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Original Issue

Peter Jacobsen Plugged In Most shows mixing sports and comedy are duds, but the Golf Channel's new series has the makings of a hit

In the annals of bad television, the pro athlete turned talk
show host can hold his own with the Emerils of the world. Pick a
city with a pro sports franchise, and you'll find at least one
well-known athlete or coach hosting an eponymous show that is
equal parts self-love and unwatchable dreck. So forgive us for
being skeptical about the Golf Channel's first foray into the
genre, a monthly half-hour show with the MTV-sounding name Peter
Jacobsen Plugged In, which debuted July 1.

The combination of sports and comedy on television has
proliferated of late, from the bad (Fox Sports Net's The Best
Damn Sports Show Period and ESPN's Mohr Sports) to the mildly
amusing (Jimmy Kimmel's picks on Fox's NFL Sunday), and the
surprisingly good news is that Plugged In appears to be a
promising addition to the mix. The show merges golf and comedy
through the merry antics of Jacobsen, who has become as well
known for his sense of humor as he is for his six PGA Tour
titles. Clearly this is a man who does not take himself too
seriously, and on a network specializing in shows in which golf
pros discuss grips and bunker play with the seriousness of
constitutional law professors, Plugged In (which airs on the
first Monday of the month at 10 p.m.) is a welcome diversion.

As will happen, some bits miss the fairway. For example, a Candid
Camera-esque segment on the first show had Jacobsen and a
sidekick teacher offering conflicting advice to hackers for $1 as
a hidden camera recorded the golfers' every move. While the gag
was funny at first, it seemed to last as long as a round at
Bethpage Black. A clear winner, though, was the "Lyrics by Peter"
segment during which Jacobsen sat at a table in a bar-like
setting regaling his live audience with stories, such as the one
about the streaker he tackled at the 1985 British Open.

Jacobsen is not afraid to speak his mind, and each show will end
with "Jakes Takes," in which Jacobsen will offer opinions on
golf-related topics. For the debut show he made an impassioned
plea for the Players Championship to be officially considered a
fifth major and somehow referenced Mary Ann and the Professor
from Gilligan's Island within his argument. If the affable
Jacobsen can mine personality-challenged golfers such as David
Duval and Colin Montgomerie to equal effect, the man will have a
major hit on his hands. --Richard Deitsch