Channel 11 is hardly a good sport

September 23, 1994|By PHIL JACKMAN

The TV Repairman:

When sports-unfriendly Channel 11 opted for the usual weekend afternoon filler last week, instead of sticking with CBS and taking the inaugural Presidents Cup golf competition, program director Emerson Coleman took everything and everybody into consideration save for the folks who watch the station.

But fear not, golf addicts, Emo says WBAL will pick up the Shark Shoot-Out tourney in a couple of months. Just when interest is at its peak, right?

Despite noise that the station would be sticking with network from now until the end of the year when Channel 13 becomes the affiliate of CBS here, Coleman zapped the World Championship swimming and diving championships (Sept. 1-11) in favor of a National Geographic program and a couple of "Rescue 911s" tomorrow.

Besides upsetting sports fans, "the Barney Miller" faithful are irate.

Word is, when Channel 11 becomes the affiliate for NBC in a couple of months, it fully intends to run coverage of the 1996 Olympics from Atlanta. Or at least most of it.

* The sleeper event on the telly this weekend has to be the U.S.-Sweden meeting in the Davis Cup semifinals, under way today on ESPN (1 p.m.) with Pete Sampras taking on Magnus Larsson and "the match," Stefan Edberg vs. Todd Martin. Edberg's still No. 5 in the world, but Martin made the finals at the Australian Open and the semis of both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. That's a monster year, folks. The doubles is after midnight tomorrow (swell) and the final singles Sunday at 9:30 p.m.

* The Fox Network isn't getting into the hockey business until the All-Star Game in January, then it'll regionalize games on a couple of Sunday afternoons at the end of the regular season. Word is, Fox probably will be doing a majority of the games in the Stanley Cup final.

When it announced its five-year deal with the NHL, some described it as a surprise. Not so. For example, Wimbledon can negotiate with anyone at the end of the month and it's almost a given that Fox will easily outbid current rights-holder NBC for the honor. Then it's on to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

When The Baseball Network (NBC and ABC) doesn't achieve its goal of $330 million in advertising revenue for the first two years of the seven-year deal, bet Fox will be there with a bid and baseball is going to love going back to receiving a rights fee.

All of this is going to cost Fox a ton of dough, of course, but as its chairman Rupert Murdoch says, "We've made tremendous strides in a very short time, particularly considering no one gave us a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding."

Rupert, who can deliver TV sports to every place but a couple of the outer planets, never had any idea of being just another network, No. 4 or 3, but has had the top rung in mind all the while. And his vehicle has been sports and the 18-to-34 crowd from the outset. This sports money is a pittance next to seven nights of prime time.

* Did you ever notice the same names seem to crop up on the pro football pre-game shows week after week: Deion Sanders, Buddy Ryan, Michael Irvin, Barry Sanders vs. Emmitt Thomas, Joe Montana, Andre Rison, Dan Marino? Even worse is the same people are featured in shows following the weekend's action, too. Time for a bit more creativity, folks.

* Adopted Baltimorean Dana Rosenblatt's shot at the World Boxing Council's Continental middleweight crown against Frankie Savannah tonight at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro graces ESPN beginning at 8:30. . . . And, don't forget, WBC heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis (25-0) has Oliver McCall to contend with tomorrow at 8 p.m. on HBO in a sacrilegiously named "Battle of Britain."

* One of the gripes heard about the "75 Seasons" show detailing the history of the NFL on TNT is that entirely too much time was devoted to Al Davis and his cutthroat gang of Raiders. Right on cue, the "Pride and Poise" Boys were at it in their game that weekend, rivals complaining about their extracurricular activities on the field. In the NFL Films show, Joe Namath talks about how good some of the Raiders teams he faced were, but that they "cheated" with all their punching, late hits, etc., "and it's all on film."

* A viewing must: The NBA "Inside Stuff" show this weekend features "compiled footage of earth-shattering dunks. . . ." Has there ever been a dunk that hasn't been shown?

* Frank Gifford of "Monday Night Football" told USA Today, "Fox is CBS West, that's all it is," which is further proof that maybe Giff isn't watching the new kid on the block as closely as he should. Sure, it's a lot of the same people who used to do Sunday afternoon games for The Eye, but more and more we are seeing entertainment elements creep into the coverage. Sort of like what ABC has been doing on "MNF" for the last quarter-century.

* Gee, bet you didn't know Babe Ruth was such a wild man off the field all those years ("Baseball" on PBS evenings at 8 p.m.) A match for the Ken Burns' saga Wednesday was that documentary on the Johnstown Flood in 1889.

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