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Queens Chronicle

Coming up next in TV land

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Posted: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:00 am

The third week in May is when broadcast TV and major cable networks hold their upfront presentations to announce their fall schedules for ad buyers and the media. While the majority of the time is devoted to prime-time entertainment, sports continues to be a major profit source for the networks.

CBS is playing up the fact that it will broadcast Super Bowl XLIV in Miami this February, and trumpeting the return of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady — who did the Tiffany Network a big favor by marrying supermodel Gisele Bundchen, which can only help bring in marginal viewers.

That same line of logic made CBS Sports execs ecstatic when the Jets drafted USC matinee idol QB Mark Sanchez, who has already generated headlines with his “hunky” photo spread in GQ. The Jets have always been a ratings underperformer, given the size of the New York market, and of course that will only change if Sanchez can make the Jets’ record as attractive as his physical attributes.

Few athletes benefitted from playing their pro careers in New York the way that Giants linebacker Michael Strahan did. Strahan parlayed his on-field talent and off-field engaging personality into a lucrative gig as one of the anchors on Fox’s Sunday NFL pre- and post-game shows. Now he’s going into acting. At the network’s upfront last Monday, Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly announced that Strahan will star in a Friday evening show entitled “Brothers,” in which he plays a down-on-his-luck NFL star who moves back with his parents.

Turner Broadcasting’s Tru TV (the re-branded Court TV) touted a joint venture with NFL Films titled “NFL Full Contact” that will give the viewer access to the behind-the-scenes world of pro football, from teams plotting their draft strategy to the planning of the Super Bowl halftime show and the inevitable glitches that occur in the best-laid plans of mice and men.

Tru TV also announced that former wrestling star and former Minnesota governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura will host a show called “Conspiracy Theory” that will examine everything from global warming to Sept. 11 to the JFK assassination. No word yet as to whether Ventura will look into the past NBA playoffs or the 1984 draft lottery, in which the Knicks were awarded Patrick Ewing after NBA Commissioner David Stern picked the card that had their name on it.

Queens was certainly on the minds of ESPN executives, who promoted the fact that they’ll broadcast the weekday portions of the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows for the first time, and that Douglaston native John McEnroe will be their lead analyst.

Network brass also realize that a good deal of their viewers will be at work during the matches, so ESPN will show taped highlights of what is happening at the National Tennis Center every 30 minutes on its website.

And the network is increasing the workload of Bayside High School alum Mike Tirico. During college football season Tirico will host a preview show of the weekend’s big games on Fridays from 7 to 9 p.m.

Welcome to the discussion.