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Veteran producer Mark Wolff has rejoined CBS as Lead Game Producer for "The NFL on CBS." Wolff will be teamed with Larry Cavolina, who will serve as the Lead Game Director/Coordinating Director (CBS Sports)....The Whitbred sailing race, a nine-month event, will have a "live television finish" for the first time. Whitbred execs "may order" the fleets to sail "extra miles to accommodate" the TV schedule "if the finish is ahead of schedule" (Ellen Gamerman, Baltimore SUN, 5/22).
The following lists ratings for select sporting events from last weekend. All times are EDT. The numbers are from the networks (THE DAILY). EVENT DATE NET TIME RAT/SHR Indianapolis 500 Time Trials 5/16 ABC 1:00-2:00pm 1.4/5 PGA Tour: Byron Nelson Classic 5/16 ABC 2:00-4:30pm 2.3/8 Horse Racing: Preakness Stakes 5/16 ABC 4:30-6:00pm 3.6/11 CBS Sports Spect: Gymnastics 5/16 CBS 1:00-3:00pm 1.8/7 CBS Sports Spectacular: PBA Tour 5/16 CBS 3:00-4:00pm 1.6/6 LPGA Championship 5/16 CBS 4:00-6:00pm 1.2/4 "NBA on NBC": Lakers-Jazz 5/16 NBC 3:30-6:00pm 5.3/17 Indianapolis 500 Time Trials 5/17 ABC 1:30-3:00pm 1.5/5 PGA Tour: Byron Nelson Classic 5/17 ABC 3:00-6:00pm 2.8/8 CBS Sports Spect: Gymnastics 5/17 CBS 3:00-4:00pm 2.5/8 LPGA Championship 5/17 CBS 4:00-6:00pm 1.3/3 "NHL on Fox": Blues-Red Wings 5/17 FOX 2:00-5:00pm 1.5/5 "NBA on NBC": Pacers-Bulls 5/17 NBC 3:30-6:00pm 8.9/24 NHL RATINGS NOTES: Fox's 1.7/5 average rating through four weeks of its NHL playoff coverage is down 15% from last year's average for the same period of 2.0/5 (THE DAILY). In N.Y., George Vecsey notes the decline of NHL ratings under the header "Whatever Happened To Hockey?" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/22). The Caps-Senators series, which featured four games on HTS, had a 2.0 rating, "pushing the team's playoff ratings to a cumulative 1.73." For comparison, the Orioles are averaging a 2.2 for the season (WASHINGTON POST, 5/22). ....The final Caps-Senators game last Friday night on CBC drew "a disappointing" 928,000 viewers in primetime. On Saturday night, the Oilers-Stars drew 1.14 million, also a "below-average playoff number" (GLOBE & MAIL, 5/22). In S.F., Susan Slusser examines NHL ratings, writing, "Nationally, hockey is an ice-cold television proposition. Locally, hockey is a hit" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/22). NBA RATINGS NOTES: Through 16 telecasts, NBC's NBA playoff coverage is averaging a 6.1/18, down 3% from last year's 6.3/18 (THE DAILY)....Tuesday's Pacers-Bulls game gave Fox Sports Chicago its season-high rating with a 20.7. The rating also topped the time period encompassing pregame, game and postgame shows -- a period that included the season finale of ABC's "NYPD Blue" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/22).
SI For Kids Publisher Cleary Simpson and Research Dir Donna Sabino are the subject of the "SGB Interview" by Chris McEvoy. Sabino, on which leagues kids favor: "[W]hen I started at SI for Kids in 1991 the NBA was not one of kids' favorite leagues. Then the NBA made this deliberate, concerted effort to reach out to kids and say, 'Here's this guy Michael Jordan.' Then kids responded by thinking that well, this is kind of cool. The NFL then took the initiative and started telling kids 'We want you to keep track of your team. ... Pay attention every Sunday.' The leagues can't take for granted anymore that kids are inherently going to know about their sport." Simpson noted that kids "were very effected by the [MLB] strike," and added that MLB has "to find a way to get the players more involved with some of these programs for kids" to boost popularity. Simpson, on the ages of SI For Kids readers: "[W]e're getting them earlier. We have a lot of seven-year- old readers. That's really when you're beginning to learn to read, and they're keeping it longer. We're graduating most of them by 14 or 15. ... Right now, our total readership is about 70/30 boys/girls" (SGB, 4/15 issue).
The first-ever live, interactive, video and audio telecast of a pro baseball game will be broadcast over the Internet on Monday at 1:30pm PT, when the AAA PCL Fresno Grizzlies host the Albuquerque Dukes. CA-based Computer Aided Technologies (CAT) and the Grizzlies are partners in the Intercast, which will be available to anyone with Netscape, AOL or Microsoft Web Browser software, and can be found at www.amintercast.com (CAT). CAT CEO Ed DeReyes said that he expects 15,000-20,000 people to watch the game online. Four cameras have been set up for the game, as well as chat areas for fans to interact with the announcers and other fans (Jon Swartz, S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/21).