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William Taaffe
December 22, 1986
The best and the boneheaded of '86 receive their just rewards
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December 22, 1986

It's Heidi Duty Time

The best and the boneheaded of '86 receive their just rewards

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THE SECOND ANNUAL HEIDI BIRTHDAY SUIT STATUETTE—To WCVB-Channel 5, Boston. During the Red Sox' division-clinching locker room bash, WCVB's live cameras showed pitcher Rob Woodward head-on nude for upwards of two minutes. The cameraman's excuse was that his eyepiece had fogged up. NudeCenter 5, anyone?

WORST LIVE TELECAST—Wide World of Sports' $1 million "Super Run" for mediocre runners ( ABC). A pretentious, hokey event made worse by constant shots of a race sponsor's trucks in the background and by Bob Beattie's hyperventilating. One of the featured runners was a woman seven months pregnant. "I don't know what that goes to show," Beattie squealed as the cameras focused on her, "but she's right out there charging!"

BEST SHORT PIECE—1) Feature producer Rick Bernstein's prefight profile of Michael Spinks's revolutionary training methods, which helped him to upset Larry Holmes for the heavyweight title ( HBO). 2) Charlie Jones's tender perspective piece, "I'm Holding a Miracle," which suggested that the World Cup soccer championship was irrelevant compared with the life of a baby who survived the Mexico City earthquake ( NBC). 3) Nicklaus's and Tom Watson's sweet, brotherly retrospective on their '77 British Open matchup at Turnberry (Producer Terry Jastrow, ABC). Sportsmanship is alive and well.

THE HEIDI COMMERCIALGATE CITATION—To ABC, which decided to take a local commercial break as Bob Tway was approaching the sand trap on the final hole in the PGA Championship. The ABC feed resumed the very instant Tway struck his sensational winning shot from the bunker, but viewers in several parts of the country missed it, because local stations crammed in their own promo "bumpers" before rejoining the network.

BIGGEST SLIPPAGE, ANNOUNCER—Frank Gifford ( ABC). He keeps on talking until he finds something to say, offers little in the way of analysis and doesn't listen to what his broadcast partner says. Gifford also has developed a propensity for misinformation (e.g., " Joe Walton succeeded Al Michaels as coach of the Jets").

OUR FIRST AND (WE HOPE) LAST VIGILANTE VASE—To sportscaster Mike Bryant of KMPH-TV, Fresno, Calif. After a video store that Bryant owns was robbed, he went on the air, produced a rifle, pointed it at the camera and proclaimed "open season on crime." After KMPH sacked him for the incident, Bryant said, "Sports is a tune-out for a lot of people. I'm not a scores-and-highlights kind of guy."

BEST INNOVATION—1) ESPN's "whiparound" format that transported viewers to several live venues each night during the NHL playoffs. Kudos also to ESPN for its two-minutes-before-the-half-hour update of game scores and to NBC for its "Ten-minute ticker" during NFL telecasts.

WORST JOURNALISM—1) Ted Turner for his cream-puff treatment of the Soviets during the Goodwill Games (TBS). 2) Buddy Diliberto of WDSU-TV, New Orleans, who created a Super Bowl furor by airing the bogus report that Jim McMahon had called New Orleans women "sluts" and the city populace "ignorant."

THE ESTEEMED HEIDI FLIMFLAM RIBBONS—Blue ribbon to CBS Producer Frank Chirkinian for showing a tape of Andy Bean's sudden-death victory in the Doral Open, leaving the viewer to assume it was live. Yellow ribbon to anchor Dan Rather for transparently hyping CBS's boring Ivan Lendl-Miloslav Mecir U.S. Open final when Rather was interviewed in the stands early in the match.

BEST LIVE INTERVIEW—Al Trautwig's spellbinder with Ray Floyd after he won the U.S. Open ( ABC). Something in Trautwig's manner encouraged Floyd to lay his emotions bare. For month-in, month-out consistency, Larry Merchant ( HBO); he continually asks the right questions.

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