Updated weekly media column version 02.07.14: A leap of faith, and a quip from Costas, launch the NBC X Games/Winter Olympics

Shaun White takes a jump during a Snowboard Slopestyle training session Tuesday in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics.A day later, White pulled out of competing in the event that began with qualifying Thursday.  (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Shaun White takes a jump during a Snowboard Slopestyle training session Tuesday in Krasnaya Polyana, Russia prior to the 2014 Winter Olympics.A day later, White pulled out of competing in the event that began with qualifying Thursday. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

What made it into this week’s collection basket:

The NBC slope-style coverage we anticipate for the Winter Olympics is supposed to draw in a younger demographic. But will that really happen if the network keeps dancing around the real dangers of these kind of X Games-added event while the athletes competing in them aren’t too keen about the slopestyle course set up? Also, a viewers’ guide to the Games is here.
The website media notes include a revision of the past blog posts about distribution issues that face SportsNet L.A., changes in leadership at Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, and the debut of the Los Angeles Rebels as a potential video-on-demand series.

Meanwhile, what didn’t make it in but could have:

Notes updated Friday at 9 a.m.:

== The Sports Business Daily reports NBC had an overnight rating of 11.8, best for the network on a Thursday night since the NFL season-opener in September with Baltimore at Denver, and the most-watched network in prime time. How soon before you think NBC starts asking about stretching the Winter Games from 18 days to 24?

== Vin Scully offers up his remembrances of Ralph Kiner for SNY … mostly as the Hall of Fame player he was for the Pirates in the 1950s, when Scully first started with the Dodgers, and not so much as a WOR broadcaster for the Mets.

== Nice move by FoxSports.com to add added longtime baseball columnist and author Rob Neyer as a senior baseball editor, starting next week. After 15 years at ESPN.com, Neyer was at SB Nation the last three years. He started as a research assistant for Bill James and later was at STATS, Inc. Neyer has written or co-written six baseball books, including Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Legends, Feeding the Green Monster, and The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers.

== An update to this note: ESPN/ABC apparently can’t get its deposit back on a pre-season commitment to televising the Lakers and Chicago Bulls contest Sunday at 12:30 p.m. from Staples Center, so it’s going all the way in with Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Lisa Salters as the crew calling it for Channel 7, Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales on ESPN Deportes, and Kevin Calabro with Jon Barry for ESPN Radio, lest anyone mistakes this for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Leading into this, ABC has Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Heather Cox has fewer apologized to offer for taking the New York-Oklahoma City game (10 a.m., Channel 7).
ESPN then announced today that it would actually add another broadcaster to the game — former NBA referee Steve Javie, on board to discuss pertinent NBA officiating topics throughout the game. Most likely when the game appears to be getting uninteresting and someone wants to know how the Lakers managed to pull off that victory in Cleveland earlier in the week with just four eligible players.

== HBO has decided that as part of February’s Black History Month, it would replay the 2008 documentary, “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football,” on Monday at 10:20 a.m. Part of the doc includes the Sept., 1970 game when USC traveled to Alabama and created the legend of Sam “Bam” Cunningham. This is the documentary that inspired former exec producer Ross Greenburg to focus just on that game as its own film when he joined CBS Sports and created “Against the Tide” for Showtime that first aired last fall.

BfuAgXlIMAAZLGI== Who are the best folks to follow on Twitter during the Winter Games in Sochi? The Sports Business Daily also offers up a list that includes NBC production chief Jim Bell (@jfb), Sochi 2014 president Dmitry Chernyshenko (@DChernyshenko), Wall Street Jouirnal’s Moscow correspondent Paul Sonne (@paulsonne), NBC “Olympic aggregator” and former USOC employee Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi), and Olympic snowboarder Hannah Teter (@hannahteter), “because the selfie she posted from atop a mountain in Russia may be the best athlete photo to surface from what some are calling the ‘Selfie Olympics.’”

