Young, restless hockey will replace soap operas

RADIO-TV

February 20, 1992|By RAY FRAGER

No soap, hockey fans. And that's good news.

CBS has decided to carry tomorrow's Olympic hockey semifinal between the United States and the Unified Team live at 11 a.m.

CBS was not originally scheduled to carry Winter Games programming at that time, so the game will pre-empt some soap operas. If I were answering the phones at a CBS affiliate, I'd call in sick tomorrow.

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Go with the flow: CBS had a nice flow going last night with its coverage of the women's figure skating, but the switch back to women's giant slalom was quite jarring -- sort of like Midori Ito's fall during the original program.

I have no problem with CBS' packaging most of the time, but I would have preferred to wait for the figure skating -- Kristi Yamaguchi came on at about 9:30 -- until later in the program and then seen it straight through.

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Who needs Dick Button?: CBS skating analyst Scott Hamilton's strength is in explaining the sport. Last night, for example, he said that Ito ended up rated ahead of Tonya Harding -- even though both had falls and skated very similar programs -- because the judges were accustomed to seeing Ito, while Harding had arrived in Albertville just a few days before the competition.

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These are a few of my favorite things: CBS prime-time co-host Tim McCarver didn't let Katarina Witt get away clean in criticizing French skater Surya Bonaly's gamesmanship during practice. McCarver pointed out that Witt was not above such things during her competitive days. . . . One exception to interrupting the skating is any piece by Charles Kuralt. Last night's segment on American military heroics at Les Saisies during World War II was another gem.

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Notes in the snow: You see those helmets the speed skiers were wearing? Didn't they look a lot like the headgear the hero had in "The Rocketeer"? . . . Last night featured the funniest highlight so far: The Virgin Islands bobsledder who couldn't get into the sled as three-fourths of the four-man team slipped away. . . . When American Ewa Twardokens took off on her first giant slalom run yesterday, there was a man standing beside her wearing an Orioles cap.

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But seriously, folks: It's nice to see that Carole Merle has picked up this skiing gig after her run ended on "Let's Make a Deal." . . . Maybe I missed this part of the curling coverage, but where does the curling iron come in?

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Looking ahead: During this morning's CBS show (7-9), Paula Zahn is scheduled to interview wives of American hockey players. . . . Dr. Bob Arnot reports on injured U.S. hockey players. . . . Also scheduled to be interviewed is Prince Albert of Monaco. The prince is a bobsledder, so I suppose he really is Prince Albert in a can. . . .

There's no live women's figure skating to show tonight during prime time (8-11), but that shouldn't stop CBS from concentrating on the competition, which concludes tomorrow. A preview is scheduled, as is a feature on Japan's two famous Midoris -- skater Midori Ito and violinist Midori, who goes by just her first name. . . . Tonight's program also should include highlights of the short track speed skating, almost certain to include lots of spills.

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Ratings game: CBS' prime-time winning streak ended Tuesday night with an ABC triumph in the national ratings. In dealing CBS its first loss since the Winter Olympics began, ABC drew a 16.2 rating and 25 share to CBS' 15.9/24. NBC was at 14.0/20. A rating measures the percentage of all television homes watching a program. A share measures the percentage among homes where television is in use.

Through 11 nights of the Olympics, CBS is 10-1 in the ratings race. In 1988 during the Calgary Games, ABC went 10-5-1. CBS' average so far is 18.9/29, 1 percent under ABC at the same point four years ago.

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