Updated: Why wouldn’t NBC have Costas host the Sochi Winter Games?

UPDATED Thursday afternoon: With an astute reader response below

2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - New York Rangers v Philadelphia FlyersThose running the NBC Olympics officially proclaimed that … wait for it … Bob Costas will host the network’s prime-time and late-night coverage of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games from Russia that start a day before the Opening Ceremonies on Friday, Feb. 7.

Because Ryan Seacrest was already booked?

That means Costas will be the prime-time host for every single Olympic Summer and Winter Games that NBC has had since 1992, which will make him a 10-time host. Jim McKay hosted eight Games for ABC during his career.

Costas also did prime-time and late-night hosting for the 2000 Sydney Summer Games from Australia. He was the late-night host of the 1988 Seoul Summer Games from South Korea in 1988.

“With unmatched experience in the host chair, Bob’s historical perspective and expertise will serve as a foundation for our Sochi coverage both in prime-time and late night,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “There is no one better than Bob to lead us in telling the stories of the athletes and competition that captivate fans around the world.”

************

We’ve added this note from reader Miki Osep of Covina:

While NBC’s announcement that Bob Costas will be anchoring the Sochi Olympics seems like stating the obvious, there were reasons for that.

Bob was originally scheduled to cover the National Hopscotch and Jump Roping Championships.  This was NBC Sports’ attempt to cover every possible activity imaginable to attract more viewers.  I understand coverage of the National Tiddlywinks Championships are in the works.

As you may recall, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, ABC News had the three-anchor team of Frank Reynolds, Max Robinson and Peter Jennings.  At that time, I was working for KGTV, the ABC affiliate in San Diego, so I remember that format well.

NBC’s plan in Sochi was to use the three-anchor team of Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears during prime time, with Paris Hilton anchoring the late-night edition.  Paris would have been asked to say, “That’s cool” instead of “That’s hot.”  After all, these ARE the Winter Olympics.

Further, Kanye West, Russell Crowe and Alec Baldwin were to take turns hosting the “Who Should I Punch in the Face Today?” segment during the Games for some entertainment, since the WWF wrestlers had prior commitments.

While intelligence, insight and wit would have gone out the window without Bob at the helm, the overall quality of network television seems to indicate that those aren’t concerns anyway.  Besides, these young women would have attracted the coveted 18-49 demographic, and that’s what’s important.

I am 55, so the advertisers don’t give a rat’s patootie about me.  That’s why I watch a lot of PBS, as do many baby boomers.  “Downton Abbey,” anyone?

However, Bob has been at NBC for 33 years, and in an effort to keep Fox Sports from poaching him so he can cover his beloved baseball, the network acquiesced, and let him anchor the Sochi Olympics.

After all, CNBC just lost Maria Bartiromo to Fox after twenty years.  It wouldn’t look good if Bob left, too.

Now you know why NBC made the announcement about Bob.  Ryan Seacrest will be covering the hopscotch and jump roping championships instead.

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College football ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 13: It’s a weekend of stuff that sets up the grand finale of the regular season … who’ll hold form?

security-consequences250x200Maybe they aren’t looking ahead, but we are.
And all we’ve been told so far is UCLA vs. USC at the Coliseum on the Saturday after Thanksgiving will either be at 12:30 p.m. (on Channel 7, ESPN or ESPN2) or at 5 p.m. (on Channel 7). It depends on things fall this weekend.
However, Michigan-Ohio State is already going to be a 9 a.m. kickoff for ABC on that day. Florida vs. Florida State is also in that 12:30 p.m. range on one of the three networks. Texas A&M-Missouri has already been given an ESPN window at 4:45 p.m., and Clemson-South Carolina is on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.
You really thought the Pac-12 Network would figure out a way to hijack UCLA-USC? It has Arizona State vs. Arizona at 6:30 p.m. which could have P12 South implications.
Again, all that is for next Saturday. We won’t find out about USC-UCLA until this Sunday, the day after these staged events take place:

OF LOCAL INTEREST:
== No. 14 UCLA (8-2, 5-2 P12 South) vs. No. 17 Arizona State (8-2, 6-1 P12 South): Rose Bowl, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 11 (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis, Kristina Pink)
== No. 23 USC (8-3, 5-2 P12 South) at Colorado (4-6, 1-6 P12 South): Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker, Drea Avent)

