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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV / RADIO

No Need to Corner Market on Madness

March 24, 2000|LARRY STEWART

After tonight's NCAA tournament games, CBS is out of the woods. It will have only four games to televise over the weekend.

Overall, CBS has done a good job of switching and keeping viewers abreast. But a 64-team tournament is simply too big for one network to cover. CBS is considering showing late-night replays--a bad idea--and also putting some games on sister-cable network TNN (The Nashville Network)--a better idea and a step in the right direction.

Changes are coming, we hope for the better.

The DirecTV out-of-market package is fine, if you have DirecTV and don't mind paying $49.95. That deal is done year to year, so there is no guarantee it will be in place next year.

THOSE DREADED DELAYS

Attention, Channel 9: Delayed Laker telecasts from Washington and Detroit last week got a 6.1 rating and a 3.9. Monday's game from Miami, shown live at 5 p.m., got a 6.6, even though it was also on TBS. Sure, the game against the Heat was a better draw, but the ratings show that delaying a telecast until 6 p.m. doesn't always ensure a better rating.

The worst thing is, when a telecast is delayed by Channel 9 the radio broadcast on KLAC (570) is also delayed, which is particularly irritating if you're in your car and have already heard what the score really is.

IN THE ZONE

Veteran broadcaster Larry Burnett continues to excel as the host of the "Laker Zone" pregame shows on KLAC. In a recent interview, Pat Riley told Burnett that when he was coaching the Lakers he "might have had a distorted view of his value." In other words, he was in need of an ego check, which is what insiders were saying at the time.

An interview Burnett taped with Shaquille O'Neal after a recent practice touched on areas outside basketball. O'Neal talked about what it is like for someone his size to navigate an airplane bathroom, and he also said he likes to sleep with his ankles hanging off the bed. O'Neal talked about his two children, a subject he usually avoids because, he said, he prefers to keep them out of the public eye.

Of course there were basketball questions too. O'Neal said this is his first injury-free season, which helps explain why he is playing so well.

VERSATILITY A PLUS

Paul Sunderland may have used his fame as a Olympic volleyball star as an entry into broadcasting, but he has developed into one of the most versatile announcers anywhere. He has done commentating, anchoring, sideline reporting and even some play-by-play.

So when NBC play-by-play announcer Tom Hammond suffered a broken nose in a pickup basketball game this week and required surgery, Sunderland was asked to fill in. Sunderland will do the play-by-play with commentator Steve Jones on a regional Miami-Orlando NBA telecast Sunday.

Sunderland had already been scheduled to do play-by-play with Mike Fratello on an Indiana-Charlotte game April 9.

Hammond got a call from sympathetic colleague Bill Walton, who told him, "In the future, protect that pretty face by staying outside and shooting threes."

DOT.COM INVASION

The Internet continues to invade more traditional media outlets for some of its top people. Charles Coplin, a respected ABC Sports producer the last 10 years, is headed for softcom.com, a leader in the new business of interactive videocasts. Already at softcom.com are Doug Warshaw, formerly an ESPN executive, and Jeff Greenholtz, an Emmy Award-winning feature producer specializing in the Olympics.

GOOD SIGN FOR HOCKEY

NBA ratings on NBC have dipped from a 4.3 at this point last year to a 3.6. Meanwhile, ABC got a 1.5 for hockey last Saturday, up from a 1.2 on Fox on the same weekend last year. Also, ESPN reports its NHL ratings show a 4% increase overall from last year and a 30% increase in the 18-to-34 male demographic group.

SHORT WAVES

An interview Dick Enberg did with Al McGuire will be part of CBS' "Road to the Final Four" pregame show Saturday at 9 a.m. . . . Bobby Cremins will be a CBS studio guest all weekend. . . . Dr. Steven Schwartz, who did the laser surgery on Earl Watson's eye on Monday, is the brother of Rick Schwartz, former XTRA sports talk-show host who is now with the TV show "Extra!" . . . The CART season begins with the Grand Prix of Miami on ESPN Sunday, delayed at 1:30 p.m. ESPN will also televise the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach April 16.

Set the VCR: Fox Sports Net will show Chicago Cub-New York Met games from Japan Wednesday and Thursday live at 2 a.m. Replays will be shown later those days at 1 p.m. . . . Newy Scruggs recently won a state Associated Press Television and Radio Assn. award for his Channel 13 sportscasts, even though he is no longer at the station. . . . Rick DeReyes, former Channel 7 weatherman and Lancaster JetHawk announcer, has been hired as the main announcer for the triple-A Albuquerque Dukes. . . . A memorial service for Bill Daniels will be held today at 2 p.m. at Daniels Cablevision, 5720 El Camino Real, Carlsbad.

IN CLOSING

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