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ESPN-ABC Sports' Parade Float Too Well Defined?

January 2, 2006 12:00 AM

One of the more unusual floats scheduled to appear today in the 117th Tournament of Roses Parade will be ESPN and ABC Sports' first-time entry, a rather odd-looking tribute to HDTV sportscasts in general-and to this year's USC vs. Texas Rose Bowl in particular. Themed "The Magic of Sports in High Definition," the Jetsons-esque monstrosity, er, contraption is 55 feet long by 18 feet wide and features two 50-foot-tall inflatable football players leaping out of an HDTV screen in front of-you guessed it-two live fans (one from USC and the other from Texas) seated in recliners. Even though, like all of the Rose Parade floats, it is covered with thousands of flowers, it surely is a sight only a true sports fan could love.-Tom Gilbert

'Rita Cosby Live & Direct' Marketing

The raspy voice answering the phone at the Pikesville, Md., home of Ralph and Tia Davis these days might sound a tad familiar. That's because it belongs to MSNBC's Rita Cosby, who for about a month has been delivering a personalized outgoing message-and a plug for "Live & Direct," at 9 p.m. (ET) weeknights-just because the Davises asked her, in an e-mail, to do it. Mr. Davis even helpfully supplied the script she read into their answering machine. "Rita thought this was absolutely hilarious," said "Live & Direct" executive producer Angie Dorr. Mrs. Davis has been so faithful a fan since Ms. Cosby was a weekend fixture on Fox News Channel that Mr. Davis began imitating the newscaster's voice, which always sounds like she's about to lose it. But Ms. Cosby's distinctive voice is getting a real workout as members of the Davis family's circle (she is in real estate and he is an information network architect) check out the one-of-a-kind message. "People call and hang up all the time," Mrs. Davis told Blink. -Michele Greppi