Sunday, February 20, 2005The Sunday Brunch: HBO, It's Not Just TV..
I have a new respect for directors of live television. Last night HBO had a planned production of a Bernard Hopkins-Howard Eastman fight with an undercard fight featuring rising middleweight superstar Jermain Taylor.
Well Taylor's night ended early as he knocked out a fella named Edouard in the third round and HBO quickly went to its prefight feature package with Hopkins. Normally after the prefight feature, HBO will go straight to the Tale of the Tape and the introductions. However word came down that Hopkins wasn't ready so Larry Merchant (ugh) was sent to his dressing room to see what was up.
Apparently Hopkins was told that he didn't have to fight until a specific time regardless of when the last fight ended and knowing that no one will ever dispute his word or question him, he figured TV could wait.
Well the wait was around 35-40 minutes and HBO had to do some quick filling. After a strange interview with Hopkins in which the boxer was taping his own hands, Merchant went to Eastman's locker where he wasn't talking. Meanwhile HBO managed to snag Mike Tyson from the crowd for an interview.
Think about it for a second, a live Mike Tyson interview...Some director was shitting bricks. However Jim Lampley is a pro and conducted a great segment with Tyson talking about the recent death of Max Schmeling. Overall Tyson sounded quite content and happy, it was really one of those fun moments in live TV (although Mike butchered the word obliterate).
Still 25 minutes to kill, so Lampley and Roy Jones Jr. discuss another undercard fight while Merchant goes back to Hopkins' dressing room for more televised hand tapings. Meanwhile Lampley pulls out Oscar de la Hoya, the event's promoter, for another live interview. Hey thank god this even is in L.A. eh?
Finally after a long spot with Oscar, Lampley and Jones discuss promoting for a bit before the intros begin. It was roughly 37 minutes of dead air and HBO made it feel like less than five. Excellent work.
BTW Hopkins won his 20th title defense with a 12 round unanimous decision.
The NBA finally pulled off a fairly strong All-Star Saturday event. The dunk show was surprisingly good, the 3-point contest exciting, the skills competitions and that shooting exhibition are what they are but anyone watching All-Star Saturday isn't watching it for those two events.
Right now I'm picking the East in All-Star game. Not that it matters. I think Shaq will be the MVP.
Other all-star predictions:
-- 13 players will be in double figures.
-- Steve Nash will have at least 15 assists as he'll play the majority of the game.
-- Tracy McGrady will lead the West in scoring with 27.
-- Kobe Bryant will try to dunk on Shaq at least once and get fouled hard for his persistence.
-- Kobe will also get booed (loudly) in the pre-game introductions.
-- Shaq will lead the East in scoring with 22 points, he'll also have 18 rebounds.
-- There will be over 40 dunks and 15 alley-oops.
-- LeBron will be two rebounds short of a triple-double.
Michael Wilbon said that the Daytona 500 isn't made for people of his (and my) ilk and he's correct. NASCAR hasn't really filtered into the black community although a credit the sport for continuing to try.
I am going to watch a few laps of today's race. I promise myself I will go to a live NASCAR event before I'm 35 just to see how it holds up live. In my heart of hearts I can't believe that watching a car go round in circles is anymore exciting than watching it on TV, but I felt the same way about horse racing at one point in my life before going to my first Belmont Stakes..
So anywhere...err...go Jeff Gordon, I guess.
Tomorrow I'll dissect the NHL's weekend cancellation of their plan to uncancel and why the sport is officially going to go an entirely different direction.