Studio-smooth Gumbel is CBS' host with the most


February 25, 1994|By RAY FRAGER

What has been the best thing about CBS' Winter Olympics coverage?

Dave's mom? Chris Evert's husband? Will McDonough's son?

No, it's been Bryant Gumbel's brother.

As prime-time host, Greg Gumbel sometimes practically has faded from view. On nights heavy with events and features, he might do little more than usher us from segment to another.

But Gumbel is impeccable in the studio, and the more of him, the better. He can set up the night's programming, narrate highlights or conduct an interview with equal facility.

Anyone who's watched Gumbel through a season of Sundays on "The NFL Today" knows that he was the perfect choice to be CBS' Olympic host. One of the harder things to do in sportscasting is to wear well. Before, during and after the Olympics, Gumbel is welcome into my living room any time.

Bump and run

CBS was a little too caught up in celebrating Cathy Turner's short-track speed skating victory last night to live up to its reporting responsibility.

We saw China's Zhang Yanmei, who finished second, point at Turner immediately after the race and later throw away her congratulatory bouquet in disgust. But the replays showing Turner's winning pass that included contact were without context.

CBS should have explained the rules and told us whether there was reason to protest Turner's actions.

Pass the hamantaschen

Good thing Purim started last night. One of the features of the Jewish holiday is the use of a noisemaker called a grogger. I should have had one sooner. Now, I can use it each time I see that Valley girl talking about chicken on the KFC commercial.

For the record

At 9:18 on Wednesday night, Verne Lundquist said: "When we come back to Hamar, Nancy Kerrigan will skate."

Sure enough, we came back to Hamar at 10:02, and Kerrigan was skating -- in warm-ups. As the Bee Gees once said (in high, breathy voices), "It's only words. . . ."

When Kerrigan actually started skating her routine at 10:38, Lundquist said, "It's been a long wait."

Right with you on that one, Verne.

Oh, those kids

It's not that I got all worked up about the delays in seeing the competition Wednesday -- at least I don't think so.

Last night, though, a 4-year-old who lives at my house was watching the Olympics. He saw figure skaters on the screen and heard an announcer say skating was next. The 4-year-old started calling out, "Liar, liar."

Where do kids get this stuff?

Numbers game

Hey, I wrote a whole separate story just on the ratings. Isn't that enough?

Looking ahead

This is it, the day we've all been waiting for. All of CBS' telecasts have been leading up to this moment. You know what I'm talking about.

Harry Smith takes a bobsled ride.

As if that weren't enough to make you tune in CBS' morning show (7-9, channels 11, 9), CBS News' Martha Teichner also will examine the Norwegian night life. (Let's hope she answers the musical question: Do they love the night life? Do they love to boogie?)

Tonight (8-11:30), I think there might be some figure skating.

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