By JOHN C. COTEY
Published April 1, 2005
NO NEED TO CHANNEL SURF
ESPN's telecast of Sunday's Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which begins at 3:30 p.m., will feature continuous coverage through all national commercial breaks with the use of side by side, a split screen of the race and commercials.
The network's five local commercial breaks during the race will be full screen, however.
This will be the second time ESPN and ABC have used the split screen, having done so for the first race of the IRL.
USA Network is extending its coverage of the Masters by 30 minutes, starting at 4 p.m. Thursday.
USA will carry the first two days, its 24th year of exclusive cable coverage of the event, from 4-7 p.m. Thursday and April 8.
Bill Macatee will host USA Network's live coverage from the Butler Cabin. Joining him on USA's coverage will be Jim Nantz and Lanny Wadkins in the 18th tower along with David Feherty, Peter Oosterhuis, Bobby Clampett, Verne Lundquist, Peter Kostis and Dick Enberg.
SLIT THREE WAYS
On Tuesday, ESPN will debut the Trifecta, three sports news and information shows from 12-1 a.m. (immediately following the 11 p.m. SportsCenter and preceding the 1 a.m. SportsCenter).
Trifecta will lead off with Outside the Lines Nightly Monday through Saturday from 12-12:20 a.m., followed by two in-season sport-specific news programs from 12:20-12:40 and 12:40-1 a.m.
For example, Tuesday's debut will consist of Outside the Lines Nightly (12-12:20 a.m.), Baseball Tonight (12:20-12:40 a.m.) and NBA Fastbreak (12:40-1 a.m.). During football season, College GameNight and NFL Live will be subbed in.
ESPN will launch several series in April as part of its nightly ESPN Original Entertainment bloc or programming.
Beginning April 11 at 8:30 p.m., ESPN will run what sounds like the best of the new lot: 5 Reasons You Can't Blame, ... a show that essentially will defend those blamed for a team's failure, a bad trade or the demise of a franchise. The first episode will focus on the five reasons you can't blame Steve Bartman for the Cubs 2003 playoff collapse (chances are, current Devil Ray third baseman Alex Gonzalez is one of them). Other episodes will look at reasons why you can't blame Art Modell for moving the Browns from Cleveland, Kobe Bryant for the Lakers' breakup, John McEnroe for his outbursts or the 1919 White Sox for throwing the World Series.
On Tuesday nights, ESPN will show Teammates, featuring teammates from professional sports teams competing to show how well they know each other, their team and their coaches, as well as Battle of the Gridiron Stars, a takeoff of the popular Superstars competitions.AROUND THE DIAL
Phil Mickelson highlights the field at the BellSouth Classic, the final stop on the PGA Tour's Southern Swing, on NBC this weekend from 3-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. USA Network has coverage today from 4-6 p.m. ... ABC will broadcast the Grade I, $1-million Florida Derby from 5-6 p.m. Saturday.