Doc Rivers goes to line in TNT role


There's good news and bad news this weekend for former NBA guard Glenn "Doc" Rivers.

The bad news is that Rivers, who spent 13 seasons with Atlanta, the Los Angeles Clippers, New York and San Antonio, was not named as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players, but then, neither were you.

The good news is that Rivers, 35, will get to talk about some of those 50 in his new role as game analyst for TNT's coverage of the greatest sport known to man.

Rivers will work Tuesday nights with the incomparable Verne Lundquist and looks forward to the challenge of dispelling the notion that recently retired players are hesitant to be critical of former colleagues.

"I don't think I had any problem as a player being very blunt, and as long as I'm honest, I don't think there will be any problem," said Rivers, who has done some playoff guest analyzing with TNT and replaces Danny Ainge.

Said Turner executive producer Mike Pearl: "He did a rehearsal game last week with Verne, and he was impressive. The basics are there."

TNT kicks off its 45-game regular-season plan tomorrow night with a doubleheader, which opens with teams from the two cities, New York and Toronto, which met in the NBA's first game some 49 seasons ago, at 8 p.m., with Dick Stockton and Hubie Brown on the call. In the nightcap, Bob Neal and Chuck Daly will have the Phoenix-Lakers game.

The Washington Bullets open play tomorrow night in Orlando at 7: 30 on Channel 50, with the home opener Saturday night against Cleveland on Home Team Sports at 7: 30.

Ratings recap

With today's column, we welcome a new "Media Watch" ratings provider, Channel 2's Tony Patino, the station's new research director.

Channel 45 reaped a relative bonanza with both the World Series and last Sunday's Ravens' game on its air. Game 6 of the Series on Saturday posted a 13.5 rating and 22 share of the audience, and Sunday's Ravens' game did an 11.8/26. The Chiefs-Broncos game on Channel 11, airing at 4 p.m. Sunday, did a 6.4/11.

The other interesting ratings occurrence of the weekend happened Saturday, when the Breeders' Cup day of racing on Channel 11 beat a full slate of college football games, most notably the Virginia-Florida State contest on Channel 2, but just barely, as racing posted a 3.8/10 to 3.6/9.

Across the bonny ocean

At the beginning of the season, the Navy-Notre Dame college football meeting from Ireland looked like the Midshipmen were ,, just going a long way for the usual Irish flogging.

But, with Navy's improved play, the game could be entertaining. CBS (Ch. 13) will have the game on tape delay, starting at noon, but if you must have it live, WITH (1230 AM) will carry it, beginning at 7: 45 a.m., with Ted Patterson and Eric Ruden making the trip.

Links and hoops

CBS has announced its college basketball and golf schedules, which include yet another trip to the Final Four and another Masters telecast.

The network will bring back its "wheel" strategy of basketball coverage, in which it staggers the start times of games each week, moving audiences from contest to contest to hold their interest.

Defending champion Kentucky and runner-up Syracuse make three appearances each, andMichigan could make as many as six CBS visits. In addition to carrying the tournament championship games of the Big 12 and Southeastern conferences, as well as Conference USA, the network will air three women's games in early January. The season premier is Dec. 7, when Kansas takes on UCLA and Virginia plays host to Clemson.

Meanwhile, in golf, CBS has the most extensive package, with 22 events and more than 110 hours of coverage. Its 1997 schedule begins with the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on Feb. 1-2.

Other highlights include the Masters, one of the longest ongoing relationships between an event and a network -- 42 years -- held in mid-April, the LPGA Championship in mid-May and the PGA Championship in mid- August.

A promise to keep?

In what we can only pray is the end of the post-Series Yankees media blitz, David Letterman chatted up owner George Steinbrenner the other night.

After asking Steinbrenner if he planned on moving the team out of the Bronx, Letterman said, "If you move out of Yankee Stadium, if I get the sense that you're going to take the team out of Yankee Stadium, I'll hunt you down and beat you to death with my fists."

So, Dave, besides a murder charge, what's stopping you from just doing that for the good of everyone anyway?

Pub Date: 10/31/96

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