PAC-12 WILLING PARTICIPANTS:
== Cal (1-10, 0-8 P12 North) at No. 9 Stanford (8-2, 6-2 P12 North):  Saturday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, James Bates, Brady Poppinga)
== No. 5 Oregon (9-1, 6-1 P12 North) at Arizona (6-4, 3-4 Pac 12 South): Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 7 (Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham, Jeannine Edwards)
== Utah (4-6, 1-6 P12 South) at Washington State (5-5, 3-4 Pac 12 North): Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)
== Washington (6-4, 3-4 P12 North) at Oregon State (6-4, 4-3 Pac 12 North): Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN2 (Mark Jones, Brock Huard, Jessica Mendoza)

MARQUEE MATCHUPS:
== No. 4 Baylor (9-0, 6-0) at No. 10 Oklahoma State (9-1, 6-1):  Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7 (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)
== No. 12 Texas A&M (8-2, 4-2 SEC West) at No. 22 LSU (7-3, 3-3 SEC West): Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Woodson)

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NFL ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 12: Now, if the 4-6 Chargers were in, say, any other AFC division … would we care more?

UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, 9 am with KTTV change in 10 a.m. game:

mediocrity5With Buffalo, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Seattle in a bye week:

THURSDAY:
5:25 p.m., NFL Network: New Orleans (8-2) at Atlanta (2-8) (Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan)

SUNDAY:
10 a.m., Channel 2: San Diego (4-6) at Kansas City (9-1) (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
The rest of CBS’ games in this window that get trumped:
=N.Y. Jets (5-5) at Baltimore (4-6) (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)
=Pittsburgh (4-6) at Cleveland (4-6) (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)

=Jacksonville (1-9) at Houston (2-8) (Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker)

10 a.m., Channel 11: Carolina (7-3) at Miami (5-5) (Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jennifer Hale)
The rest of Fox’s games in this window:
=Minnesota (2-8) at Green Bay (5-5) (Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews)
=Chicago (6-4) at St. Louis (4-6) (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa)
=Tampa Bay (2-8) at Detroit (6-4) (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin)

1:25 p.m., Channel 11: Dallas (5-5) at N.Y. Giants (4-6) (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)
Fox has no other games in this window on its doubleheader weekend
CBS has in this window and can’t show to L.A.:
=Indianapolis (7-3) at Arizona (6-4) (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
=Tennessee (4-6) at Oakland (4-6) (Marv Albert, Rich Gannon)

5:30 p.m., Channel 4: Denver (9-1) at New England (7-3) (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY:
5:40 p.m., ESPN: San Francisco (6-4) at Washington (3-7) (with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden)

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Play It Forward: Nov. 18-24 on your sports calendar — No one’s married to the idea that the UCLA-ASU winner has the Pac-12 South locked up heading into the last weekend

UPDATED: Sunday, 9:30 p.m.:
Gearing up for the week ahead:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly is tackled by UCLA's Dalton Hilliard and Cassius Marsh during their 2012 meeting in Tempe, Ariz.  (AP Photo/Matt York)

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly is tackled by UCLA’s Dalton Hilliard and Cassius Marsh during their 2012 meeting in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
No. 14 UCLA vs. No. 17 ARIZONA STATE, Rose Bowl, Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 11:
Football-Proposal_1384631367421_1272313_ver1.0_640_480
Game over. Everyone take a knee. No, this time, just you Stan McKay. The Bruins senior linebacker out of Long Beach Poly seized the moment after last Friday’s win over Washington to ask his girlfriend to marry him at midfield, with teammates and coaches around him capturing it on video. Her touchdown signal appeared to make things official.
Here’s a new proposal: Should the Bruins untie the knot with the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 South by putting up a victory against them here, could someone figure out any better how everyone’s post-season bowl bids fall into place? Doubtful. Still one more week after this one. A Sun Devil victory would drop UCLA to three conference losses. A Bruins victory means the Sun Devils could still win it if they beat Arizona and USC knocks out UCLA.
10.29_FootballASU has lost two in a row to UCLA, but the losses are a by a combined three points. A field goal on the last play of the game by Ka’imi Fairbairn gave the Bruins a 45-43 win last year. A Sun Devils’ missed field goal on the last play of the game gave the Bruins a 29-28 win in 2011.

