Turner adding Cheryl Miller to NBA, NFL broadcast teams

Media Watch

September 20, 1995|By MILTON KENT

After nabbing Danny Ainge on Sunday, Turner Sports yesterday announced that it has added Cheryl Miller to its team of reporters/analysts.

Miller, 31, a four-time All-America basketball player at Southern California, will be a part of TNT and TBS' NBA coverage, as well as TNT's NFL telecasts, and is expected to play a role on the Goodwill Games telecasts, as she did in 1994, when she was the women's basketball analyst for TBS.

Miller, who retired from basketball in 1986, had worked at ABC, ESPN and Prime Ticket before leaving broadcasting to coach USC's women's basketball team for two seasons.

That move angered many in the game, who questioned her commitment to the sport and accused her of undercutting the efforts of her predecessor, Marianne Stanley, who sued USC in an attempt to receive a salary closer to what then-men's coach George Raveling received. Miller resigned her coaching job Saturday to take the Turner post.

Miller's younger brother, Reggie, is an All-Star guard for the NBA's Indiana Pacers.

Record-setting night

Sunday night's Dallas-Minnesota NFL game on TNT may have seemed like just another regular-season contest, but, in truth, it was a record-setter.

The network announced yesterday that the Vikings-Cowboys game attracted a 14 cable rating and was seen in more than 9.1 million homes, making it the highest-rated entertainment program on basic cable this year and the third-highest such show ever on basic cable.

Only a Chicago-Minnesota game in 1987 and a Detroit-Miami contest played last Christmas drew higher ratings, though Sunday's game was seen in more homes than last December's game, because of the higher numbers of people who have cable. For this season, TNT's NFL ratings are up 17 percent from the same time last year.

To give this a local context and to underscore how much more popular football is than baseball, consider that Sunday's game drew nearly twice the audience that watched ESPN's coverage of the game two weeks ago during which Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played.

Two wrongs

You might recall that Channel 13 and Home Team Sports were rightfully upset a couple of weeks ago, when the other stations in town grabbed the post-game feed of ceremonies honoring Ripken for passing Gehrig.

Well, the gang on Television Hill got its hands caught in the cookie jar this week when Channel 13's John Buren ran highlights of the Pittsburgh-Miami Monday night game while it was in progress.

That's a no-no, according to an NFL official, who said that stations or networks that don't own the rights may not run game footage while the game is being played. That rule operates not only on Sundays, but also on Monday nights.

The dream team

It was great to see Kenny Mayne and Craig Kilborn together on the overnight "SportsCenter." Their low-key, off-center sensibilities make for some hilarious moments, such as when Kilborn, playing off Mayne's "Yahtzee" home run call, referred to an obscure 1970s kids' game, "Gnip-Gnop," for a description of a blast.

But they also do some serious reporting, such as an excellent "Breakdown" analysis of the epic battle between Seattle pitcher Randy Johnson and Texas outfielder Otis Nixon and how Nixon's early at-bats Monday night rattled Johnson before he settled down.

That's excellent work, but, hey, that's just Craig and Kenny being Craig and Kenny.

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