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It’s Not Whole New Game for Lundquist

Verne Lundquist got a call from CBS Sports President Sean McManus last November.

“He said we had a chance to get Dick Enberg, and I was thrilled,” Lundquist said this week from his home in Steamboat Springs, Colo. “At the time, I had no idea it would affect me.”

Enberg was signed by CBS in January, and to make room for him on the NFL crew, Lundquist was moved to college football. That wasn’t as bad as what happened to Sean McDonough, who had been doing college football play by play. He got the ax.

“It was a case of whose ox is getting gored,” Lundquist said.

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Lundquist hadn’t announced college football since the mid-1980s, when he worked with Pat Haden and then Dick Vermeil. Lundquist went on to TNT, where he did Sunday night NFL games with Haden, then returned to CBS two years ago after CBS got the NFL back.

“In this business you need elasticity, you need to be flexible,” Lundquist said.

So he accepted his new assignment, albeit grudgingly.

Now, after doing two games, he has been reminded it’s not such a bad gig.

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“I’m just shy of saying, ‘Whoa, Nellie,’ ” Lundquist said. “I really like working with Todd Blackledge, a class guy, and our crew. We’ll be in Boston Saturday for B.C. and Virginia Tech, and the scene will be wonderful. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Lundquist got some inside information for the game this summer when he and his wife, Nancy, attended a fund-raiser in Steamboat Springs, where they have lived for 16 years.

“We had just returned from the buffet line and sat down when another couple asked if they could join us,” Lundquist said. “Turns out it was Karen and Scott Hawkins, whose son, Cullen, is a senior fullback for Virginia Tech. They live in Pittsburgh but have a summer home in Steamboat.”

He picked their brains about Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick, who will be making his first network appearance of the season Saturday.

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“They said their son’s experience with Michael Vick has been all positive, that he is very giving to his teammates and someone who you are predisposed to like.”

Lundquist later learned Cullen was a top freestyle mogul skier when he was in the seventh and eighth grades. “I think I’ll find a way to work that into the telecast,” he said.

No. 4 Virginia Tech’s game with Boston College, which is 2-1 and coming off a 48-7 victory over Navy, is going to 63% of the country. CBS is sending No. 3 Florida vs. Mississippi State to the remaining 37% of the country.

If you’d like to also see Florida and Mississippi State, here’s good news if you’re a DirecTV subscriber. CBS and DirecTV reached an agreement this week that allows DirecTV to show out-of-market CBS games on Channel 609.

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RECOMMENDED VIEWING

Tired of seeing NFL players being put in a bad light? Check out Roy Firestone’s one-hour “Up Close” special today at 4 p.m. on ESPN. Firestone’s interviews with Peyton Manning, Warren Sapp and Randy Moss are uplifting.

Manning solidifies his already sparkling image, and Sapp and Moss might surprise you. Sapp, in particular, comes across as a good guy. And funny too.

Moss, a reputed bad boy, is a bit defensive, but he holds up pretty well, although the diamond earrings may turn off some people. And he does the interview with 4-year-old leukemia victim Kassi Spear on his knee, which could be viewed as contrived.

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“We told him that’s the way it might come across, but he said he wouldn’t do the interview without her there,” Firestone said. “I think he is genuinely close to the girl, who is not doing well.”

Firestone said she is now in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

SOMETHING NEW FOR GOLF

If hockey telecasts can have a glowing puck, then why not a virtual flagstick for golf?

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The latest series of “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” begins a five-week run on ESPN Tuesday with some new twists.

Gaylord Television, formerly Jack Nicklaus Productions, has teamed up with Princeton Video Image to provide virtual flagsticks to help viewers see the golfers’ target. On the greens, a white circle will help viewers see the hole.

The first four of the five matches will be shown on consecutive Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. The fifth will be shown Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 5 p.m. The first match has David Duval facing Ernie Els in South Carolina.