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If you’re on course to changing the Clippers’ culture, why not start with changing the name (and please don’t tell us that ship has already sailed)

6a00d83451cb8069e20153901bac18970b-500wiOf all the nautical terms you’d think that a franchise sailing along with a nickname like the Clippers would be most familiar with by now, it would be jibbing.

la-clippers-logo-vector-1024x791It means to change direction, go from one tack to another by turning the stern of the ship through the wind.

Until this point in their history, it’s been one embarrassing charted course of disaster. A dysfunctional collection of Gilligans on the SS Minnow, from Benoit Benjamin to Wang ZhiZhi, with every other Olowokandi, Korolev and Closs in between.

There’s really nothing to gain by rehashing that rotting pile of filet o’ fish that floated up from San Diego and has been L.A.’s Titanic-sized sanitation issue since 1984.

Memphis Grizzlies v San Antonio Spurs - Game OneExcept that the stern is about to turn. David Stern, that is, will be leaving as commissioner soon. Trusted assistant Adam Silver will be the new man in charge working with Skipper Donald T. Sterling (not to be confused with Captain Merrill Stubing, of “Love Boat” fame)

Here’s the perfect way to turn this new Sterling-Silver connection into gold: Change the team’s name.

clippers_banners

New coach and former Clippers point guard Doc Rivers has already lobbed the idea up there to change the culture and image by suggesting they cover up those Lakers championship banners up on the Staples Center wall whenever the Clippers are in the building for a home game.

hi-res-183953657-doc-rivers-and-the-los-angeles-clippers-huddle-up_crop_650x440Except everyone knows what’s behind that curtain. And what the Clippers are trying to hide.

Why not spin the spinnaker. Drop the dinghy. Reboot the rudder.

The ex-schooner, the better. Continue reading

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Weekly media column version 11.15.13 — Showtime for the 1970 Alabama-USC game … places again everyone

UPDATED on Friday, noon:

The focus of this week’s media columnification up on the website:

Showtime’s sports division (home of “Inside the NFL” and Jim Rome’s monthly extravaganza) has the latest documentary on the social importance of  1970 USC-Alabama football game played in Birmingham, Ala., with “Against The Tide” debuting Friday at 8 p.m. (Replays include Saturday at noon and Wednesday at 7:45 p.m.). We’ve also got more notes on ESPN’s “Game Day” heading to the USC campus, a CBS Sports Net documentary on the 1963 Army-Navy game, and the final episode of HBO’s “Eastbound & Down” drawing comparisons to “Breaking Bad.”

What didn’t make it into the column, but not for lack of merit:

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How ESPN’s “GameDay” landed a new campus home at USC for Saturday’s appearance

74_fullESPN’s “College GameDay” marks its 10th visit to USC (Saturday, 6 a.m.), but for the first time, the staging won’t take place in front of the Coliseum.

EI_78720_20120328_ESP_6840-scr-e1363276603171Ilan Ben-Hanan, ESPN’s vice president of programming and acquisitions and a USC alum, worked with university officials on short notice last week to convince them of the benefits of setting up in an area on campus called McCarthy Quad, a block west of Figueroa with the iconic Doheny Library in the background.

It’s also not far from Pardee Tower, a popular residence hall for freshman — and where Ben-Hanan spent his first year at the school.

gameday_web “Attendance has been good in the past at the Coliseum, but the bar can be raised, and I’ve always wondered how cool it would be to have ‘GameDay’ on campus,” said Ben-Hanan this morning.

“The Coliseum has its charm and it’s historic, but ‘College GameDay’ lives and breathes better when it’s on the campus. We know there are all kinds of complications perhaps with homecoming activities taking place, but I’ve very thankful to the athletic administration and President Nikias to allow this to happen. We’ve pledged to them that we’ll be in and out quickly.”

Starting with Friday’s UCLA-Washington 6 p.m. contest at the Rose Bowl and capped by Saturday’s USC-Stanford 5 p.m., game at the Coliseum, “Game Day” throws an added spotlight on L.A. for the sport that no other part of the country has experienced this year.

