Highlight shows keep bogeymen awake

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The TV Repairman:

What a golf nut you must be if you caught the CBS highlight show of the opening round of the PGA tourney last night and plan on doing the same tonight. It didn't/doesn't start until 37 minutes after midnight and is of 15 minutes duration. This, of course, is after the blanket job TBS is doing afternoons (noon to 6 p.m.) leading up to the network's weekend blitz (1:30-6 p.m.).

The tourney being one of the game's "majors," everybody who hits the ball straight is entered and as lead golf guy Jim Nantz says, "CBS has had fantastic luck with the PGA as long as we've had it. First there was John Daly emerging from total obscurity to win in 1991, the start of the 'Nick Price Era' when he won his first major [1992], then last year's great finishing duel between Paul Azinger and Greg Norman."

Total coverage by CBS and TBS amounts to 25 hours, which is what Edward R. Murrow got the first three years covering the European Theatre of World War II on CBS Radio.

* Except during postseason play, there no longer is any such thing as a national audience for baseball . . . and Turner Broadcasting expects to get away with showing 32 Triple-A Richmond Braves games. And, truthfully, will folks tune in ESPN Sunday nights and watch a full Birmingham Barons game to see Michael Jordan ground out to second base a few times?

* Riddick Bowe (34-1) takes on Buster Mathis Jr. (14-0, 3 KOs) on HBO tomorrow (10 p.m.). He needs this and a couple of other bouts bad if he's going to go against Lennox Lewis at the end of the year.

* WJZ doesn't want to take on its new network (CBS) until the first of the year for a couple of reasons translating into it wants to keep ABC's prime time schedule in the fall, including "Monday Night Football." But the other night, the MNF crew is in Buffalo doing the Bills-Redskins game nationally and Channel 13 isn't aboard.

* The "Superbout" on ESPN this evening (7:30) is the Sugar Ray Leonard-Marvin Hagler thriller from 1987. Hagler has said at least a zillion times he should have gotten the decision; see if you agree with him.

An hour later, heavyweights Tim Witherspoon and Sherman Griffin will sashay around the ring live, perhaps even throwing a punch every so often. The first one to break a sweat is a good bet to win.

* Joining in the deluge of radio stations picking up the final game of the World Championships of hoop at 4 p.m. Sunday are Nome, Alaska, two in Hawaii, one in South Bend, West Bend, Fond du Lac and John Day, Oregon. None in Baltimore, or Maryland for that matter. Oh well.

* The Orioles should provide both 800 and 900 number services keep ing us up to date on the latest musings of team owner Peter "The Quote Machine" Angelos. Does no thought go unexpressed with this man?

* You have to like hoopsmeister Hubie Brown's comment regarding the Dream Team II vs. Dream Team brouhaha: "Let them [the present cast] win something before we even start talking about this."

Give me a team of Jerry West and Bob Cousy in the backcourt, Bill Russell at center and Elgin Baylor and Tom Heinsohn up front, in their prime, and I'd spot II at least a dozen points. And these guys are off just two teams, the Celtics and Lakers. Imagine if you had a third, the old Philadelphia Warriors, at your disposal: Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Arizin and Guy Rodgers.

* If the President's Cup, the U.S. vs. an international (except for Europe) squad set for next month in Virginia, was this weekend, the home team's four lead golfers would be Jeff Maggert, Tom Lehman, John Huston and Jim Gallagher. The Int'ls would be led by Norman, Price, Ernie Els and David Frost. Oh-oh.

* Fox Network has its first NFL game ever at 8 p.m. tonight, the 49ers mixing it up with the Broncos. The Brit David Hill, calling the shots for Fox, told USA Today: "Rather than banging drums and blowing horns, we'll just go on the air as if we've been doing it for years."

No wonder. Besides announcers Pat Summerall and John Madden, producer Bob Stenner and director Sandy Grossman, the new kids on the block pirated 20 camera people and technicians from CBS, too. Fox, while paying $1.58 billion to do NFC games, says it's operating under the banner, "Same game with a new attitude."

