CBS turns to new NFL voices, passes on NBC's Trumpy, Jones

Media Watch

July 24, 1998|By MILTON KENT

CBS yesterday completed its announcer pairings for the coming NFL season, leaving two longtime football voices on the bench while adding sideline reporters for their first two teams.

Given the challenge of making its coverage of the AFC different from that of NBC, CBS passed over longtime NBC veterans like Charlie Jones and Bob Trumpy, for newcomers like New York-based Ian Eagle and former Buffalo special teams player Steve Tasker.

"We wanted to forge our own way and go in a different direction," CBS executive producer Terry Ewert said yesterday. "We wanted to make decisions on a new way of looking at things."

Before NBC lost the rights to football last January, Jones was the NFL play-by-play voice with the longest continuous run, with more than three decades of service in calling AFL and AFC games for NBC.

Trumpy, meanwhile, has been with NBC for more than 10 years and was unafraid to stir things up as an analyst, witness his comments two years ago when he wished the Ravens "high winds muddy fields" and "cold hot dogs." Oddly enough, while ignoring two of NBC's more highly placed announcers, CBS selected one of NBC's lower broadcast teams, Don Criqui and Beasley Reece.

In one stark difference from NBC, Ewert said the network will use a constant score and clock for its NFL games, a la the "Fox Box." CBS's contribution will be dubbed the "Eye Box," naturally, and its presence means that for the first time, all of the NFL's telecasters will carry the game score and time on screen at all times. Previously, Fox, ESPN and Turner had used the box, but NBC refused.

CBS' lead pair of Greg Gumbel and Phil Simms will have former Sports Illustrated and ABC News reporter Armen Keteyian as their sideline reporter, while Michele Tafoya will patrol the white lines for the Verne Lundquist-Randy Cross duo.

The network announced that Craig Bolerjack and Bill Macatee will share play-by-play duties on a seventh announcer team, with John Dockery, back to CBS after a long stint as NBC's sideline reporter on Notre Dame games, doing analysis. If the Ravens play poorly, expect to see this team a lot.

Usual NBA exposure

Assuming, of course, there is an NBA season to televise, you'll be seeing plenty of the usual suspects, according to the broadcast plans released yesterday by NBC and Turner.

The Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks will get maximum exposure, with each team making 11 NBC appearances and 15 Turner airings. The Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz each get 11 NBC games. The Lakers will be seen 13 times on Turner; the Jazz is in for 12 TNT/TBS plays.

As a part of their new four-year, $2.6 billion pact with the NBA, both NBC and Turner received additional telecasts. NBC will carry 32 games this year, many of them regional, up from 26, commencing with a Christmas Day doubleheader. Turner, meanwhile, will air 84 games, 10 more than last season, with its schedule beginning on Nov. 3, with a Boston Celtics-Knicks game.

Pak for the course

The LPGA can, no doubt, thank South Korean rookie Se Ri Pak for the five-year contract extension it has received from the Golf Channel.

The burgeoning popularity of Pak, 20, who has captured the LPGA Championship and U.S. Open and romped to a record victory in a third tournament in the past two months, is almost certainly the catalyst behind the new deal, which runs through 2004.

"The impact of Se Ri Pak extends beyond the golf universe," LPGA commissioner Jim Ritts said. "We have probably gone through our greatest period of visibility, going back to Nancy Lopez's rookie season of 1977."

The all-links, all-the-time outlet, which agreed to a five-year deal with the LPGA just before it went on the air in 1993, signed this new contract a year and a half before it was to expire. The channel will carry 10 to 12 events per year.

Around the dial

The very fine announcing team of John Rooney and Jeff Torborg moves in for tomorrow's Orioles-Seattle telecast on Fox (Channel 45, 1 p.m.). The network plans to move viewers about to see the at-bats of Mark McGwire, Ken Griffey, Greg Vaughn and Sammy Sosa tomorrow as each pursues Roger Maris' home run record. Also, Fox's "In the Zone" (Channel 45, 12: 30 p.m.) followed former Sun baseball writer Tom Keegan, now with the New York Post, as he guided a 12-year-old from Dallas through his day covering the recent All-Star Game. Based on what we know of Keegan, the outtakes were, no doubt, hilarious.

On tomorrow's edition of "The Olympic Show" (CNBC, 7 p.m.), there's a scheduled feature on Tommie Smith, Bob Beamon, Wyomia Tyus and Dick Fosbury. The four members of the 1968 U.S. track team discuss the competition that summer in Mexico City and the social climate before and after those Olympics.

The Goodwill Games continue this weekend, with dual coverage from TBS and CBS tomorrow and Sunday. On the cable side tonight, TBS will have coverage of the men's one-meter springboard competition from diving, as well as the gold medal men's basketball game at 8: 05. CBS (Channel 13) will carry some beach volleyball and wrestling, as well as some diving, tomorrow at 4 p.m. and Sunday after the Orioles-Mariners game.

Finally, ESPN's renamed "Monday Night Countdown" premieres (duh) Monday at 7: 30 p.m. for the first of five 30-minute exhibition season shows, before it moves to 6: 30 for the regular season and expands to 90 minutes.

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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