Friday, October 27, 2006

Let’s give ’em something to talk about

Jim Williams, The Examiner
Oct 27, 2006 5:00 AM (1 hr 29 mins ago)
Current rank: # 2 of 5,398 articles

WASHINGTON - This was a great week for interesting people producing interesting quotes. To that end, I’ve put together a collection of takes from my conversations with sports figures.

» NBC NASCAR analyst Benny Parson on the Chase for the Cup:

“If we’ve learned anything over the last six Chase races, it’s that no lead is safe. Matt Kenseth finished fourth at Talladega, his next best Chase finish was 10th but he’s now the points leader.”

NBC 4 Has the Bass Pro Shops 500 Sunday from Atlanta at 12:30 p.m.

» NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol on how “flex” scheduling works in the NFL:

“The NFL put this policy into effect when they negotiated the television deals with CBS and FOX in the fall of 2004. Our deal wasn’t made until April of ’05 so we inherited flex scheduling. We’re able to say to the NFL, ‘Here is a game that we would like to air on Sunday night football, and here are reasons why we think this the most compelling game.’ And then their television department and the [NFL] Commissioner make the final decision. There may be a week where we want ‘X’ game and there may be another game that the NFL rules equally or more compelling and they’ll make the determination that that is the game that we’re going to do. They have the final authority.”

The first “flex” schedule game on NBC will be Bears–Giants at 8:15 p.m., Nov. 12. We will know the Sunday night game of the week for Nov. 19 about 10 to 12 days in advance. This gives NBC the chance at getting the best game FOX and CBS do not protect and should make for more competitive primetime games for the rest of the season.

» The best quote of the week came from Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president in charge of “Monday Night Football.” As you may know, the Cowboys-Giants game was the most watched program in cable TV history, beating out the trade debate on CNN between Al Gore and Ross Perot on Nov. 9, 1993.

“We’ve never believed the acronyms NAFTA and MNF belonged in the same sentence,” Williamson said, “and we’re thrilled to have established MNF as the home of cable’s biggest audience ever.”

Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer.

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