Put a new battery in your remote Sunday

March 18, 1994|By Phil Jackman

The TV Repairman:

Sunday should be a banner day for remote control artists, college hoops (CBS), a couple of NBA games (NBC), the Orioles plying the Phillies (Channel 13), the Caps skating against Tampa Bay (Channel 20), PGA Senior golf (ESPN), bowling (HTS) and WWF wrassling (USA) all converging in the noon-4 p.m. period. First one to get caught with a commercial on his screen is a rotten egg.

* Our figure skating cup runneth over . . . and not only because "The Rise and Fall of Tonya Harding" appears to be in its last reel.

NBC, carrier of the World Championships in Japan next week, will be providing five hours of prime-time coverage: the men's final will be March 25 (8-9 p.m.), the women's short and long programs and the dance final March 26 (8-11 p.m.) and the pairs final March 27 (7-8 p.m.).

Only problem is, there have been defections from the Olympic lineup, notably ladies champion Oksana Baiul and Nancy Kerrigan, and the great Russian pairs teams and Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean aren't eligible as pros.

Years from now and after Ms. Harding has been stripped of her U.S. National title, folks will be poring through the record books and, upon seeing Michelle Kwan (runner-up) listed as national champ, they'll ask why she didn't compete in the Olympic Games that year as all before her had?

Figure skating continues to be such a hit in the ratings department that the nets are dragging up competitions all the way to the days of Hayes Allen Jenkins and Carol Heiss and chucking them on the air as specials.

* The cast for "The Tonya & Nancy Story," to be shown on NBC April 30, is just about complete with the exception of those flawless "hit men," Shawn Eckardt and Shane Stant. Too bad Laurel & Hardy are no longer with us.

* I don't know about you, but it makes me feel a lot better PTC continuing to lament the fact that ESPN doesn't do the 32-game opening round of the NCAA tourney in marathon fashion anymore. Of course, it's probably added 10 years to Dick Vitale's life.

* ABC, which will be doing about a dozen World Cup games this summer, has a six-part preview and hype series preparing with Brent Musburger as host. Oh yeah, Brent's a soccer expert from way back.

* Little White Lie: Last week, Linda Bruno, chairwoman of the women's NCAA tourney selection committee, swore before a national television audience that the women's game had enough good teams to fill a 64-team field. Sundry first-round scores: Tennessee 111, North Carolina A&T 37; Purdue 103, Radford 56; North Carolina 101, Georgia Southern 53; Penn State 94, Fordham 41. Wash your mouth out with soap, Linda.

* There's talk of Hulk Hogan's return to wrassling (WCW on TBS), but it hardly seems likely considering he's working his "22-inch pythons" off on the syndicated TV series "Thunder in Paradise," which debuts with a two-hour movie next Friday. The Hulkster reminds, "It's not violence, it's action. When I shoot a missile and blow up a boat, we make sure all the people jump off before the boat blows up."

* Good series of fights straight ahead on USA's "Tuesday Night )) Fights": Next week, IBF middleweight champ Roy Jones goes for his 25th straight win against Daniel Garcia (15-11), then it's Roberto Duran (92-9) vs. Terry Thomas (26-2) March 29 and Vinny Pazienza (36-5) vs. Jacques LeBlanc (22-7) April 5.

* No fewer than 11 countries have been doing the Lipton Championships tennis tournament from South Florida on a daily basis since last weekend, and ESPN's coverage has been terrific. ABC now moves in to grab the glory with the women's final tomorrow at 1 p.m. and the men's Sunday at 4 p.m. There is no justice.

* The end of the month sees a video entitled "NBA Guts & Glory" hit the stores ($15). While "the most inspiring moments in NBA history" doesn't do much with the first 40 years of the league, it's a pleasant watch.

* Clark Kellogg, who has made impressive strides doing hoops the past couple of years, can be a good studio analyst if he continues to salt his opinions liberally and doesn't worry about adverse reaction from the almighty coaches. The ex-Ohio State standout took justified swipes at Bob Knight in the press yesterday, asking, "Whatever happened to people having a little control? Everything's always justified with him [Knight]. Nobody ever talks about a little discretion, or good judgment." Right on.

Meanwhile, on Bob Costas' show "Now," a condescending Knight said, "Am I susceptible or liable to criticism? Certainly. And sometimes fairly." The inference here, of course, is that about 98 percent of the flak is unfair.

* All sports-talk WTEM in Washington features New Yorker Don Imus in the morning, and the ratings continue to drag during his hours. "Could be listeners may need a dictionary to follow what we're saying," he theorizes, acerbically.

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