--With Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide and Belmont
Stakes winner Empire Maker scheduled to meet at Saratoga in the
Travers Stakes on Aug. 23, ESPN will give the showdown the kind
of coverage normally afforded an NBA Finals game. "Given the
spotlight that's on horse racing with Seabiscuit and the rivalry
of Funny Cide and Empire Maker, we believe this has the potential
to be the most-talked-about race since Cigar's record 16th
straight win [in 1996]," says Mark Shapiro, an ESPN executive
vice president. Assuming neither of the horses is scratched, ESPN
will air SportsCenter from Saratoga on the morning of the race as
well as a three-hour SportsCenter from there starting at 5 p.m.
ESPN had slotted one hour for the Travers but expanded its
coverage after the Belmont Stakes, which drew 24 million viewers
on NBC--the highest-rated race in more than a decade.
--Maybe we shouldn't be surprised that Fox News Channel's Greta Van
Susteren wants to host a Sunday-afternoon sports show. Van
Susteren made her mark in 1994 as a legal analyst for CNN during
the O.J. Simpson murder trial, and on her current show, On the
Record with Greta Van Susteren (Monday through Friday, 10 p.m.),
she has covered the Kobe Bryant, Patrick Dennehy and Jose Canseco
cases. "It's probably unrealistic that a news channel will do a
sports show, but it's my lark," says Van Susteren. "People are
always surprised that I know sports--but I do. That's why a
Sunday sports show would be a dream."...Craig James, one of
ESPN's top college football analysts from 1991 to '96, has
returned after working as an NFL analyst at CBS for six years.
He'll be an analyst on ESPN2's college football telecasts. --R.D.