Shouldst thou pay for TripleCast? I speak to thee of games...

RADIO-TV

July 24, 1992|By RAY FRAGER

Shouldst thou pay for TripleCast? I speak to thee of games 0) per view

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Right now, you might be making like a couch-potato Hamlet:

To buy, or not to buy: That is the question;

Whether 'tis nobler in the checkbook to suffer

The charging of TripleCast for an outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of Olympics,

And by watching Fox network ignore them?

You just could take my earlier advice and not buy the Olympics TripleCast, taking the moral high ground and taking a stand against pay-per-view sports -- and saving yourself $125. Or maybe you need more information.

OK, here's the deal: If you love field hockey, don't buy TripleCast.

You need more than that? If you love badminton, don't buy TripleCast.

The point being: Not every sport has been deemed TripleCast-ready for the Red, White or Blue channels. Sure, there's every tennis match, 30 men's and nine women's basketball games, 22 men's and 14 women's volleyball games, 15 water polo games and heat upon heat from track and swimming.

But only the gold and bronze soccer games and the semifinal and final baseball games are scheduled. And fans of field hockey, badminton, canoeing and other low-profile sports will have to be satisfied with highlights of gold-medal matches.

Does that help your decision? Think of what you could have had.

Before arriving at its final arrangement for the TripleCast, NBC did consider some other ideas. Here are some channels that didn't make the cut:

* The Black and Blue Channel: Live coverage from the trainers rooms at the Games -- every taping, every Band-Aid, every tube of Ben-Gay. With your host, Fred Lynn.

* The Karaoke Channel: Patterned after the popular Japanese bar concept of blocking out vocals to sing along with the music, this channel would have allowed viewers to provide their own commentary on the action. A microphone would be included in your order. A special feature would have added gurgling sounds to play-by-play on synchronized swimming.

* The Yo! NBC Raps Channel: To appeal to the hip-hop generation, sportscasters would announce rap-style. (That's Mike Powell gettin' ready for his jump/He's gonna knock Carl Lewis on his rump.) Anchored by Don "Dr. Cee" Criqui and Kathleen "Lady Miss K" Sullivan. Ahmad Rashad and Dan Hicks would have dressed in Kriss Kross fashion, wearing their blazers backward.

* The Bela Karolyi Channel: The famous gymnastics coach would lead viewers in exercise. The interactive nature of the channel would have allowed Karolyi to check on the exercisers. Those who lagged would be called "fat pigs."

* The Drug Test Channel: You would follow International Olympic Committee chemists to their labs. What suspense: positive or negative? Anchored by Ben Johnson.

Hello, New York? Sell!

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that NBC has advertising time left for the Olympics, and is offering discounts or free ads to attract buyers.

An NBC spokesman said the network is 98 percent sold out.

"We're not at our goal, but if we miss, we can't miss by much," said Larry Hoffner, NBC's executive vice president of sales.

Prime-time ads originally were going for $335,000 per 30 seconds.

Now, this Olympics pause . . .

Back in the world of sports we watch more than once every four years, CBS has named its NFL announcing pairs for this fall. The network has three new analysts, former Los Angeles Rams coach John Robinson, ex-Washington Redskins offensive lineman George Starke and Matt Millen, former linebacker for the Redskins, San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Raiders. Millen will be paired with Tim Ryan, and James Brown will be joined by either Robinson or Starke.

We're having a party

Having purchased the TripleCast for the boss, I thought he must have been excited about watching so much of the Games on television.

"You going to take some time off to watch the Olympics?" I asked. "That TripleCast should be great."

"Oh, I canceled my order," the boss said.

"Why?" I said.

"It cost too much," he said. "You're still getting it, though, right?"

"Well, you told me to. You said I'd be reimbursed," I said.

"About that reimbursement: You didn't read the fine print on that expense form, did you?" the boss said.

"What?"

"You know, the part that said you'd be repaid the cost of the TripleCast as long as you shared your home with staff members who wanted to watch," he said.

"Huh?"

"See you at noon Sunday," the boss said. "Hope you have some jalapeno bean dip."

Things my boss wants to know

Is it true that Willard Scott isn't an Olympics host because NBC was afraid his toupee wouldn't pass customs? . . . If "Robin Hood" had been released closer to the Games, would Kevin Costner have gotten that archery analyst job? . . . Did the $H TripleCast really cost just $50 until NBC added Jay Randolph?

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