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Sports on the air

Remote patrol: Telethon preempts tennis, AFL

By JOHN C. COTEY
Published June 4, 2004

WFLA-Ch. 8's annual All Children's Hospital Telethon once again will preempt coverage of the French Open men's final, and like last year the event will be unavailable at a later time for viewers.

Unless you have a satellite dish or cable system that can pick up an NBC feed from another city (say, Fort Myers or Orlando), the men's final and an Arena Football League playoff game between Orlando and Chicago will be unavailable to local viewers.

Paulette Outlaw of WFLA's programming department said NBC offered the tennis and AFL playoff game to other networks, but there was no interest. "We certainly tried to get it placed," she said.

In 2002, WFLA showed the French Open at 1 a.m. This year, Outlaw said there is no five-hour time slot available for a replay, though the station will re-air Meet the Press at 2-3 a.m. Monday with the season finale of The Restaurant to follow.

Since you probably can't name any of the remaining men's players anyway, and this is for a good cause, we suggest you disgruntled tennis fans get out and play a few sets instead of calling in to complain.

Finally

The NBA's playoff ordeal finally reaches the final stage when Game 1 airs Sunday on ABC.

ABC has the big markets - Los Angeles and Detroit - it covets, but will it get the kind of basketball that attracts viewers, or turns them off? Will Al Michaels and Doc Rivers spend more time trying to convince viewers that L.A. is playing great defense, or admit that Detroit might be the worst shooting team to ever make the championship series?

ABC is hoping for better ratings than last year's dismal numbers. The Lakers-Minnesota Western Conference series was the highest rated ever on cable, and Tuesday's Detroit-Indiana game was the highest-rated NBA game to ever air on ESPN. So there's hope.

Checkered flag to NASCAR

The difference between the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500 Saturday was 100 miles and almost a full ratings point.

The Coca-Cola 600 overnight rating of 5.0 was 22 percent higher than the 4.1 posted by the Indy 500, the largest gap since 2000 when the Indy 500 held a 61 percent advantage.

The Coca-Cola 600 held a 3-1 edge in ratings in the male 18-34 demographic, and had its biggest edge in the 25-54 demographic with a 5.2-2.8.

The final ratings come out today.

Lampley to tie record

Jim Lampley will tie Jim McKay with his record 12th Olympic assignment, as it was announced this week he would host USA Network's coverage of the 2004 Games from Athens.

Lampley, who also will anchor daytime coverage on NBC, will replace Keith Olbermann, who was originally announced as one of the lead cable hosts in 2003, six weeks before he landed his nightly MSNBC show Countdown With Keith Olbermann.

Follow the ball

Sunshine Network will cover Florida and Florida State in the NCAA college baseball regions this weekend, starting today with games at 4 p.m. (UF vs. Central Connecticut State) and 7 (FSU vs. Bethune-Cookman).

Sunshine's coverage Sunday will depend on whether FSU and/or UF advances. If their games don't conflict with one another they will air statewide. If they do conflict, the Florida game will be seen in the Tampa Bay area.

[Last modified June 3, 2004, 23:59:12]


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