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Hockey is CBS' ticket

Get with the program, CBS. And stick to it this time.

The U.S. hockey team is your gift horse, so maybe you don't want to ride it to death. But neither do you want to overlook a great story.

Figure skating is fun to watch, particularly when Americans finished 1-2 after the original program in the women's competition Wednesday. But most of the country isn't going to rally around Kristi Yamaguchi and Nancy Kerrigan winning medals.

They are, however, waiting for another Miracle on Ice. Team USA plays the Unified Team in one hockey semifinal Friday. And CBS has decided to show it live, starting at 11 a.m.

The United States, if victorious, would go into Sunday's gold-medal game against either Canada or Czechoslovakia. That game also would be broadcast live.

The point is this: If hockey is CBS' sport of choice, why short-change the teams that are likely to play Team USA?

CBS really blew it Tuesday. After featuring Canada-Unified Team on Sunday and Team USA-Sweden Monday, the passed on Canada-Germany the next day.

It was a great game, won by Canada, but CBS featured only the last two shots of the shootout. It skipped over the game and elected to miss almost the entire shootout. Poor choice.

Don't turn a great story over to TNT, which is paying CBS to televise selected events. Do it yourself.

Play-by-play announcer Mike Emrick has been outstanding in these Olympics, but even he can only do so much with two plays in which to describe an entire game.

Ratings game: CBS lost the prime-time ratings for the first time during the Olympics when ABC, with a 16.6 rating and 25 share, carried Tuesday night. CBS, which had won prime time during the first 10 nights of the Games, was second with a 15.9 rating and a 24 share.