ESPN2 telecast of CFLs leaves city viewers in cold

ON THE AIR

November 09, 1994|By MILTON KENT

It appears for now that city residents who don't have tickets to Saturday's CFL playoff game between Baltimore and Toronto at Memorial Stadium may have to wait for highlights on the late news to get any televised pictures of the contest.

That's because all CFL playoff games, including Saturday's, will air on ESPN2, which is unavailable on the city's cable system, which is operated by United Artists.

Josh Krulewitz, an ESPN2 publicist, said the network would be amenable to allowing United Artists to carry the game telecast on a local access channel, but added that as of yet, ESPN2 officials haven't received a call.

Officials from United Artists were unavailable for comment yesterday.

Kathy Roberts, marketing manager for United Artists, said last month that the system might add the 13-month-old channel to its lineup by the end of November or early December, but that won't be soon enough to get the CFL playoffs on the air, though a replay of the Grey Cup will air on ESPN the next day.

Krulewitz effectively ruled out sending the game to an over-the-air station, like Channel 2, which has carried CFL's regular-season games, saying such a practice is "not the scenario you'd see in most cases."

Two guys who love their work

Imagine a place where all are happy and nurtured, where the thoughts and comments of employees are encouraged and regarded, and people of all shapes and sizes commune and create together.

Does such a place exist? Why, of course it does. It's called Fox.

"I love going to work," said Terry Bradshaw, analyst on the network's NFL pregame show during a Fox conference call yesterday. "Any time you talk to any of our bosses, it's always polite and upbeat. It's unusual. I hope it never changes, but right now, you could not ask for better working conditions."

And ditto from game analyst John Madden.

"The advantage of Fox right now is you have just one sport. I know we just got hockey and we're talking about Wimbledon, but it shouldn't even be Fox Sports. It should be Fox Sport," said Madden. "Right now, everyone from the top down is focused on football. Being a football guy . . . I tend to like that."

Of course, Madden could be happy about almost anything, considering he has spent most of the week at his desk on his "Maddencruiser" bus, heading from Washington to San Francisco, the site of this week's Dallas-49ers game, with his two drivers, who alternately drive, eat and sleep.

"I'm lookin' up and one guy's drivin' and one guy's eatin," said Madden. "We stopped at some small town in New Mexico at a Mexican restaurant and watched the Monday night game. We were at one table and two truck drivers were at another table and nobody spoke to each other. It was like, 'Shut up and watch the game.' "

The news from Bristol

There's a double shot of interesting developments from ESPN headquarters. First, the all-sports channel announced this week that it has purchased an 80 percent interest in SportsTicker, the 24-hour information service and mother's milk of short-term investors everywhere, from Dow Jones & Company.

And Sunday night's Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Raiders game, the first ESPN contest of the year, drew a Nielsen cable rating of 11.1, the highest for an NFL game in nearly four years on the network, which translates to nearly 7 million households.

Innovative programming

In a daring joint move, HBO, which will rebroadcast Saturday's heavyweight title fight between Michael Moorer and George Foreman tonight at 8, and CBS, which airs the "Ice Wars" skating program, announced yesterday that the winners of each competition will meet later this month in a 10-round match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, with figure skating scoring and Tonya Harding as guest referee.

Just kidding.

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