On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
June 22, 2007

So what is a nice girl from San Diego doing making a documentary about Philadelphia's legendary Palestra?

For Mikaelyn Austin, the writer and producer of “The Palestra: Cathedral of Basketball,” it was love at first site when she visited the 80-year-old basketball arena while being recruited to play basketball for the University of Pennsylvania.

“I thought this is wild,” she said. “We don't see this kind of thing in California where arenas are like antiseptic operating rooms. I was sold immediately.”

Austin played basketball for Penn and graduated with a degree in film and video. This is the first project from her company Philly Philms (www.philly-philms.com).

Among those interviewed for the special to air on ESPN Classic at 10 p.m. July 5 are Bill Bradley, Chuck Daly, Phil Martelli, John Chaney, Fran Dunphy, Bill Raftery and John Feinstein.

To order the DVD version, go to http://www.palestradocumentary.com/.

Sports vs. weather

With the cutting of Steve Bucci from CBS3 and “Sports Sunday” from Fox29, it hasn't been a great month for local sports. Meanwhile, each station has about twice as many weather anchors as sports anchors.

Bucks county resident Frank Traynor, of Higheight Pictures, and a former KYW-TV 3 executive producer, explains: “Weather affects my business as a film producer. So I depend on Accu-Weather to save me money. Accu-Weather set the bar on the importance of weather to TV viewers 30 years ago, and they were right. Weather information affects lives, business and family plans. Sports does not. Viewers in Philadelphia have many choices for sports information, like the Courier Times, Comcast SportsNet and ESPN. Sports anchors like Steve [Bucci], Don [Bell] and Beasley [Reece] are network quality reporters. A smart news executive could turn them all into excellent and successful frontline news anchors.”

Murphy wins again

CN8's Gregg Murphy won a National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter (Washington, D.C.) Emmy award for Program Host/Moderator. It was his third Emmy.

Two thumbs up

John Turturro, Oliver Platt and Daniel Sunjata bat 1.000 playing Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, and Reggie Jackson in “The Bronx Is Burning” on ESPN beginning July 9 at 10 p.m. In the past, ESPN has struck out with some of its original programming such as the Bobby Knight television movie, but this one about the 1977 New York Yankees is a winner.

Here's whom I would cast in a movie about the 1977 Phillies:

Ruly Carpenter: Johnny Depp

Mike Schmidt: Matthew McConaghey

Larry Bowa: Ben Stiller

Bake McBride: Ludacris

Garry Maddox: Jesse L. Martin of “Law and Order”

Greg Luzinski: Jack Black (although the late Chris Farley would've been perfect)

Steve Carlton: Leonardo DiCaprio

Tug McGraw: Tim McGraw

Randy Lerch: Jon Heder aka Napoleon Dynamite

Phil and Phillis: Apolo Anton Ohno and Julianne Hough from “Dancing with the Stars”

Mary Sue Stiles: Jessica Simpson

Danny Ozark: Homer Simpson

E-MAIL: lauranachman@verizon.net

June 22, 2007 6:40 AM