Dave on Demand: Musburger gets hung out to dry over comments about Katherine Webb

No offense: Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, with McCarron's mother, Dee Dee Bonner.
No offense: Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, with McCarron's mother, Dee Dee Bonner. (JOHN BAZEMORE / AP)
Posted: January 13, 2013

Poor Brent Musburger. Throughout his long career as a sportscaster, he's always been known as a dutifully cheery, gee-willikers announcer. Now, at 73, suddenly he's the poster boy for on-air lecherousness. It's hard to think of a more unlikely scapegoat.

Yes, during the BCS championship game Monday, he made some va-va-voom observations about Katherine Webb, girlfriend of Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron. His appreciation of Webb's pulchritude may have gone on too long, but it hardly went too far. Too enthusiastic maybe, but that's his announcing style. He'd describe a breakfast omelet with the same manic zeal.

But how do you think Musburger knew who Webb was? There was a production meeting before the game at which he was informed that the director planned to focus on the beauty queen and that Musburger should have certain talking points ready.

When the game quickly turned into a blowout, the cameras found Webb in the stands. And Musburger launched into his spiel. But he didn't order the camera to go back to her over and over. Someone in the truck did that. Webb got so much face time, I thought she had to be starring in a new ABC sitcom.

Musburger didn't call for all the up-angle shots of the cheerleaders during the game, either. He just got hung out to dry.

Webb did not sound upset about Musburger's comments the next morning on Today. Musburger used words like " beautiful and gorgeous," she pointed out. "I think any woman would be flattered by that."

But Matt Lauer kept pushing the point that the segment was offensive because it objectified her. "They did go on and on about your appearance," he coached her.

Here's the thing: NBC showed us Webb waiting patiently at the top of the show at 7 a.m. But it saved her segment for well over an hour. Meanwhile, it teased the interview every five minutes, almost always with footage of Webb in a revealing bikini for a swimsuit competition. That wasn't hypocritical.

And how come no one commented on the teenager in the stands to Webb's left who stared at her gape-mouthed through the entire game? Now that was a little creepy.

Man for all seasons. Henry Ian Cusick, best known as the hatchling Desmond on Lost, is having himself quite a year. He's been on Fringe, Scandal, and Smash. Not as a guest star, mind you, but with multi-episode arcs on all. With his current role as Lisbon's evil nemesis on The Mentalist, he's completed a stunning circuit of all four networks. Yahtzee!

In a couple of weeks, he will begin playing Dana Delany's therapist on Body of Proof. That's just showing off.

Share the wealth. Oddest cameo of the week had to be Hal Linden (Barney Miller) as a crotchety old nursing-home codger on The Mindy Project. Nice to see you, Hal, but come on; you're taking away work from Abe Vigoda.

Nailed it. This week, we had two episodes of Happy Endings. The funniest line was in the first one as Brad (Damon Wayans Jr.) and Penny (Casey Wilson) tried to figure out what to do after accidentally killing Alex's (Elisha Cuthbert's) racist parrot.

"What would Kerry Washington do on Scandal?" fretted Penny.

Brad responded, "Demand to see the president and almost make out with him."

Well-played.


Contact David Hiltbrand

at 215-854-4552, dhiltbrand@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_tv.

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