SBD/March 7, 2011/Media

Irish Eyes Are Smiling, Again: Versus To Air Classic Notre Dame Games On St. Patty's Day

Versus' coverage will include an interview with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly
NBC is putting its programming on Versus for the first time next week, when the cable channel re-runs three Notre Dame football games on St. Patrick's Day, from 5:00-11:00pm ET. The channel also plans to carry Notre Dame's spring football game, marking the first time the game will be televised nationally. Liam McHugh will host the three games, which will include interviews with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and former players like Jerome Bettis, under the banner "Celebrate the Irish." The three games will be the '92 win against Penn State at 5:00pm, the '05 loss to USC at 7:00pm and the '93 win against top-ranked Florida State at 9:00pm. NBCSports.com is hosting a poll -- complete with game clips -- to determine the 10 "Greatest Notre Dame on NBC Moments." Versus will telecast the results during the St. Patrick's Day marathon (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

NHL A BIG TEST FOR NBC, VERSUS: In Philadelphia, Bob Fernandez noted with an NFL lockout still a possibility, a "big winner could be professional hockey," as the NHL's television rights gain "cachet with ESPN and other networks fearful of a football-barren channel lineup." That may be the "first big test for NBC Sports," which now owns and controls Versus. Keeping the NHL on Versus "seems central to the corporate plan for Comcast-controlled NBC Universal Inc. to transform Versus into more of a mainstream sports outlet." NHL games allow NBC to promote Versus "on its NBC cable and TV channels and websites as it is doing with the Golf Channel." InsideHockey.com Editor-in-Chief Kevin Greenstein said, "If you look at the Versus website, what do you see? It's pretty safe to say that the NHL is an important property for Versus" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/6).

AMATEUR HOUR? In N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote it is reasonable to "assume the production people at Versus care about and are proficient at their craft." Brooks: "So then why do Versus' NHL telecasts remain amateurish and essentially unwatchable in the network's sixth year on the job?" (N.Y. POST, 3/6).
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