NBC Sports Network will use boxing, soccer, college football and college basketball games "as replacement programming for nine NHL telecasts" that were erased due to the ongoing lockout, according to a network official cited by R. Thomas Umstead of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. The net has 100 live NHL broadcasts "scheduled for the upcoming season." The lockout also is leaving many RSNs in the U.S. "scrambling to find replacement programming" for NHL games (MULTICHANNEL.com, 10/4).
SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL: The GLOBE & MAIL's Steve Ladurantaye reports the CBC Thursday announced that it will "continue to broadcast old NHL games on Saturday nights rather than turn to alternative programming to fill the time usually occupied by 'Hockey Night in Canada.'" The net is "asking viewers to vote for which 'classic' games it will air, giving them a choice between five games a week." CBC Exec VP/English Services Kirstine Stewart said, "Advertisers are always interested in hockey fans, but we’re humble about the numbers we are expecting for these games." Ladurantaye notes a hit to the CBC's viewership, and any "subsequent loss in advertising, would come at an already perilous time for the public broadcaster." Stewart said that analyst Don Cherry currently "isn't part" of the CBC's replacement plan. However, she added that Cherry and other "HNIC" regulars "could be integrated into the broadcast if the lockout runs for an extended amount of time." Meanwhile, Sportsnet officials have already lined up "a steady stream of" AHL games on Saturday nights to "try and pry viewers away from CBC." TSN plans to "stick to its original plans to air live events on Saturday nights." Those events include "CFL and NFL playoff games, football and NASCAR." TSN also has exclusive rights to Wednesday-night NHL games, and will "look to the past to fill the slot." A series called "Team Canada Rewind" will "feature the country's national team in various games." TSN tested the idea in September when it aired "Game 8 of the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and Russia that drew close to 3 million viewers" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/5).