Time for TV to channel new ideas

I did some travel recently, but also made plenty of time to watch television I normally avoid when I’m working. Here are some things I picked up, none of them long enough for a full column:

• There’s a new game show on NBC called, “It’s Worth What?” The show’s hosted by Cedric the Entertainer. There’s one part of the show where contestants guess what it’s worth. Please tell me that did not go through development meetings at NBC without at least one person saying, “So they only win… if the price is right?”

• While I was doing laundry last week at the parents’ house, I killed some time by looking through my box of stuff that I kept there. I think my favorite item that I pulled was the 1996 ESPN baseball preview. It was one of the network’s first forays into the print side of media, and a precursor to ESPN: The Magazine.

It’s got Cal Ripken on the front, with previews and predictions for not just the 1996 season, but impact players later on.

Now, every time I see season predictions, I’ll just remember their accuracy when they picked the World Series Champion New York Yankees to finish third in their own division – “The turnstiles keep spinning, but as long as the Fat Man (George Steinbrenner) owns them, the Yanks will keep running in circles.”

Their top National League prospect, Mets pitcher Paul Wilson, “could be the Tom Seaver of the 90s,.” Except he went 40-58 in seven seasons.

Top American League prospect Ruben Rivera,“has legitimate 30-home run power” which talent scouts said could make him one of the “top 10 players in baseball.” Rivera never hit more than 23 homers in any of his nine seasons.

Worst prediction, by far … Kevin Wilson, who saved the magazine with hopes it would be worth a ton someday.

• The end of the NFL lockout could mean… another Brett Favre comeback? And I would say, “Go right ahead, Mr. Favre.”

Players did win a few concessions in the new 10-year labor deal, notably an option for current players to remain in the league’s medical plan for life. One could hardly blame Favre — with his injury history and a front-row seat for his wife’s breast cancer treatment — should he decide to ride the bench in Philadelphia to claim the benefit.

• The Republican theory on taxes is simple. If government gets out of the way, prices will be lower. The savings will be passed on to the consumer. More products will be purchased, and more people will be put to work. I wish somebody told the airlines.

With the Federal Aviation Administration still in limbo due to gridlock in Congress, the fees normally collected on tickets aren’t required. Well, now that government is out of the way, tickets will be chea … wait, what? The airlines simply raised ticket prices by the same amount, and told their customers, “It’s OK, it doesn’t cost you any more than it did last week. And no, we’re not reducing bag fees either. How do you think we made $2.6 billion last year?”

It’s never fun when theories and reality are different.