Self-serving promos, inane questions spoiling NBC coverage

The TV Repairman:

July 29, 1992|By Phil Jackman

Jerry Seinfeld should be on the Dream Team. What the heck, he's picked up more air time to date than David Robinson, Christian Laettner and Larry Bird with his NBC show promos.

While we're at it and in keeping with the direction the Olympics are headed in, Madonna jogs, why not suit her up for the 10,000 meters?

The possibilities are endless. Imagine Michael Jackson moon-walking and quick-stepping his way through a floor exercise, thence to receive that big bearhug from Bela Karolyi. Need a middleweight with lots of visibility? Robert DeNiro certainly looked the part as the "Raging Bull," Jake LaMotta.

Tom Selleck and Robert Redford can actually play ball (or could) and Kevin Costner supposedly knows his way around a bow and arrow. Somewhere back in Ross Perot's days at the Naval Academy he must have excelled in some sport. Coxwain perhaps?

Think of the ratings, NBC . . . and the rights fee, IOC.

* Where's Avery Brundage when you really need him?

Back in 1936, the late head of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the IOC tossedswimmer Eleanor Holm off the team for having a champagne or two on the boat over to Germany. Charles ("It's a Ghetto Thing") Barkley would have lasted about 15 minutes with Avery. Ask Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

* After shelling out more than a half-billion dollars for rights, production fees, talent, etc., it appears as if the Peacock might be trying to "cheap it" in Barcelona.

Every night in prime time, the net gives us four or five finals over at the swimming pool, tosses in several pixies jumping around on gymnastics apparatus and about a dozen triple inward somersaults with six twists from the diving bell. And it will continue that way through Friday with an occasional Barkley technical foul thrown in for spice.

Heck, events in no fewer than 21 sports were conducted yesterday and just about all we've gotten all week is lots of splashes and visits to the resin box.

Wake up and smell the pungent odors emanating from the boxing venue and the Cuban baseball team's locker room, fellas.

* This being the season of conspiracies, here's one making the rounds regarding Olympic hoops: The prince of paranoia, John Thompson, was named Team USA coach in 1988 because the selection committee knowing John, who abhors offense, would guide our punchless crew free of the gold medal. After the shame and shock had worn off, there would be a great groundswell to send our Patriot missiles over there to knock off those scuds. Jim Garrison's buying it.

* You have to love Kathleen Sullivan, a broadcaster who doesn't allow sports to get in the way of her sartorial interests. The sweater girl of Sarajevo and TripleCast anchor says, "I left my Donna Kazan clothes at home and brought only Lacroix, Ungaro, Chanel and Mugler for TV. That'll shock them."

Who are these guys Lacroix, Ungaro, Chanel and Mugler anyway, France's cycling pursuit team?

* One of the advantages of the TripleCast when it comes to swimming coverage is it carries the world feed. In other words, viewers don't get the annoying and confusing isolates of a U.S. competitor the network provides late in a race when what is desired is the side shot of eight swimmers churning for the wall.

* Please, please, please, NBC, no more shots of a three-inch screw through the elbow joint of some 14-year-old gymnast's arm.

* About the only thing the network television rating for the Opening Ceremonies Saturday (13.8) proves is that lengthy variety shows and repetitious parades of nations went out with Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town and the Olympic boycotts of the 1980s.

* Easily the most inspiring question from swimming commentator Mike O'Brien (no Larry King he) to date was this one directed at gold-medal favorite breaststroker Anita Nall, who finished third: "I know this has to be shocking and disappointing for you, but how do you feel?"

Nall did the only thing she could at first. She gave him a look as if sensing whatever he has might be contagious.

* No doubt one of the reasons Greco-Roman wrestling isn't going to get a big play from NBC or the TripleCast is, back in 1912, two G-R guys grappled for nine hours before the bout was finally declared a draw. Sounds like a baseball doubleheader I attended once.

* The more often that why-ask-why ad is on -- and it's in triple digits already -- the more I become convinced that the cannonball should indeed be included among the dives open to competitors.

* Olympic flashback: When dual U.S.-Spain citizen Martin Zubero won the first gold medal ever for the host country in the 200-meter backstroke yesterday, he broke the record formerly held by Rick Carey with a 1:58.47 clocking.

Carey, from New York, was a memorable sort of guy, qualifying as the sorest winner at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. The gold medal and Olympic record did nothing for Rick, he was positively crushed that he didn't get a world record.

* Last add Barkley: Remember Sir Charles was cut off the 1984 Olympic team by coach Bobby Knight. Too bad; they would have proved a deserving couple.

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