?Forget the fuss over performance-enhancing drugs. According to The Real Olympics, a two-part documentary that compares the Games of ancient Greece with today's, Zeus would have approved if an athlete sought his favor by popping herbs to add zest to the limbs. Airing on PBS on Aug. 3-4, Real Olympics uses dramatizations of contests (enacted by sculpted, scantily clad males) and provides myth-busting fun facts. The Olympics opened, for instance, with the sacrificing of 100 oxen, leaving spectators to deal with blood, smells and flies. In general, the show's experts contend, the original Olympics had little in common with Baron Pierre de Coubertin's late 19th-century idea of amateur athletes competing oh-so-genteelly. The ancient Greeks, notes one historian, "tolerated a level of violence in their sport that would to all but the most psychopathic today be simply chilling."
? ESPN'S dream job winner Mike Hall downplayed his impressive debut as a SportsCenter anchor last week. "Trust me, I'm really an idiot," says Hall, who beat out 10,000 contestants for the $95,000-a-year gig. "They just have good people around me to make me look decent." (One was coanchor Linda Cohn, who gave Hall supportive fist knocks during commercial breaks.) Hall's flub-free, witty stint impressed ESPN brass enough to earn him his own SportsCenter segment, Around the World. Starting on Aug. 15 Hall will report from five continents in five days, covering topics such as the spate of suicides among cricket players in South Africa. ESPN, meanwhile, is conducting a 14-city search for new Dream Job contestants. "I would tell them to try and be themselves," says Hall. "And remember to wear pants. It's always embarrassing if you show up without them."