TNT hopes to repeat Olympic success

February 04, 1994|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

Something that might get lost in the clarinets and bass drums heralding the Winter Olympics on CBS beginning Feb. 12 is the fact that TNT will be there with its excellent midweek afternoon coverage, too.

Anyone who checked out the cable's work two years ago in France knows these guys can do more with less then their big brothers and they don't spend all day telling you about it.

"Actually, we're hoping to have the same success we had in Albertville," says coordinating producer Mike Klatt, "and the chances of that are good because the situation now is better than it was in 1992."

Among other things, the acknowledged experts of the world in producing telecasts of the specific sports have been assigned coverage by the Organizing Committee in Lillehammer. The French did it all last time and fell down in some areas.

While the network, paying about $300 million for the rights, will be embargoing things such as the figure skating, TNT's packaged replays are usually a delight because you are not strung incessantly while CBS places the action in a spot drawing maximum exposure, usually around 10:30 each night.

"We'll have a live hockey game each day for eight days and it will be our marquee sport," says Klatt., "But that will only constitute about 40 percent of our time between 1 and 6 p.m. Of course, we'll be going for as much of the figure skating as we can [the preliminaries] as that's the staple of the Games."

With the six-hour time difference, TNT will be on during the prime hours of competition. "So we won't be missing any of the big stories since we'll be right there," he predicts.

John Nabor will host and conduct all the interviews in Lillehammer while regulars Nick Charles and Fred Hickman will handle things back in Atlanta.

CBS, which is doing 120 hours from the Games beginning with the opening ceremonies Feb. 12, in effect gets things rolling tomorrow with a prime time (9-10 p.m.) skate entitled "Nancy Kerrigan & Friends."

Nancy hasn't skated in front of a live audience for a while, so the net was only too happy to rush out and toss together a show to help out. Hey, it beats "Harts of the West," right?

The net runs a preview of the 16 days Sunday at noon, and it will be strange not seeing Terry Bradshaw sitting at Greg Gumbel's left, giggling and wringing his hands.

* It's not so much the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes on CBS college hoops Sunday (1 p.m.) as it is the guys sitting in the chairs courtside chewing the fat about themselves, Purdue, Iowa and the state of the world in general. When Al MGuire and Billy Packer try to make do with one microphone, it's s similar to the Beatles getting back together or Elvis Presley showing up on the back of Jerry Glanville's motorcycle. It will be fun, at least until Al uses the term "French pastry."

* Two hockey games and two basketball games on the telly tonight, so, in order to avoid all the violence, why not tune in Ch. 54 at 8 p.m. and take in Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator?"

Or maybe the huge ring upset of Julio Cesar Chavez last weekend by unheralded Frankie Randall on Showtime (9 p.m.) will be to your liking. Chavez was unbeaten in 90 fights entering and the loss of two points because of low blows proves his undoing in the split decision. Two other competitive title fights are included.

* In case you missed Dick Enberg's Composition 101 class at the beginning of NBC's coverage of the Super Bowl, here are some of the flowery phrases he wants you to work into your next writing assignment: "In a crucible where a champions [medal, mettle] will be made . . . hallmark of supreme excellence . . . bonding these hardened men . . . noble efforts cry for confirmation . . . precisely cut jewel of another year's dreams." Remember, this is a kid's game we're talking about.

One of the things during the telecast that appeared interesting but didn't receive much play by the media was commentator Bob Trumpy saying, "Troy Aikman told us he didn't want anybody to know, but he was having severe headaches and trouble sleeping [as a result of a concussion suffered the game before]."

If the Dallas QB didn't want anyone to know, it seems odd he'd tell those blabbermouths at a network.

One of the things about Trumpy that is always going to work against him is that he thinks he's the best and most versatile football analyst around, including John Madden.

Subjectively and at the very least, Pat Haden, Joe Theismann, Randy Cross, Dan Dierdorf, Joe Gibbs, Dan Fouts and Paul Maguire besides Madden are better and you can probably add a couple more, like Mike Ditka and Terry Bradshaw if they weren't stuck in the studio.

Relax, Bob, you're not as good as the last guy (Merlin Olsen).

* Local hoop fans can check out just how good Coppin State is tomorrow when BET does the Eagles at Howard game at 7:30 p.m. Being on the road won't bother these guys.

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