The difficulty of producing and directing Flyers hockey for television can't be compared to the challenge Bryan Cooper faces tomorrow.
Cooper will produce and direct the Flyers Wives Fight For Lives Carnival, scheduled for 1:30 to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the Wachovia Center. Comcast SportsNet will televise the final two hours live from 4 to 6 p.m. and replay them from 8 to 10 p.m.
SportsNet, which began operations in October 1997, has televised the carnival every year since 1998, with the exception of 2005 - when there was no event because of the NHL lockout.
Cooper, who produces and directs Flyers telecasts, admits he will have his hands full in the same roles for the carnival.
In hockey telecasts, the people behind the scenes can take a breather during a break in the action. But there is no stoppage in carnival coverage because there are no commercials.
Cooper will work with eight announcers situated throughout the Wachovia Center.
"I keep saying I can't imagine people who do telethons for a living," Cooper said this week. "Having done hockey for 25 years, it is one of the most difficult things I've done."
During hockey games, Cooper and the rest of the crew take for granted the commercial breaks.
"When we throw it to commercial, we are able to reset mentally and kind of get refocused," he said. "And 90 seconds [for a break] is a lifetime in TV."
Even though there are no breaks in the two-hour carnival show, the telecast is carried out flawlessly. It been called organized chaos, with an emphasis on organized.
"I literally format the entire two hours," Cooper said. "It helps me to kind of have a road map as well as it gives all the talent an idea of when they are coming up."
For the most part, he added, the format is followed.
As the show's director, Cooper punches up all the camera shots.
At the carnival, he relies heavily on the work of associate producer Chris Guijarro, who makes sure the announcers are ready for each segment.
Flyers play-by-play announcer Jim Jackson will serve as host of the event. Television analysts Steve Coates and Keith Jones, along with radio broadcasters Brian Propp and Tim Saunders, will be part of the coverage. The TV team includes SportsNet hockey expert Al Morganti, Lauren Hart and SportsNet's Phil Andrews.
Flyers will be interviewed, and fans will get to see all the activities at the carnival. Of course, the main objective is to raise money. Now in its 30th year, the carnival has raised more than $20 million for its charities.
Cooper said he expected to have nine cameras covering the event.
"We've been in a suite in the past, overlooking the carnival floor," he said. "This year, part of the uniqueness of the carnival is that there will be a stage on the arena floor with a band performing, and I will have Jim [Jackson] with the check presenters on the stage."
It's a fast-paced event that will make the two hours - even without the commercials - go quickly.