Escape from Super Bowl impossible with the TV on


The good news, for those of us who tire easily of Super Bowl hoopla, is that the game will be carried on only one network, ABC. The bad news, however, is that the hoopla is on such a scale that everybody and his brother want in on the action.

For instance, there will be lots of parking spaces around the Bristol, Conn., headquarters of ABC's corporate brother, ESPN, which will send about 25 reporters, commentators and hangers-on to bring all the pomp and pageantry smack dab into your living rooms.

Heck, with that many people on the site, they'll bypass the tube and just beam the info right into your cortex.

Every "SportsCenter" from now until next Tuesday will have a Super Bowl report of some sort, and "Sportsnight," which is ESPN2's "SportsCenter" equivalent, also will originate from Miami. Of course, the coverage on "Sportsnight" will be better because it will feature special reporting from Pulitzer and Peabody award winner "Downtown" Julie Brown.

(Just kidding about those awards.)

Two talk shows, ESPN's "Up Close," with new host Chris Myers, and ESPN2's "Talk2," starring the impudent Jim Rome, will chat up the football scene from South Florida.

Not surprisingly, "NFL Gameday" (Sunday at noon), "NFL Prime Monday" (Saturday, 8 p.m.), "NFL Match-Up" (Friday, 11 p.m.) and two rounds of "The Sports Reporters" (Friday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.), will originate from the Super Bowl site.

And if you need some real yuks, be sure to tune in to commissioner Paul Tagliabue's annual state of the NFL address Friday at 11:30 a.m. Look carefully to see if his nose grows when he says how much he loves Baltimore.

The two networks will run highlights of previous Super Bowls throughout the week, and cyberspace travelers can get updates through ESPNET on the Prodigy service.

But ESPN isn't the only cable service trying to get in on the Super Bowl gravy train.

TNT, in conjunction with NFL Properties, will unveil "Super Bowl Weekend," from Friday through Sunday, with a series of short live and taped spots in and around Miami, as well as Friday's "Super Bowl Insider" (10:30 p.m.), which looks at the halftime show and exclusive parties, Saturday's "Super Bowl Awards" show (10 p.m.) and Sunday's "Super Bowl Tailgate Party" (2 p.m.).

Anyone caught watching more than one of these shows should consider a new plan for his or her life.

Pucks on the tube

Home Team Sports has filled its 18-game Washington Capitals schedule, which begins with Friday's New York Islanders game at USAir Arena at 8 p.m.

The Stanley Cup champion New York Rangers will make two appearances on HTS, on March 18 from Landover, and on April 24 from Madison Square Garden. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the air three times, including Sunday at noon.

Another time shift

Just eight days after moving to 11:30 p.m., CNN's lively "Calling All Sports" call-in show -- which, like everything else this week, originates from Miami -- has been moved back to 1 a.m. to accommodate a nightly O. J. Simpson trial wrap-up show.

Venturi re-ups

CBS golf analyst Ken Venturi has signed a three-year deal with the network and will retire when the contract is completed after the 1997 season, CBS announced.

Venturi, 63, the 1964 U.S. Open champion and PGA Player of the Year, will work a full CBS schedule this year, but his duties will be curtailed in 1996 and 1997, as he devotes more time to charity work and private business.

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