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SPORTS WEEKEND | TV-RADIO

NFL Is Less Serious, but Mohr Is Better

October 06, 2000|LARRY STEWART

This comedian who is trying to make it as a football commentator is really pretty funny. Another plus is that he knows football and sports in general. And, despite the way he comes across on the air, his new colleagues say he is a good guy too.

Jay Mohr just may work out.

Mohr has joined the cast on Fox Sports Net's recently expanded "NFL This Morning." He first made a guest appearance, then got a regular role.

The last two editions of "NFL This Morning" opened with hilarious skits featuring Mohr arriving on the Fox lot in a limo. In the first one, he has to talk his way past a security guard, played by an actor.

Host Chris Myers had this explanation as to why Mohr was a guest: "Carrot Top was already booked in Pomona."

Last Sunday's skit opened with Mohr, again in a limo, on a cell phone complaining to his agent about his limited role. "I want to be up front with Terry, J.B., Howie and that skinny white guy. . . . I don't even get to sit up with the Coach and Joel Meyers."

Mohr later said, "I don't even know who Joel Meyers is, that was in the script."

Producer Mark Mayer said, "We had earlier thought of doing a play on words on Joel Meyers/Chris Myers. Actually, I'm a fan of Joel Meyers."

Mohr brings energy to an already high-energy show, which is quite a feat since he does Saturday night performances at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, then has to be at work the next day by 5 a.m.

It hasn't slowed him down. Here's what Mohr had to say about the Chargers benching Ryan Leaf: "We all know how fragile 'Cryin' is. They pulled him for a guy named Moses Moreno. For a moment I thought it was Marino. There's a huge difference between Dan and Moses. Moses in the Bible parted the Red Sea. Moses Moreno has a problem parting his hair."

Fox's thinking here is, football is supposed to be fun.

Putting a comedian on a pregame show, as Fox first did last season with Jimmy Kimmel on its network show with Terry Bradshaw, James Brown and the gang, works a lot better than putting one on a game telecast.

A problem with "NFL This Morning" is that, for those of us in the West, it begins at 7 a.m., and that's when Mohr's skits air. Not even Chris Rock is worth getting up for that early on a Sunday morning.

Another problem is, as Mohr alluded to in his second skit, there is a cast of thousands. Myers, Marv Levy, Jackie Slater and Chris Spielman sit up front. Bob Golic, Sean Jones and Billy Ray Smith, called the "Breakfast Bunch," were added when Fox Sports Net expanded the show to two hours three weeks ago. They sit behind the others, and have now been joined by Mohr.

Mayer credits Fox Sports chairman David Hill for suggesting Mohr. Hill is familiar with Mohr because Hill was also the head of Fox Entertainment when Mohr's half-hour series, "Action," was on Fox. It's now on FX on Tuesdays at 10:30 p.m.

Mohr has been busy filming "Simone," with Al Pacino and Winona Ryder, but sports fans may know Mohr best for his role as rival agent Bob Sugar in "Jerry Maguire," or as a regular fill-in host on Jim Rome's radio show.

Mohr said he met Rome on a flight to baseball's All-Star game in Denver in 1998. "I went up to him and told him I was a big fan, that I listened every day," Mohr said. "I sat down next to him and we talked the whole flight."

Mohr, 29, said when he was growing up in Verona, N.J., he wanted to be a sportscaster. He and his friends would pretend to do "SportsCenter." Then he became more interested in being an actor and a comedian. Now it appears he's on his way to being all three.

OLYMPIC WRAP-UP

NBC's prime-time average rating for its Sydney coverage, a 13.8 with a 24 share, was 36% below its prime-time average for its Atlanta coverage. And ratings released Thursday show that all 162 1/2 hours of NBC's coverage averaged a 8.9 with a 20, down 39% from Atlanta. . . . Breaking down the prime-time averages by markets, Los Angeles ranked 10th with a 17.9. Salt Lake City was No. 1 at 21.5, New York was No. 22 at 15.7, and of the 48 metered markets, Birmingham, Ala., was last at 9.6.

Bob Costas, on his way home to St. Louis, had a layover in Los Angeles on Wednesday night so he could make a surprise appearance on Jay Leno's show. During a skit, Leno took a lock of Costas' hair to have it tested to see if he had dyed it. The lighting in the NBC studio in Sydney made it appear as though he did.

Costas figures he came out pretty well unscathed. What he had to do, going on live to talk about events that had already taken place, wasn't easy. He'll rest this week, then work the American League championship series. Skip Caray, borrowed from Turner, has been his fill-in on the divisional playoffs.

SHORT WAVES

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