying the city. But we'll have to put that on hold."

Terry Donahue begins his second season with CBS with a new partner, Sean McDonough.

"I'm going to miss Jim Nantz--he's a good friend and a terrific talent--but Sean and I did the Army-Navy game together last year and I'm looking forward to working with him," Donahue said. "And our first game should be a good one."

It's Arizona State at Miami at 12:30.

Meanwhile, ABC counters with UCLA at Texas, with Brad Nessler and Gary Danielson announcing.

Saturday's Washington State-USC game will be on Fox Sports West at 3:30 with Barry Tompkins and Tom Ramsey. Ramsey, who replaced former Cowboy quarterback Danny White on this Pacific 10 Conference package, did a fine job with Tompkins on the recent Thursday night Oregon-Arizona game.

ABC has Colorado at Michigan at 9 a.m. Saturday, and a sidebar here is that commentator Bob Griese's son Brian will start at quarterback for the Wolverines.


Channel 5 is carrying the Dodgers from Houston throughout the weekend, and Fox offers the Angels' game against Kansas City on Saturday at 1 p.m., with Thom Brennaman and Steve Lyons announcing. Michael Weisman, the Fox producer, will meet Bill Robertson, the Angels' director of communications, face to face for the first time since 1974.

Weisman was surprised to learn in a phone conversation with Robertson about their first meeting. Weisman was a 24-year-old production assistant for NBC and Robertson was a 12-year-old fan attending a Minnesota Twin game in Bloomington, Minn. Robertson got Weisman to give him an NBC banner.

Robertson learned of Weisman's name after seeing his picture in a newspaper in 1976, when Weisman became the youngest network producer of a World Series. Weisman went on to become the executive producer of NBC Sports and win 15 Emmys. Weisman, besides working for Fox, is also the president of NMT Productions. Robertson has always been a fan, and the NBC banner still hangs in his parents' home in Bloomington.

"I'm going to give him a Fox banner when I see him," Weisman said.


The new "Los Angeles Times High School Sports Show" made its debut on Channel 2 last Sunday at 5 p.m. and got an impressive 2.4 rating.

The show, which gives high school sports quality exposure, was created by Ross Productions of Philadelphia. The company has started similar shows in a number of other major markets. Ross hired F & L Productions of Santa Monica to produce the weekly shows, and Times sports writer Thomas Bonk is the host.

The first show last weekend was filled with a lot of well-produced features. Future shows will concentrate on game highlights.


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