Digesting some leftover tidbits on Theoharis, ABC, Musburger

ON MEDIA

November 24, 2006|By RAY FRAGER

Yesterday, you carved up your turkey. Today, it's a sliced-up column.

Amber Theoharis will be leaving Channel 45 at the end of the year. Theoharis, who joined WBFF in September 2004 as No. 2 sports anchor/reporter behind Bruce Cunningham, doesn't have a new full-time gig lined up yet, she said.

She has appeared on CBS Radio's stations here, which include all-sports WJFK (1300 AM), and has been hosting a couple of shows on Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Perhaps she could surface in a bigger role with MASN, which will be adding baseball programming for its Orioles and Washington Nationals coverage next year.

Theoharis said WBFF asked her to continue -- "I love Fox. I love the people there," she said -- but she wanted "to explore other options." Theoharis, a native Marylander, didn't rule out the possibility of going to another market.

Man, those players in Saturday's Michigan-Ohio State game were fast. Several times, they would run off screen before ABC's cameras could catch them.

Speaking of that game, it might be anathema to say anything nice about Brent Musburger, but few play-by-play men would bring strong -- and spot-on -- commentary as he did when Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr was protesting a Michigan touchdown called back on replay.

"What Lloyd should do is forget the controversy and call the play," Musburger said. "He's wasting time."

On the other hand, Musburger offered this at the end of a terrific game: "Only in America, only today, until the stars align again." Which means what, exactly?

Good move by CBS to protect the Indianapolis Colts-Dallas Cowboys from being moved to NBC Sunday. It drew a 14.7 national rating, the highest of the season. The game got a 17.6 in Baltimore.

Speaking of ratings, Baltimore has a way to go to match the television devotion of the Steelers fans in Pittsburgh. On Sunday, the Steelers-Cleveland Browns game rated a 43.7 in Pittsburgh, compared with the Ravens-Atlanta Falcons' 25.6 in Baltimore. Even more impressive, the Steelers had a 73 share, meaning that nearly three-quarters of the TVs in use at the time were tuned to the football game. The Ravens had a 49 share here. (Yes, the Steelers were on the road, while the Ravens were home, meaning none of the fans at M&T Bank Stadium could be counted as TV viewers.)

Is it the absence of Jillian Barberie? CBS' NFL Today has out-rated Fox NFL Sunday three times this season. Going into 2006, CBS' pre-game show had beaten Fox once since 1998.

Flexible scheduling can only go so far. When NBC picked the Colts-Philadelphia Eagles game for Sunday night, the network pictured a Peyton Manning-Donovan McNabb matchup. But McNabb suffered a knee injury last weekend, so it's Manning vs. Jeff Garcia. Not exactly ratings gold.

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post on the way "perspective" is an ephemeral part of football telecasts: "Every time a player gets laid out, motionless, we're told in voices suddenly switched to `funeral home' that `this puts everything into perspective.' Oh, and it does. For about two, three plays. By halftime, ESPN's back with its `He Got Jacked Up!' segment."

Maybe no one takes seriously anything Michael Irvin says. Or maybe hardly anyone listens to Dan Patrick's ESPN Radio show. In any case, this story has gotten little mention outside of a brief newspaper item and a few Web sites.

On Monday, while discussing Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's athleticism, Irvin, who is black, offered the explanation that Romo, who is white, might have had some African-American ancestry.

According to ProFoot- ballTalk.com, here is some of what Irvin said, though he was laughing through it: "He doesn't look like he's that type of an athlete. But he is. He is, man. I don't know ... some brother down in that line somewhere ... if great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandma pulled one of them studs up out of the barn [and said], `Come on in here for a second.'"

Michael Irvin, heir to Jimmy the Greek.

ray.frager@baltsun.com

Read Ray Frager's blog at baltimoresun.com/mediumwell.

Top-rated sports

Highest-rated sports programming for Baltimore for Nov. 15-20 (ratings measure the percentage of television households watching a program):

Program Date Channel Rating

Ravens-Falcons 11/19 45 25.6

Colts-Cowboys 11/19 13 17.6

Chargers-Broncos 11/19 11 12.2

Giants-Jaguars 11/20 ESPN 8.6

NFL preview-a 11/19 11 7.4

Mich.-Ohio St. 11/18 2 6.3

NASCAR post-race 11/19 11 5.2

NFL preview-b 11/19 11 4.9

NASCAR race 11/19 11 4.7

Maryland-BC 11/18 ESPN 4.4

a-7:30 to 8 p.m.; b-7 to 7:30 p.m.

[ Nielsen ratings courtesy of WBAL-TV]

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