USC May Be Double-Teaming Hamilton

It appears that Lee Hamilton and former Trojan quarterback Paul McDonald will be the USC football announcers this year on new flagship station XTRA 690.

Hamilton, who this week was hired as the new radio voice of the Seattle Seahawks and also signed a three-year deal to continue doing his nightly talk show for XTRA 690, said things haven't been completed, but he is planning to do USC.

How can he do both USC and the Seahawks?

"Hey, I used to do San Diego State and the Chargers, and getting from L.A. to Seattle is a lot easier than getting from Laramie [Wyo.] to Foxboro [Mass.]," he said.

Sean Salisbury, who does the morning show on XTRA 690 with John Fricke, was set for the USC commentating job, but his other employer, ESPN, told Salisbury on Thursday that his duties, which include field reporting for "NFL Countdown," won't permit it.

Salisbury says he still hopes to do USC basketball--as the play-by-play announcer.

"Basketball play by play is something I've always wanted to do," said Salisbury, who had broadcasting aspirations even before his college days at USC.

If USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett had his way, the football announcers on XTRA 690 would be the Fox Sports West team of Tom Kelly and Craig Fertig on simulcast.

According to sources, Garrett was still talking to Fox Sports West about that possibility this week, and Fox Sports West was considering it until learning it was too late to do it this year.

A Fox Sports West spokesman, asked about the feasibility of doing it next year, said, "Anything is possible."

Let's hope not. Kelly and Fertig on a simulcast is a bad idea all the way around. What could Garrett possibly be thinking, that using Kelly and Fertig will bring back the glory days of USC football? Garrett couldn't be that out of touch, could he?

RATINGS GAME

NBC continues to get impressive numbers for the NBA finals. Game 4 got a 19.1 national rating with a 33% share of the audience and drew a record 58 million viewers. Last year, Game 4 got a 16.9/30. The record rating for a Game 4 was a 19.8 in 1993.

Meanwhile, Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals on Fox drew a 3.3 national rating, down from 4.0 last year, and the first two World Cup matches on ESPN got 0.8 ratings.

AWKWARD MOMENTS

One of the more embarrassing things seen on a major sports telecast in recent memory was Peter Vecsey going blank during his news segment at halftime of Game 4 Wednesday night and not being able to think of which Sacramento King the Lakers would get if they traded Nick Van Exel--Van Exile, Vecsey called him--and Elden Campbell.

Presumably, Vecsey was trying to come up with Chris Webber's name. Hannah Storm was no help, at first suggesting Mitch Richmond, who was traded to the Washington Wizards for Webber.

Del Harris, no fan of Vecsey's, must have loved seeing him squirm. . . .

Any time you put a microphone in front of Dennis Rodman, you're asking for trouble, and NBC got what it deserved Wednesday night when Rodman told interviewer Jim Gray, "It's all about putting your . . . on the line."

On the other hand, Gray appeared to be grandstanding when he opened the interview by referring to Rodman's missing practice the day before as a "catastrophic mistake." Maybe Gray is trying to balance out Ahmad Rashad's softball questions. Whatever, his hardball approach with Rodman was inappropriate, especially since Rodman had just played a key role in the Bulls' victory. . . .

No question the slow-talking Isiah Thomas has improved, but he still continues to set records for cliches and obvious observations.

SHORT WAVES

Channel 2 is planning its own Sunday NFL pregame show this fall, and a leading candidate to join host Jim Hill is former Charger quarterback Stan Humphries. . . . CBS has added Sam Wyche to its new stable of NFL commentators. . . . Oscar De La Hoya-Patrick Charpentier on HBO Saturday night at 7 from El Paso might not be much of a fight, but one reason to watch will be a pre-fight feature called the "Golden Boys--Oscar & Art Aragon." It will be shown right before the main event. . . . Boxing commentator Bobby Czyz steps into the ring for the first time in more than two years to take on Corrie Sanders in a $9.95 pay-per-view fight on USSB tonight at 6. USSB is available only on satellite-dish systems.

