NBC streamlining XFL schmaltz

In the wake of an overrun into Saturday Night Live, NBC and the World Wrestling Federation will bag those bogus player self-introductions and tighten the game clock.

The mugging posers who play in the XFL games will can the camera-conscious histrionics. Game starts will move up to 8 p.m., from 8:15, and half-time will be a strict ten-minute break, according to an NBC Sports spokesman. The game clock will restart when the ball is spotted after incomplete passes or changes of possession.

Executives at NBC's entertainment division were reportedly disturbed when a double overtime game between the Los Angeles Xtreme and Chicago Enforcers delayed the start of Saturday Night Live. SNL producer Lorne Michaels, who had sought assurances from Dick Ebersol, NBC Sports chairman, that the games would not affect his show, was reportedly livid about the delayed start.

But NBC Sports insists Saturday was a sequence of unpredictable delays, including a 17-minute power outage at the start of the game, a 14-minute injury delay during the game. And then the double-OT ending to the new football entertainment concept that is supposed to provide a strong lead-in for SNL, not step on it. - Richard Tedesco