SHORT WAVES

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Oak Tree opens at Santa Anita Wednesday, and the replays will be on Channel 56 at 8 p.m. Other programming includes “Santa Anita Live” race days at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Net 2 and “Inside Post” on Channel 56 Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m. . . . TVG, the horse racing network, will offer live coverage of Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, beginning at 6:15 a.m. . . . In another kind of racing, the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis Speedway on Sunday was a hit for Speedvision and Fox Sports Net, drawing double the number of viewers Formula One races usually get. Speedvision estimated it had 400,000 viewers. FSN had 299,000, according to Nielsen. . . . The Alabama- Arkansas game Saturday on ESPN set a college football cable record by reaching 1.414 million homes.

Jon Hookstratten, son of super-agent Ed, has been named executive vice president, administration and operations, for NBC Enterprises. . . . Mitch Huberman, who has served as a broadcast executive for the Kings and Clippers, has been named senior vice president for sales and marketing for Fox Sports Enterprises. . . . Guraud Moncure, who has been doing fill-in work on Channel 4 sportscasts, is headed to Channel 13 as a weekend sports anchor and feature reporter after the Olympics. Moncure, originally from Simi Valley, came to Channel 4 from Dallas. . . . Jim Watson, who announced beach volleyball for NBC in Sydney, returned home in time to work Thursday night’s Long Beach Poly-Fontana game for Fox Sports Net 2.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

What Los Angeles Is Watching

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A sampling of L.A. Nielsen ratings for Sept. 23-24:

SATURDAY

*--*

Over-the-air Channel Rating Share Olympics (prime time) 4 18.8 34 Olympics (daytime) 4 10.0 23 Olympics (late night) 4 5.3 21 College football: Notre Dame at Michigan State 7 3.2 7 College football: Miami at West Virginia 2 1.3 3 College football: Air Force at Utah 7 1.3 2 Baseball: Angels at Texas 9 0.8 1 Baseball: Oakland at Seattle 11 0.6 1

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*--*

*

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Cable Network Rating Share College football: UCLA at Oregon FSN 4.1 9 College football: Michigan at Illinois ESPN 2.5 5 College football: Minnesota at Purdue ESPN 1.9 5 College football: San Jose State at USC FSN2 1.8 5 Olympics MSNBC 1.4 5 College football: Houston at Texas FSN 1.2 2 College football: California at Fresno St. FSN 0.8 1 Golf: Westin Texas Open ESPN 0.5 1 Auto racing: U.S. Grand Prix qualifying FSN 0.4 1 Olympics CNBC 0.3 0

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*--*

*

SUNDAY

*--*

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Over-the-air Channel Rating Share Olympics (prime time) 4 19.0 32 Olympics (daytime) 4 10.1 23 Olympics (late night) 4 5.5 29 Pro football: Cleveland at Oakland 2 7.9 18 Pro football: St. Louis at Atlanta 11 7.4 18 Pro football: New England at Miami 2 2.7 6 Baseball: Angels at Texas 9 0.8 2

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*

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Cable Network Rating Share Pro football: Washington at N.Y. Giants ESPN 5.9 10 Baseball: San Diego at Dodgers FSN2 0.8 2 Olympics CNBC 0.7 2 Olympics MSNBC 0.6 1 Auto racing: Formula One U.S. Grand Prix FSN 0.5 1 Auto racing: NASCAR MBNA.com 400 TNN 0.3 1

*--*

WEEKDAY RATINGS: MONDAY: NFL, Jacksonville at Indianapolis, Ch. 7, 13.7/23; Olympics (prime time), 18.8/31. TUESDAY: Olympics (prime time), Ch. 4, 15.4/26. WEDNESDAY: Olympics (prime time), Ch. 4, 17.0/29.

Note: Each rating point represents 51,350 L.A. households. Cable ratings reflect the entire market, even though cable is in only 63% of L.A. households.

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