Unclean Sweeps Greed! Violence! Lobster bisque! Here's how a sports channel might juice up the February ratings period

January 31, 2000

Fox has canceled plans to crash a commercial jetliner into the
Mojave on live TV during the February ratings sweeps. (The plane
was to be remote-controlled and pilotless.) But fear not: CBS
still plans to strand 16 contestants in the wilds of Borneo
later this year, with a million dollars going to the ding-a-ling
who lasts longest. (It will all be videotaped.) How is an
all-sports channel to compete? ESPN plans to aggressively
counterprogram, starting on Feb. 3, Day One of the sweeps.

9 AM: Win Big Stein's Money (Game show) Inside Mariano Rivera's
salary arbitration hearing (30 min.)

9:30 AM: Who Shot J.R.? (Drama) Don't ask transit police, who
look the other way when John Rocker takes the number 7 train to
Shea Stadium (30 min.)

10 AM: America's Dumbest Criminals NFL highlights (30 min.)

10:30 AM: Charlie Rose (Talk show) When Charlie Hustle (Pete
Rose) grills Pete Rose (Charlie Hustle), all of America is
offended (60 min.)

11:30 AM: Freaks & Geeks Sportswriters' roundtable (30 min.)

NOON: Living Single Sportswriters' roundtable (30 min.)

12:30 PM: Behind the Mucus (Documentary) Spectacular rise and
tragic fall of sports' most lamentable loogie hawkers, starring
Roberto Alomar, Charles Barkley and Mike Ditka (60 min.)

1:30 PM: Antiques Roadshow Utah Jazz away game (2 hr.)

3:30 PM: Summer of '42 (Movie) Florida State quarterback Chris
Weinke fondly recalls his high school graduation (2 hr.)

5:30 PM: Whose Line Is It, Anyway? (Drama) Darryl and Dwight,
former teammates turned bickering roommates, fight over their
last kilo of cocaine (60 min.)

6:30 PM: Fashion Emergency (Drama) Club soda saves the day when
Armani-clad Pat Riley spills lobster bisque on his favorite
periwinkle necktie (30 min.)

7 PM: Eight Is Enough (Comedy-Drama) Intrepid bartender cuts off
David Wells (60 min.)

8 PM: Everybody Loves Raymond? Not in this sitcom, in which
Green Bay residents egg Ray Rhodes's Town Car. (30 min.)

8:30 PM: Scarecrow and Mr. King (Drama) By carefully choosing
his judges, a fight promoter leads a hay-stuffed stick figure to
the heavyweight championship of the world (60 min.)

9:30 PM: Huffy the Umpire Slayer (Game show) Enraged NFL
behemoths chase and assault elderly referees (30 min.)

10 PM: Who Wants to Flee a Millionaire? (Game show) Elderly
referees are chased and assaulted by enraged NFL behemoths (60
min.)

11 PM: Serena, the Teenage Witch (Comedy) Tennis player has
magical powers, makes big sister disappear (30 min.)

11:30 PM: Will & Grace (Comedy) Will (Will Clark) and Grace
(Mark Grace) are confined to a home for aged first basemen (30
min.)

MIDNIGHT: Party of Five (Drama) Shawn Kemp hosts a romantic
dinner for the mothers of his children, but only a handful can
attend (30 min.)

12:30 AM: Knight Rider (Drama) When Bob Knight coaches J.R.
Rider--and J.R. Rider plays for Bob Knight--both men learn the
true meaning of karma (60 min.) (Adult language)

1:30 AM: The 700 Club (Drama) At Sacramento's airport Marriott,
Larry Johnson achieves a career groupie milestone (60 min.)
(Adult themes)

2:30 AM: La Femme Mikita (Drama) Hockey Hall of Famer travels to
Switzerland, has an operation (2 hr.) (Subtitles; parental
discretion advised)

COLOR ILLUSTRATION: DAN PICASSO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)