Monday, June 14, 2010

Classic Moments from Tony Winner, Phil Jackson

Nobody asked me but:

* Believe it or not, I had to make a tough call Sunday night when the Tony Awards aired opposite Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

It was made tougher because the revival of the musical “Promises, Promises” was up for a few awards. That’s the musical that includes the classic “She Likes Basketball.”

Okay, it is only a classic at my house. I memorized the lyrics when it premiered: “She likes basketball, she likes basketball, we have something to talk about – basketball. Who would ever have thought my favorite girl would like my favorite sport.”

I think the late Jerry Orbach – best known for “Law & Order” – made those lyrics sing.

In any event, the Celts won the game and my vote, primarily because of the DVR. You can record an awards show and keep suspense a lot better than you can record a basketball game and keep suspense.

The Celts’ Paul Pierce and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant put on quite a show and Lakers Coach Phil Jackson had the line of the postseason.

Late in the game as the Celts appeared ready to blow a big lead, Jackson told his troops during a timeout in a “wired-up” segment that the Celtics “know how to lose in the fourth quarter.”

Wow. You don’t usually hear candor like that from a coach who realizes he is wired for sound.

But back to the Tonys, where host Sean Hayes kept things flying as Spider-Man and Little Orphan Annie (who he noted soon are coming back to Broadway).

However, the line of the night was provided by David Hodge after he won as best lead actor in a musical for “La Cage Aux Folles’” opposite Kelsey Grammer: “If you want to see a Democrat kissing a Republican come to the Longacre Theater (where La Cage is playing)." Grammer is the Republican.

Undoubtedly, the Fox series “Glee” got another boost after knockout singing performances from stars Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele.

Presenter Nathan Lane got a laugh after stealing an old joke from the late Bob Hope when he noted at his house the Tonys are referred to as “Passover.” Hope used that line during one of his stints as the host of the Oscars. It’s such an old line that it seemed new again.

By the way, the NBA (7.7) on Channel 7 (ABC) beat the Tonys (6.7) on Channel 4 (CBS) but the margin was obviously pretty close.

* One of the things that I always regretted as the daily TV critic at the Buffalo News is that I couldn’t get enough local viewers to watch the NBC series “Friday Night Lights.” Friday’s episode had only a 3.2 rating on Channel 2. The series is having another strong season following the football, political and romantic adventures in a small Texas town. The recent episodes dealing with the death of the military father of graduated quarterback Matt Saracen (Zach Gilford) are Emmy-worthy. If you’ve missed them, they are available on Time Warner’s Prime Time on Demand. Of course, all the episodes first aired on DirecTV.

* There was a great feature on CBS Sunday Morning by Jim Axelrod about former NBA rivals and now best friends (Larry) Bird and Magic (Johnson). Brought tears to my eyes. Of course, HBO had a whole hour recently on them.

* Borrrrrrrring. That’s my description of the British play-by-play guy who worked the 1-1 World Cup soccer tie Saturday afternoon between the United States and England. The only thing worse than the British goalie was the British play-by-play guy. If I were ABC and ESPN, I would have had American Chris Fowler call the game and try to make it sound more exciting. Fowler sounded more excited during the post-game show than the play-by-play guy did during the game. The game had a 5.0 rating on Channel 7, which is quite impressive for soccer.

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