Someone hit snooze alarm in fragmented a.m. show


Let's consider CBS' morning Olympics show (7-9) -- but, first, we go to New York for a news update.

OK, we're back. The point is that there seems to be precious little actual Winter Games action. And we'll return right after this check on the weather.

I mean, you get ready to watch the luge in your pajamas -- and what that luge was doing in my pajamas, I'll never know -- but it's a short feature and then some talk and, next thing you know, we'll break for your local news.

CBS seems intent on keeping its regular morning audience, and really doesn't want to turn its early Olympics program into too much of a sports show.

The person who gets wasted in this morning shuffle is Greg Gumbel. "The NFL Today" host is one of CBS' best announcers. He projects an appealing personality, radiating humor and warmth even standing in the snow (it must be slushy around his feet by the time he's finished).

But Gumbel has to share the morning host role with Harry Smith and make room for weatherman Mark McEwen. Gumbel deserves more air time. He's a PTPer, bay-bee (hey, who invited Dick Vitale into this column?). If CBS folks had asked me -- and they never do -- I'd have said that Gumbel, not Tim McCarver, was the man for a prime-time host spot.

And now to a morning traffic report. . . .


MTV biathletes: Last night's prime-time show had a wonderful example of CBS' production abilities. The network turned the men's biathlon competition into a rock-and-roll extravaganza. Biathletes completed their races by collapsing to Huey Lewis and the News' "All I Want Is a Couple Days Off." And a feature on American Josh Thompson's frustrating performance was accompanied by pieces of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" and a bit of INXS (I can name that tune in five shots).


Looking ahead: Wendy Fisher has crashed the morning program. The American skier, who took a big fall yesterday, is scheduled to be interviewed by Gumbel this morning. . . . Smith will speak with U.S. lugers Cammy Myler and Bonny Warner. . . Scott Hamilton will preview men's figure skating. . . . Also planned this morning is a feature on American David Delfino, who plays goal for the Italian hockey team.

On the prime-time program tonight (8-11), expect to see lots of men's figure skating. Also prominent should be highlights of a key U.S. hockey game against Finland and women's mogul skiing, in which American Donna Weinbrecht is a medal favorite. . . . CBS also plans a feature on Weinbrecht. . . . Mike Wallace's piece on doping under the former East German sports machine, postponed from last night, has been scheduled again for tonight.


Ratings game: Tuesday night's overnight prime-time ratings (measuring the top 25 markets) were CBS' highest of the season on that night -- a 23.5 rating and 34 share. ABC (16.4/24) and NBC (10.9/16) trailed by a large margin. A rating measures the percentage of all television households watching a program. A share measures the percentage among homes where television is in use.


These are a few of my favorite things: At the risk of being redundant or repeating myself or reiterating, Charles Kuralt turned another small piece into a large enjoyment. His look at the speed skating track's "Ice Meister" was marvelous. . . . Did you notice Mary Carillo up there on a hill at Roc de Fer, trying to explain the timing in women's combined skiing? And not a tennis ball in sight. . . . That course in Meribel may not be well-liked by the skiers, but it's producing some spectacular crashes.

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