What the plan is for Sunday:
The madness of March and the on-ramp to the MLB season, the NBA playoffs and the Stanley Cup playoffs… and we’ve hooked our rig to the NASCAR Sprint Cup, returning to Fontana this weekend on FS1, FS2 and Fox.
Trust us. It’s going to work. Somehow.
The bare essentials: Fox has Mike Joy, Jeff Gordon and Darrell Waltrip (we listed those two analysts in order of importance) and Larry McReynolds somehow still in the mix for the Auto Club 400 (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11). Jamie Little, Chris Neville and Matt Yocum are in the pits, and no rain predicted.
Chris Myers has the pre-race show (Sunday, noon) with Gordon, Waltrip and Michael Waltrip. “NASCAR Raceday” at 10:30 a.m. on FS2 has John Roberts hosting with Jeff Hammond, Wally Dallenbach, Kaitlyn Vincie and Kenny Wallace. The features include a look at “drivers’ media blitzes in the Los Angeles market,” such as Ryan Blaney and Darrell Wallace Jr. attending Thursday’s “American Idol.”
Qualifying is Friday (4:30 p.m., FS1). The cable channel also has practice at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday at 8 a.m. (FS2) and 11:30 a.m.
The Xfinity Series NXS 300 goes Saturday at 1 p.m. (FS1, with Adam Alexander on the call, analyst Michael Waltrip and guest analyst and defending Auto Club 400 winner Brad Keselowski). Practice is Friday at noon and 2:30 pm.. (FS1) with qualifying Saturday at 9 a.m. (FS1). The “Raceday-Xfinity” show at 12:30 p.m. (FS1) has Danielle Trotta hosting with McReynolds, Kenny Wallace and reporter Neville.
What’s worth posting here and now:
== And speaking of FS1: Yes, there are changes going on there as the cable channel rebranded in Aug., 2013 with much too much fanfare (really, Regis Philbin?) has been going through too many public growing pains.
(And three logos over this period of time?)
The latest round of layoffs and cutbacks are written about here and there, and we’ve not really wanted to expose too much about what we’re hearing until more dust settles and the ranting subsides as we get a clearer picture on what’s happening at the L.A.-based facility.
We already know about the “reformatted” “Fox Sports Live with Jay and Dan” that “strays from the traditional highlight shows” (as per the weekly press release). If the Canadians can do the news like Scott Van Pelt at ESPN, more power to ’em, eh?
Meanwhile, we know of several people who’ve been part of the latest purge — and even read about Tony Siragusa on the outs at network Fox NFL coverage.
None of this is easy or fun. Stay tuned.
== Didn’t current Fox employ Erin Andrews look like $55 million bucks during her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night?
== Why was someone named Joy Taylor sitting in for Kristine Leahy on “The Herd With Colin Cowherd” today and coming back Friday? Not that we heard anything but Taylor, the younger sister of former Dolphins star Jason Taylor and a Miami radio co-host, has already been a joy to hear in this fill-in spot. If there’s one reason why our ears have been diverted away from Cowherd’s show so far on FS1 …
== Today the Clippers, next the Rams?
The announcement Wednesday night the Clippers figured out a deal with KLAC (570 AM) and iHeartRadio to carry the rest of their games for this season, including the playoffs, is probably the best fit since the Clippers’ former flagship station, KMPC (980 AM) was sold and abandoned the all-sports format, switching to Southeast Asian/Indian/Bollywood music.
Senior VP of Sports Los Angeles/KLAC Don Martin told us several weeks ago that if the numbers matched up, the iHeartRadio family of stations would be willing to add the Clippers on — especially with UCLA basketball done for the season. The Dodgers would provide the most conflicts going forward, but the Clippers know they’ll likely be moved over to KEIB (AM 1150) when those happen.
The first Clippers game on KLAC will be Saturday in Memphis, followed by Sunday in New Orleans and next Wednesday at Golden State.
Adding the Clippers to the KLAC home of the Dodgers and UCLA only makes it more attractive for the Rams to eventually add an iHeartRadio station to their media platforms once that decision is to be made.
On the FM side — where most NFL teams have a sister station to carry games in stereo — the best IHeartRadio options in L.A. are alternative rock Alt 987, hip-hop Power 106 and Real 92.3, or classic rock 105.5 KLOS, as well as several Spanish-language stations.
== A week out from the CIF state basketball championships in Sacramento and TWC SportsNet as well as TWC Community channel and the website locked down the major Southern California Regional finals at the Long Beach State Pyramid.
