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Channel 7 rounds out its staff with Briggs

Channel 7 is adding David Briggs to its sports department, effective next week. The hiring brings the department back to full strength for the first time in a year. Briggs comes to Channel 7 via Channel 23 in Tulsa, Okla., a Fox affiliate, where he was the weekend anchor.

WHDH-TV wasn't commenting on the hire yesterday, but Briggs's former bosses in Oklahoma gave him high marks and confirmed he was headed to Boston.

"People in Boston are going to appreciate Dave's enthusiasm and love of sports," said Sean McLaughlin, news director at Tulsa's Channel 23.

With the departures of Gene Lavanchy and Kip Lewis, the Channel 7 sports department has undergone a 50 percent makeover in the past year. Joe Amorosino has settled in as sports anchor, with Wendi Nix working as weekend anchor and reporting. Highly regarded reporter Gary Gillis, a 20-year department veteran and Boston native, continues doing stories and features both for the nightly news and "Sports Xtra." All the while, the Sunday night show has been winning its battle with Channel 4 for late-night viewers.

"I'm hearing a new person is coming in," said Amorosino. "It's a nice statement by the station that we're continuing to give viewers full sports coverage."

Moving from Tulsa, the 60th-largest market, to Boston, No. 6, is a nice step up. But Victor Faust, sports director at Channel 23 in Tulsa, cited a key reason.

"Dave's excited about it," he said. "And his wife is, too. Brandi Briggs graduated from Boston College, then finished law school here in Tulsa." Briggs began his broadcast career at the Fox affiliate in Rapid City, S.D., after graduating from the University of Colorado, then moved to Tulsa.

First impressions Watching the inaugural "I, Max" on FSN last night prompted many unconnected thoughts even though the show didn't have many opening-night glitches.

* Having a host be able to stop a conversation in mid-sentence (as Max Kellerman can do to cohosts Michael Holley and Bill Wolff) is a technological step ahead.

* Kellerman was nowhere near as obnoxious, arrogant, or supercilious as expected. Come on, Max: Let the persona out.

* If I want to turn on the TV and see people yelling at each other, the local city council hearings are just as effective.

* Good sign: The show moved fast.

* Funniest moment: The T-Mobile parachutist ad -- by a knockout.

* Former colleague Holley seems to have assumed a neat Ed McMahon role.

* Just remember that the kid with the ball (Kellerman) usually wins the game.

* Celebrity guests: Michael Strahan gave insight into the Giants players-vs.-Tom Coughlin situation and the quarterback situation (Kerry Collins out, Eli Manning in) with the smoothness of a TV natural.

* Biggest winner so far: FSN's "New England Sports Tonight" now has a better lead-in than "NASCAR Tonight."

All-around guy Holley is doing the Kellerman show from New York this week, but once he begins participating from FSN's Burlington studios, "New England Sports Tonight" cohosts Gary Tanguay and Greg Dickerson will be looking to have him stick around to do a guest bit on the early show. Meanwhile, he's already done a guest slot on WEEI radio, and Channel 7 won't end Holley's near-decade association with "Sports Xtra," unless it's part of his FSN contract . . . Zach Selwyn, last seen as a finalist on ESPN's "Dream Job," has signed on with GSN (Game Show Network) as an analyst for eight episodes of "Extreme Dodgeball." . . . The Minnesota Twins reached an eight-year agreement with Fox Sports Net North, signaling the end for Victory Sports One, the team's startup regional sports network (its version of NESN) that ran into trouble reaching carriage agreements in the state. That leaves Minnesota native Rick Abbott, the former NESN vice president of programming and production who left to help launch Victory One, back in the job market . . . The ESPN conglomerate has added a books unit. Scheduled for a September release is "ESPN25," the tale of the company's first quarter-century as captured in the network staple: the sports highlight. ESPN executive vice president John Skipper says ESPN Books plans to release 10-15 titles per year. On deck for next April: A chronicle of LeBron James's rookie season in the NBA. The initiative is a continuation of ESPN's working arrangement with the corporate family's Hyperion publishing company.

Dog shows No apologies here for plugging Eddie Andelman's media tour on behalf of Sunday's Hot Dog Safari. He's on "Sports Pulse" with Ed Berliner tonight (CN8, 10 p.m.) and with Mike Barnicle Thursday (WTKK, 96.9-FM) at 10 a.m. Pan it if you like, but only after you show that you've done something comparable to make life and society better . . . Boston attorney Harry Manion will be on Thursday's Globe "Sports Plus" to talk about the Kobe Bryant case with host Bob Lobel and Globe staffers Bob Ryan and Kevin Paul Dupont. Catch the show live at The Place in downtown at 7 or on NESN following the Sox game and "Extra Innings" . . . WROR (105.7-FM) has pledged to raise $100,000 to fight Lou Gehrig's Disease via "Curt's Pitch for ALS." Curt Schilling is doing a weekly segment on the morning "Loren & Wally" show Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m.

Bill Griffith's e-mail address is griffith@globe.com 

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