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Charles Barkley and friends range beyond sports

'With All Due Respect' on HLN gathers Dennis Eckersley, Kyle Petty and host Robin Meade to go where the talk leads them.

December 18, 2009|By Diane Pucin

You may think there are too many television talk shows. It's not even fun to mock ABC's "The View" anymore. ESPN's "Around the Horn" might as well be over the moon.

It just feels over.

But wait. There's more.

On Sunday night at 7 p.m., the HLN network (which until recently was CNN Headline News) will premiere a one-hour show called "With All Due Respect." The panel? Charles Barkley, Dennis Eckersley and Kyle Petty with host Robin Meade. Basketball star, baseball star, auto racing star. Talking stuff. Sports, entertainment, world news.

It's kind of an audition. The show might become more regular.

"Hope so," Barkley said.

And what luck. Still hot in the news is golfer Tiger Woods -- the scandal, the aftermath.

What do you think? That Barkley might have an opinion on Tiger?

"Clearly Tiger was wrong in this situation," Barkley said in a Thursday telephone interview. "But there is something very sinister about women keeping text messages for two or three years waiting on something bad to happen."

Eckersley said that if the panel had been paid by the word, Barkley would have the biggest paycheck.

"But you can't help it," Eckersley said. "When Charles starts to speak, you listen. He's not just rambling."

The conversations were not limited to sports. President Obama, disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, the ubiquitous "Balloon Boy" and attendant celebrity are all discussed. So is the incident where a female soccer player from New Mexico yanked down a Brigham Young player by her ponytail.

"If it had been guys fighting like that," Barkley said, "it would have been much bigger news."

Barkley's riff on the soccer scuffle, without a prompt, led Barkley to a discussion about rapper Chris Brown and singer Rihanna (Brown notoriously punched his then-girlfriend and was arrested).

"You can't hit a girl ever," Barkley concluded. "I got asked about that. I said, 'You can't hit a girl.' The guy said, 'But what do you think?' What more do you need to say? Dude, you can't hit a girl.' "

How can this show not be good?

Missing on Time Warner

The NFL Network is still MIA on Time Warner. So those folks didn't get Thursday night's game between undefeated Indianapolis and Jacksonville and won't get Saturday's matchup between undefeated New Orleans and Dallas. During a chat with fans on NFL.com, league Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the continuing absence of the NFL Network on Time Warner.

"We've had negotiations with Time Warner," Goodell said. "Unfortunately they do not want to carry NFL Network or the games to their customers this season." The NFL Network is in 55 million homes.

Meanwhile, Fran Charles will fill in for Spero Dedes as host of the network's "NFL GameDay Morning" on Sunday because Dedes is on the road with the Lakers.

The Lakers' play-by-play man will also be handling the play-by-play for the CBS national broadcast of UCLA at Notre Dame on Saturday at 11 a.m. along with analyst Greg Anthony.

Good today

Southern California versus Northern California, high school football style, takes over Prime Ticket this weekend. At 4 p.m. San Diego Parker meets Modesto Christian and at 8 p.m. it's Oceanside against Bellarmine Prep. Hopefully no monsoon conditions to knock the telecast off the air (as happened last week during the Edison-Servite game). It's always a treat to hear Ralph Lawler do the Clippers and suddenly there might be a reason to tune in to the basketball. The Clippers have won a couple and are at the Knicks at 5 p.m. on Fox Sports West. And want to see what it's like to have a college football playoff championship game? Check out Montana against Villanova at 5 p.m. on ESPN2 in the NCAA Division I (formerly known as Division I-AA) title game.

Good on Saturday

Start slowly with your college bowl watching. Tiptoe into the nearly monthlong abyss. Yes, it's the New Mexico Bowl, Fresno State against Wyoming, at 1:30 and the St. Petersburg Bowl, Rutgers and Central Florida, at 5 p.m. Both on ESPN. Really.

Thank me later: The NCAA women's volleyball championship (Texas against Penn State) is at 5 p.m. on ESPN2. College volleyball, women and men? Great sports.

And Prime Ticket will have a high school football triple-header beginning at noon and ending with the 8 p.m. broadcast of Crenshaw against Concord De La Salle.

Good on Sunday

Who would have guessed this? Two of the best teams in the NFL, Cincinnati and San Diego, are in a game that matters in December. On Channel 2 at 1 p.m. And have you seen Minnesota's Brett Favre lately? Thought so. Watch again, Channel 4, 5:15 p.m., when the Vikings are at Carolina.

diane.pucin@latimes.com

mepucin/twitter.com

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