In N.Y., Christopher Clarey reports tennis player Maria Sharapova will "soon be on the other side of the camera for a change, taking another tennis break in February to debut as a television presenter with NBC for the Olympics in Sochi, Russia," where she lived "from ages 4 to 7." She is "also expected to play a role in Sochi's opening ceremony." Sharapova said of the NBC offer, "I was planning on going anyway, and this just kind of came about. Personally, selfishly, it’s just really good experience for me, because I’ve never done anything like that with television, and I’m keen to learn. I’ve never been to a Winter Olympics before. I’m certainly not going to be commenting on bobsledding or anything" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/16).
BOWLING FOR SOUP: In DC, Norman Chad wrote, "The PBA on TV is broke, and frankly, I'm not sure how to fix it." The league this year has "gone with groundbreaking blue dye on the lanes to show the oil patterns, and that means they talk a lot about, well, oil patterns." Listening to ESPN analyst Randy Pedersen discuss oil patterns "isn’t exactly like listening to Gore Vidal discuss the classics." The blue dye is "almost unnoticeable and not nearly as annoying as, say, TBS’s PitchTrax," but now there is "even more emphasis on oil patterns, with Pedersen talking endlessly about friction" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/15).
FORBIDDEN LANGUAGE: In West Palm Beach, Frank Cerabino noted ESPN execs have "issued a directive to their on-air talent to stop saying the word 'sucks' during their broadcasts." Years ago, you would "never see the word printed in a newspaper or hear it spoken on a newscast," as newsmakers "didn’t say the word when reporters were taking notes or cameras were rolling." But now, it has "become common." Cerabino: "We have gradually turned into a two-adjective nation, where everything either sucks or is awesome. So, let’s all applaud ESPN for taking a bold step to force its broadcasters to combat half of that problem" (PALM BEACH POST, 12/13).
A SECOND CHANCE: NESN last week announced that former Hawks sideline reporter Elle Duncan in February "would be added to the roster" of the net's on-air personalities. But in Boston, Gayle Fee notes the net "made no mention" of Duncan's arrest for "a DUI following a Hawks playoff game." NESN execs said that Duncan was "'totally upfront' with her future bosses about the arrest when she interviewed for the Boston gig." NESN Marketing & Communications Manager Gary Roy said, "She expressed remorse and responsibility for her actions" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 12/16).