Steve Quis and Casey Jacobsen have the call on the Chino Hills’ road show as it puts its 32-0 record again with 28-2 Bishop Montgomery for the boys Open Division title game (Saturday, 8:30 p.m.) on TWC Community and livestream. The winner moves to the March 26 state title.
Note: There will also be a replay of this one at 10:30 p.m. on TWC SportsNet (which is committed to the MLS Galaxy game against San Jose from 7:30-to-9:30 p.m., plus the Galaxy “Access” postgame).
TWC SportsNet can otherwise commit to the boys Division I final between Redondo and Crespi (3 p.m.), girls Division final final between Brea Olinda and Vista Murrietta (1 p.m.), boys Division II final between Long Beach Poly and JW North (11 a.m.) and girls Division II final between Mater Dei and Cajon (9 a.m.).
The girls Open Division final between Chaminade and Long Beach Poly is only on TWC Community and live stream tipping off at 5 p.m.
Quis and Jacobsen also have the call on the girls Open and boys Division I championships. Dan Hellie and Tracy Warren have the girls Division I and II and boys Division II.
== It seems almost like a month ago now when CBS finally finished its reveal of the men’s NCAA Tournament bracket in the two-hour Sunday show that a) no one seemed to be pleased with and b) even more were upset/elated that someone leaked a bracket over Twitter.
Upset, at the NCAA offices. Elated, everyone trying to stay patient while watching Charley Barkley trying to mess with a touchscreen (he apparently didn’t make it to rehersal?).
A follow up by the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir, which referenced our Sunday piece that previewed CBS Sports Sean McManus explaining why it was expanding the show, noted that “executives of CBS and Turner refused to comment on Monday, apparently uninterested in suppressing the uproar among college basketball fans.”
Having the Barkley situation was annoying enough (c’mon, play along with Ernie Johnson about whether Fairleigh Dickinson is named after one or two people?)
But dragging out the regions, then having more analysis in between, felt more like a four-corner stall. This day in age calls for immediate need for information. Had it been back to a one-hour show, the draws would have been up in the first half hour and the rest was left for analysis. This time, it dragged past the full-hour mark before it was complete, and by then, the Twitter leak had occurred.
The result was a 3.7 overnight rating for the show, its lowest in 20 years.
Live and learn. We are at least thankful that we could provide some context about how it was supposed to happen versus what actually went down.
Anyone watch ESPN’s one-hour women’s tournament reveal last Monday as a comparison? Didn’t think so.
One for the road: Check out Sam Laird’s take on this at Mashable.com, where the person who leaked the bracket is referred to as “a Liam Neeson-level hero.”
== Kevin Harlan has the call, Reggie Miller and Dan Bonner are the analysts and Lewis Johnson on the sideline for the TBS carriage of USC-Providence in Thursday night’s opening round in Raleigh, N.C., of the NCAA Tournament East Regional (approx. 6:50 p.m.).
How punch drunk may this foursome be by the time the Trojans start the layup line?
About six hours earlier, they’ll call Texas Tech-Butler (9:40 a.m., truTV), then Virginia-Hampton (approx. 12:15 p.m., truTV), then North Carolina-Florida Gulf Coast (4:20 p.m., TBS). Bathroom breaks optional.
The Thursday coverage begins with Ian Eagle, Chris Webber, Len Elmore and Evan Washburn on Duke-N.C. Wilmington in Providence, R.I., at 9:15 a.m. on Channel 2. Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wilson are at the Des Moines site to start with Colorado-UConn at 10:30 a.m. on TNT. Then comes Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Jamie Erdahl in Denver beginning with Iowa State-Iona at 11 a.m.
Friday’s teams: Brian Anderson, Steve Smith and Dana Jacobson are in St. Louis launching Dayton-Syracuse at 9:15 a.m. on Channel 2; Verne Lundquist, Jim Sparnakel and Allie LaForce are in Brooklyn for the start of Villanova-UNC Ashville at 9:40 a.m. on truTV; Carter Blackburn, Mike Gminski and Jamie Maggio are in Oklahoma City for Oregon State-VCU at 10:30 a.m. on TNT and Spero Dedes, Doug Gottieb and Ros Gold-Onwude are in Spokane for Cal-Hawaii at 11 a.m. on TBS. Really, they needed to start a West Coast game before noon local time? It’s the very last window they have for the day, so, yes. But still …
== KCBS-Channel 2 will again use Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus as its in-studio analyst with Jim Hill throughout the tournament.
== WNBA Sparks star Candace Parker is the analyst (with Tiffany Greene on play-by-play) for UCLA’s first-round game at Pauley Pavilion against Hawaii (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2) in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. ESPN2 will have four games in that regional window but sends this one specific to the L.A. market.