Pay-per-show could be knockout, too, with good mix of interviews and action

Phil Jackman

November 13, 1992|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

If the pay-per-view show of the title scrap between Evander Holyfield and Riddick Bowe tonight (10) approaches USA Network's preview show Tuesday, it could be worth the stiff tariff ($35).

The interviews by hosts Al Albert and Sean O'Grady were sharp, no easy trick when dealing with pugilists, the replay of the Bowe-Pierre Coetzer and Holyfield-Larry Holmes fights fit in smoothly and the commentary had some meat on it.

O'Grady is one of few people picking Bowe, saying, "I expect Holyfield to bust up in the middle of the fight. And, if that doesn't happen, I see Bowe winning a decision." Which prompted Albert say, "Well, that means you put the house on Holyfield."

ESPN has done a good job with its pre-fight hype, too, which goes to prove that fights don't necessarily need an accompanying dog-and-pony show.

* The 1,185th and final go-round of stock car racer Richard Petty, also known as the Hooters 500 from Atlanta, gets the big treatment from ESPN Sunday (12:30 p.m.). A co-feature of the race will be the fact a dozen drivers are still in the running for the Winston Cup championship.

Looking back over a career that started in 1959, "The King" said, "After I won 100 races, I said my next goal was to win 200 races. After I won 200 races, I said my next goal was to win 201. That's how much things have changed in the sport."

* Underneath that morose, I've-got-an-awful-toothache exterior of Gary Williams beats the sense of humor of a pretty funny guy. The Maryland coach unloaded about a half-dozen one-liners at a basketball luncheon yesterday, the best being, "Notice we open up the exhibition season with a game against a team from Holland [Nov. 17]. You'll recognize them as the guys wearing wooden Reeboks." The Terps are back on the tube this year after being sent to the corner by the NCAA, remember.

* After watching dribs and drabs of Bullets games on the tube, it's hard to figure what coach Wes Unseld really means when he promos, "You haven't seen these Bullets yet." Winless Washington opposes the Knicks on HTS and TNT tonight (8).

* Sometimes Dick Enberg is too goody-goody. During the Eagles-Raiders game last Sunday, with NBC pushing the quarterback controversy in Philadelphia for all it was worth, Enberg gushed, "Randall Cunningham still has great affection for his former coach [Buddy Ryan]." Uh, Dick, Randall's the guy that got Ryan fired.

* If I ever get a chance to nominate a show for an Emmy, it'll be the "Monday Night Football" pre-game show on ABC: a couple of minutes of gab and the ball is in the air by 9:06 p.m. Great. `D Another feature of the Monday night get-togethers has been the constant blowouts have allowed a 10 o'clock switch to "Northern Exposure." Sorry about that, Giff.

* If the rumor about CBS considering Chris Russo for a late-night talk show are true, it proves that the network obviously hasn't caught Russo's mad-dog act on "Mike & the Mad Dog" on all-sports WFAN in New York. Annoying is among his more laudable traits.

* Morgan State gets a call on the telly tomorrow (vs. Howard at 1 p.m. on Ch. 32), but rounding up a quorum might be tough with Maryland vs. Clemson on Ch. 45 (noon), Illinois-Michigan on Ch. 13 (noon), Notre Dame-Penn State on Ch. 2 (1:30 p.m.) and Boston College-Syracuse on Ch. 13 (3:30 p.m.).

* Another reason to appreciate the hockey coverage of Home Team Sports was in evidence the other night when Madison Square Garden provided the pictures for the Capitals-Rangers game from the Big Apple: Horrible.

The Caps get Ch. 20 treatment again tonight, going against the New Jersey Devils at 7:30. The Pittsburgh Lemieuxs take on Detroit at the same time on ESPN.

* ESPN will ship along the major-league expansion draft next Tuesday starting at 2 p.m., and with Keith Olbermann handling the hosting chores it should be a fine show. Jon Miller and everyone else who works the baseball beat will be aboard to comment.

* Other than the fact it gets him on television as he troops off the field, is there any other reason why Deion Sanders goes against convention and removes his helmet while still on the field?

* TNT's Bob Wolff, the sportscaster who called the Colts-Giants sudden-death game in 1958 and did Senators baseball back when Goose Goslin was a rookie, just signed for two more years as sports director of Channel 12 in New York. That will give him 49 consecutive years in TV Sports.

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