College TV doubleheader scores ratings touchdown

ON THE AIR

October 19, 1994|By MILTON KENT

As you might have expected, ABC's boffo college football doubleheader of Auburn-Florida and Michigan-Penn State did ratings cartwheels for Channel 13 last weekend, according to Channel 11's Sharon Walz, this week's official "On the Air" ratings supplier.

The Tigers-Gators matchup, the first game of the set, got a 6.9 rating and a 21 share, and the Nittany Lions and Wolverines grabbed a 10.5/26, the best college football numbers of the year in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, the Notre Dame-Brigham Young game on Channel 2 at 1:30 p.m. got a paltry 2.2/7, so while the hated Irish were losing, hardly anyone saw it.

Darn the luck.

Sunday's pro numbers turned out pretty close to expectations as well. The Dolphins-Raiders 1 p.m. game got a 10.4/23 on Channel 2, while San Francisco's victory over Atlanta scored a 5.1/12 for Channel 45 at 1 p.m. The late Fox game, Philadelphia-Dallas, did a 11.2/22 on Channel 45.

An interesting sidelight: Channel 11's 6:30 p.m. Sunday news, which was loaded with coverage of the Orioles' hiring of Phil Regan, did an 11.4/19, beating its head-to-head competitor, Channel 13 (9.1/15) and Channel 2 (4.4/8), which aired 30 minutes earlier.

Don't mess with Jim

This has not been a good year for NBC's Jim Lampley.

First, he got dumped as the host of "NFL Live" for Greg Gumbel, then he looked as if he had swallowed a toad whole when newly crowned heavyweight champion Oliver McCall touted the Showtime network milliseconds after winning the crown on HBO, Lampley's other employer.

Now comes word that as NBC has picked up the rights to the U.S. Open, Lampley is getting bounced as the network's golf host for next year, in favor of Dick Enberg.

A friendly word of advice, Jim: If they offer you beach volleyball, look for the out clause in your newly extended contract.

Playing loose with facts

ABC's Brent Musburger turned in a nice performance on Saturday calling the Auburn-Florida game, but he made a common but nonetheless significant error.

Musburger stated emphatically that Auburn's two-year probation for NCAA violations would end after this season. That's flat out wrong. The Tigers will remain on probation until November 1995.

What Musburger should have said is that Auburn's sanctions, which include a two-year ban on postseason appearances, for those violations will end at the conclusion of this season.

In his defense, Musburger is not the only sportscaster or sportswriter to use probation and sanctions interchangeably. A lot of newspapers and broadcast outlets do it regularly, especially lately with three teams -- Auburn, Texas A & M and Washington -- ranked in the Associated Press Top 10.

But they aren't the same thing. A school can be placed on probation, as Virginia is through next May for football violations, without being sanctioned. Musburger and his brethren, broadcast and print, should know the difference.

Moonlighting

Pittsburgh outfielder Andy Van Slyke has interviewed for a job as a sportscaster or field reporter at a TV station in St. Louis.

"The most frightening thing is that I'll have to work for the first time in my life," Van Slyke told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel recently.

Van Slyke, who spent the early part of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals and is known as one of baseball's most interesting quotes, faces a daunting task.

"I'm not sure I can bring something that's not out there. It's a possibility that nobody can bring anything that's not out there right now. No baseball. No hockey," said Van Slyke. "Let's put it this way. It's tough to make a two-minute indoor arena football piece compelling."

Actually, it's tougher to make an entire arena football game compelling.

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