Matt Buckler: 'Monarch' launch delayed until fall

Jan. 13—It was almost impossible to watch the Fox Network for any length of time without seeing a promo for the new series "Monarch."

The promos for "Monarch" almost outnumbered the Geico commercials.

I was looking forward to it — Susan Sarandon, the star of the show, based on a country music family dynasty, was looking pretty evil and the show seemed to have all the elements of a filthy prime-time soap opera.

For weeks it has been programmed in my brain — the show was scheduled to debut Sunday Jan. 30, immediately following the National Football Conference championship game.

But now I'll have to reprogram my brain. Fox announced Tuesday that the show won't get underway on Jan. 30 after all. The launch date has been shoved back to the fall.

It has nothing to do with trouble with the show and has everything to do with COVID-19.

Because of the recent spike in COVID cases, Fox has decided to wait until the fall to roll out one of its most promising shows. In a press release, the network insisted that "Monarch" remains a high priority show.

So we'll see more promos. We just won't see the first episode until September.

Special ceremony

There's one major sporting event that doesn't have a winner or a loser — but it's still one of the most popular spectacles in sports.

The opening ceremony of the Olympic games certainly qualifies for being inspiring to watch, even though no score is being kept.

Viewers are fascinated by other details, such as who will light the Olympic torch or what team has the nicest uniforms. Because the athletes are so enthusiastic, we become enthusiastic.

For one day, the sports world is perfect. Of course, it won't stay perfect — as soon as the competition starts, so do the politics and the controversy.

For one day, however, we get a glimpse of how pristine sports can be.

That's why it's good to know that NBC will be televising the opening ceremonies of the upcoming Winter Olympics live, starting at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 4. It's not exactly a prime-time time slot, but it's better than having to wait until 8 p.m. to see it. The event also will be carried live on NBC's streaming network, Peacock.

After the live telecast, the event will be seen a few more times on NBC and Peacock.

Then the Olympic avalanche of coverage will begin. There's one major difference in NBC's game plan — with NBCSN having been shut down, there will be more coverage on the USA Network than there has been in the past. Peacock will stream all the events live, so you don't have to wait until evening to get to the good stuff.

So let the luge begin. I've been waiting four years to see it.

Flourishing football

The wrinkles have disappeared from the National Football League ratings chart.

After a down year because of the COVID-19 virus, the NFL ratings are healthy again, climbing 10 percent from a year ago.

The fact that the NFL went the entire season with few postponements and full stadiums made a big difference in the ratings.

Here's what made the biggest difference — the rise of wagering around the country and all the commercials that were featured.

When gamblers put money on a game, they like to watch it. The result was higher ratings and more NFL revenue.

As long as fans don't have to sell their TVs in order to pay their gambling debts, the NFL should continue to be in very good shape.

Resurrected rumors

It's a new year, but old rumors are starting to resurface as far as "The CBS Evening News" is concerned.

The New York Post is reporting that the network may be grooming current morning anchor Tony Dokoupil to take Norah O'Donnell's place as the face of CBS news.

The rumor mills started spinning last week when Dokoupil went from New York to Washington to anchor a special anniversary report on the Jan. 6 riot when the network could have used O'Donnell, who is based out of Washington.

According to the Post, this rumor is all about money. O'Donnell makes $8 million per year and Dokoupil makes $2 million. So the network figures it can save $6 million a year and still finish in third place in the nightly newscasts, behind ABC and NBC.

A move of Dokoupil — or anyone else — taking over will surely send the wrong message, that CBS cares more about saving money than covering the news.

That's not what the network claims in its commercials.

Follow Matt Buckler for more television, radio, and sports coverage on the JI's Twitter @journalinquirer, and see his articles on the Journal Inquirer Facebook page.