First, watching NBC’s first effort for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, it’s been given a “Big Event” feel with Bob Costas and Dick Button as co-hosts. Former Olympics pairs co-champions Jamie Salé and David Pelletier who were so good on Olympic Ice last year with Mary Carillo have added a nice touch with their humor. We’ll see how the ratings are for this event which have been down recently. Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic have been good calling the event. Tracy Wilson is good at explaining how the judges score the jumps and lifts. In hosting his first figure skating event, Costas is trying to make sense out of everything but having him there gives NBC some credibility in the the first year of televising this event. Even though NBC is not paying a rights fee, it has pulled out some heavy hitters. We’ll see how it goes for the last year of its three year contract with U.S. Figure Skating.
Giving you some links now.
Chris Pursell of TV Week writes in his Pressbox blog that ESPN and NFL Network will go all out in their Super Bowl coverage.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Eli Manning needs a personality transfusion if he’s to get commercial endorsements like his brother, Peyton.
Bruce Allen of the Boston Sports Media Watch blog has an interesting exchange between Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and 890ESPN Radio host and Boston Herald writer Mike Felger yesterday.
John Consoli of Mediaweek has the revised schedule for Fox on Super Bowl Sunday. Mike Shields of Mediaweek writes that Verizon will be the sponsor for AOL’s annual Super Sunday ad poll which will have fans rate the best and worst of the Super Bowl commercials.
Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Fox-owned stations in Boston and New York are experiencing an ad windfall for the Super Bowl.
The Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliot talks with Paul Kelly, the new Executive Director of the NHL Players Association, who wants the league to have games on ESPN now.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union wonders in his Best Seat in My House blog if the NHL renewing with Versus is a mistake.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that Versus President Gavin Harvey won’t be moving to Philadelphia when the network consolidates its headquarters with parent Comcast later this year.
The New York Post’s Justin Terranova talks about the ESPN series on Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in his NYP TV Sports blog.
Jonathan Landreth of the Hollywood Reporter reports that Major League Baseball plans to play its first games in Communist China this March and hopes to have them televised on government-controlled TV in an attempt to grow the sport there.
Dania Bogle of the Jamaica Observer (yes, I’ll even link to Jamaican newspapers) writes that former Olympic bronze medalist Ato Bolton will be doing analysis work for NBC during the Summer Olympics in Beijing in August.
Anne Marie Somma of the Hartford Courant reports on the protest at ESPN over Dana Jacobsen.
Do you want another ESPN suspension? Rick Reeno of Boxingscene.com tells us that analyst Teddy Atlas was suspended for a week following an argument with a network executive.
Karen Lyon of the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald says next year’s Women’s Final of the Australian Open will be played at night local time which means that it will be shown at 3:30 a.m., Saturday here on the East Coast of the US. You get links to Jamaica and Australia, truly an international edition of the links tonight.
That’s it for now.