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TMCNet:  Contra Costa Times Chuck Barney column

[February 01, 2013]

Contra Costa Times Chuck Barney column

Feb 01, 2013 (Contra Costa Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- It may be a major case of overkill, but CBS will carry an arsenal of 62 cameras into Sunday's Super Bowl telecast and at least a couple of them will be aimed exclusively at the brothers Harbaugh.
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"Obviously it will be talked about a lot by sports fans and non-sports fans," says CBS Sports chief Sean McManus of the historic matchup of coaches Jim and John. "It's an interesting story -- one that everyone can identify with because many of us have had sibling rivalries throughout our lives. We know what it's like to compete against a brother or a sister." It's certainly no surprise that CBS is planning to focus heavily on the Harbaughs in its pregame show, hoping to get the brothers to sit down together for an expansive joint interview. But McManus insists that, once the game begins, the Harbaugh story will not dominate the coverage. Meanwhile, announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms know that, after two weeks of incessant news stories, they'll need to guard against Harbaugh fatigue.

"There's so much (in print) out there, and I'll read it all," says Nantz, who promises no long-winded "soliloquies" on the brothers. "You just hope you can find, in your face-to-face meetings with them, a story that people have not heard." Nantz says he's looking forward to what he believes will be the day's most compelling image: the postgame handshake between Harbaughs.

"I can't wait to see what that's going to be like. It's going to be a great moment," he says. "How much joy and how much despair How are they going to balance that And then, the shot of their parents. ... That is going to be the ultimate shot of this game. ... Looking into their eyes, what are we going to see " Incidentally, the number of cameras used by CBS in a typical regular season game is nine to 12.

Remarkable statistics The 49ers and Ravens won't be the only ones trying to land in the record book. CBS hopes to extend the streak of Super Bowl ratings highs to four straight years.

"What's going to determine whether we set a record is the closeness of the game," McManus says. "If it's a blowout, you're going to get some of the non-football fans turning off." The 2010 Super Bowl on CBS was seen by an average of 106.5 million viewers -- a number that topped the all-time ratings record set by the 1983 "M*A*S*H" finale (105.9 million). The following two Super Bowls then eclipsed that mark with 111 million viewers tuning in for the 2011 game on Fox, and 111.3 million watching the 2012 Super Bowl on NBC. Both games came down to the final moments.

The robust viewership for the Super Bowl runs counter to the trend of fragmenting audiences that has seen ratings fall for most popular programs, including the Academy Awards and "American Idol." Marino on Kaepernick One of the more intriguing pregame interviews figures to be Dan Marino's chat with Colin Kaepernick -- a meeting of NFL legend and rising young phenom.

"I'm excited about getting to know him and his background and the things he's been through in his life," Marino says. "The amazing thing to me is that this is only going to be his 10th start, and he's playing in the Super Bowl. I think it's just a fantastic story and one that appeals to more than your average football fan. Just to see the way he plays the game is a little unique in itself." Option play CBS will put plenty of promotional oomph into encouraging viewers to stay tuned to "Elementary," a drama series airing right after the game. But for the first time, the die-hards will be given a chance to stick around for more postgame analysis. Shortly after the trophy presentation, the CBS Sports Network cable channel will air a postgame program that will last for an hour or more.

It's an aggressive move to boost the profile of CBSSN, which is in only about 50 million of the nation's 116 million households. Three years ago, when CBS had the Super Bowl, the cable channel didn't air any on-site programming during the days leading up to the game. This year, the channel is offering 50 hours from New Orleans.

Odds and ends Among the fancy new gadgetry being deployed by CBS are six "Heyeper Zoom" cameras that allow operators to zoom in on and freeze-frame instant replays with more clarity than usual. ... In the run-up to the game, the network will air "New Orleans: Let the Good Times Roll" (9 a.m., Channels 5 and 13), an hourlong special hosted by Wynton Marsalis that celebrates "the rhythm and soul of the Big Easy." ... Standout Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews has signed on as a "contributing analyst" for the CBS pregame show. ... As usual, the commercials figure to be a major draw; CBS sold out its inventory, with the average 30-second spot going for $3.75 million and some premium spots priced at more than $4 million.

Contact Chuck Barney at cbarney@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/chuckbarney and Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.ChuckBarney.

___ (c)2013 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Visit the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) at www.contracostatimes.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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