ESPN is going to extreme pursuit of outdoor sports

RADIO-TV

April 15, 1994|By RAY FRAGER

MTV, what hast thou wrought?

Starting in summer 1995, ESPN will launch the Extreme Games -- an outgrowth of the network's "Max Out" show, itself a spinoff of "MTV Sports," the program that gave us this generation's Marlon Brando, Dan Cortese.

The Extreme Games will be held biennially (and possibly every other year, too), and, according to ESPN president Steve Bornstein, "will provide a forum for world-class athletes to come together to showcase their tremendous abilities before an international television audience."

ESPN and ESPN2 will carry 25 hours of Extreme programming.

For those of you not part of Generation X -- a hint: If you don't know what Generation X is, chances are you're not part of it -- extreme sports involve outdoor pursuits in which there's a good chance the finish line will be in an emergency room.

Among the planned events in the Extreme Games: sky surfing, mountain biking, windsurfing, bungee jumping and street luge racing (right turn on red permitted).

Medals will be awarded in gold, silver and plaster.

Hitching a Ryder

The Olympics are great. The Goodwill Games less so. The Ryder Cup is great. The Presidents Cup . . . we'll see.

CBS and the PGA Tour have gotten together on a new biennial (there's that word again) international team golf event, to be held in years when there is no Ryder Cup. The first Presidents Cup, similar in format to the Ryder Cup, will be Sept. 16 through 18 at a course to be named near Washington.

The Ryder Cup has been terrific television -- the world's top golfers rising or falling to the challenge of playing for a team rather than as individuals. Part of the appeal -- and the pressure -- has been that the Ryder Cup is played only every other year.

Let's hope that the Presidents Cup doesn't dilute the original.

Norman, is that you?

Norman Chad wasn't so sure that he could be a sports TV

critic on TV. It turns out he was right.

Chad, a frequently amusing sports TV columnist for the late, lamented National and before that for the not-so-late, unlamented Washington Post, had been critic-at-large on ESPN2's "Talk2." But no more.

Chad wanted to deal with last week's skirmish between "Talk2" host Jim Rome and Saints quarterback Jim Everett, in which Everett objected to being called "Chris" by Rome. Everett, you may recall, turned over a table, knocked Rome to the floor, grabbed Fay Wray and climbed atop the Empire State Building.

"A couple hours before the show began, [a 'Talk2' producer] called me and told me they weren't comfortable with me talking about Everett," Chad told the Philadelphia Daily News.

"There was only one condition when I agreed to do the show: Any time [they] dictate what I can or cannot talk about regarding TV, then I'm off the show."

An ESPN spokesman told the Daily News that Chad wasn't barred from discussing the Rome-Everett incident, but told he could mention it and move on.

Shave and a haircut, two bits

Unlike some other Nike commercials, which mythologize the athletes who carry the swoosh into competition, the new spots with David Robinson, Dennis Rodman and Chris Webber in a barbershop show their earthy, human side. I like Robinson's expressing doubts about Rodman's blond 'do, then adding, "But it looks good on you."

When you least expect it . . .

If you're going to Sunday's figure skating shows at the Baltimore Arena, be sure to smile. CBS is taping the performances by Olympians to be telecast in two programs, "Artistry on Ice" on May 7 at 9 p.m. and during "Eye on Sports" on May 22 at 2 p.m. . . . "Eye on Sports" debuts Sunday at 2 p.m. (channels 11, 9), featuring a bicycle race in France and an update on Winter Olympics performers, including Dave's Mom. Tim Ryan, CBS' Mr. Utility, will go from calling the bike race this weekend to being on an alligator hunt in Florida in the next "Eye on Sports." Say hello to Polk Salad Annie for us, Tim. . . .

Channel 45 sports anchor Bruce Cunningham recently signed a new, three-year contract with the station. But WBFF has yet to hire a replacement for Max Morgan.

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