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From 5 Rings

. . . to a 3-ring circus


I'm struck by how we're moving from one bloated TV spectacle to another this week -- from the Olympics in Athens to the GOP in New York, complete with drama, unintentional laughs and the emotion of human competition. As for steroids, women gymnasts' glitter eye shadow and women's ultimate wedgie (re: beach) volleyball, I'm not so sure how the GOP convention will work those in.

Damned if they do, and damned if they don't, NBC blanketed its network and sister network channels with well-produced Olympics programming. Sure, they get a bit pompous and test our patience by stacking the meaty stuff at the end of primetime, but if I was doing that many sports with that much staff, equipment, and a logistical hell, I might allow myself to let some hot air escape, too.

Despite crappy men's gymnastic judging, the Marion Jones non-story, and laughable USA men's basketball, there were still moments in the Games that made them special.

There was Michael Phelps, who really does seem 19 despite a spooky resemblance to a dolphin in the water. Women's soccer, softball, and hoops brought "dream" back into team. And in track and field, Carolina-flavored Justin Gatlin and Shawn Crawford plus the "pretty-fly-for-a-white-guy" Jeremy Wariner provided viewers with those moments that make sitting through platform diving worthwhile.

Wonder if W will wear an olive wreath crown as he steps to the podium Thursday?

SHIFTS AND SHUFFLES With Labor Day around the corner, the new fall television season begins, and the media labor market always seems to change. This year is no exception. WCCB-TV main co-anchor Kristyn Hartman is gone, headed to Chicago for freelance work and more time with her hubby. Angela Robbins, who left WBTV in recent days, is joining Fox Charlotte as assistant news director.

The Charlotte Bobcats have snagged a JP Sports staffer to produce their TV games. Todd Minhinnett will be senior producer for the new NBA team.

Carson Chambers is the newest WBTV reporter, even as tongues are still wagging about the hire of former city councilwoman Lynn Wheeler as a political commentator. It's no surprise that Wheeler landed a broadcast job. She'd been asking friends and broadcast types (including moi) about what her chances of a media job could be for months.

Stay tuned.

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