tampabay.com

Remote patrol

By SHARON GINN
Published September 1, 2006


CHECK IT OUT

ESPN is using Monday night's Miami-Florida State game to help launch - make that, "hype even more" - its new Monday Night Football franchise. The network is devoting tons of coverage to the game, which kicks off at 8 p.m.

The college game will air on ESPN and ESPN2, with the latter using different camera angles in its so-called Full Circle format. College GameDay will originate from Miami, and ESPN Classic will air condensed versions of four classic games from the series that day, at 12:30 p.m. (Miami 17-16, 1991), 1:30 (Miami 19-16, 1992), 2:30 (FSU 28-10, 1993) and 4:30 (Miami 28-27, 2002).

After the game, starting about 11:30, Sun Sports plans to go live to the Orange Bowl, airing coverage of the coaches' news conferences and other interviews.

NEWSMAKERS

- What will Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez do during his winter break this year? Call bowl games for Fox, of course. The former Badgers coach will join announcer Thom Brennaman and TBS analyst Charles Davis in the booth for the Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl and Jan. 8 Bowl Championship Series title game, it was announced this week. Fox, which does not carry national college football games but now holds the right to the BCS, went this route rather than try to "borrow" top talent from other networks. Alvarez, who retired as the Badgers' coach after last season, has never held a broadcasting job.

- NASCAR analyst Benny Parsons, who is having treatment for lung cancer, will not make the trip from his North Carolina home to participate in NBC's race coverage from Fontana, Calif., on Sunday. After a week off due to fatigue, Parsons returned Saturday to work the Sharpie 500 for TNT. He is scheduled to be back on the air next week at Richmond.

CHANNEL SURFING

- FSN Florida will air the documentary Eye of the Storm (Sunday, 9 p.m.), which chronicles the 2005 LSU football team and how the Tigers' successful season helped buoy a state devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Actor and Louisiana resident John Goodman serves as narrator.

- The latest edition of HBO's Costas Now (Wednesday, 10 p.m.) features interviews with two NFL notables: one starting his career (Saints rookie Reggie Bush) and one finishing it (Packers quarterback Brett Favre).

For those who can't get enough of Bob Costas, WDAE-AM 620 will air his new weekly radio show on Sundays after the Buccaneers broadcasts, beginning Sept. 16. The show, which will begin around 5:30 p.m., will be two hours of Costas interviews and commentary and marks his return to radio after a 10-year absence.

- WHBO-AM 1470 has announced it will honor a high school "athlete of the week" each Thursday during the 5 p.m. hour of the Scot Brantley Show.

RATINGS WATCH

What a difference an Andre makes. As Andre Agassi prepares to retire from tennis, USA network is reaping the benefits of higher ratings. The network drew 1.57-million households for opening night coverage of the U.S. Open on Monday, its highest opening-night rating in 23 years of covering the tournament. It was a 118 percent increase over the first Monday night of last year's Open.