MOST GRATING CLICHES—"He's atop the leader board" ( Don Criqui, NBC). "He's awesome" (Bender, CBS). "He dodged the bullet" ( Jackson, ABC).
BEST COMMENTARY—Howard Cosell during the Larry Holmes-Randy Cobb heavyweight title bout. Cosell was roundly criticized for calling the barbaric pounding of Cobb pointless as early as the ninth round, but it says here he was right.
MOST HACKNEYED SHOTS—1) The Blimp. We all know what it looks like, and we all know it's Goodyear's. 2) Unexpurgated low-angle shots of cheerleaders. 3) Baseball wives, especially when they cheer on cue.
HEIDI AWARD FOR OVEREXPOSURE—To CBS's Brent Musburger. He still hits .320 and drives in 120 runs a year, but like Arthur Godfrey in the 1950s, he's on camera all the time. Dear Brent: You'd enjoy a ride in the park one weekend.
BEST PRODUCTION OF AN ANNUAL EVENT—The Kentucky Derby ( ABC). A little lucky and a lot talented, Director Chuck Howard put one of his three isolated cameras on 21-1 shot Gato del Sol, who was 19th out of 19 horses in the first turn. Guess who won.
MOST UNKIND REMARK—Cosell, referring to Cardinal Outfielder Willie McGee during the National League playoffs: "He looks a little like E.T."
OUR FIRST ANNUAL SHAME-ON-YOU AWARD—To WTBS-TV, Ted Turner's superstation, for allowing the NCAA to have veto power over its football announcers. TBS had to get rid of Pepper Rodgers and Paul Hornung when the censors from Shawnee Mission, Kans., found them unsavory.
WORST LIVE EVENT—The Fiesta Bowl, Penn State vs. USC ( NBC). Soporific from start to finish: You couldn't hear the crowd, the camera coverage rated a Zzzzzzzzz, and announcers Charlie Jones and Len Dawson seemed to take a New Year's holiday.
BEST SHORT FEATURE—CBS Reporter Pat O'Brien's backgrounder on Alexis Arguello's life in Nicaragua, shown shortly before Arguello's Nov. 12 fight with Aaron Pryor. Arguello confided that he fears assassination should he return home.
BEST JOURNALISM—To Cosell's SportsBeat ( ABC). He's still a voice crying in the wilderness—and asking the trenchant question.