Friday, February 12, 1999


CBS to let wheels do the talking

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CBS has 200 people, more than 80 cameras and enough computer equipment to run NASA on hand to broadcast the Daytona 500 this weekend. But director Bob Fishman plans to give viewers a few laps of pure, roaring speed.

        “We have some great low-angle shots,” Fishman said. “It brings those cars right in your face. You see the cars roaring by. I plan to show some laps with nothing but speed shots.”

Latest updates and expanded coverage from Associated Press
        CBS (Ch. 12, 7) will air eight hours of Daytona coverage this weekend — from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. (The actualrace is Sunday). Daytona has surpassed the Indy 500 as the highest-rated racing event the last three years.

        CBS has added its biggest sports name, Greg Gumbel, as co-host with Ken Squire.

        Gumbel is a mainstream name, who could help bring some non-racing fans to the broadcast. What he doesn't bring is any racing expertise.

        “I don't know a fender from a spoiler,” he said.

        That's an exaggeration. Gumbel did local sports for 71/2 years and SportsCenter on ESPN for 51/2 years, so he's familiar with racing. He won't try to fool NASCAR fans.

        “I am not an expert,” he said. “But I'm working with a bunch of them.”

        Mike Joy will call the race, with Ned Jarrett as the lead analyst.

        Covering a 500-mile race on a 21/2-mile track is as big a single-day operation as there is in TV. CBS will use:

        • 33 in-car cameras. That's three cameras in 11 different cars.

        • 10 “pole” cameras above the pits.

        • 35 cameras around the track.

        • A camera in a blimp.

        • A camera with each of the three pit reporters.

        • A camera in the booth.

        One of the biggest changes this year is that the signals will be completely digital.

        “The quality of picture, which has always been great, should be boosted,” said producer Eric Mann.

        CBS plans to use more computerized graphics, and a super slow-motion camera with a long lens has been added.

        “It should be able to shoot into the windshield and get close-ups of driver's hands,” Fishman said.

        There will be a little of that, and a lot of speed.

        WORTH WATCHING: ESPN will air a profile of track star Edwin Moses as part of its SportsCentury series tonight at 10:30. Moses, a 400-meter hurdler, checks in at No. 47 in the Top 50 Countdown of athletes of the century.

        The first three installments have been excellent.

        NEW CREW: CBS will go with a new crew of analysts with a lot more personality next season for NFL Today. Craig James, a late-season replacement, will be added full time, along with Jerry Glanville, who was hired away from Fox.

        Brent Jones and Marcus Allen from last year's Wooden Panel have been re-assigned. Jones will be a game analyst, and Allen will be a reporter. Jim Nantz remains as the host, and Mike Lombardi remains as the insider.

        The changes should help. But Fox will likely remain the dominant pregame show.

        NO TO 25: Ohio State fans have been calling wondering why Time Warner doesn't carry low-powered Channel 25, which carries Buckeye basketball games.

        “In order for a channel to be carried by us, they have to enter into a negotiation,” Time Warner spokesman Jennifer Mooney said. “Channel 25 hasn't been willing to do that. The only way they want to be on is for free. They don't want to buy channel space.”

        Channel 25 owner Elliot Block said Warner wants $60,000 a month for channel space, and he can't make money at those prices.

        John Fay covers TV/radio for The Enquirer. He can be reached at 768-8445.


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