On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
February 10, 2006

Since the Super Bowl, all of the NFL action is occurring in the broadcast booths.

As expected, Al Michaels will join John Madden for NBC's new "Sunday Night Football" in the fall. Getting the NFL back couldn't have come a moment too soon for NBC, which is struggling in prime time. (Many credit the NFL for giving Fox credibility.)

Cris Collinsworth and Bob Costas will co-host NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show. Though many people are glad to have Madden and Michaels back together, the duo never thrilled me.

Michaels' departure from ABC means that ESPN's Mike Tirico will get the coveted "Monday Night Football" play-by-play slot. Unlikely television star Tony Kornsheiser of "Pardon the Interruption" joins previously announced Joe Theismann, Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya on the ESPN broadcast. Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire will move to college football for ESPN.

Also, James Brown will jump from "Fox NFL Sunday" to "The NFL Today" on CBS with Dan Marino, Shannon Sharpe and Boomer Esiason. "The NFL Today" edged the Fox pregame show in the ratings this year, probably due to the stronger AFC. Replacing this year's host, Greg Gumbel, with Brown won't be too much of a change for CBS, but this will affect the Fox team.

That means Gumbel will return to the broadcast booth, not with his former partner, Phil Simms, but with Dan Dierdorf. Jim Nantz will remain with Simms on the No. 1 team. Dick Enberg gets demoted to the No. 3 announcing team.

So, with all the change of possessions, who is the winner?

Every network that has a football contract. Fans aren't that concerned about what networks the games are on or which announcers are where. NBC will become Madden's fourth network. He debuted on CBS, moved to Fox, then worked the last four years at ABC.

Winter Olympics

Bob Costas and NBC news anchor Brian Williams host the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics at 8 tonight on NBC.

Jim Lampley will be working his 13th Olympics, the most in television history. Some of the others who made the NBC Olympic team are Mary Carillo, Melissa Stark and Jimmy Roberts. NBC10 sports director Vai Sikahema will be filing reports from Turin, Italy, for the next two weeks for Philadelphia.

'Dream come true'

Former Comcast SportsNet personality Matt Yallof, 37, begins his new assignment for SportsNet New York on March 16. The new channel will broadcast about 130 New York Mets games this season and will do "New York Jets Post Game Live."

For Yallof, who grew up in Long Island and attended his first Mets game when he was 4, "it's a dream come true."

There is no word yet on who will take over for Yallof on "Phillies Post Game Live" this season with analyst John Marzano.

Meanwhile, according to Phillies spokesperson Larry Shenk, the team is down to three finalists for the position left vacant by announcer Tom McCarthy, and a decision is expected within the week. Though Shenk wouldn't provide any names, he said no former players are in the final mix. Sorry, Jeff Stone!

February 10, 2006 7:23 AM