On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
January 26, 2007

CBS, which is airing the Super Bowl for the first time since the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake halftime fiasco of 2004, discussed its game plan for the Feb. 4 game in a conference call this week.

Super Bowl executive producer Tony Petitti said that the broadcasters will need to cater to a broader audience and not only the hard-core football fans. He also noted that everything about the game, including the commercials, will be scrutinized.

There will be 60 commercial spots during the game. Though CBS wouldn't say how much a 30-second ad costs, last year's ads on ABC averaged $2.1 million.

The four-hour pre-game show with Fox exile James Brown, Boomer Esiason, Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe, beginning at 2 p.m., will include “CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric contributing a story about last year's Super Bowl MVP, Hines Ward, and his trip back to his homeland of Korea.

Marino will interview Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, whom many compare to the former Dolphins quarterback.

Esiason, whose Cincinnati Bengals lost Super Bowl XXIII to the San Francisco 49ers, recalled how his team had to deal with the distraction of troubled starting running back Stanley Wilson, who was deactivated for the game after getting caught with drugs.

“Who knows if we would have won if Wilson played,” said Esiason, who also will provide analysis for Marv Albert on the Westwood One radio broadcast of the game.

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the action beginning at 6:25 p.m. Solomon Wilcots and Steve Tasker will report.

Nantz will become the first sportscaster in television history to call the Super Bowl, NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship and The Masters in the same year.

The CBS coverage is child's play compared to the NFL Network coverage, which begins Sunday. There will be live coverage from Miami throughout the week with a team of 21 analysts and reporters.

What a letdown

With his experience working as a producer for WIP 610-AM's Angelo Cataldi and Howard Eskin, dealing with “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell was probably a piece of cake for Mark Farzetta.

Though Farzetta made it past two rounds of cuts for the opportunity to audition for Cowell and fellow judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson, his rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon,” while wearing an astronaut's uniform, wasn't enough to advance him to the Hollywood round.

Farzetta was briefly seen Wednesday night in the “All Night Long” montage during the New York City auditions.

January 26, 2007 4:46 AM