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CBS has its eye on Tiger Woods at British

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 19, 2002

While contemplating what kind of ratings ABC's coverage of the British Open may yield this weekend, think for a moment about this: What will those ratings be among this demographic: CBS executives.

I'm guessing a 100 rating/100 share.

Sometimes, you get the baseball All-Star Game and Bud Selig spoils your night. Sometimes you get a sweep in the NBA Finals.

Sometimes, you get the PGA Championship, the least prestigious of the four majors, and if Tiger Woods wins the British Open, you might get the most-watched golf event ever.

If Woods is going for the Grand Slam when the PGA Championship rolls around in August, CBS will have the grand slam of golf coverage -- the first and last event in potentially the most memorable golf moment ever.

This just in from CBS: Go Tiger.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: ABC's live coverage of the British Open begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with final-round coverage beginning at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Not exactly the roll out of bed, go to church and watch golf kind of schedule, but it's not exactly the World Cup either. ABC, doing its 42nd straight year at the British Open, will have highlight shows tonight at midnight and from 5-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Mike Tirico will anchor the coverage, with analysis provided by two-time U.S. Open winner Curtis Strange as well as hole announcers Steve Melnyk and Ian Baker-Finch. Roger Twibell will interview players after their rounds.

NBA'S NEW DIGS: Next season's NBA television schedule was announced Thursday, with TNT, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC combining to cover 142 regular-season games, as well as the playoffs.

TNT will televise 52 prime-time games, 48 of which will be part of Thursday night exclusive doubleheaders.

ESPN, which opens with an Oct. 30 doubleheader featuring Washington and Toronto at 7 p.m. and the Lakers at Portland, will televise 68 games and ESPN2 will carry eight.

ABC has 14 regular-season games, beginning with a Christmas doubleheader and another game Jan. 4. Beginning Feb. 16, ABC will offer Sunday afternoon telecasts. ABC also will carry the NBA Finals in prime time at 8:30.

HOW 'BOUT DEM COWBOYS: Speaking of television appearances, the Dallas Cowboys will not be making any on Monday Night Football this year, producer Fred Gaudelli told reporters at the Television Critics Association in Pasadena, Calif.

Not including the Cowboys was a surprise to MNF broadcaster Al Michaels.

"We would have loved the Cowboys at least twice. We shook our head when the schedule came out."

LASTING LEGACY: TV Guide picked the Jerry Springer Show as No. 1 on its list of the 50 least-redeeming programs. At No. 3 was the XFL, as presented by NBC, TNN and UPN.

RATINGS GAME: NBC's 2002 NASCAR debut, the Tropicana 400 from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, easily was the highest-rated sports event of an otherwise dull weekend. The race earned a 5.0 overnight rating/12 share, according to Nielsen Media Research. The rating was a 4 percent increase over last year's race and bettered the nearest competition by at least two ratings points. One ratings point is about 1.1-million households.

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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