Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jim Williams: Something for everyone on TV
Jim Williams, The Examiner
Sep 9, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 58 mins ago)
Current rank: # 7 of 1,480 articles

BALTIMORE - The Ravens’ game against Tampa Bay Sunday will mark the first time the CBS broadcast crew of Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon have worked together, but the big changes in the NFL this year come on the pre-game shows.

(To answer a question that I have been asked often: Yes, all NFL games this year will be produced in high definition, so now is the time to get that new TV.)

For the first time, each Sunday we will have a national triple-header all on broadcast TV, and there will be more than 14 consecutive hours of NFL coverage each week starting Sunday. And that doesn’t even include local programming.

Let’s start with CBS (WJZ-13) and its new lineup. James Brown, the king of cool, is back at the network he started at so many years ago. J.B. will replace Greg Gumbel as the host of “The NFL of CBS.” The show will be done from the network’s New York studio, with Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason joining Brown. Gumbel will return to the play-by-play booth, which was his choice, and will team up with Dan Dierdorf as CBS Sports’ No. 2 team.

FOX (WBFF-45) is taking the show on the road, with Joe Buck serving as both pre-game host and game announcer. He will be on site with Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson. They’ll take us up to game time. Curt Menefee take over on-site for Buck to handle the halftime and post-game show with Long, Bradshaw and Johnson. “FOX Game Breaks” will be handled out of L.A.

NBC (WBAL-11) is back with a very impressive team on “Football Night in America” at 7 p.m. It will feature Bob Costas, Cris Collinsworth, Peter King, Jerome Bettis and Sterling Sharpe in the studio. Wait till you see the awesome NBC set that features a 200-plus-inch HD plasma monitor that will serve as a backdrop to a very futuristic set!

After “NBC Sunday Night Football” finishes around 11:30 p.m., go to the NFL Network. “NFL GameDay” is a 90-minute spin around the league. The new program features host Rich Eisen and analysts Steve Mariucci and the always-fun Deion Sanders. The show will be a highlight-driven program, plus post-game press conferences, interviews and analysis.

More about ESPN and Monday Night Football on Monday.

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. You can e-mail Jim at

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