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Richard Deitsch
September 02, 2002
Fox's New Crew, TNT Is the Pits, A Lead-in for PTI
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September 02, 2002

Under Review

Fox's New Crew, TNT Is the Pits, A Lead-in for PTI

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?With so much attention showered upon ABC's new Monday Night Football pairing, it's easy to forget that Fox is also debuting a freshly minted No. 1 announcing team this season. The trio of Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Chris Collinsworth called the Eagles-Ravens game last Friday and show plenty of promise after just two broadcasts. Last year Aikman shone as a rookie analyst, thanks to the deferential manner of fellow analyst Daryl Johnston, and now Collinsworth is giving him the same room to make salient points. ("The one area Donovan McNabb really struggles in is when he's forced to sit in the pocket and deliver the football," Aikman said last Friday.) Both analysts have also meshed nicely with Buck, who has made a seamless transition from baseball to football.

?TNT's pit reporters distinguished themselves during NASCAR's entertaining Sharpie 500 last Saturday night. First, Matt Yocum elicited some menacing words from driver Ward Burton, who said he wished "I had something I could have shot through the window" rather than throwing his heat shields at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s car after Earnhardt knocked him out of the race. Then, in the postrace ceremony, Bill Weber opened his questioning of race winner Jeff Gordon with an eloquent "Welcome home." That prompted Gordon, who won for the first time in 31 races, to look toward the heavens, arms raised, and scream, "Thank you." Terrific stuff.

?With Unscripted failing as a lead-in for Pardon the Interruption, ESPN will try again with Around the Horn, a daily half-hour show featuring writers from newsrooms around the country offering their takes on the sports news of the day. The show is expected to debut in late September.