HTS cameras zero in on Palmer's debut


The TV repairman: The regal return to the mound of Jim "The Flasher" Palmer will be recorded for posterity by Home Team Sports next Monday (1 p.m.) when the Orioles take on the Red Sox. There's no reason for anyone to miss it: HTS will replay it at 7:30 and 11:30 p.m.

If you can't wait until Monday for your first injection of the Grand Old Game, be advised the Mets and Dodgers are on WOR cable tomorrow at 1 p.m.

* Strangely, Channel 11 is avoiding Olympic Winterfest shows tomorrow and Sunday afternoons, opting for a cliche-ridden Billy Packer show, "The Dukes of Hazzard" and a movie. Is it possible the station forgot its network (CBS) is carrying the Winter Olympics next year?

Meanwhile, at least Channel 2 has an excuse for not carrying the World Indoor Track Championships on NBC tomorrow: ACC hoops. Channel 4 (D.C.) will carry the track. Award Channel 13 a gold star for not zapping any network (ABC) shows this weekend.

To its credit, WBAL is picking up all the NCAA tourney games being dispatched its way beginning next Thursday (15 games spread over 34 hours, March 14-17), which means the soapers will be screaming bloody murder.

* At best, Washington is a couple of years away from being a National League lodge member and already a member of the bidding group has figured out media rights of $7.5 million for commercial TV, $4.5 million for cable and $2.5 million for radio. Combined, that would be about 75 percent more than the Orioles get.

* There are about 100 men in the area working part time awrestlers, who, when the grunt and groaners come on the tube, cringe. They're part of the Universal Independent Wrestlers Association, which runs shows throughout the region, and they're sick of being painted with the WWF brush. "They admit to being strictly entertainment, and the phoniness of their show hurts us," says the UIWA's Bob Starr. "We work hard at this, nothing is scripted and we're a true sport." We'll be able to judge for ourselves soon. The UIWA is working on a deal to get its shows on local cable.

Speaking of the WWF, the tariff for WrestleMania VII March 24 on pay-per-view will be $30. The theme of the show is Sgt. Slaughter, once a flag-waver, is now a bad guy being managed by an Iraqi and is the champion. This does not sit well with ultimate flag-waver Hulk Hogan, who is hellbent on setting things right.

* Hopefully, the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddock fight coming up opay-per-view March 18 ($35, gasp!) will prove as good as the half-hour documentary "Blind Rage!" being shown on Showtime. The latter is pushing the show because it is part of the PPV and has re-broadcast rights March 24-27.

Also on the PPV front, it's Carl "The Truth" Williams taking on Tim Witherspoon and Robert Daniels opposing Bobby Czyz tonight ($20, double gasp!). Of course, a couple of titles are involved but only the fighters know which ones. Williams was asked why it took him so long to get back into the ring after losing to Tyson (a year plus) and he explained, "I was distressed."

* Channel 45 has the three games from the ACC quarterfinals today (2 p.m. and the night doubleheader at 7 and 9) while Washington's Channel 5 has all four games from the Big East tourney in New York (noon, 2, 7 and 9 p.m.) . . . CBS (Ch. 11) then moves in for the Big East semis tomorrow (noon) while Ch. 2 has access to the ACC semis beginning at 1:30 p.m. Same setup for the finals Sunday, which absolves WMAR of once again zapping the NBA game (Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins).

The NCAA tourney selection and pairings show, a runaway hit, goes at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on CBS. Odds are that a similar show running on ESPN at about the same time will be far superior.

* Some of the People's Choice Awards (Monday, CBS) nominees are a scream. For instance, in the news-oriented information series, "60 Minutes" and "20/20" have "A Current Affair" to contend with. That's like putting the Super Bowl and World Series up against American Gladiators (alias Amazon Women in Spandex).

* First look at the latest attempt at spring football, the NFL-inspired WLAF, comes March 23 on USA Network. What makes this newsworthy is ABC is shelling out $25 million on a two-year contract and it doesn't go until the next afternoon with mega-star Brent Musburger at the mike. His analyst Dick Vermeil says, "Play might be sloppy the first few weeks, but it will smooth out." Might?

The cable has cornered the market on quarterback-commentators, with Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and Warren Moon working its telecasts. CBS rejects Tim Brant and Dan Jiggetts also have landed on their feet at USA.

* Jerry Tarkanian's long-standing problems with the NCAA have a basis in rules interpretation. The Nevada-Las Vegas coach thinks he's the final word on the subject. The NCAA has rules about providing "excessive entertainment" for recruits, but Tark thinks it's OK for him to judge what is excessive. Don't expect CBS to touch any of this during the Runnin' Rebels' waltz through the NCAA tourney the next few weeks.

* Bob Costas, who worked the Bud Bowl foolishness a couple of years ago, says he pulled out of a WrestleMania assignment because "doing the show would not be in the best of taste." Now that's integrity, gang.

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