It's 19 minutes after the hour and time to check the latest scores on Turner Broadcasting's "Headline News" service.

"In LOS ANGLE-EEES, James Worthy ROCKED THE RIMS for 38 points as the Lakers. . . .

"In Atlanta, home of the world's greatest mascot, Homer the Brave, Jeff Treadway had three {pause} . . . Okay, you're right, it's the world's worst mascot . . . "

"The Cubs got a BIG BOOST at Wrigley when Ryne Sandberg went DEEEEEEEEEP in the fourth inning. . . . "

The man behind the vivacious verbs and comical comments is Van Earl Wright, whose tickling style and off-beat highlights have caught the eyes and ears of viewers since his arrival at CNN Center in Atlanta six months ago.

"The verbs come to life," Wright said with a laugh.

"People like to watch and follow sports because it gives them a break from the 9 to 5 routine. It's sports and it's fun. And if you can't have fun with sports, what can you have fun with?"

Wright, 28, came to "Headline News" from KMBT-TV in Beaumont, Tex., where he produced and anchored the weekend sportscasts. However, he must take a different approach in his new position because the sports anchors talk over the highlights and never are seen. He's like ESPN's Chris Berman, without the chubby cheeks filling the screen.

With less than two minutes to fill on weekdays and about three minutes on weekends, Wright prefers unique plays and strange reactions to the common home run or jump shot.

He said he has received mostly positive public reaction, including a phone call from University of Michigan students.

Wright said he has "had fun with it," but he is "feeling frustrated" with the limited format. "I want to be on the air as an anchor," he said.

Wright, a 1984 graduate of South Carolina, usually is heard Friday through Tuesday after 8 p.m. ON THE RISE:

CBS's PGA ratings are up by 6 percent over last year (5.2 from 4.9), largely on the strength of a 10.5 rating for the final round of the Masters last month. The Sunday audience was the highest for golf since 1981 and the 7.7 million homes was the most since the 1977 Bing Crosby Pro-Am. PALMER IN RELIEF:

While Joe Morgan is attending his daughter's high school graduation Sunday, Orioles announcer Jim Palmer will join Jon Miller for ESPN's coverage of the Minnesota Twins-Chicago White Sox game. Miller, the Orioles radio announcer, does one game per week for the cable network. CHARLES IN CHARGE:

ESPN has signed Charles Barkley, the Philadelphia 76ers outspoken forward, as its expert analyst for its "SportsCenter" and "NBA Today" programs during the NBA finals. BRENNER ROAST:

Channel 9 sportscaster Glenn Brenner will be roasted Saturday night by Sonny Jurgensen, Redskins tight end Don Warren, Channel 5's Steve Buckhantz and others at the Sheraton Washington, benefitting Special Olympics programs in the area. CANADIAN CONNECTION:

For the first time in six years, Canadian Football League games will be seen live in the United States. SportsChannel America, which is carried by Home Team Sports in the Baltimore-Washington markets, will televise 30 games, including the 78th Grey Cup championship.


FNN: Sports, a cable branch of the Financial News Network, will begin a four-part series Saturday at 4:30 p.m. called "The Equitable Old-Timers Series Magazine," featuring interviews with former major league baseball players.

The Negro Leagues and Baseball Assistance Team, created to aid former players, will be featured on the first show. The rest of the series will air June 30, July 28 and Sept. 1.