“L.A. is the center of our universe this weekend, and that’s a pretty rare situation that it’s happened this way,” said Ben-Hanan, who joined ESPN in 2002 after working in USC’s athletic marketing department, holder of a broadcast journalism degree.

“From our perspective, Thursday and Friday games are set far in advance, so we knew we’d be here for UCLA. With the Stanford-Oregon game last Thursday, we put in a six-day pick request (to set the time and network for USC-Stanford) based on the outcome, and when Stanford won, we found the game at USC to be a great national prime-time exposure for us. It was quite a quick turnaround to then get ‘Game Day’ to follow, but USC has become a story itself with its turnaround.”

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College football ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 12: The Corso Curse — Can he get into any trouble if dons a Trojan helmet and swings his sword?

corsoalESPN’s “College GameDay” will mark its 10th trip to USC — remember way back when, as they were wrestling with the fact there’d be no sunlight when the show started, but somehow, that sunrise and all the spotlights made the area outside the Coliseum all the more dramatic?
Because ESPN decided to make the Stanford-USC game a 5 p.m. Saturday prime-time event for its ABC audience, it made useful sense to hold “GameDay” in L.A. as well. This ends up being the fourth “GameDay” appearance in four years. USC’s only real “GameDay” exposure this season was when recently fired head coach Lane Kiffin made an appearance on the set in Seattle.
FF_155970_lAs for Lee Corso: ESPN says he is a perfect 9-0 when making predictions prior to a USC game in L.A. He’s picked USC the first six times, and whomever USC is playing the last three.

With BCS rankings and records where noteworthy:

OF LOCAL INTEREST:
== No. 13 UCLA (7-2, 4-2 P12 South) vs. Washington (6-3, 3-3 P12 North), Rose Bowl, Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2 (Carter Blackburn, Danny Kanell, Allison Williams)
== USC (7-3, 4-2 P12 South) vs. No. 4 Stanford (8-1, 6-1 P12 North), Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7 (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)

PAC-12 WILLING PARTICIPANTS:
== Utah (4-5, 1-5 P12 South) at No. 6 Oregon (8-1, 5-1 P12 North), Saturday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, James Bates, Brady Poppinga)
== Oregon State (6-3, 4-2 P12 North) at No. 19 Arizona State (7-2, 5-1 P12 South), Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Ted Robinson, Glenn Parker, Drea Avent)
== Cal (1-9, 0-7 P12 North) at Colorado (3-6, 0-6 P12 South), Saturday at 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network (Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron)
== Washington State (4-5, 2-4 P12 North) at Arizona (6-3, 3-3 P12 South), Saturday at 11 a.m., Pac-12 Network (Kevin Calabro, Yogi Roth, Jill Savage)

MARQUEE MATCHUPS:
== No. 25 Georgia (6-3, 4-2 SEC SEC East) at No. 7 Auburn (9-1, 5-1 SEC West), Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 2 (Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, Tracy Wolfson)
== No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1, 5-1 B12) at No. 24 Texas (7-2, 6-0 B12), Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11 (Craig Bolerjack, Joey Harrington, Ryan Nece)

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NFL ’13 TV lineup for L.A. in Week 11: With NBC taking K.C.-Denver, at least we will see it (as well as Chargers)

20121125141606Things got a little squirrely when the NFL cranked it up to Week 11.
NBC flexed its scheduling muscle and yanked Kansas City-Denver away from CBS (which the network had supposedly protected) and returned Green Bay-N.Y. Giants to Fox (which it doesn’t even want as its primary game on either ends of its doubleheader weekend).
CBS has only one window this week, so, for L.A, it would have been San Diego-Miami regardless of the Chiefs-Broncos situation. But with NBC’s decision, CBS needed to move another game into that prime afternoon slot, so it picked the Chargers-Dolphins.
The situation that created is that it is now up against Fox’s attractive San Francisco at New Orleans game, which is more likely to divert the L.A. audience from the Chargers to a better contest (since there’s no blackout of a game opposite the Chargers in L.A.)