John Madden has been saying there will be more plays and fewer replays in the NFL game this year due to rule changes and plans to speed up games. So what does Fox have at the disposal of the producer tonight? A dozen cameras and eight tape machines, plus two super slo-mos.

* Slowly but surely, ESPN2, still unavailable here in Charm City, has become TV's leader in leagues covered, numbering Arena Football, the CFL, CBA, MILL, NPSL and RHI among its partners. If you know what all these initials stand for, you're excused for the day.

* Fox Network has its man to play O. J. Simpson in a movie due Sept. 13: Bobby Hosea, who played at UCLA. Wait a minute, a Bruin playing a Trojan? Rioting around the Coliseum at the corner of 42nd and Figueroa.

* Hopefully, we'll get a chance to see International SportsCenter when it comes to ESPN this fall. Keith Olbermann doing his thing in Arabic, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese should be a hoot.

* Amy Sacks, who died from complications from lupus the other day, was a behind-the camera pioneer for women in TV when she worked at ABC. Her production work on off-the-beaten-path events such as "Race Across America" and other endurance and outdoor endeavors earned her five Emmys. Recall the great music and breathtaking camera work that used to accompany the cyclists as they sped through the heartland.

* Who's watching? ABC's auto racing (Brickyard 400) beat NBC's hoops (USA vs. Brazil in World Championships) last weekend, 4.7 to 4.5. . . . TBS did a 1.4 rating (866,000 cable homes) for the Goodwill Games, half of what it did in Seattle in 1990. . . . NBC's Quarterback Challenge hung ABC's Hall of Fame game out to dry, and also whipped a golf tourney on CBS and the Goodwill Games (also on ABC). Now that's embarrassing. . . . Despite the lack of competitive action, TNT is doing a 2.4 for the hoops-a-rama in Toronto, which is a huge boost over what it does with its NBA package (sub 2.0).

* The pay-per-view college football games available on ESPN Enterprises for $10 Sept. 3 are Virginia at Florida State, Boston College at Michigan, Washington at Southern Cal, Notre Dame at Northwestern and Tennessee at UCLA (night). A few more strong weeks like this and $60 for the 12-week season qualifies as a good deal.

* Jimmy Nickerson, the gent who choreographed the fight scenes in "Rocky I" and II, "Streets of Gold" and "Raging Bull," will do the same for the HBO movie on Mike Tyson, about to go into production. A lad named Michael Jai White, a martial arts specialist, won the role as Tyson among 1,000 tryouts.

* Suggestion for the NASCAR folks: Don't show qualifying runs ** for the Brickyard next year. Next to the Indy cars, the stocks look like regular cars driving a Los Angeles Freeway -- 160 mph just doesn't look that fast.

* The basketball court is 92 feet long. Watch the U.S. team clear a rebound, make one dribble and two passes before someone ends up with a thunder dunk and it only looks like 9.2 feet.

* The NBA twin bill on NBC Christmas Day has Seattle at Denver followed by New York at Chicago (invading prime time). What would this day of rejoicing be without a series of slam dunks, a few technical fouls and a couple of 20-second timeouts?

* To get your mind off the strike, tomorrow: Giants-Chargers, 1:30 p.m., NBC. ATP tennis semifinal, 2 p.m., ESPN. Wide World, 4:30 p.m., Larry Donald (16-0) taking on fellow heavyweight Andrew Golotta (19-0), and world high-diving championships taped in March, ESPN, 5 p.m. Pacific Classic and Alabama Stakes, horse racing, 7 p.m., ESPN. World hoops, TNT, 7 p.m.

Sunday: W.C. hoops final at 4 p.m. on NBC. IROC race on ABC at 5 p.m. . . . ATP Championships final at 5 p.m. on ESPN. Monday: Cowboys-Oilers, 9 p.m., MNF-ABC.

There should be enough there to keep you busy.

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