Costas, Lampley will do until kickoff, food arrive

January 28, 1994|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

With Bob Costas and Jim Lampley handling the hosting chores, NBC's Super Bowl pre-game show Sunday (4 p.m.) figures to have both style and substance.

Costas will be swooping in from an appearance on "Meet the Press" to lend his "remember, gang, this is supposed to be fun" brand of relaxation while, after just one season on the job, Lampley already has established himself as an expert studio traffic cop.

Actually, it probably doesn't matter much what the network carrying the game puts on in the previous two hours as folks spend that time gathering up at house parties and aren't into sitting down and concentrating on what a bunch of talking heads are saying.

That's why the Indiana-Illinois basketball game on CBS at 3 p.m. and the North Carolina-Wake Forest game on ABC at 4 will gather up sporadic attention. "Uh, does anyone know what the score of this game is, and who's playing?"

Real diehard fans can glue their attention to ESPN beginning at 3:30 p.m. when highlights of last year's debacle between Dallas and Buffalo will finish off the cable's yearly run of all previous Super Bowl highlight films.

The game itself, No. XXVIII, commences at 6 p.m. with Dick Enberg's overwritten introduction and Bob Trumpy standing there, chomping at the bit, to once again explain to one and all what "vertical running lanes" are all about.

Hosts and hostesses, figure 7:20 to 7:30 will be a good time to put out the hot buffet.

Also in the studio before, during and aft will be the usuals, Mike Ditka grumbling about the Buffalo fans, Joe Gibbs providing the best analysis and Will McDonough letting us in on who's going to be the next coach of the Phoenix Cardinals. Oh boy!

* One thing you have to like about Greg Gumbel, and it will make him a good prime-time host for CBS coverage of the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 12, is that he's a straight shooter. He refers to the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan saga as a "fortunate misfortune, something you hate to see, but something you [media] love to spring into action and cover."

It certainly didn't take CBS long to "spring," the network coming up with a "Nancy Kerrigan & Friends" exhibition listed for prime time Feb. 5 (9-10 p.m.). Also appearing will be the world's best skater at the moment, pro Paul Wylie, and the ratings should be up in Olympic range that night.

With 120 hours of coverage spread over the "16 days of glory," Mark Harrington, Olympic vice president for the net, says, "we won't be doing anything extra with the skating than was originally planned." Of course, this is a fairy tale.

Figure skating is always the biggest audience draw among the winter sports, except every 20 years or so when Team USA wins the hockey. The net would be crazy if it didn't detail every waking moment of Kerrigan's life since grammar school. And the same goes for Harding if she is able to make it all the way to the competition start on Feb. 21.

With the Games under way Feb. 12, look for CBS to go to commercial for nine days with the tease "and coming up after this break will be the Nancy Kerrigan story."

* Everybody's favorite golf host and commentator, Brent Musburger, will be handling the Senior Skins Game on ABC tomorrow (2:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.). The cast hasn't changed much: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino and Ray Floyd playing for $450,000, a portion of which each needs desperately.

* Things must be dragging over on ESPN2, they're starting to toss some pretty good college hoop games over there for resuscitation purposes: Duke vs. North Carolina next Thursday and Arkansas vs. Kentucky Feb. 9.

* In addition to about 300 previews, commentaries and news reports from the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, CBS Radio will be doing all U.S. hockey games plus the gold-medal contest live for its estimated audience of 25 million. The overnight truckers special figures to be the U.S.-Canada match listed for 1:45 a.m. Feb. 17.

* ESPN didn't do its credibility any good by having the words "We saved the best for last, the NFL Pro Bowl" on its program guide for the month of February. That game, if the conferences can get enough players to show up, goes Feb. 6.

* Once again, TBS is doing "one of the network's most popular programming strategies" entitled "Eight Great Hours of Andy," 16 classic episodes of the "Andy Griffith Show" from 1-9 p.m. Sunday. Pssst, why not "Gone With The Wind," or eight hours of Jane Fonda workout tapes?

* One of four championship fights on the "Super Grand Slam of Boxing" show on pay-per-view tomorrow (9 p.m.) has Simon Brown of Mount Airy defending his super welterweight (154) title against Troy Waters, a tough Brit whose only stumble in the last couple of years was to Terry Norris. Brown (40-2), who starched Norris for the WBC crown a month ago, says he's back to work so soon, "because I remember when I was fighting often I was sharper and a better fighter."

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