CBS bumps cable to back seat, takes over for Connors match

August 29, 1991|By Ray Frager

Live, from New York, it's "Late Night with Jimmy Connors."

That was the story Tuesday night-yesterday morning, as CBS went live at 11:30 p.m. with the Connors-Patrick McEnroe match from the U.S. Open.

On Baltimore's CBS affiliate, Channel 11, the match came on at midnight, after a syndicated situation comedy.

Until 11:30, USA Network was telecasting the match as part of its extensive U.S. Open coverage on weekdays. But, as has been the case over USA's eight years of carrying the tournament, the CBS-USA agreement calls for CBS to take over at that time (except in the Pacific time zone).

Normally, CBS presents a half-hour highlights show at 11:30, but the network also has the option to pick up matches live, as it did Tuesday night, staying on for more than two hours for the conclusion of Connors' five-set victory.

In recent years, CBS has told USA when it is going to pick up matches, so the cable audience knows where to see the conclusions, said LeslieAnne Wade, USA spokeswoman.

Gordon Beck, executive producer at USA, said viewers were told at 11:28 p.m. that they could watch the completion of the match by switching to CBS.

Channel 11 viewers, though, had to wait through a half-hour of a "Who's the Boss?" rerun before WBAL began tennis. The information that this was a taped match was displayed on the screen frequently during the telecast, which ended here after 2 a.m.

Washington's Channel 9 does not delay the U.S. Open highlights show, so those whose sets pick up the station could have begun watching at 11:30.

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