On The Air
By Laura Nachman
June 14, 2002

Marvelous Deal for Albert 

            Wednesday night’s game between the Lakers and Nets was the swan song for Marv Albert on NBC who said “Yes” to a six-year deal with TNT starting next season.  Albert will be the play-by-play man for their NBA Thursday night package, the “All Star Game” and one of the conference finals, which will be on cable for the first time.  In a conference call, Albert said he felt loyalty to Turner Broadcasting, which was the first national network to hire him in April 1999 after his sex scandal in 1997.  Albert lost his jobs at Madison Square Garden Network and NBC after he pled guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge amid tabloid tales of biting, toupee pulling, and kinky sexual escapades.  Albert was first hired back by MSG and eventually NBC, where he had worked since 1977, rehired him.  Albert is just one of many celebrities who have survived a sex scandal.  Maybe Hugh Grant should apply for the color analyst position on TNT. It’s been a good week for Albert, as he was also named the play-by-play man for the Monday Night Football broadcasts on the Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports Network.  Boomer Esiason will return to provide color commentary.


Ratings Game

Basketball continues to be more popular than hockey as the ratings for the NBA Finals going into game four were a 10.0 rating/18 share for NBC compared to a 3.4 rating/7 share for the Stanley Cup Finals on ABC going into game five.  Even “The Belmont Stakes” got higher ratings than the NHL playoffs with a 9.2 rating/21 share for NBC Saturday.  Each national rating point is equal to a little over a million households.

            The Lennox Lewis/Mike Tyson fight was the highest grossing pay-per-view event in PPV history with $103 million from 1.8 million orders.  A replay of the bout is on HBO Saturday at 9:45 p.m.


Dei Overseas

            Comcast SportsNet’s Dei Lynam is in Beijing, China for TNT to cover the possible drafting of Yao Ming by the Houston Rockets in the NBA draft this weekend.  Don’t be surprised if Lynam ends up fulltime on TNT eventually.  

 Fashion Statement

When the cameras showed Nets’ coach Byron Scott, viewers could see radio announcer Brent Musburger at the press table in a blue, checkered shirt that looked more appropriate for judging a bakeoff than a basketball game.