The always entertaining "Big Show" with Steve Mason and John Ireland, seen and heard each weekday morning on Fox Sports West 2 and AM 1150, has an impressive guest list through next week. It includes Joe Morgan and Chick Hearn on Tuesday, Dodger President Bob Graziano on Wednesday and Steve Sax on Thursday. . . . Sax has been named as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports News. He begins his new job Monday, appearing on the show's signature "Fox Scope" segment. . . . Basketball analyst James Worthy's work on the "Fox Scope" segment has been superb. Wonder if NBC has noticed? . . . Los Angeles Sparks' games will be broadcast on KLAC (570), with Larry Burnett and former assistant coach Wanda Szeremeta announcing.

Lifetime televised the New York Liberty-Cleveland Rocker WNBA game Thursday night and will have Friday night telecasts through the regular WNBA season. "Supporting women's sports isn't just about ratings and advertising revenue," said Doug McCormick, Lifetime's president and chief executive. "It's about opening the door or opportunity, fulfilling a void and creating a product that appeals to women." Lifetime, which shares WNBA coverage with NBC and ESPN, has only one male on its broadcast team, analyst Reggie Miller. Michele Tafoya does play by play, Meghan Pattyson is the other analyst, Summer Sanders the court-side reporter, former UCLA gymnast Maura Driscoll the halftime reporter, and former Sacramento Monarch coach Mary Murphy has a new segment called "Murphy's Law." Lifetime also uses an all-female production crew.

IN CLOSING

Do you think NBC has enough announcers working the NBA finals? A couple more and the network would have one announcer for every player on the floor.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

What Los Angeles Is Watching

A sampling of L.A. Nielsen ratings for June 6-7 .

SATURDAY

*--*

Over-the-air networks Channel Rating Share Horse racing: Belmont Stakes 7 6.3 17 College World Series: USC vs. Arizona St. 2 4.2 13 Baseball: Dodgers at Seattle 11 4.0 12 Women's basketball: World Championship 4 3.5 11 Tennis: French Open 4 3.0 9 Golf: PGA Kemper Open 2 1.9 5

*--*

*--*

Cable networks Channel Rating Share Auto racing: NASCAR Winston Cup race ESPN 1.7 4 Baseball: Colorado at Angels FSW 1.5 3 Golf: Senior Nationwide Championship ESPN 0.9 3 Auto racing: IRL True Value 500 TNN 0.3 1 Baseball: San Diego at Texas FX 0.2 1 Golf: LPGA Michelob Light Classic ESPN2 0.2 0 Auto racing: CART Detroit GP qualifying ESPN2 0.2 0

*--*

SUNDAY

*--*

Over-the-air networks Channel Rating Share NBA finals: Utah at Chicago 4 18.0 35 Baseball: Dodgers at Seattle 5 5.3 13 Basketball: Hoop-It-Up 3-on-3 final 4 3.6 10 Women's basketball: World Championship 4 3.2 10 Tennis: French Open 4 2.6 10 Track: NCAA championship 2 2.1 7 Auto racing: CART Detroit GP 7 1.9 5 Horse racing: Gamely Breeders' Cup 2 1.8 4 Golf: PGA Kemper Open 2 1.7 5 Auto racing: IROC at Calif. Speedway 7 1.3 3 MLS soccer: Dallas at D.C. United 34 1.1 3

*--*

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Cable networks Channel Rating Share Boxing: Floyd Mayweather-Tony Pep ESPN2 1.1 3 Golf: Senior Nationwide Championship ESPN 0.5 1 Auto racing: Formula One GP of Canada FSW 0.4 1 MLS soccer: New England at Galaxy ESPN2 0.4 1 Baseball: Atlanta at Baltimore TBS 0.3 1 Beach volleyball: Golden State Open FSW 0.2 1 Golf: LPGA Michelob Light Classic ESPN2 0.2 1

*--*

WEEKDAY RATINGS: Stanley Cup finals, Washington-Detroit, Game 1, Tuesday, Ch. 11, 2.8 with a 6 share; NBA finals, Utah-Chicago, Game 4, Wednesday, Ch. 4, 21.4/34.

Note: Each full rating point represents 50,092 L.A. households. Cable ratings reflect the entire market even though cable is in only 63% of L.A. households.

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