Wouldn't you know it? The TV industry has outdone itself in an effort to win one of our coveted year-end Heidi Awards. In the true spirit of the competition, one network all but reenacted our namesake event, in which Heidi bumped a thrilling NFL game off the air in 1968. So, Heidi ho, and away we go....
THE THIRD ANNUAL HEIDI HEIDI AWARD—NBC's foggy-headed decision to take 35% of the country away from the Skins Game golf match last month minutes before Jack Nicklaus sank a $240,000 putt. Instead of the putt, viewers saw some spellbinding pregame stuff on NFL '84. Host Bob Costas left the impression that NBC had to cut away because of contract commitments to the NFL. "Nonsense," said the NFL.
THE BEST LIVE TELECAST—The " Doug Flutie Game," Boston College versus Miami ( CBS). Director Larry Cavolina's sideline shots were marvelous. Close second: Opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympic Games (ABC). For grandeur and inspiration we may never see their like again.
THE RICHARD M. NIXON DINNERGATE MEDAL—Reggie Rucker ( NBC). During a Browns-Bengals game, Rucker claimed to have had dinner the night before with Bengals coach Sam Wyche. Wyche said he had never had dinner with Rucker, hardly knows him and didn't make any of the statements attributed. Maybe it was breakfast, right, Reg?
MOST MEMORABLE SHOTS—1) Torvill and Dean's exquisite ending of their Bolero routine at Sarajevo (ABC). 2) Valerie Brisco-Hooks embracing her husband and baby and being tackled by her joyful coach after winning the gold medal in the 400 meters at L.A. (ABC).
TITANIC AWARD FOR DISASTER—Virtually any day at Sarajevo (ABC).
THE FIRST WRONG WAY CORRIGAN AWARD—Kathleen Sullivan (ABC). She was superb as an anchor during the Winter Olympics, but a big disappointment in L.A. Her fawning, apologetic interview of a pouting Mary Decker ("We, as reporters, sometimes badger.... You're a true champion") was embarrassing.
ANNOUNCERS OF THE YEAR—Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola, the World Series ( NBC). All-seeing, all-knowing. There was Scully on Tony Gwynn misplaying a fly ball, Garagiola calling pitchouts, Scully reading lips, Garagiola reading hips of likely base stealers.
HEIDI PEYTON PLACE AWARD—Howard Cosell, Game 2, AL playoffs (ABC). His posturing and incessant bickering with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer turned a tense game into a travesty. It's late, but maybe Howard could still enroll in a Dale Carnegie course on how to win friends and influence people.
THE HOW'S THAT AGAIN PRIZE—Chicago Cubs announcer Harry Caray (WGN). During an on-air chat with analyst Steve Stone he said, "[Dodger outfielder] Mike Marshall just got back from Los Angeles, where he was getting cocaine for his injured foot." Stone: "That's novocain, Harry."