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Sports on the Air

Remote patrol

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published February 13, 2004

Tarver moves inside

Max Kellerman, who apparently has priced himself out of his ESPN gig, is out, and Tampa boxer Antonio Tarver is in.

At least this week.

On ESPN2's Friday Night Fights, formerly co-hosted by Kellerman, Tarver will sit in as a guest host, joining Brian Kenny for the studio segments.

"Tarver is the first in a series of people that we are rotating in the studio to work with Brian," sad boxing program director Bob Yalen said. "We had Tarver scheduled for a studio interview before the discussions with Max broke down. We plan to have a lot of boxing personalities join Brian as a guest host."

ESPN2 officials said future guests may include St. Petersburg's Winky Wright, the IBF junior middleweight champion. Yalen made it clear the special guests are not auditioning for a permanent gig.

Kellerman appears done at ESPN. His other show, Around the Horn, also has a new host.

Shooting for stars

The NFL scouting combine, in the past a shadowy little tryout for pro hopefuls and league draftniks, will be covered in depth for the first time when the NFL Network airs six consecutive nights of eprogramming.

Beginning Feb. 20 at 10 p.m. with a preview show and continuing through Feb. 25 with one-hour episodes, NFL Network is promising extensive access to daily workouts, head coaches, front-office personnel and players. The shows will be produced on location from the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, where the combine is held.

The schedule: Feb. 21 - offensive linemen and running backs; Feb. 22 - running backs and quarterbacks; Feb. 23 - tight ends and defensive linemen; Feb. 24 - linebackers and defensive backs.

The final show on Feb. 25 will be a combined review and mock draft.

Swish

TNT is presenting viewers with a hooptopia this weekend - 12 hours of coverage of the gaudy, sponsor-drenched NBA All-Star weekend.

The network will tip off at 9 tonight with the Rookie Challenge, airing for the first time in prime time, followed by Inside the NBA at 11.

Saturday, beginning at 8 p.m., TNT will have an All-Star Game preview, the Shooting Stars competition, the Sports Skills Challenge, the Three-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest.

The network will air the All-Star Game live at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Canceled, but for sale

Shhhh, don't tell the NFL, but ESPN's popular but short-lived Playmakers series will be available on a three-disc DVD set beginning April 20. It will include an on-the-set visit by music star Snoop Dogg, who appears in episode 10, audio commentary with creator/executive producer John Eisendrath on the pilot episode, and a comprehensive behind-the-scenes featurette.

The DVD ends with pious NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue choking the life out of an unnamed ESPN executive, frothing at the mouth as he reminds him that his league will make the decisions at ESPN starting right now.

Okay, we made that last part up.

Suggested retail price of the DVD is $49.99 and can be preordered on ESPN.com.

Ahmad, Jordan reunited

ESPN will present All-Exclusive with Ahmad Rashad at 9 tonight, a one-hour roundtable discussion in which Rashad talks with (surprise!) Michael Jordan, Derek Jeter, Roy Jones Jr., Serena Williams and the Bucs' Warren Sapp.

Topspinning

Have you picked your fantasy league table tennis teams yet? ESPN and ESPN2 will have 10 half-hour programs covering the Killerspin Extreme Table Tennis Championships from Chicago starting at 6 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.

The exhibition matches will feature elite players and include that memorable world championship rematch between Ma Lin and Se Hyuk Joo.

Log on to www.killerspin.com for the complete telecast schedule.

[Last modified February 13, 2004, 01:45:34]


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