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TV briefs

NBC Sports

LIVE FROM SALT LAKE: NBC is reportedly mulling over the thought of providing live coverage of the 2002 Winter Olympics to its West Coast affiliates. Which, in some cases, would mean those viewers would see Olympic events, oh, about a day-and-a-half earlier than they saw some events in Sydney.

Under the plan, NBC would telecast the Games live from 5-8 p.m. Pacific Time. Then — after local newscasts — the network might go with a live edition of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (perhaps originating from Utah) and follow that with an Olympics highlights show.

Viewers in the rest of the country would see most of the events on tape-delay.

The question is what would happen here in Utah — would KSL-Ch. 5 air the "prime-time" coverage live from 4-7 p.m. or would the people closest to the Games see them on tape-delay?

EX-XFL? Nobody at NBC is talking on the record, but the word is that the network is going to cut its losses and cancel the XFL at the end of the season.

The fact that nobody at NBC is talking on the record in support of the league can be interpreted as a sign that the reports are not without substance.

The network's Saturday-night XFL ratings have been embarrassing, setting record lows for network television in general. If NBC didn't own half the league, chances are it would have dumped it long before this.

If NBC does cancel the XFL, it raises some interesting questions. WWF chieftain Vince McMahon has vowed to keep the league going next year even without a TV contract, but can he make it work? Both UPN and TNN are happy with their XFL ratings — numbers that would sink a show on a bigtime network can be successful on a minor broadcast network or cable channel. Would NBC continue to co-own the league if it doesn't carry its games?

And you've got to wonder what the bombing of the XFL will do to NBC Sports and Olympics president Dick Ebersol. Don't count him out, however — it was his idea to dump Jane Pauley for "The Today Show" and replace her with Deborah Norville, and he survived that debacle.

Canceled

BAD ADVICE: To no one's surprise, the low-rated "Dr. Laura" TV show has officially been axed by syndicator Paramount.

Actually, the only surprise is that it took as long as it did to make it official. The show has been on life-support almost from the day it debuted — and the handwriting on the wall was etched in big, black letters when the show was shifted to the wee hours of the morning by a slew of big-city stations.

Its host, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, attributed the show's demise to the protestors who attempted to get it canceled even before it debuted — and convinced advertisers to stay away from the program. "I believe it could have earned a substantial audience in time, but the television advertiser boycott precluded that," she said in a statement.

The show's failure also had something to do with the fact that it was just plain boring.