ABC takes another shot to get back on track at Stuttgart

The TV Repairman:

August 20, 1993|By Phil Jackman

ABC does an hour and a half of the World Championships of track and field tomorrow (4:30 p.m.) and more Sunday (3:30-6 p.m.), giving it every opportunity to make up for its poor showing out of Stuttgart, Germany, last weekend.

The ingredients are there for fine shows if the net will only show more competition and spike the tiresome features, weak post-event interviews with gasping athletes and its insistence that a story line be made to fit the occasion or vice-versa.

Certainly, we will be treated (subjected) to too much of Jackie Joyner-Kersee and her victory in the heptathlon as, apparently, there's no limit to the Jackie-overcoming-injury-to-prevail stories we are expected to stomach.

Strangely, there has been no cable coverage of a sport that is the acknowledged blue-ribbon event of the Olympic Games, which tells you something about the marketing and promotion of the sport.

* All hail the power of Joe Montana. Last Thursday's preseason soiree between Kansas City and Buffalo did a strong 5.7 rating, the highest TNT has had. It looked like days of old in San Francisco for Montana and the Chiefs for a while before the Bills turned the lights out.

* The big pay-per-view show featuring Julio Cesar Chavez and Pernell Whitaker Sept. 10 just went by the 30,000 mark in ticket sales at the 71,000-seat Alamodome in San Antonio. Also on the card on the $1,000 ringside ticket show are Azumah Nelson vs. Jesse Leija and Terry Norris vs. Joe Gatti.

* Charlie Slowes' WTEM radio call of Bullets basketball games, all but unavailable in Baltimore, will work nicely for TV games on Channel 20. Marty Glickman, Chick Hearn and several others did simulcasts for years and flourished.

* Note to "Coach" fans on ABC: Hayden Fox has a book out entitled "My World And Get The Hell Out Of It." On art, the coach says, "I'm proud to say I've never bought any."

* Another big advantage for both sides with McDonald's being there to scoop up the LPGA Championship when Mazda pulled out is the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington now falls heir to a TV package.

* Good move by "Monday Night Football" mainstay Frank Gifford when he married Kathie Lee of "Regis and Kathie Lee" fame. They have the same birthday, which makes forgetting virtually ,, impossible.

* TNT previews the upcoming NFL season Aug. 29 with a two-hour show beginning at 8 p.m. . . . No sooner was former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs in the car racing business when HTS signed up for the "This week in NASCAR" show. . . . "The International" golf on CBS the next two afternoons is that number where stroke and match play give way to a points system. . . . HTS has 17 coaches' shows this fall, plus half-hour shows on Penn State and George Mason. . . . Yes, USA Network will be picking up the first two rounds of the World Series of Golf from Firestone in Akron next Thursday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. The cable also will do the first round of the Ryder Cup from the Belfry in England Sept. 24.

* The size of the cable universe for pay-per-view college football games on ABC this fall has doubled to 22 million households. But with only about 12,000 availing themselves of the service last season, one wonders about the long term.

* Here's a weird one. The stated reason Ohio State dumped Earle Bruce as coach some years back, after several 9-3 $H seasons, is Bruce was a "poor communicator." So, guess who just got named as the color man on Buckeyes radio broadcasts this fall after being fired by Colorado State.

* Program notes: NBC has the Dolphins-Broncos exhibition this evening at 8. If that's not enough, CBS does the Cowboys-Oilers tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7 and TNT has the Redskins-Steelers Sunday at 8 p.m. and, on "Monday Night Football" (ABC) the Bears and Saints will play for Dan Dierdorf's pleasure at 8 p.m. . . . HTS is doing the big soccer game between AC Milan and Torino for the Italian Super-Cup in RFK Stadium tomorrow on a delayed basis (4:30 p.m.) . . . ESPN has the quarterfinals of the Volvo Classic from New Haven, Conn., today (1:30 p.m.), then the semis tomorrow at the same time and the final Sunday at 4:30 p.m. . . . NBC previews the upcoming NFL season Sunday at 3 p.m. . . . Pan Pacific swimming meet on TNT tomorrow at 5 p.m. . . . The title game of Arena Football is on ESPN tomorrow (3:30 p.m.).

* Great line from Andre Agassi the other day when a baby in the audience started yelping during a Volvo Classic match: "I'll get better, I promise."

* Channel 9 sportscaster Warner Wolf is doing a book on his MacArthur-like return to the capital from the Big Apple. . . . USA is using just about anyone who can put two sentences together (and some who can't) as commentators during its 90 hours of midweek U.S. Open tennis coverage. . . . ESPN2, "The Deuce," will be doing 75 NHL games this season, which should help out subscriptions for the new service beginning Oct. 1.

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