Other notes posted Thursday afternoon:

== To see the Winter Olympics opening ceremonies live on Friday at 8 a.m., the Redondo Beach Cafe (1511 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach) and its Greek-Canadian Tsangaris brother ownership team is promoting that it will have the Canadian feed that doesn’t submit itself to tape-delayed prime-time rubbish. Other dining and drinking establishments around Southern California should be so accommodating.

== How do you watch the NBCOlympics.com coverage if you’re not paying a monthly bill to a cable or dish company — aka, the cord cutters? Slate.com has some perspective.

== Will NBC be fair, balanced or even cognizant of all that’s going on in Russia around these games? The Washington Post has that covered.

== Bob Costas, already in a pickle in Sochi?

== A look back at the Time Warner Cable resolution to how millions hundreds of So Cal customers lost their feed of the Super Bowl on Sunday, mostly because they couldn’t figure out how to get out of the standard def coverage and flip to high def.

== As a followup to the CBS-NFL announcement on the new Thursday night package they just agreed upon — in the $250 million range for eight games — it’s interesting how the network will give its Jim Nantz-Phil Simms team priority on those contests and not burn them out asking them to also do Sunday games, says Richard Sandomir in the New York Times.
“Their priority will be Thursday,” said Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, who added that they would probably get some Sundays off. “We won’t burn out our A talent and A production teams.”

== The Pac-12 Network will have Roxy Bernstein, Don MacLean and Yogi Roth on its coverage of the UCLA-USC men’s basketball game from Galen Center (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.). Which is preceeded by the UCLA-USC women’s game at Galen Center (3 p.m.) wit Ann Marie-Anderson and Mary Murphy. Which is followed by UCLA-USC men’s volleyball on Sunday at 6 p.m. with Kevin Barnett and Kevin Wong. All of which comes after the network televises the 1,000th live event since its Aug. 15, 2012 launch when it does Arizona-Utah women’s gymnastics on Friday at 6 p.m. (not carried on the L.A. version of Pac-12 Net).

== TNT announced Thursday that Kobe Bryant has agreed to be part of the NBA All-Star Game broadcast (Sunday Feb. 16, 5 p.m. in New Orleans) with Marv Albert, Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr. More details to come.

== Bryant was included in a recent townhall meeting at the PGA Tour’s Humana Challenge event in Palm Desert called “Kids and Sports,” which ESPN2 will air Sunday at 5 p.m. Other panelists were Matt Kemp, Allyson Felix, Julie Foudy, Herschel Walker and former President Clinton. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg moderated.

== Not to force the issue or put unnecessary torque while twisting anyone’s arm, but ESPN will stage its first “ESPN Sport Science Newton Awards” at Jon Brenkus’ Sport Science studio near the Burbank Airport on Saturday from 6-8 p.m., to be taped and aired on ESPN on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 3 p.m., as well as being repurposed on ABC on Feb. 22. Guests invited include pro skateboarder Mitchie Brusco, world record distance swimmer Diana Nyad, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, actor Dave Koechner, Bill Nye, retired MMA fighter Randy Couture and ESPN personality Marcellus Wiley. The show is intenting to award those based “on unprecedented scientific analysis of thousands of moments, plays and performances from the world of sports” during 2013.

== Fox Sports 1’s foray into thoroughbred racing starts with Sunday’s Donn Handicap from Gulfstream Park (2 p.m.). Greg Wolf, a UCLA grad and former TVG broadcaster, will be the host with Simon Bray and Andy Serling as the handicappers/analysts. Alyssa Ali will report and retired jockey Richard Migliore will be an analyst. Brad Zager, the VP of productions for Fox Sports and a former Dodgers game producer on Prime TIcket, willorchestrate the coverage on Fox’s The Jockey Club Tour of nine race events that includes  the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 29 and the Eddie Read Stakes from Del Mar on July 20.

== Sorry to have to do this, but there’s another media-related apology for Erin Andrews.

== The Professional Bullriders’ stop in Anaheim’s Honda Center gets some CBS coverage on Sunday — 9 to 10 a.m. on Channel 2 (taped from the first two days competition), then 3-to-5 p.m. live on CBS Sports Network. Craig Hummer, Ty Murray and Leah Garcia call it.

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