It's enough to make a Boston sports fan dizzy. The Red Sox are headed to the postseason. The Patriots have an eye on their fourth Super Bowl ring. And the Celtics are poised to begin the season packed with new and old talent.
So it was time, the executives at Channel 5 decided, to give fans more sports news on Sunday nights, a la Channels 4 and 7, which have half-hour sports shows after their newscasts. While WCVB's new show, called "Sports Center 5 OT," will run from just after the weather on the newscast to 11:45, that is considerably longer than the few minutes of sports the station used to squeeze in at the end of the newscast.
"It's like we've been trying to fit a size 12 foot into a size 7 shoe for years," said sports anchor Mike Lynch. "The volume [of sports news] is so overwhelming on Sundays, this lets us wiggle our toes."
Added Channel 5 president and general manager Bill Fine, "[The show] fills a void on Sunday nights for viewers who are looking for a fast-paced recap and analysis of local sports action. In football season, we can guarantee Boston sports fans the first and earliest recap virtually every week, as NFL football on Sundays delays NBC every week, and CBS the majority of weeks."
Lynch, who will anchor the show with reports from Mike Dowling and Bob Halloran, acknowledged the details are still being ironed out.
"We don't have any set guests; we're still working on that," he said. "The first two weeks, the Celtics are starting, and we'll have interviews with some of those people. We'll probably have regular contributors eventually."
Lynch, who has talked on air about people muttering to him about the magic number when he's jogging, said Boston sports seem to be on everyone's mind.
"Everywhere you go, people are talking about the Red Sox, the Patriots, and now the Celtics, and this is sort of a way to wrap up everything in a tidy fashion," he said. "Our viewers have an appetite for this and we're responding to it."
The show and the station will be understandably focused on the Patriots this week, since Channel 5 is airing the Patriots-Bengals game Monday night. Lynch will anchor the new show from Cincinnati Sunday.
The station will air a pregame show Monday from 7:30-8:30, then have a postgame show at 11:30.
Brady jaw-droppingRon Jaworski, the former quarterback who will be the ESPN analyst for Patriots-Bengals, considers three quarterbacks elite, two of whom he'll see Monday - New England's Tom Brady and Cincinnati's Carson Palmer, joined by Indianapolis's Peyton Manning.
"I've always been a huge Brady fan," he said. "Brady is phenomenal.
"While I know it's a small sampling [three games], this year I have never seen Tom more comfortable in this scheme. It certainly does help to have three great wide receivers. Last year, I used to say the Patriots had the slowest wide receiving corps."
Jaworski also observed, "Brady is a great anticipator, which is as important as being strong."
The Patriots-Bengals game also will be shown on ESPN Deportes with a Spanish broadcast, led by play-by-play announcer Alvaro Martin and analyst Raul Allegre.
CN8 is getting in on the act, too. "Out of Bounds," Monday at 7, kicks off its "Pro Night" series by previewing the Patriots-Bengals game. Gregg Moore will host a panel of former players, including Garo Yepremian and Scott Zolak.
NESN still coveringWith just days left in baseball's regular season, TBS yesterday announced its plans for postseason coverage, starting Wednesday. It will have exclusive coverage of all four Division Series and the National League Championship Series. (Fox is covering the American League Championship Series and World Series.) TBS will have a 3 1/2-hour block for the games; TNT will be the backup station. TBS also will air half-hour pre- and postgame shows. That doesn't bother NESN, which is planning hourlong pre- and postgame shows for every Red Sox game.
"Pregame-wise, people are very used to coming to NESN as they warm up for the game, and as long as we get the word out to come to us after the game, we'll be all right," said Joel Feld, NESN's vice president of programming.
"It's a matter of communicating it to our audience, and if we do, I think they'll find us."
Presidential debateNBC is not finished with golf. The network will air 16 hours of the Presidents Cup from Montreal this weekend. The biennial event, which is held in non-Ryder Cup years, pits the United States against a team of non-European international stars. Among those participating in the match-play event are Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Vijay Singh. NBC produced all of TNT's coverage yesterday and today. Channel 7 will air the tournament tomorrow from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-6 p.m. . . . Versus will begin its third year of televising NHL games with a Southern Californian matchup overseas. It will air the game between the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings from London at noon Sunday . . . The BC-UMass game tomorrow will be on WEEI (850) and ESPN360.com.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of the host for the Out of Bounds show on CN8 was incorrect in the Sports Media column in yesterday's Sports section. Gregg Murphy is the host.