USC Game Doesn’t Fit Under Fox’s Net


Any way you look at it, determining the rhyme or reason behind what college football games end up on television isn’t easy.

On Saturday, ABC will show Washington-UCLA at 12:30 p.m., which is a no-brainer.

But why are Oregon-Arizona State on Channel 9 and California-Arizona on Fox Sports West, yet USC-Oregon State is not on live anywhere? Neither is Stanford-Washington State.


Well, Fox Sports Net chose Cal-Arizona as its Pacific 10 games of the week, to be shown nationally, then chose Oregon-Arizona State as its syndicated game to be shown on mostly over-the-air channels in Pac-10 country.

That’s why Oregon-Arizona State is on Channel 9, while USC-Oregon State goes untelevised, marking the

first time in 111 games--since 1988--that a USC game won’t be televised live in Los Angeles.

“Even though L.A. is a major market, we can’t tailor our syndicated package just for L.A.,” said Arthur Smith, the senior vice president of Fox Sports Net. “We have to spread things around to satisfy all our affiliates.”

Smith denied that the expense of renting lights ($50,000) for Parker Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., was a factor. If Fox Sports Net were televising USC-Oregon State, the kickoff would have been switched from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

“We’ve rented lights before, although we are talking with the conference about getting them installed in stadiums that don’t have them,” Smith said. “It costs $50,000 to rent lights and $60,000 to buy them. It makes no sense to have to keep renting them.”


USC-Oregon State will be shown on tape on Fox Sports West 2 Saturday at 10:30 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.

If UCLA defeats Washington on Saturday, the USC-UCLA game will be on ABC the following Saturday at 12:30 p.m. If UCLA loses, the USC-UCLA game will be on Fox Sports West 2 at 3:30 p.m.


A great idea: Classic Sports Network will show last Saturday’s Missouri-Nebraska game tonight at 6 and again at 9. The network is calling this the premiere of a new feature it calls “Instant Classic.” Getting the rights to the game was easy because Classic Sports is owned by ESPN and is under the same Disney umbrella as ABC, which televised the game live. . . . The PGA Grand Slam, which brings together the winners from golf’s four major events--Tiger Woods, Masters; Ernie Els, U.S. Open; Justin Leonard, British Open, and Davis Love III, PGA--will be televised by TBS on Monday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. both days. The event takes place at the Poipu resort in Kauai, Hawaii. . . . The NFL is offering its “Sunday Ticket” 1998 satellite package at the regular price of $179, but that now also includes the rest of this season. DirecTV earlier offered a six-week package for the rest of this season free to its new subscribers.


The Evander Holyfield-Michael Moorer pay-per-view telecast last Saturday drew a disappointing 700,000 buys. Showtime officials were hoping for something close to 1 million. Holyfield-Tyson II drew nearly 2 million.

Jay Larkin, Showtime’s executive producer of sports, blamed the glut of sports on free television the same day and apathy from the media, even though, he said, this was the kind of fight--two respectable, qualified competitors--the media clamored for.

The lateness of the main event didn’t help matters. It came on about 1 a.m. in the East. Larkin said everything that could happen to make it late happened. A hockey game at the Thomas & Mack Center the night before prevented Showtime from setting up in time to tape one of the preliminary bouts for showing after the main event. And then all three prelims went the distance.


XTRA’s Lee Hamilton called last week and said, “We had a great day of radio. Pete Rose was on with [Jim] Rome, John Dowd [baseball’s lead investigator into the Rose gambling case] was on with ‘the Cannons’ [Steve Hartman and Bill Werndl] and I had them both on.” Hamilton told the same thing to TV-radio columnist John Maffie of the North County Times of Escondido.

That prompted a call from Hartman early last Friday morning.

“What’s Lee talking about?” Hartman asked. “He never had Rose or Dowd on his show. We got John Dowd to come on our show because of his relationship with Werndl.”

Hamilton this week said, “It was a miscommunication. I said we, meaning our station, had Rose and Dowd on, not I. I dissected the two interviews on my show. . . . What, do you think I lied to you? Why would I do that?”

Hartman also said some of Hamilton’s statements, as they pertained to the Dowd report, were incorrect.

Hamilton is possibly the hardest working person in sports radio, but sometimes he is hard to figure out.

In 1994, Hamilton, during a feud with Rome, said on the air, “Clean up the jungle--napalm the jungle,” and also called Rome “a whiny, runny-nosed 4-11 twerp.” He then told this reporter, “He ran to management after that. He can dish out the smack but sure can’t take it.”

Both Rome and then-program director Howard Freedman said Hamilton had lied when he said Rome complained to management.


Rome recently read an amazing fax from a woman named Kathy. “I don’t have a take, I just want to pass along some information, “ it began.

The fax explained how her husband has been battling cancer for eight years and her daughter, Lauren, had been in a coma since March as a result of a traffic accident. She had heard Rome interview Baltimore Oriole and former cancer patient Eric Davis about a charity golf tournament and heard a number given out for Davis’ foundation.

She called the number on a Thursday and invited Davis to a Saturday fund-raiser for her daughter. She said in the fax that Davis showed up and stayed for four hours, donated $1,000 out of his own pocket, spent $250 more on auction items and donated a signed bat that went for $300.

It shows not all is wrong with sports--or even sports-talk radio.


What Los Angeles Is Watching

A sampling of L.A. Nielsen ratings for sports programs Nov. 8-11.



Event Ch. Rating Share College football: Stanford at USC 7 4.5 12 Horse racing: Breeders’ Cup 4 3.1 9 College football: Arizona State at California 9 2.3 5 College football: Louisiana State at Alabama 2 1.6 5 Hockey: Mighty Ducks at Vancouver 9 1.0 2 SUNDAY Pro football: New York Jets at Miami 4 12.3 31 Pro football: Seattle at San Diego* 4 8.6 18 Pro football: Carolina at Denver 11 7.9 18 Pro football: New England at Buffalo* 4 6.9 16 Soccer: World Cup qualifying, Costa Rica-Mexico 34 3.7 10 Soccer: World Cup qualifying, U.S.-Canada 34 2.7 6 Auto racing: NASCAR Busch Grand National 300 2 1.1 1 Auto racing: NASCAR Craftsman Truck 420K 2 0.5 1 MONDAY Pro football: San Francisco at Philadelphia 7 18.2 27 TUESDAY Pro basketball: Lakers at Dallas 9 7.1 11


*--NBC switched from New England-Buffalo to Seattle-San Diego at 3:30 p.m.

Note: Each rating point represents 50,092 L.A. households.