?Draft the Mikes
? NBC's Irish Blues
?World Cup Woes
?While sports drafts can often make for tedious television, the byplay between combustible TNT analyst Charles Barkley (whose comments were broadcast throughout The Theater at Madison Square Garden) and a rabid New York City crowd gave the network's final NBA draft broadcast a heady anything-can-happen feel. Barkley and fellow analyst Kenny Smith also mixed it up sweetly with NBA commissioner David Stern; when the former players asserted that foreign draftees will face difficulties because of their limited English skills, Stern quipped, "When Kenny and Charles first came into the league, they didn't speak English either." If the candid comments of ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. were broadcast live to a room of NFL officials and zealous draftniks, one can only imagine the bedlam that would ensue. Let's hope that ESPN, which will broadcast the NBA and NFL drafts next year, takes note of TNT's innovation and pipes its analysts' comments to the opinionated attendees.
?The luck of the Irish has not rubbed off on NBC. The network pays more than $6 million per year to air Notre Dame home football games and promotes the team as fervently as any other property. But the rights to the Aug. 31 Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium—the most anticipated Notre Dame game in years because it marks the debut of coach Tyrone Willingham, against Maryland—belong to ABC.
?Shame on ABC affiliates in Boston, Dallas, Detroit, New York City and Philadelphia for choosing not to show the network's midday rebroadcast of the World Cup final. Late-rising fans of the once-every-four-years event deserved better.