Thursday, July 14, 2005

Collinsworth to NBC Sports; Michaels Next?

NBC Sports officially announced the hiring of Cris Collinsworth for NBC's studio NFL show yesterday. But everyone’s wondering: where will Al Michaels end up?

Michaels appears to be deciding between offers from ESPN (a Disney company, along with ABC) and NBC to call the NFL in 2006. ESPN/ABC can also offer NBA games, and already provides a private jet for Michaels to travel between games.

NBC seems unlikely to duplicate either of those perks. Their main selling point? The best games, plus the chance to call postseason games and two Super Bowls.

NBC is also reluctant to back up the money truck for Michaels, because Bob Costas- who is expected to lead NBC's in-studio coverage- is about to negotiate a new deal, and will surely want whatever the big ‘cock gives Michaels.

Not-so-bold prediction: Michaels follows the money and stays in the Disney family. How do you leave that much scratch on the table?

Python Lives!

PBS will air a “new” Monty Python series this spring.

Each episode will focus on a member of the British comedy troupe, mixing new footage with clips from Python movies and the group's television series.

Called Monty Python's Personal Best, each episode will focus on a member of the troupe, mixing new footage with highlights from Python movies and TV.

Episodes will individually spotlight Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones.

All Stars Clobber Rock Stars

Rock Star: INXS, which has been less than spectacular so far, is showing some improvement, but still isn't where CBS needs it to be, ratings-wise.

The reality showdown saw a slight uptick in its second outing on Tuesday, but Fox’s coverage of the All-Star Game won the night.

CBS is praying for continued improvement from Rock Star , as the network has scheduled three airings a week of the talent competition for the next month.

Environmentalist Whack Jobs Have MTV Hiding in Shell

Environmentalists are accusing MTV of wrecking a tropical beach in Tobago while shooting The Gauntlet- and destroying about 400 endangered leatherback sea turtle eggs in the process.

TV crews descended on the small Caribbean nation of Tobago in May to film the series, which is a brutal competition between Real World and Road Rules alumni. (insert yawn here)

Producers, of course, deny the charge.

Sportztyme! I Want to Ride My Bicycle... I Want to Ride My Bike...

You want me on that wall, you NEED me on that wall.......

I realize most people consider the bicycle to be a child's toy. A teenager's mode of transport, or a delivery guy's company car. It's something most of us outgrow when we get our driver's license, except for the occasional trek down a woodsy path in some park.

And I also realize the Tour De France would be less than a blip on most people's radar screens if not for the dominance of Lance Armstrong. But, since he has won six Tours in a row, and as of this writing he is once again poised to dominate, America is once again finding the Outdoor Life Network on their remotes and tuning in to the world's most revered cycling race.

It's a story that seems almost too unrealistic. Too contrived and too perfect. But it's none of those. Armstrong is a cancer survivor who has risen to the peaks of his profession while beating everyone to the peaks of the Alps in southern France. Armstrong understands the nuances of professional cycling like Star Jones understands the Denny's all-you-can-eat buffet. He can sense when his rivals are spent, and knows exactly when to attack. He's also seen the end of his marriage and shacked up with an extremely liberal Joan Baez wanna-be, but nobody's perfect.

People across the demographic divide find themselves wondering how Lance did today, and flipping around the dial to see if another day's racing is still going on. It might even get them off the couch and outside for a few minutes, if not to emulate Armstrong, then at least to honor his efforts.

When he retires after this year's Tour, most of our attention and interest in the event will go with him. So, for the next couple of weeks, and for one last time, give a call to Lance Armstrong, all he's been through and all he's accomplished. It's an American success story. People never forget how to appreciate hard work. It's almost like riding a bike.

Each week, Uncle Buster takes a break from riding his Big Wheel just long enough to write Sportztyme!