Ok, so this is way after 9 p.m., but at least I’m here doing the links on a Friday night for you. As usual, we preview the weekend viewing.
Weekend Viewing Picks
This is one of those lazy weekends where there are a lot of events, but not a lot of buzz as we have baseball, boxing, the College World Series, motorsports, Olympic trials and soccer.
Interleague play continues as MLB heads into the first day of summer. WGN has the Crosstown Rivalry on Saturday between the White Sox and Cubs at 1 p.m. Fox will split the country Saturday between the Cardinals-Red Sox and Indians-Dodgers at 3:55 p.m. On Sunday, TBS covers the Cards-Red Sox at 1:30 p.m. and ESPN’s Sunday night game will be the White Sox-Cubs at 8 p.m.
The College World Series in Omaha, NE will have two games on Saturday and ESPN has both of them. Georgia and Stanford starts at 1 p.m. Then in primetime, Fresno State takes on North Carolina at 7 p.m.
The Euro 2008 soccer tournament will have its last two semifinalists after this weekend. On Saturday, the Netherlands takes on Russia (ABC) and on Sunday, Spain and World Cup Champion Italy square off (ESPN). Both games will be on the air at 2:30 p.m.
The U.S. Olympic trials are underway and NBC will have coverage of Diving and Gymnastics this weekend. The Diving trials will be seen on both Saturday (3:30 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.). And since NBC will show a heavy menu of Gymastics at the Olympics in Communist China, it will have extensive coverage of the men’s finals (Saturday at 4:30 p.m.) and the women’s finals (Sunday in primetime at 7 p.m.) which should include the 16 year old sensation Shawn Johnson.
The PGA Tour without Tiger Woods, limps into Cromwell, CT and the Travelers Championship. CBS has third and final round coverage at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
Plenty of racing this weekend. The NASCAR Nationwide Series is in Milwaukee for something called the Camping World RV Rental 250. ESPN2 has it Saturday in primetime at 8:30. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Infineon Raceway in California for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, Sunday afternoon at 5.
The Indy Car Racing League has the Iowa Corn Indy 250 (who comes up with these names?) which ABC will carry Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
Fox will have same day coverage of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix, Sunday at 1.
Now to your links.
We have some late breaking news. Sam Schechner, Matthew Futterman and Merissa Marr of the Wall Street Journal report that the NFL and ESPN are talking about a joint venture which would combine the NFL Network and ESPN Classic. Stay tuned.
Jon Lafayette of TV Week says the talks between the two parties are quite serious.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that NBC will have gymnastics legend Bela Karolyi with Bob Costas during this weekend’s U.S. Gymastics Olympics Trials.
East and Mid-Atlantic
David Scott of the Boston Sports Media Watch looks at the coverage of the Celtics celebration this week.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe previews ESPN2′s coverage of Wimbledon which begins on Monday.
Newsday’s Neil Best writes in his Friday column that tennis has a chance to grab summer viewers now that Tiger Woods is not playing golf. From his blog, Neil expands on the Friday column and talks about ESPN2′s revamped tennis scoreboard that will debut at Wimbledon. Neil has the ESPN press release which outlines the new ESPN SportsCenter morning anchor lineup which begins in August. And Neil writes that NBC’s Johnny Miller has apologized for comments made about U.S. Open runner-up Rocco Mediate.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says NBC Sports is remaining loyal to Notre Dame despite poor ratings last season.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick feels SNY’s announcers looked the other way as former Mets manager Willie Randolph was enabling his team’s lazy play. Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for SNY’s Darryl Strawberry. And Justin talks with ESPN2′s Patrick McEnroe about Wimbledon.
Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record says WCBS-AM sports anchor Kevin Connors is heading for the Worldwide Leader.
Laura Nachman writes that Philadelphia’s Fox 29 let go of its sports director shortly after he returned from a car accident.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says the real winners of the U.S. Open were NBC and Callaway Golf.
Doug Nye of The State says the U.S. Open 18 hole playoff on Monday gave viewers a moment to remember.
Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald says ESPN is revamping its lineup for the NBA Draft next week.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel says we’re truly in the Dog Days of Summer.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says Bela Karolyi is a natural for TV.
Mac Engel writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that sportscasting legend Pat Summerall has been in the hospital this week.
Over to the Daily Oklahoman where Mel Bracht tells us that ESPN SportsCenter anchor Jon Anderson has a new gig for ABC. In his notebook, Mel talks about NBC extending its deal to televise Notre Dame football games through the 2015 season. And here are Mel’s weekend viewing picks.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal says local viewers did watch the NBA Finals.
Brian Vanochten of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press discusses the Big Ten Network-Comcast deal struck late Thursday afternoon.
The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein also talks about the BTN-Comcast agreement. And Greenstein writes about the NBC Sports-Notre Dame five year contract extension. Teddy adds that Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti blasts his fellow newspaper colleagues and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in an interview that aired Friday night. And Teddy has his weekend viewing picks.
Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says a former local sports anchor has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. And Judd reports that Minnesota Vikings safety Darren Sharper is one of 20 current players who attended the NFL broadcasting boot camp.
Paul Christian writes in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin that the pressure is on Charter Communications to come up with a deal with the Big Ten Network now that Comcast is in the fold.
Mark Alesia of the Indianapolis Star says Comcast viewers will be able to watch the Big Ten Network on expanded basic for eight months, but beyond that is anyone’s guess.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News says ABC’s cameras caught too much of the Celtics’ swearing on Tuesday night.
John Maffei from the North County Times says the U.S. Olympic Trials begin in earnest this weekend.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star feels the networks will be hurting with Tiger Woods’ absence.
Greg Johnson and Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times says the talks between ESPN and the NFL could finally resolve the league’s battle with the major cable operators. John Scheibe writes that NBC is joining forces with the online World Championship Sports Network to show more Olympic sports.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News wonders if Notre Dame football is must see TV anymore.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail outlines CBC’s plans for its contest to replace Hockey Night in Canada’s theme which went to CTV last week.
The Canwest News Service says Canadians are being asked to put their best foot forward in the CBC contest.
CBC says the winner will receive $100,000.
Marija Dukic of Media in Canada says TSN is ready to pick up the entire CFL package that was once shared with CBC.
Paul J. Gough of the Hollywood Reporter discusses the ESPN early morning SportsCenter lineup.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that Euro 2008 is pulling decent ratings for ESPN2 and its online service, ESPN360. Reynolds adds that Fox Sports Net will air a 13 part series on Baseball’s Golden Age.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if Michelle Wie will ever live up to her endorsements.
Awful Announcing has the network announcing assignments for baseball this weekend.
Joe Favorito says the Women’s Tennis Association is conducting a major rebranding campaign.
That’s going to do it for now. I have a lot of catching up to do. Later.