On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
January 12, 2007
When the Eagles-Saints game concludes, many viewers will switch from Fox to Comcast SportsNet for “Eagles Post Game Live.”
“Post Game Live,” a lively summary of the game featuring Michael Barkann, Ray Didinger, Vaughn Hebron, Gov. Ed Rendell (D) and Derrick Gunn, is one of the most popular shows on the network.
Barkann, the host, deftly guides the show through analysis, polls, interviews, press conferences, e-mails, and “shout-outs.”
Didinger provides expert analysis. Hebron gives a former player's perspective and cute factor. Gunn gets the interviews, and the governor provides ... well, I'm not sure what he provides, but he seems happy to be there.
Barkann, who has missed only one game since “PGL” debuted in 1997, took one for the team recently when he flew back from his vacation in the Caribbean to do “Post Game Live” following the Eagles-Cowboys game on Christmas.
Didinger did not predict the success of the show.
“When [CSN executive producer] Tom Stathakes approached me with the idea for the show back in 1997, I didn't think it had a chance,” Didinger acknowledged.
“I thought to myself: "Nobody is going to watch this show.' People would have to change the channel from the Eagles game to get to us, we can't use highlights [due to network restrictions], and we would be competing with another live NFL game.”
A decade later, switching the channel at the end of the game has become part of the Eagles' game ritual.
Some of the broadcast channels are airing Eagles specials. 6ABC airs “The Philadelphia Eagles: Battle in the Bayou” hosted by Gary Papa at 7:30 tonight.
Fox29 will air a special at 10:30 tonight, and who else but Don Tollefson would host “Game Day Pep Rally” at 7 p.m. Saturday from Chickie's and Pete's on Roosevelt Boulevard in Northeast Philadelphia.
CBS3 will air its “Sunday Kickoff” show at noon Saturday.
Saint Josephs' basketball coach Phil Martelli hosts “Hawk Talk” on CSN every Wednesday at 11 p.m.
If Martelli ever decides to leave coaching, he'll make a great television analyst. On the other hand, if Andy Reid ever decides to leave coaching, Rendell's job at “Post Game Live” is safe.
Take that, Simon
The Giants-Eagles game was the highest-rated show on Fox since last May's “American Idol” finale.
Laura Nachman will give the presentation "TV: You Be the Critic" at the Kaiserman JCC in Wynnewood, PA Monday, January 15 at 10 a.m.