Here’s how it all fell into place (with Dallas and Arizona on a bye week):

THURSDAY:

5:25 p.m., NFL Network: Indianapolis (6-3) at Tennessee (4-5) (Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock and Alex Flanagan)

SUNDAY:

10 a.m., Channel 11: Washington (3-6) at Philadelphia (5-5)  (Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews)
The rest of Fox’s games in this window:
Detroit (6-3) at Pittsburgh (3-6) (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin)
Atlanta (2-7) at Tampa Bay (1-8) (Sam Rosen, Heath Evans, Peter Schrager)
St. Louis (4-6) at Jacksonville (1-8) (Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber, Kris Budden)
The other CBS games in this window that won’t be seen in L.A.:
Baltimore (4-5) at Chicago (5-4) (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)

N.Y. Jets (5-4) at Buffalo (3-7) (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
Cleveland (4-5) at Cincinnati (6-4) (Marv Albert, Rich Gannon)
Oakland (3-6) at Houston (2-7) (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)

1:05 p.m., Channel 2: San Diego (4-5) at Miami (4-5) (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)

1:25 p.m., Channel 11: San Francisco (6-3) at New Orleans (7-2) (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver)
Fox also has in this window:
Green Bay (5-4) at N.Y. Giants (3-6) (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa)

Minnesota (2-7) at Seattle (9-1) (Chris Myers, Tim Ryan, Jennifer Hale)

5:30 p.m., Channel 4: Kansas City (9-0) at Denver (8-1) (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)

MONDAY:
5:40 p.m., ESPN: New England (7-2) at Carolina (6-3) (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)

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Play it Forward: Nov. 11-17 on your sports calendar — UCLA in a Friday night fight; USC has to get up early the next day to greet Stanford

What to look forward to this week:

THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:
COLLEGE FOOTBALL:
UCLA vs. WASHINGTON, Rose Bowl, Friday at 6 p.m., ESPN2
USC vs. STANFORD, Coliseum, Saturday at 5 p.m., Channel 7:
moones
Prime-time on back-to-back nights, the Bruins and Trojans are put into similar statement-making positions here. But does winning fashion come before winning form? UCLA (7-2, 4-2) finally breaks out its “L.A. Midnight” black-and-blue jersey combo, to mixed responses that have already been registered in cyberspace commentary. “Pretty sick unis and I don’t even like ucla,” said one comment on BleacherReport.com. “They’re marketing to 16 & 17 year old high school kids not fans. Smart recruiting tool even if they’re ugly,” read one response on SI.com. Want a No. 17 jersey of your own (that Brett Hundley will receive no financial compensation for)?
Want your own black-and-blue No. 17 jersey of your own (that Brett Hundley will receive no financial compensation for)? They’re running for $300 on the adidas.com website.
Pasadena-FreewayIt’s already going to be a high-tech tight fit to get fans to this game considering the usual Friday night rush-hour traffic on the Pasadena autobahn. This is where you need a jack-of-all-trades like Bruins freshman Myles Jack to run interference on the 110 transition to the 5 in hopes the 210 back entrance allows for enough running room.  The visiting Huskies (6-3, 3-3) are finally bowl-eligible with their win over Colorado on Saturday, but the three-game losing streak they had between Oct. 5-19 against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona State took a lot of wind out of their Union Bay sails.
ESPN-College-GameDay-Sign-Upper-Deck-USC-Body-Paint-Go-USCOn the other side of town, prime-time begins at 6 a.m. with ESPN “College GameDay” coming by for the first time in years. What’s their deal? The Trojans (7-3, 4-2), edging closer to a Top 25 ranking, find Stanford (8-1, 6-1) grinding out wins against ranked opponents the last three weeks, including that inspired 26-20 gut-buster against Oregon last Thursday.
120814103644-smb-pinks-hot-dogs-how-we-got-started-00000713-video-15After the underdog Trojans overcame Oregon State two weeks ago, Ed Orgeron treated the team to the In-N-Out dining experience. Pull that little stunt again against this smarty pants Cardinal team and Orgeron may have to up the reward to a two-night’s stay at Pink’s hot dog stand.
Would the Trojans look pretty in pink? That’s another fashion statement question we’re not sure we want to pursue.

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