Heidi, our rosy-cheeked bundle joy, is here again to hand out her year-end awards for the best and worst in sports TV. The little brat can get impatient—remember how she bumped that thrilling AFL game off the tube in 1968?—so let's get right to it....
THE FOURTH ANNUAL HEIDI HEIDI AWARD—To PBS, for cutting away from the Penn-Princeton football game Nov. 2 with Penn leading 31-21 and Princeton on the march with four minutes left to play. PBS didn't reserve satellite time after 4 p.m., and it cut to a talk show on which Howard Cosell plugged his new book. For anybody still wondering, there was no further scoring in the game.
BEST LIVE TELECAST—Villanova defeats Georgetown, NCAA basketball championship ( CBS). A near-perfect telecast of a near-perfect game. Brent Musburger and Billy Packer were tough but fair on the Hoyas' roughhousing and John Thompson's strategy. Close second: World Series Game 6, the Dane Iorg Game (ABC).
REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE CERTIFICATE—To President Steve Reagan, who made congratulatory phone calls to the 49ers after the Super Bowl, Pete Rose after hit No. 4,192, Grambling coach Eddie Robinson after victory No. 324 and the Royals after the World Series. Reagan capped his chit-chat blitz by referring to the outstanding pitching of "Jim" Quisenberry.
MOST VIVID REPLAYS—1) Joe Theismann's 90-degree leg fracture (Bob Goodrich, ABC). To show it 911 times, though, was a bit much. 2) Don Denkinger's safe-at-first call on Jorge Orta, ninth inning, World Series Game 6 (Dennis Lewin, ABC). Orta was out from three different angles.
DON'T-SQUEEZE-THE-CHARMIN POOR TASTE AWARD—To ABC for nauseating viewers with its exhaustive coverage of Grete Waitz's intestinal problems during the New York Marathon. Report on her condition, sure, but don't linger on shots of her clutching what looked like toilet tissue or call on a doctor for color commentary.
BEST-EDITED SPECIAL—ABC's Race Across America by bicycle. An exquisite celebration of the U.S. and sport by producer Amy Sacks and director Joel Feld. Sweet, tender and above all, human.
THE ET TU BRUTE PRIZE—To Cosell for knifing Frank Gifford, Don Meredith. O.J. Simpson and sundry other ABC colleagues in his book, I Never Played The Game. This is the way Howard goes out. Criticizing performance is one thing; biting the hand that has fed you is another.
THE HEIDI BIRTHDAY SUIT STATUETTE—To KCST-TV, San Diego, which showed a number of Chargers, including Don Macek and Ed White, totally unclothed during a live postgame telecast from the San Diego locker room Nov. 17. Is privacy pass�?
BEST JOURNALISM—PBS's Frontline series for its searching, balanced, understated piece on boxing, "Down for the Count."