Review: ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit ’94: The 30th Anniversary’

Harkening back to the old days of KABC-TV -- which once offered a 3-D swimsuit edition of "Eye on L.A."-- ABC struts out babes in bikinis for the February sweeps to give the guys an alternative to all that yucky figure skating. Slickly produced, the special spends too much time trying to justify its existence, detracting from the business of presenting gorgeous girls in tiny swimsuits.

Harkening back to the old days of KABC-TV — which once offered a 3-D swimsuit edition of “Eye on L.A.”– ABC struts out babes in bikinis for the February sweeps to give the guys an alternative to all that yucky figure skating. Slickly produced, the special spends too much time trying to justify its existence, detracting from the business of presenting gorgeous girls in tiny swimsuits.

Granted, it may have been a no-brainer to start ABC’s agreement for multiple specials based on Time Warner magazines with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which certainly has a better chance of reeling in large numbers of men than, say, a video version of Entertainment Weekly or People.

The problem is that the producers stretch to fill the hour with material no one cares about, such as the history of the swimsuit issue, the social context in which it was born and how models are selected.

Let’s face it, the bottom line here is showing bottoms and offering snowbound Easterners glimpses of beautiful women and fabulous locales. If the special really wanted to get into politics, it’d talk about how the issue offends feminists, and not just interview the models.

Producer-director Troy Miller has deftly crafted the equivalent of a Playboy lingerie video, network-style. While the result is relatively harmless, it’s hard not to laugh at the back flips turned to rationalize the hour, which, simply put, relies on the adage “sex sells.”

From a ratings standpoint, that’s nothing new, though if ABC could just get Nancy Kerrigan to model swimsuits, they’d really have something.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit '94: The 30th Anniversary

(Wed. (16), 10-11 p.m. , ABC-TV)

Production

Produced by Time Telepictures Television. Exec producer, Av Westin; producer-director, Troy Miller; producer, Susie Arnett; coordinating producers, Mark Palmer, Jack Sulzinsky, Eric Zappia; segment producers, Pete Delasho, Bill Price, Todd Stevens, Chris Weinstein; associate producer, Lisa Friedman; senior

Crew

Editor, David Zeiff; music, Greg O'Connor.

Cast

Host: Christie Brinkley.
With: Kathy Ireland, Rachel Hunter, Elle Macpherson, Roshumba, Ingrid Seynhaeve, Stacey Williams, Patricia Velasquez, Kate James.
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