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SI View The Week in Television

don't miss

Saturday 4/20 and Sunday 4/21
NBC 12:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 5:30 PM
--NBA Playoffs
NBC becomes the NBA channel this weekend, with six postseason
games over a 31-hour stretch.
Saturday 4/20 HBO 9:30 PM

Saturday 4/20 HBO 9:30 PM
--Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Jose Luis Castillo
WBC junior lightweight king Mayweather (below) challenges
Castillo for his WBC lightweight title.

Sunday 4/21 FOX 1:30 PM
--Talladega 500
The Winston Cup arrives at what might be the fastest track on
the circuit--the average speed of last year's winner (Bobby
Hamilton) was 184.003 mph.

Thursday 4/25 TBS 7:30 PM
--Diamondbacks at Braves
For Arizona it's Johnson, Schilling and God willing. The two
aces had six of the Diamondbacks' first eight wins.


sizzling & fizzling

A Daily Sparring Session That's Worth the Interruption

They're fat. They're old. They're bald. So goes the
self-deprecating tag line for ESPN's Pardon the Interruption,
the entertaining daily sports talk show featuring Washington
Post scribes Tony Kornheiser, 52, and Michael Wilbon, 43. What
the tag line fails to report is that the hosts are also smart,
literate and a gas to watch as they banter about the sports
news of the day. In four months on the air the half-hour program
(which appears on weekdays at 5:30 p.m. and is repeated on ESPN2
at 7 p.m.; a prime-time show also airs on Sunday night during
baseball's off-season) has become the best show on the network.
"We realized that we didn't have a show that was full of
powerful, fire-breathing commentary on a daily basis," says Mark
Shapiro, ESPN's vice president and general manager of
programming. "Sports is argument, and we wanted a show where we
could do that."

Many of the topics are debated for one minute or less, and an
on-screen clock reminds hosts and viewers how much time is left
in a sparring session. While some networks promote sex to
attract young male viewers (see: Jillian Barberie on Fox NFL
Sunday), Kornheiser and Wilbon revel in their anti-talking head
appearance. Call them a paunchier version of Lethal Weapon's Mel
Gibson and Danny Glover with the same kind of explosive
chemistry. Dueling with each other on matters as disparate as
Augusta National's membership policy to Kenyon Martin's temper
to Wilbon's refusal to watch Seinfeld, Pardon the Interruption
has been as unpredictable as Dennis Rodman's wardrobe and nearly
as much fun to look at.

Check the public-television listings for A Scout's Life, an
hour-long gem of a baseball film by Nathan Kaufman, an
independent filmmaker who produced and directed the highly
regarded Minor Leagues/Major Dreams. As part of his chronicle of
those baseball zealots who beat the bushes for the next star,
Kaufman interviewed the late Hugh Alexander and Ellis Clary, a
pair of legendary bird dogs, and spent a month on the road with
Gerry Craft, the Eastern scouting supervisor for the Astros. A
Scout's Life is a must-see for baseball diehards.


COLOR PHOTO: LINDA SPILLERS/ESPN Kornheiser (left) and Wilbon deliver smart commentary.