Four-man stepladder final reason to get bowled overI've...


January 15, 1993|By RAY FRAGER

Four-man stepladder final reason to get bowled over

I've got nothing against change. If it weren't for change, the world would be full of soggy diapers.

The Berlin Wall fell. The Soviet Union broke up. David Letterman is leaving NBC.

But, for 25 years, pro bowling has endured on television with its five-man, stepladder finals.

That changes tomorrow.

Take it easy. It's going to be all right.

At the Phoenix Open (3 p.m., Channel 13), the Pro Bowlers Tour inaugurates its "King of the Hill" format, which brings back the winner of the previous week's tournament in a $5,000 match against the winner of that week's event. The five-man stepladder finals have been changed to four-man finals, so the 90-minute telecast retains four matches.

In the event a bowler repeats as champion, he must bowl against himself while ABC plays a revised version of "The Patty Duke Show" theme: ". . . But they're bowlers, identical bowlers as you'll find. They spare alike, they strike alike, at times they even stare alike. You could lose your mind . . ."

Oh, I'm such a kidder.

What really would happen is that the double winner would introduce a special telecast of "ABC's Wide World of Sports" with the world wrist wrestling championships from Petaluma, Calif., and a retrospective on the guy who fell off the ski jump.

No, I'm just so darn wacky sometimes.

Honestly, a consecutive winner would face last year's Bowler of the Year, Dave Ferraro, in the King of the Hill match, even if Ferraro were to reach the finals.

This new format has drawn ABC analyst Nelson Burton Jr. back '' to the lanes. Should Burton, who hasn't competed on tour since April, reach the finals, ABC will get another analyst to work with Chris Schenkel.

"I think it's going to do real well," Burton said yesterday of the new format from his hotel room in Phoenix between bites of a hastily eaten lunch on a break from competition.

(That last sentence was brought to you by the Committee for Propagation of Confusing Prepositional Phrases. Let's go to the videotape: The new format is not in a Phoenix hotel, nor was the hastily eaten lunch on a break from competition. Remember, kids, don't try this at home.)

"It's really the system television was built on in game shows," Burton said into the mouthpiece over the phone across the country into my office (help, I can't stop!). "Obviously, a guy can stay on and get a lot of notoriety. We're not really developing as many stars as we should."

You mean Johnny Petraglia isn't still out there winning tournaments?

Burton said it's not that ratings were down.

rTC "We're still No. 1 in our time slot," he said. "We're just trying to do better."

Is that what the folks at Coca-Cola said when they introduced the new Coke?

Ratings game

Can't you people make up your minds? In the first round of the NFL playoffs, Baltimore viewers made the Redskins game the least-watched of four postseason games. This past weekend, the Redskins-49ers topped the local ratings.

Even though fewer people generally watch television on Saturdays than Sundays -- 39 percent of Baltimore area sets are in use on Saturday afternoons, compared with 50 percent on Sunday afternoons -- the 49ers' victory drew nearly five ratings points higher than the No. 2 game, Sunday's Eagles-Cowboys. OK, maybe it was because the Redskins and 49ers played the only close game of the weekend. Or maybe everyone just loves to watch the Redskins lose. Or maybe the moon was in the seventh house.

This ratings business, after all, is a science.

Ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program. Shares measure the percentage among homes where television is in use. And a starter never loses his job through injury.

Things my boss wants to know

Is it true that, in tomorrow's Kodak Hula Bowl on NBC, there will be instant replay, but they've got to wait until somebody can go to the drugstore and pick up the pictures? . . . Because the turf will be such a factor in the NFC title game, will CBS use master gardener Jerry Baker as an analyst on Sunday? . . . Will Morgan State and North Carolina A&T be on the George Foreman undercard?

Top-rated sports

The highest-rated sports shows in the Baltimore market for Jan. 4 to 10, according to Nielsen ratings (also with shares):

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..Baltimore.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. National

Show.. .. .. . Date... . Ch. Rating.. .. .. Sh. Rating .. .. ..Sh.

NFC playoffs

(Wash.-S.F.).. 1/9 .. .. .11 28.3.. .. .. ..42.. .22.7.. .. .. .44

NFC playoffs

(Phi.-Dallas)..1/10.. .. .11 23.6.. .. .. ..42.. .25.0.. .. .. .52

AFC playoffs

(Miami-S.D.)...1/10.. .. ..2 23.1.. .. .. ..36.. .23.1.. .. .. .41

AFC playoffs

(Buffalo-Pitt.).1/9.. .. ..2 22.7.. .. .. ..40.. .19.3.. .. .. .45

NFL Today.. .. .1/9.. .. .11 12.6.. .. .. ..21.. ..7.9.. .. .. .18

NFL Live.. .. .1/10.. .. ..2 10.2.. .. .. ..18.. .11.4.. .. .. .23

NFL Live.. .. ..1/9.. .. ..2 9.9.. .. .. ...20.. ..8.2.. .. .. .23

World Challenge

skating.. .. ...1/9.. .. .13 8.6.. .. .. .. 13.. ..4.7.. .. .. ..9

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